Fantasy Football 2012: Position Rankings for Week 3

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistSeptember 19, 2012

JACKSONVILLE, FL - SEPTEMBER 16:   Matt Schaub #8 of the Houston Texans gives the ball t Arian Foster #23 during the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at EverBank Field on September 16, 2012 in Jacksonville, Florida.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

Ladies and gentleman, it's time to unveil my fantasy football rankings for the week!

I know, pretty exciting stuff, right? I'm having a hard time containing my excitement as well.

Anyway, here's how this works—I've ranked the top 10 quarterbacks, tight ends and defenses for this week, as well as the top 20 running backs and wide receivers. For a couple of these players, I've broken down my reasoning for the ranking.

As always, drop me a line on Twitter if you have questions about why I included certain players and excluded others. And good luck this week!



1. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints (Kansas City Chiefs)

2. Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions (Tennessee Titans)


3. Robert Griffin III, Washington Redskins (Cincinnati Bengals)

Until he proves otherwise, RG3 is a must-start for fantasy owners. His ability to beat defenses both through the air and on the ground makes him a handful to defend.

And a revelation for fantasy owners.

The Bengals haven't exactly been stout defensively against quarterbacks this year, allowing 43 points to opposing signal-callers thus far. You better be down with RG3.


4. Eli Manning, New York Giants (Carolina Panthers)

5. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers (Seattle Seahawks)

6. Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers (New York Giants)

7. Tom Brady, New England Patriots (Baltimore Ravens)

8. Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons (San Diego Chargers)

9. Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)

10. Alex Smith, San Francisco 49ers (Minnesota Vikings)

Yes, I have Smith in my top 10. The Vikings are decent against the run, allowing 98.5 rushing yards per game. But they have a miserable secondary, and they've allowed 19 fantasy points to Blaine Gabbert—Blaine freaking Gabbert!—and 18.9 to Andrew Luck.

Look for the 49ers to change up the game plan and throw the ball more than usual this week. Smith has scored 17.7 fantasy points in each of the first two weeks, so he's really not that risky of a play anyway.


Running Backs

1. Ray Rice, Baltimore Ravens (New England Patriots)

2. Arian Foster, Houston Texans (Denver Broncos)

3. C.J. Spiller, Buffalo Bills (Cleveland Browns)

Yes, Cleveland has allowed just 22.5 fantasy points to opposing running backs this season. But Spiller is a threat to score any time he touches the ball, and with 364 yards from scrimmage and three touchdowns after two games, Spiller is certainly going to be the focal point of the Bills attack.

For those of you savvy enough to draft him, enjoy the spoils of Spiller. His fantasy dominance won't end anytime soon.


4. Maurice Jones-Drew, Jacksonville Jaguars (Indianapolis Colts)

5. LeSean McCoy, Philadelphia Eagles (Arizona Cardinals)

6. Reggie Bush, Miami Dolphins (New York Jets)

7. Michael Bush, Chicago Bears (St. Louis Rams)

8. Doug Martin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Dallas Cowboys)

9. Ryan Mathews, San Diego Chargers (Atlanta Falcons)

10. BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Cincinnati Bengals (Washington Redskins)

11. Marshawn Lynch, Seattle Seahawks (Green Bay Packers)

12. Stevan Ridley, New England Patriots (Baltimore Ravens)

13. Darren Sproles, New Orleans Saints (Kansas City Chiefs)

14. DeMarco Murray, Dallas Cowboys (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)

15. Trent Richardson, Cleveland Browns (Buffalo Bills)

16. Frank GoreSan Francisco 49ers (Minnesota Vikings)

17. Alfred Morris, Washington Redskins (Cincinnati Bengals)

The Bengals have allowed a whopping 58.1 fantasy points to opposing running backs after two weeks, 30th worst in the NFL. Combine that with the fact that Morris has 30.5 fantasy points this year, and you've got yourself a recipe for another solid week from the rookie.


18. Steven Jackson, St. Louis Rams (Chicago Bears)

19. Andre Brown, New York Giants (Carolina Panthers) 

20. Darren McFadden, Oakland Raiders (Pittsburgh Steelers)


Wide Receivers

1. Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions (Tennessee Titans)

2. Steve Smith, Carolina Panthers (New York Giants)

3. Victor Cruz, New York Giants (Carolina Panthers)

4. Dwayne Bowe, Kansas City Chiefs (New Orleans Saints)

News flash No. 1: The New Orleans Saints don't have a very good defense. The secondary has allowed 48 fantasy points to opposing wide receivers after two weeks, and have given up 550 passing yards and three touchdowns this season.

News Flash No. 2: If anyone is going to capitalize on the above facts, it's Bowe. After a mediocre Week 1, he exploded for 102 yards and two touchdowns on eight receptions. Sure, it was garbage time, but guess what?

News Flash No. 3: This game could get out of hand for the Chiefs very quickly against the prolific New Orleans offense, meaning Matt Cassel will start airing the ball out. That means Bowe could do some serious damage while the Chiefs play catch up.


5. Marques Colston, New Orleans Saints (Kansas City Chiefs)

6. Greg Jennings, Green Bay Packers (Seattle Seahawks)

7. Brandon Marshall, Chicago Bears (St. Louis Rams)

8. Roddy White, Atlanta Falcons (San Diego Chargers)

9. Miles Austin, Dallas Cowboys (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)

10. Wes WelkerNew England Patriots (Baltimore Ravens)

I know, I know, the lessened snaps and whole "Julian Edelman starting" situation has fantasy owners worried. But here's the deal: Welker is one of the most important players on this offense, he'll continue to see significant targets and with Aaron Hernandez injured, his numbers will only increase.

Michael Vick threw for 381 yards against the Ravens defense last week. Expect the Patriots to throw it at will as well, with Welker earning a big piece of that pie.


11. Vincent Jackson, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Dallas Cowboys)

12. DeSean Jackson, Philadelphia Eagles (Arizona Cardinals) 

13. Demaryius Thomas, Denver Broncos (Houston Texans)

14. Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons (San Diego Chargers)

15. Mike Wallace, Pittsburgh Steelers (Oakland Raiders)

16. A.J. Green, Cincinnati Bengals (Washington Redskins)

17. Pierre Garcon, Washington Redskins (Cincinnati Bengals)

18. Malcolm Floyd, San Diego Chargers (Atlanta Falcons)

19. Jordy Nelson, Green Bay Packers (Seattle Seahawks)

20. Percy Harvin, Minnesota Vikings (San Francisco 49ers)


Tight Ends

1. Jimmy Graham, New Orleans Saints (Kansas City Chiefs)

Against this Chiefs defense, I'm going to project Mr. Graham for eight receptions, 115 yards and two touchdowns. He is going to absolutely dominate in this contest. He'll remind owners who drafted him high that they may have selected a tight end, but they're getting the value week in and week out of a WR1.


2. Rob Gronkowski, New England Patriots (Baltimore Ravens)

3. Vernon Davis, San Francisco 49ers (Minnesota Vikings)

4. Antonio Gates, San Diego Chargers (Atlanta Falcons)

5. Brent Celek, Philadelphia Eagles (Arizona Cardinals)

 6. Martellus Bennett, New York Giants (Carolina Panthers)

7. Brandon Pettigrew, Detroit Lions (Tennessee Titans)

8. Tony Gonzalez, Atlanta Falcons (San Diego Chargers)

9. Jermichael Finley, Green Bay Packers (Seattle Seahawks)

10. Jared Cook, Tennessee Titans (Detroit Lions)


Defense / Special Teams

1. Philadelphia Eagles (Arizona Cardinals)

The Eagles have forced six turnovers, sacked the quarterback four times and given up just 39 points in two games. Oh, and the Cardinals are starting Kevin Kolb at quarterback.

Need I say more?


2. Chicago Bears (St. Louis Rams)

3. Houston Texans (Denver Broncos)

4. Buffalo Bills (Cleveland Browns)

5. Pittsburgh Steelers (Oakland Raiders)

6. New York Jets (Miami Dolphins)

7. San Francisco 49ers (Minnesota Vikings)

8. Detroit Lions (Tennessee Titans)

9. Green Bay Packers (Seattle Seahawks)

10. Arizona Cardinals (Philadelphia Eagles)


Hit me up on Twitter—my Tweets are still in the Heisman race.

Follow TRappaRT on Twitter


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