The following rankings support my early top 25 picks for Week 3 among fantasy quarterbacks.
To clarify, this countdown doesn't lean on a particular stat—it's merely an educated guess of which signal-callers will have the best combination of total yards (passing/rushing) and total touchdowns for the NFL's third week.
Regardless of how these rankings shake out every week, it shouldn't supersede two important factors that go into regular lineup consideration:
1. Fantasy Owners Should Always Play Their Healthy Superstars
As you can see below, Matt Ryan (at San Diego) actually scores a higher weekly ranking than Tom Brady (at Baltimore). But I didn't draft Brady in Round 1 last month to bench him during a random weekend in September. When investing a super-high pick on QBs, owners must accept the highs and (relative) lows of a given year.
2. Always Ride Your Gut Instinct
You can read every website or podcast, or ply certain fantasy gurus with lineup queries on Twitter from Wednesday through Sunday. However, none of these shamans will have more interest in your fantasy squad than you. And in the end, only you (cue Smokey The Bear catchphrase) shall be responsible for the success or failure of that club.
Top 25 QBs For Week 3
1. Drew Brees vs. Kansas City
2. Cam Newton vs. N.Y. Giants
3. Matt Ryan at San Diego
4. Aaron Rodgers at Seattle
5. Tom Brady at Baltimore
6. Philip Rivers vs. Atlanta
7. Eli Manning at Carolina
8. Michael Vick at Arizona
9. Tony Romo vs. Tampa Bay
10. Robert Griffin III vs. Cincinnati
11. Matthew Stafford at Tennessee
12. Peyton Manning vs. Houston
13. Ben Roethlisberger at Oakland
14. Jay Cutler vs. St. Louis
15. Matt Schaub at Denver
16. Sam Bradford at Chicago
17. Alex Smith at Minnesota
18. Joe Flacco vs. New England
19. Andrew Luck vs. Jacksonville
20. Andy Dalton at Washington
21. Christian Ponder vs. San Francisco
22. Matt Cassel at New Orleans
23. Carson Palmer vs. Pittsburgh
24. Mark Sanchez at Miami
25. Brandon Weeden vs. Buffalo
1. The Chiefs-Saints matchup, featuring winless teams, should have a desperate edge to it on Sunday afternoon. As a result, I fully expect Drew Brees (averaging 375 yards passing/3.8 TD in last four home games) and Matt Cassel to air things out in the climate-controlled Superdome. In a week when three QBs have a reasonable shot at 350 yards passing, I give the slight nod to Brees in overall fantasy points.
2. Matt Ryan's Week 3 ranking had already been established before running back Michael Turner was arrested on Tuesday morning, just hours after the Falcons trumped the Broncos (according to Yahoo! Sports). But in a weird way, the Turner incident cements Ryan's lofty standing for the weekend. Assuming full health for Roddy White, Julio Jones, Malcom Floyd and Antonio Gates, I would be shocked if either Ryan or Rivers (three touchdowns last week) fell short of 325 yards passing and two scores.
3. Speaking of intriguing matchups, I have the highest of hopes for Giants-Panthers on Thursday night...although there is a minor concern that Carolina's home field may be soggy and slippery due to heavy rains in the south.
4. Robert Griffin III (650 total yards, five TD) essentially had a hand in every big Washington play against St. Louis (minus one long sideline run for Alfred Morris). He's also flush with in-their-prime playmakers like Morris, Fred Davis, Roy Helu, Leonard Hankerson, Aldrick Robinson, Evan Royster and reliable veteran Santana Moss.
5. I'm not feeling Matthew Stafford's matchup against the Titans this week, even though Tennessee was torched by Rivers last Sunday. My greatest concern: Calvin Johnson (14 catches, 205 yards) cannot be the only Lions pass-catcher showing up against defenses that are focused on stopping him at every turn. Perhaps the return of tailback Mikel Leshoure will loosen things up.
Jay Clemons can be reached on Twitter, day or night, at @ATL_JayClemons.