Fantasy Football Week 3 Rankings: An Early Look Ahead
If there is one thing any fantasy football junkie can attest to, it's that it is never too early for weekly rankings.
Sure, we're still waiting to see what happens between the Cincinnati Bengals and Pittsburgh Steelers. Yes, we all want to know how the injury report will shake out. But be honest—you're already thinking about your lineup for next week, aren't you?
Of course you are. Below, I've provided some early rankings for Week 3 action, compiling the top 10 options at each position.
Note: These rankings are for standard-scoring leagues.
|1||Peyton Manning||Denver Broncos||Oakland Raiders||30|
|2||Aaron Rodgers||Green Bay Packers||Cincinnati Bengals||28|
|3||Michael Vick||Philadelphia Eagles||Kansas City Chiefs||28|
|4||Matt Stafford||Detroit Lions||Washington||26|
|5||Drew Brees||New Orleans Saints||Arizona Cardinals||25|
|6||Colin Kaepernick||San Francisco 49ers||Indianapolis Colts||23|
|7||Russell Wilson||Seattle Seahawks||Jacksonville Jaguars||22|
|8||Robert Griffin III||Washington||Detroit Lions||21|
|9||Tom Brady||New England Patriots||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||19|
|10||Matt Ryan||Atlanta Falcons||Miami Dolphins||18|
Quarterback to Watch: Matt Stafford
Washington has allowed 621 passing yards and six touchdowns to opposing quarterbacks in the first two weeks of the season. In standard leagues, Vick scored 25 fantasy points against them in Week 1, while Aaron Rodgers dissected their secondary to the tune of 35 fantasy points in Week 2.
Enter Stafford, who has already thrown for 635 yards and four touchdowns. Along with Calvin Johnson, he should have an absolute field day against a weak Washington secondary.
|1||LeSean McCoy||Philadelphia Eagles||Kansas City Chiefs||25|
|2||Marshawn Lynch||Seattle Seahawks||Jacksonville Jaguars||25|
|3||Adrian Peterson||Minnesota Vikings||Cleveland Browns||23|
|4||Trent Richardson||Cleveland Browns||Minnesota Vikings||22|
|5||Doug Martin||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||New England Patriots||20|
|6||Jamaal Charles||Kansas City Chiefs||Philadelphia Eagles||20|
|7||Arian Foster||Houston Texans||Baltimore Ravens||19|
|8||Alfred Morris||Washington||Detroit Lions||17|
|9||C.J. Spiller||Buffalo Bills||New York Jets||16|
|10||Darren McFadden||Oakland Raiders||Denver Broncos||15|
Running Back to Watch: Trent Richardson
Richardson has yet to make a major impact this season for his fantasy owners, rushing 31 times for 108 yards and hauling in seven receptions for 51 yards. Plus, he's yet to score a touchdown. In standard leagues, Richardson has offered just 15.9 fantasy points total.
But the Minnesota Vikings have leaked fantasy points to running backs. In Week 1, they gave up a total of 45 fantasy points in ESPN leagues to the Detroit Lions backs. In Week 2, they allowed Matt Forte to total 161 yards.
This Vikings' front seven can be run on, and Richardson is a good enough weapon out of the backfield that he can be productive in the passing game as well. Look for him to have his breakthrough performance against the Vikings.
|1||Calvin Johnson||Detroit Lions||Washington||30|
|2||A.J. Green||Cincinnati Bengals||Green Bay Packers||26|
|3||DeSean Jackson||Philadelphia Eagles||Kansas City Chiefs||25|
|4||Dez Bryant||Dallas Cowboys||St. Louis Rams||21|
|5||Julio Jones||Atlanta Falcons||Miami Dolphins||21|
|6||Brandon Marshall||Chicago Bears||Pittsburgh Steelers||18|
|7||Randall Cobb||Green Bay Packers||Cincinnati Bengals||17|
|8||Demaryius Thomas||Denver Broncos||Oakland Raiders||17|
|9||Jordy Nelson||Green Bay Packers||Cincinnati Bengals||16|
|10||Victor Cruz||New York Giants||Carolina Panthers||15|
Wide Receiver to Watch: DeSean Jackson
If fantasy drafts were redone today, DeSean Jackson would be a top-10, if not top-five, wide receiver off the board. In Chip Kelly's fast-paced spread-option attack, he's become a force to be reckoned with.
After two weeks, DeSean Jackson has 16 receptions for 297 yards and two touchdowns. What's more, it seems his production is sustainable, as Michael Vick has targeted him 24 times. Against the San Diego Chargers alone, he beat his defender over the top several times and could have had an even bigger afternoon.
Kelly's system puts playmakers in the open field and allows them to make plays, and Jackson has thrived. Don't expect the Kansas City Chiefs to slow him down.
|1||Jimmy Graham||New Orleans Saints||Arizona Cardinals||22|
|2||Julius Thomas||Denver Broncos||Oakland Raiders||20|
|3||Vernon Davis||San Francisco 49ers||Indianapolis Colts||16|
|4||Greg Olsen||Carolina Panthers||New York Giants||14|
|5||Martellus Bennett||Chicago Bears||Pittsburgh Steelers||12|
|6||Jordan Cameron||Cleveland Browns||Minnesota Vikings||12|
|7||Tony Gonzalez||Atlanta Falcons||Miami Dolphins||11|
|8||Jason Witten||Dallas Cowboys||St. Louis Rams||11|
|9||Jermichael Finley||Green Bay Packers||Cincinnati Bengals||10|
|10||Jared Cook||St. Louis Rams||Dallas Cowboys||10|
Tight End to Watch: Julius Thomas
Thomas is now firmly entrenched in this dangerous Denver Broncos attack, already posting 11 receptions for 157 yards and three touchdowns. And before you go worrying that his touchdown production isn't stable, keep in mind that he has 16 targets on the year, which ties for sixth amongst tight ends in the NFL.
He's a big and fast tight end, and Peyton Manning never hesitated to utilize Dallas Clark in his Indianapolis Colts days. Against an Oakland Raiders defense that won't be able to account for all of Denver's weapons, Thomas should have another big game.
|1||Seattle Seahawks||Jacksonville Jaguars||20|
|2||Chicago Bears||Pittsburgh Steelers||16|
|3||Denver Broncos||Oakland Raiders||15|
|4||San Francisco 49ers||Indianapolis Colts||12|
|5||New England Patriots||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||12|
|6||Buffalo Bills||New York Jets||12|
|7||Dallas Cowboys||St. Louis Rams||11|
|8||Houston Texans||Baltimore Ravens||10|
|9||New York Jets||Buffalo Bills||10|
|10||New Orleans Saints||Arizona Cardinals||9|
Defense to Watch: New Orleans Saints
Yes, you read that right—the Saints made this list.
Believe it or not, in ESPN standard leagues, the Saints offered fantasy owners seven points in Week 1 and eight points in Week 8. They've forced four turnovers and now face Carson Palmer, who has turned the ball over three times in the first two weeks and has given up a pick-six.
Plus, Larry Fitzgerald is struggling with a left hamstring injury and had to leave the game against the Lions. If he can't go, the Cardinals become much more limited on offense. If the pickings are slim and you really need a fantasy defense, the Saints are a sneaky pick.
|1||Matt Prater||Denver Broncos||Oakland Raiders||15|
|2||Dan Bailey||Dallas Cowboys||St. Louis Rams||14|
|3||Alex Henery||Philadelphia Eagles||Kansas City Chiefs||13|
|4||Garrett Hartley||New Orleans Saints||Arizona Cardinals||13|
|5||Steven Hauschka||Seattle Seahawks||Jacksonville Jaguars||12|
|6||Josh Brown||New York Giants||Carolina Panthers||12|
|7||Stephen Gostkowski||New England Patriots||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||11|
|8||Phil Dawson||San Francisco 49ers||Indianapolis Colts||11|
|9||Blair Walsh||Minnesota Vikings||Cleveland Browns||10|
|10||Mason Crosby||Green Bay Packers||Cincinnati Bengals||10|
Kicker to Watch: Matt Prater
Here's what you need to know—the Broncos will likely blow out the Raiders, and Prater is 2-of-2 on his field goals this season and has already booted 12 extra points. It's a pretty safe bet he'll reach double-digit points against the Raiders.
Hit me up on Twitter—my tweets went 4-0 in their fantasy leagues in Week 2.
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