It's been six weeks since we've addressed the fluctuating values of Dynasty league Quarterbacks
, Running backs
, Wide receivers
, and Tight ends
. With training camp and preseason action giving away to real football, it's time to highlight the winners and losers of the past month. Rising Quarterbacks
1. Matthew Stafford
- You have to love his aggressiveness in going down the field, which matches up perfectly with Calvin Johnson
's strengths. Throw in a well-rounded back in Kevin Smith
and the best tight end in the '09 draft, and the Lions offense will be generating league-wide buzz much sooner than anticipated.
2. Aaron Rodgers
- The preseason MVP led the offense to a score on every drive through the first three preseason games. Loaded with offensive weapons, Rodgers has graduated to Tier One with the big boys. Editor's Note: To see where Aaron Rodgers is ranked in our latest projections, check out the 2009 Rotoworld Football Draft Guide.
3. Matt Ryan
- Another player comfortably making the leap to Tier One, Ryan continues to draw comparisons to Peyton Manning
and Tom Brady
. His future value was already off the charts, and preseason indications suggest the Falcons offense is reaching juggernaut territory. The defense needs major work, which means we could be in line for a couple of 45-42 fantasy bonanzas against the Saints.
4. Matt Leinart
- Leinart's offseason rebirth has carried over to the preseason, topped off by last Friday's 360-yard, 3-TD effort in one half. He's met coach Ken Whisenhunt's challenges head on, and he's a better quarterback for it. Looking at NFL history, you can count the number of successful 38-year-old quarterback seasons on one hand. When Kurt Warner
crumbles, Leinart will be there to pick up the pieces in a championship caliber offense with the best collection of receivers in the league.
5. Michael Vick
- He has a team and is ready for NFL action, which is more than many expected as recently as a month ago. Vick's contract is setup where he's almost certainly going to be playing elsewhere in 2010, ostensibly as a starting quarterback. His upside makes him more valuable than most of the starters who don't enjoy "franchise" status.Honorable Mention: Mark Sanchez
, Nate Davis Running Backs
1. DeAngelo Williams
- Even after Williams' No. 1 fantasy finish in 2008, it was fair to question the future Carolina backfield pecking order. It had been widely assumed that No. 12 overall pick Jonathan Stewart would nudge Williams out of the way in a year or two and take over as the lead back. That's no longer the case given Stewart's injury concerns. Williams is primed for an increase in touches, and his owners simply aren't as concerned with Stewart as they were six months ago.
2. Kevin Smith
- Smith is starting to look more and more like the offensive centerpiece in Detroit. A young back with a good possibility of 300 carries and 50 catches for the foreseeable future is quite an asset.
3. Ray Rice
- Not only is Rice the new No. 1 back in Baltimore, he's also a burgeoning PPR stud and isn't guaranteed to be pulled inside the red zone. By next year, with Willis McGahee
likely out of the picture, Rice could be a Top-12 back.
4. Leon Washington
- With backs of Leon Washington
's profile, an increase of 5-6 offensive touches per week are the difference between bye-week fill-in and legit RB2. While Washington doesn't have the body type or the leg drive to sustain a rushing attack with 20 carries per game, he could thrive with the extra touches in space. Rex Ryan has made it clear that Washington will get those touches starting this season.
5. Glen Coffee / James Davis
- Coffee appears to be the better talent while Davis has a much clearer path to regular carries. Coffee's physical, slashing style has produced an NFL high 230 rushing yards through three games. If Frank Gore
owners don't already have him, they need to go get him. Davis, on the other hand, has shown a nice burst with surprising long speed, which only highlights the plodding style of an aging Jamal Lewis
. Both Coffee and Davis are knocking on the door to LeSean McCoy
territory among rookie backs.Honorable Mention
: Cadillac Williams Wide Receivers
1. Eddie Royal
- Since early last season, it's been clear that Royal is a better use of a roster spot as a WR2 than Brandon Marshall
is as a WR1. Now it's getting to the point where Royal may be taking over as the Broncos go-to receiver, and 110 catches aren't out of the question. Every time Marshall attempts to channel a more evil version of "Leon
," Royal's value ticks up another notch.
2. Percy Harvin
- See here
for testimonial. Harvin's upside is Tier One, and he's going to be heavily involved in the offense as the favorite for Rookie of the Year honors. Get on board.
3. Chad Ochocinco
- The All-Pro talent remains, and Ocho's head is on relatively straight this season. As long as Carson Palmer
stays upright – and the Bengals don't tailspin in October – Ocho should produce borderline WR1 numbers for the next couple of seasons.
4. Chris Henry
- Easily one of the most talented wide receivers in the league and a lethal red zone weapon, Henry has scored in all four Bengals preseason games. If all of the talk of an offseason epiphany holds true, Henry has Top-25 potential.
5. DeSean Jackson
- While Jackson exploded onto the scene as a rookie, there were reasons for concern about his long-term value down the stretch. Four of his five best fantasy games came while Kevin Curtis
was sidelined, and he managed just two receiving touchdowns all season. Training camp reports, though, have been unanimous in pointing out that the camp MVP is even more explosive this season. He's a legit WR2. Tight Ends
1. Jermichael Finley
- Since the start of last season, Finley has gone from immature knucklehead to talented backup pushing Donald Lee
to a prime weapon in the Packers lethal passing attack. The Pack haven't come out and admitted it, but Finley has bypassed Lee in this offense. He's on the brink of a breakout season.
2. Martellus Bennett
- NFL teams often keep new offensive sets under wraps in preseason action. There's plenty of reason to believe the Cowboys have done just that with their two-tight end set so far. Everyone from the owner to the head coach to the No. 1 tight end has made it clear that the team has "big plans" for Marty B this season. The freakishly talented 22-year-old has a ceiling well worth carrying as a TE2 until he lands a starting job.