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Week 3 Fantasy Football Rankings: Position-by-Position Breakdown

Garrett BakerSenior Analyst ISeptember 18, 2013

Week 3 Fantasy Football Rankings: Position-by-Position Breakdown

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    Heading into Week 3 of the fantasy football season, we can have a little more faith in our player rankings after seeing how things have unfolded in the first two games.

    The landscape is a little clearer as some players saw their stocks rise, others fell and a few maintained their prior value.

    But now matchups take shape a little more as well, so here is a breakdown of the top players at every position for Week 3.

Quarterback

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    1. Peyton Manning, DEN: Even with the loss of left tackle Ryan Clady, Manning remains the top fantasy option right now. He has a pretty favorable matchup in Week 3 against Oakland.

    2. Cam Newton, CAR: The New York Giants have been an absolute mess so far this season, and Newton could finally really get on a roll this week.

    3. Aaron Rodgers, GB: Going up against a solid Cincinnati defense, Rodgers should still have a great week but not the kind of explosive one that often makes him the top fantasy producer.

    4. Drew Brees, NO: Arizona's defense is severely underrated, and it will give Brees all he can handle. Things have been a little off for the New Orleans Saints offense, and Jimmy Graham is really carrying them right now.

    5. Colin Kaepernick, SF: He will be looking to avenge his dreadful Week 2 start, and the Indianapolis Colts don't have a good enough defense to slow him down.

    6. Mike Vick, PHI: Kansas City has a respectable defense, and Andy Reid is familiar with the Philadelphia Eagles' personnel, but the Chiefs won't be able to contain Vick all game.

    7. Tom Brady, NE: While he has thrown for an average of just 236.5 yards in the first two games, Brady still has to be considered a good option. He's too talented and competitive to continue being mediocre.

    8. Matthew Stafford, DET: The Washington Redskins are looking pretty depleted right now, having given up 33 and 38 points in each of their first two games. Expect Stafford to take advantage.

    9. Russell Wilson, SEA: Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks are flying right now and will pummel the Jacksonville Jaguars. While they should run the ball a lot, Wilson should still put up some good numbers.

    10. Tony Romo, DAL: Dez Bryant will play on Sunday, so Romo retains his fantasy value. He already has 91 attempts, and as long as he's throwing, he'll be a starting-caliber quarterback.

    11. Matt Ryan, ATL: Losing Steven Jackson really lowers Ryan's status, especially with Roddy White still nursing an injury. Don't be surprised if Miami's defense has a big game this week.

    12. Alex Smith, KC: Thursday night's matchup should end up being a fast-paced shootout much like the Eagles' game against San Diego, so Smith will throw the ball a lot and should put up good numbers.

    13. Andrew Luck, IND: Even though he's had a productive first two games of the season, running into the brick wall that is San Francisco's defense lowers his stock.

    14. Robert Griffin III, WAS: He has to pick it up at some point, right? Washington, and anyone who owns Griffin, sure hopes so. If he falters again, it might be time to bench him for good.

    15. Andy Dalton, CIN: With A.J. Green and the best tight end tandem in the NFL, Dalton really could start putting up some consistently big numbers. A shootout could be in the works against Green Bay. 

Running Back

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    1. Marshawn Lynch, SEA: A really remarkable talent who just runs so hard and has been extra beastly this season. Seattle is going to absolutely trample Jacksonville's weak rush defense.

    2. Adrian Peterson, MIN: Don't really care what week it is or who he's playing (it's Cleveland, which is a good thing), Peterson is always a top-three back.

    3. Doug Martin, TB: The Tampa Bay Buccaneers really need to set the tempo with their ground game, and Martin is establishing himself as an elite back after a 144-yard performance in Week 2.

    4. Jamaal Charles, KC: I think he has a lot of value this week because of the up-tempo game that will be played in Philadelphia. Don't be surprised if he has seven or eight catches and 175 total yards.

    5. Matt Forte, CHI: The Bears have been sharp offensively, and Pittsburgh has been surprisingly pretty soft on the defensive end. Forte has extra value in points-per-reception leagues.

    6. LeSean McCoy, PHI: I don't think McCoy will have quite as big of a game as everyone is expecting, but he's still going to put up numbers in Chip Kelly's offense.

    7. Arian Foster, HOU: Something about Foster just hasn't seemed right recently, and a relatively quiet start of the season hasn't helped things. He's got an always tough Baltimore matchup in Week 3.

    8. Alfred Morris, WAS: He has sputtered along with the rest of the Redskins offense so far, but I think he gets relied on more heavily in Week 3 against a Detroit defense that struggles to contain backs.

    9. Knowshon Moreno, DEN: I'm all-in on the Moreno bandwagon right now, and I think that as long as Peyton Manning is operating at a high level, the holes will be there for Moreno.

    10. Reggie Bush, DET: Although he's currently "50-50" to play this Sunday, his matchup against the Redskins is an incredible one. If he doesn't play, Joique Bell becomes a top-15 fantasy back.

    11. C.J. Spiller, BUF: As a Fred Jackson owner, I have been pleasantly surprised by the lack of Spiller's production over the first two games. A matchup against the Ne York Jets' stingy defense doesn't help.

    12. DeMarco Murray, DAL: St. Louis has a pretty weak rush defense, and Jason Garrett thinks that they need to run the ball more. Murray is still an elite talent who could shred the St. Louis Rams.

    13. Frank Gore, SF: Gore was a nonfactor in Week 2, but the San Francisco 49ers will rely on him more against an Indianapolis defense that gave up 272 yards on the ground so far.

    14. DeAngelo Williams, CAR: Sorry for how many times this will show up on this slideshow, but Carolina's offense is going to have a big day against the Giants, who are currently in disarray to put it nicely.

    15. Trent Richardson, IND: Well, that was shocking. The trade itself, as reported by Tom Pelissero of USA Today, is a miserable one for Cleveland, but Indianapolis gets a workhorse back who will bring a whole new dimension to the offense. We don't know how much he'll play on Sunday, which is why I ranked him conservatively, but this is a very intriguing situation.

    16. Chris Johnson, TEN: CJ2K has been pretty disappointing thus far with just 166 rushing yards, no touchdowns and one catch. But with Shonn Greene out, Johnson should see more touches in Week 3.

    17. Daryl Richardson, STL: While the matchup against Dallas isn't great, Richardson continues to be the leading back in St. Louis and has shown flashes of serious promise.

    18. Darren Sproles, NO: With 12 catches already, Sproles is really way more valuable in PPR leagues. But he also got six carries and was the primary back in Week 2, which is good news for his owners.

    19. Lamar Miller, MIA: After a horrendous debut, Miller righted the ship in Week 2 with 69 yards on 14 carries and a score to go along with two catches. He will try to continue moving in the right direction this Sunday.

    20. Bernard Pierce, BAL: Maybe Ray Rice does play and Pierce isn't the feature back. But Rice's health seems to be a serious concern, and he won't be anywhere near 100 percent. Pierce should put up good numbers against Houston even if Rice plays, and great numbers if he doesn't.

Wide Receiver

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    1. Calvin Johnson, DET: Megatron is so dominant that he's almost an afterthought at this point. Washington has nobody who can even come close to slowing him down.

    2. A.J. Green, CIN: Like I mentioned on the quarterbacks slide, a shootout could be in the works in Cincinnati this Sunday. Green is going to get the ball a lot.

    3. Dez Bryant, DAL: The Rams have gotten lit up through the air in their first two games, and Dez will take advantage even if he's not 100 percent healthy.

    4. Julio Jones, ATL: Going up against former teammate Brent Grimes will be a challenge, but Jones is clearly the focal point of the offense after a 182-yard effort last week.

    5. Julian Edelman, NE: Someone has to catch all of Tom Brady's passes. With Rob Gronkowski likely out again, Edelman is the top target on the Pats right now.

    6. Demaryius Thomas, DEN: Thomas took a big step back in Week 2, and it seems like Peyton Manning will just ride the hot hand each week, which adds a little volatility to Thomas' value.

    7. Randall Cobb, GB: Cobb has put up big numbers each game and has surpassed 10 targets in each contest. The speedster will be too much for Cincinnati to contain.

    8. Brandon Marshall, CHI: Marshall has had two straight monster weeks, and Chicago's offense is seriously clicking right now. But Pittsburgh slowed A.J. Green on Monday night and should limit Marshall somewhat.

    9. Victor Cruz, NYG: As bad as the Giants have been, Cruz has looked great catching passes from Eli Manning and is by far their best offensive player at this point.

    10. Jordy Nelson, GB: With defenses being forced to focus on Cobb, Nelson has really been given a ton of space and delivered with 10 catches and three touchdowns.

    11. Andre Johnson, HOU: Baltimore's defense is still pretty stingy, and Johnson has been dealing with a concussion, although he should be ready to go.

    12. DeSean Jackson, PHI: The speedy downfield threat has been more than that in the first two games, with 16 catches already. He has really thrived in Chip Kelly's fast-paced offense.

    13. Dwayne Bowe, KC: In a way, Bowe will benefit from that fast-paced Philadelphia offense. By getting on the field more, Bowe should see more targets from the relatively conservative Alex Smith.

    14. Wes Welker, DEN: The Broncos offense has been on fire, and Welker should have a ton of room to run around the middle of the field against Oakland.

    15. Eric Decker, DEN: Manning's favorite target last Sunday, Decker reeled in nine passes and proved that he is still a great fantasy option even as the third-best receiver on his team.

    16. Vincent Jackson, TB: Jackson is one of the biggest and most talented receivers in the league, and he had a great Week 1. But his average Week 2 could have been much bigger had a 73-yard touchdown not gotten called back for illegal formation.

    17. Mike Wallace, MIA: After a disappointing Week 1, Wallace was all over the place in Week 2, connecting with Ryan Tannehill nine times. He takes on an Atlanta defense that is porous against the pass.

    18. Steve Smith, CAR: Smith racked up 11 targets last Sunday and remains a premier No. 1 receiver in the NFL, although his fantasy value is tied to the production of Carolina's average offense.

    19. Anquan Boldin, SF: His monster Week 1 got everyone too excited, and his awful Week 2 got everyone too down. Boldin is still a good option, and nobody on Indianapolis is anything like Richard Sherman.

    20. Pierre Garcon, WAS: After a great Week 2 performance, Garcon owners have to hope that he and RGIII continue to take steps forward together.

Tight End

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    1. Jimmy Graham, NO: Graham had a ridiculous Week 2, hauling in 10 passes for 179 yards and a score. He is New Orleans' only reliable weapon right now.

    2. Jason Witten, DAL: Witten and the next two tight ends all took major steps back from Week 1 to Week 2, but that's the nature of the position for most in today's NFL.

    3. Vernon Davis, SF: The Seahawks game was bad for the 49ers' entire offense, so look for Davis to bounce back against Indianapolis, who should have a hard time matching up against him.

    4. Tony Gonzalez, ATL: Gonzalez looked slow last week, and I'm less confident in his ability to bounce back this week, especially against a good Miami defense.

    5. Julius Thomas, DEN: It's hard to fully trust a guy with as little of a track record as Thomas, but he looks like the real deal after two big weeks.

    6. Greg Olsen, CAR: The Giants have been brutal, and I think Carolina as a unit will have a big week, which Olsen should be a large part of.

    7. Jared Cook, STL: I think Cook ends up settling in somewhere between his insane Week 1 and brutal Week 2 performances.

    8. Martellus Bennett, CHI: At some point everyone is going to have to buy in to the fact that Bennett is a legitimate weapon. He's had two good games, and Chicago looks pretty dangerous.

    9. Brandon Myers, NYG: I wasn't too high on Myers before the season, so to see him with 13 catches, 140 yards and a score in the first two games is somewhat shocking. 

    10. Jermichael Finley, GB: Sitting out practice is a common occurrence for Finley, and he seems to really finally be clicking with Aaron Rodgers.

    11. Jordan Cameron, CLE: Cameron is really a special talent who could be a major factor down the road, but Brian Hoyer and no Trent Richardson? There goes Cameron's high TE1 value.

    12. Coby Fleener, IND: Nobody else's value has skyrocketed so quickly in just one non-game day. With Richardson now taking pressure off of Andrew Luck and Dwayne Allen out for the season, I think Fleener is a very intriguing fantasy option.

    13. Antonio Gates, SD: Gates' big performance against the Eagles puts him squarely back on the radar. He showed that he still has something left in the tank, but Week 3 will be a big test against Tennessee.

    14. Owen Daniels, HOU: Daniels is the kind of guy who always seems to be more trouble from a worrying standpoint than he's worth, although he does have three touchdowns already.

    15. Charles Clay, MIA: A real dark horse here, Clay is the top tight end right now on Miami. He's deceptively athletic and Ryan Tannehill looks great, so there could be some value here against Atlanta in Week 3.

Kicker

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    1. Matt Prater, DEN: Prater is on the highest scoring team in the league, so the math is pretty simple here.

    2. Blair Walsh, MIN: I think Walsh might be the league's best kicker right now, and Minnesota should move the ball against the Browns.

    3. Dan Bailey, DAL: The Cowboys should score a lot against the Rams, and Bailey has looked great so far.

    4. Stephen Gostkowski, NE: The Pats will hopefully fix their offensive woes a little, although their lack of red-zone ability could actually help Gostkowski's value.

    5. Caleb Sturgis, MIA: The rookie is emerging as this year's Blair Walsh. If your kicker isn't in the top 10 on this list, you should probably go grab him.

    6. Garrett Hartley, NO: Hartley has a big leg, and the Saints are in the Superdome, which increases his value.

    7. Phil Dawson, SF: San Francisco's offense should bounce back, but Dawson just doesn't have the big leg that he used to.

    8. Matt Bryant, ATL: One of the league's steadiest kickers, but playing outside and the lack of healthy Atlanta weapons will hurt him a little.

    9. Steven Hauschka, SEA: The Seahawks should put up a ton of points on Jacksonville.

    10. Nick Novak, SD: Novak was perfect against Philadelphia, nailing all four of his field goals with a long of 49.

Defense

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    1. Seattle vs. JAX: The best defense in the league will be licking its chops heading into its game against the Jags.

    2. Chicago vs. PIT: The Steelers have a very mediocre offense, and the Bears will be looking to force turnovers and shut down their running game.

    3. Buffalo vs. NYJ: The Jets offense has managed just four touchdowns and no field goals this season, and Buffalo will be looking climb over them in the division.

    4. Denver vs. OAK: This will be an extremely one-sided game, and the Broncos have the personnel to slow down Terrelle Pryor while forcing him to throw a lot.

    5. Minnesota vs. CLE: The Browns have scored 16 total points in their two games this season. Brian Hoyer is their starting quarterback, and Trent Richardson is gone. That is all.

    6. San Francisco vs. IND: The Colts have some offensive firepower, although the 49ers will be looking to avenge last week's loss and should come out of the gates hard.

    7. New England vs. TB: It seems backward, but the Patriots defense has carried the offense through the first two games and should force Josh Freeman to throw a couple of interceptions.

    8. San Diego vs. TEN: The Chargers struggled to contain the Eagles last week, but they get the Titans in Week 3, who have gained the third-least yards in the league so far.

    9. Baltimore vs. HOU: With Andre Johnson banged up and Arian Foster looking less than spectacular, the Ravens will try to pressure the heck out of Matt Schaub and force a couple of turnovers.

    10. New York Jets vs. BUF: The Jets have a very under-recognized defense this year filled with solid playmakers. The Bills offense may move the ball, but it's prone to mistakes and turnovers.

    11. Pittsburgh vs. CHI: Jay Cutler is still prone to turnovers, and the Steelers will be amped up playing at home on Sunday night.

    12. Houston vs. BAL: The Ravens offense has been pretty brutal so far, and J.J. Watt will be looking to create havoc as usual.

    13. Miami vs. ATL: An injured Roddy White and no Steven Jackson? Atlanta's offense looks a lot less scary than usual, and Miami has some playmakers who could be major factors on Sunday.

    14. Cincinnati vs. GB: I don't love the matchup at all, but the Bengals have proved that their defense is not to be taken lightly, even against Aaron Rodgers and Co.

    15. Dallas vs. STL: The Cowboys defense has looked decent so far, and Sam Bradford already has three turnovers this year. 

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