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Fantasy Football Week 3: Top Plays at Every Position

Eric MackFantasy Football Lead WriterSeptember 20, 2013

Fantasy Football Week 3: Top Plays at Every Position

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    Trent Richardson won't be a 'waterboy' this weekend, but he faces a stiff 49ers run defense in his Colts debut.
    Trent Richardson won't be a 'waterboy' this weekend, but he faces a stiff 49ers run defense in his Colts debut.Jason Miller/Getty Images

    This is Bleacher Report's weekly slideshow for the top players of Fantasy Week 3, but we have to lead with a top player who is not a top play at all: Trent Richardson.

    The midweek trade of Richardson to the Colts was a shocker and the biggest news of the week, but he heads into a matchup at San Francisco against one of the NFL's premier run defenses. We still rate Richardson as a top-24 running back, but that doesn't mean you should expect immediate rewards. Those are more to come in the long run, now that he is out of the fantasy purgatory known as Cleveland.

    We break down all of the rankings, favorable and unfavorable matchups, sleepers and busts of the week by position in this jam-packed slideshow.

Quarterbacks: Stick with Your Starters, Save for Rivers over Luck

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    The quarterbacks we classify as the new-wave read-option guys have gotten off to a precarious start this fantasy season. Colin Kaepernick was a bust in Week 2, Cam Newton hasn't performed like a starter yet, Russell Wilson hasn't even performed well enough to be worth owning yet and the media is talking about potentially benching Robert Griffin III?

    Wow.

    These guys are still going to help you win this season, so stay patient on them and don't dare sell low. All of them remain starter-worthy in all leagues regardless of the matchup—even if we rank Wilson out of the top 12 below. 

     

    Week 3 shootout

    Those hating on RG3, just stop it. He is just fine, and he is going to enjoy a productive day against the Lions secondary, if only because Matthew Stafford is going to post huge numbers opposite him. The Washington defense has allowed the most points to fantasy quarterbacks through two weeks, and the 0-2 Redskins are hungry for a victory at home. Expect them to get it, but not without an aerial show on both sides. Consider RG3 a must-start quarterback in all leagues and a top-five performer.

     

    Week 3 benching

    If Kaepernick's performance in Seattle taught us anything, it's you cannot trust the non-dropback Hall of Famers (Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees and Tom Brady are the only ones in that class) in a bad matchup, especially on the road. Next up is Andrew Luck, who has to travel to San Francisco.

    Not only is the matchup tough for Luck, but Pep Hamilton's play-calling hasn't been as aggressive as Bruce Arians' was. Luck might no longer be a candidate for 4,500-plus yards this season. He isn't even on pace for 4,000 through two games.

    Luck is not going to have fun facing that 49ers defense coming off an embarrassing loss. If you drafted Luck, you did so relatively late and likely got a viable backup option. Use it this weekend.

     

    Week 3 sleepers

    Philip Rivers is the Rodney Dangerfield of fantasy quarterbacks right now. He just doesn't not get enough respect. The Titans have been surprising in the early going, but Rivers has been irrepressible. He is starting in only 16 percent of CBS Sports leagues this week? Incredible.

    He is a must-start if you don't have a top eight or nine fantasy quarterback on your roster. Here are the other quarterbacks our rankings below like significantly more than the consensus:

    1. Robert Griffin III
    2. Tom Brady
    3. Philip Rivers
    4. Andy Dalton
    5. Josh Freeman

     

    Week 3 duds

    Sam Bradford has gotten off to a good start, but a worry here is which of his receivers do you trust in fantasy right now? You cannot trust the Jared Cook roller coaster. Tavon Austin is a rookie. Austin Pettis doesn't start.

    There is something to be said for balance and having a multitude of options, but the lack of a true go-to star makes Bradford merely a two-quarterback league starter—albeit one with upside.

    Here are the quarterbacks the consensus like much more than us this week:

    1. Michael Vick
    2. Andrew Luck
    3. Sam Bradford
    4. Matt Schaub
    5. Terrelle Pryor 

     

    Week 3 Quarterbacks Rankings - Eric Mack
    RankQuarterbacksTeamOpponentECRvs. ECR
    1Peyton ManningDenvs. Oak10
    2Aaron RodgersGBat Cin 20
    3Drew BreesNOvs. Ari30
    4Colin Kaepernick SFvs. Ind5+1
    5Robert GriffinWasvs. Det 8+3
    6Matthew StaffordDetat Was4-2
    7Matt RyanAtlat Mia70
    8Tom BradyNEvs. TB11+3
    9Cam NewtonCarvs. NYG 90
    10Philip RiversSDat Ten18+8
    11Tony RomoDalvs. StL 10-1
    12Michael VickPhivs. KC6-6
    13Andy DaltonCinvs. GB16+3
    14Russell WilsonSeavs. Jac 12-2
    15Eli ManningNYGat Car13-2
    16Carson PalmerAriat NO17+1
    17Alex SmithKCat Phi19+2
    18Andrew LuckIndat SF14-4
    19Josh FreemanTBat NE25+6
    20Joe Flacco Balvs. Hou 24+4
    21Sam BradfordStLat Dal15-6
    22Jay CutlerChiat Pit220
    23Matt SchaubHouat Bal 20-3
    24Ryan Tannehill Miavs. Atl 23-1
    25Geno SmithNYJvs. Buf 28+3
    26Ben RoethlisbergerPitvs. Chi260
    27EJ ManuelBufat NYJ 270
    28 Terrelle PryorOakat Den21-7
    29Christian PonderMinvs. Cle 30+1
    30Jake LockerTenvs. SD29-1
    31Brian Hoyer Cleat Min33+2
    32Chad Henne Jacat Sea34+2
    Expert Consensus Rankings (ECR) from over 100 experts provided by FantasyPros.

Running Backs: Trent Richardson's Deal Bad for His Owners in Week 3

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    Was that a shocker Wednesday or what? Trent Richardson to the Colts for a first-round pick. It creates some unknowns for lineups this week, leaving a hole in the Browns' starting spot and making Ahmad Bradshaw a lot less intriguing.

    Expect Chris Ogbonnaya to be the leader of the Browns' running game this week, if only because he might be used near the goal line. Undersized Bobby Rainey is not a feature back, even if he is listed as the starter. Willis McGahee, who the Browns signed on Thursday, won't be in game shape enough to trust in fantasy this week either.

    Richardson is a fringe starter for this week now that he has to deal with the change of teams, a new system and a cross-country road game. Oh, he also has to face a 49ers run defense that is bitter from its Sunday night performance. If you have a good backup running back, use him this week in Richardson's place.

    Over the course of the season, the trade is a huge boost to Richardson's value. Despite the slow start and endless injury risk, Richardson might actually prove worthy of his first-round pick in fantasy.

    You probably should have planned to sit Bradshaw this week anyway, but now you might not get starter-quality numbers out of him the rest of the season.

     

    Payback time

    Speaking of those 49ers and Colts, you have to feel a lot more comfortable with Frank Gore in Week 3 as he faces the Indy run defense. The Colts have allowed the sixth-most fantasy points to running backs through two weeks. Not only will Gore pay you back, but you might even get some viable numbers out of backup Kendall Hunter as well.

     

    12th man is just a few too many

    Players against the Seahawks defense are must-avoid in fantasy right now, particularly when Seattle is at home. Not only is Maurice Jones-Drew off to a slow start and dealing with more foot issues, he also has to contend with the Seahawks defense if he does play. It is time to bench MJD and make preparations to get another running back you can count on in the long-term. The Jags look as sunk as the Browns and Raiders.

     

    Week 3 sleepers

    If not for a Week 1 performance that opened eyes against the awful Steelers running game, the Titans might qualify as one of the most advantageous matchups for a fantasy running back. This makes Ryan Mathews one of the must-start options outside of the top few tiers this week. Mathews still has fumbling issues, but that Chargers offense has proved potent, and Mathews is going to be a beneficiary of it.

    Mathews is among the backs we like significantly more than the consensus this week:

    1. Ryan Mathews
    2. Bilal Powell
    3. Giovani Bernard
    4. BenJarvus Green-Ellis
    5. Chris Ivory

    Honorable mention: We have already pumped his name up enough, but Robert Turbin is a sleeper to use against the Jags this week. He was among our Top Week 3 Pickups and Biggest Takeaways from Last Week.

     

    Week 3 duds

    No one is going to sit Matt Forte, but that Steelers defense still qualifies as one that will be tough on opposing running backs, despite what the Bengals did to it Monday night. The Steelers are seventh-worst in fantasy against running backs, but Mike Tomlin and company are going to rectify that. Forte is not a no-brainer, even if you have to keep him active.

    Here are the other backs the consensus likes more than we do this week:

    1. Stevan Ridley
    2. Darren Sproles
    3. Trent Richardson
    4. DeAngelo Williams 
    5. Joique Bell
    Week 3 Running Backs Rankings - Eric Mack
    RankRunning BacksTeamOpponentECRvs. ECR
    1Adrian PetersonMinvs. Cle10
    2LeSean McCoyPhivs. KC3+1
    3Jamaal CharlesKCat Phi4+1
    4Marshawn LynchSeavs. Jac2-2
    5Arian FosterHouat Bal8+3
    6Doug MartinTBat NE5-1
    7C.J. SpillerBufat NYJ9+2
    8Alfred MorrisWasvs. Det7-1
    9Frank GoreSFvs. Ind11+2
    10Chris JohnsonTenvs. SD100
    11Knowshon MorenoDenvs. Oak15+4
    12Ryan MathewsSDat Ten22+10
    13DeMarco MurrayDalvs. StL12-1
    14Matt ForteChiat Pit6-8
    15Lamar MillerMiavs. Atl19+4
    16Reggie BushDetat Was18+2
    17Stevan RidleyNEvs. TB14-3
    18Rashard MendenhallAriat NO23+5
    19Bilal PowellNYJvs. Buf32+13
    20Darren SprolesNOvs. Ari16-4
    21Giovani BernardCinvs. GB26+5
    22Darren McFaddenOakat Den13-9
    23Trent RichardsonIndat SF20-3
    24DeAngelo WilliamsCarvs. NYG17-7
    25Daryl RichardsonStLat Dal24-1
    26BenJarvus Green-EllisCinvs. GB33+7
    27Bernard PierceBalvs. Hou25-2
    28Chris IvoryNYJvs. Buf34+6
    29Robert TurbinSeavs. Jac47+18
    30Jacquizz RodgersAtlat Mia37+7
    31Willis McGaheeCleat Min44+13
    32James StarksGBat Cin29-3
    33Joique BellDetat Was21-12
    34Ahmad BradshawIndat SF35+1
    35Pierre ThomasNOvs. Ari38+3
    36Kendall HunterSFvs. Ind55+19
    37David WilsonNYGat Car28-9
    38Chris OgbonnayaCleat Min46+8
    39Montee BallDenvs. Oak40+1
    40Maurice Jones-DrewJacat Sea31-9
    41Ben TateHouat Bal30-11
    42Bryce BrownPhivs. KC41-1
    43Daniel ThomasMiavs. Atl50+7
    44Danny WoodheadSDat Ten42-2
    45Felix JonesPitvs. Chi48+3
    46Da'Rel ScottNYGat Car54+8
    47Fred JacksonBufat NYJ36-11
    48Brandon JacobsNYGat Car52+4
    49Roy HeluWasvs. Det58+9
    50Jason SnellingAtlat Mia39-11
    51Mark IngramNOvs. Ari45-6
    52LeGarrette BlountNEvs. TB62+10
    53Andre EllingtonAriat NO51-2
    54Johnathan FranklinGBat Cin71+17
    55Stepfan TaylorAriat NO85+30
    Expert Consensus Rankings (ECR) from over 100 experts provided by FantasyPros

Wide Receivers: Surviving the Battle of Attrition

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    The wide receiver position is one riddled by injury right now. Well, maybe the players are just hurt, because if they are hurt, at least they can still play; if they are injured, they can't—a great line from The Program.

    We should still be concerned about Roddy White (high-ankle sprain) and Larry Fitzgerald (hamstring), while Dez Bryant (back) and Andre Johnson (concussion) should be fine to keep active. 

     

    Who benefits from the DET-WAS aerial show?

    The Redskins are the worst team in fantasy versus wide receivers, and Reggie Bush (knee) is not 100 percent, so you have to consider Nate Burleson among the sleeper starts. Ryan Broyles (knee) is not yet 100 percent after reconstructive knee surgery, so Burleson is hanging onto some value. He is a play against that maligned Redskins secondary, because someone has to get the targets after Calvin Johnson.

     

    The object of Tom Brady's frustrations this week...

    Danny Amendola (groin) remains out, and Rob Gronkowski (back) probably won't play, and it hurts. The Bucs have been the second-best team in fantasy against wide receivers through two weeks. It is amazing what a year and Darrelle Revis can do to your secondary. You still have to start Julian Edelman in all leagues, but perhaps the matchup is enough to sit Kenbrell Thompkins and Aaron Dobson if you have viable alternatives.

     

    Week 3 sleepers

    We were skeptical of Tavon Austin proving fantasy-worthy immediately, but Sam Bradford is off to a good start and Austin is not just a high-volume slot receiver. He found the end zone twice last week, too. The Cowboys have allowed the third-most points to wide receivers in fantasy thus far, so Austin is a solid start in all leagues.

    If we could only make real sense of the Rams' other targets, we would have been inclined to rank more of them higher. Here are the wide receivers we like more than five spots better than the consensus.

    1. Dwayne Bowe (already played Thursday night)
    2. Julian Edelman
    3. Tavon Austin
    4. Eddie Royal
    5. Josh Gordon 

     

    Week 3 duds

    If not for a bad Week 1 against the Packers, the 49ers would rate as one of the scariest opponents for fantasy wide receivers. Instead, Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb had huge days and the 49ers rate as the middle of the fantasy pack through two games.

    Smoke and mirrors. This is a secondary to avoid still. Reggie Wayne, T.Y. Hilton and Darrius Heyward-Bey look like bad plays this week.

    Here are the wide receivers we like significantly less than the consensus this week:

    1. Andre Johnson
    2. Vincent Jackson
    3. Steve Smith
    4. Reggie Wayne
    5. T.Y. Hilton

     

    Week 3 Wide Receivers Rankings - Eric Mack
    RankWide ReceiversTeamOpponentECRvs. ECR
    1Calvin JohnsonDetat Was10
    2A.J. GreenCinvs. GB20
    3Julio JonesAtlat Mia5+2
    4Dez BryantDalvs. StL3-1
    5Victor CruzNYGat Car7+2
    6Brandon MarshallChiat Pit60
    7Demaryius ThomasDenvs. Oak4-3
    8Dwayne BoweKCat Phi16+8
    9Randall CobbGBat Cin90
    10Jordy NelsonGBat Cin12+2
    11Pierre GarconWasvs. Det13+2
    12DeSean JacksonPhivs. KC8-4
    13Julian EdelmanNEvs. TB22+9
    14Wes WelkerDenvs. Oak140
    15Marques ColstonNOvs. Ari19+4
    16Hakeem NicksNYGat Car17+1
    17Larry FitzgeraldAriat NO15-2
    18Andre JohnsonHouat Bal11-7
    19Vincent JacksonTBat NE10-9
    20Torrey SmithBalvs. Hou24+4
    21Steve JohnsonBufat NYJ26+5
    22Eric DeckerDenvs. Oak25+3
    23Tavon AustinStLat Dal32+9
    24Anquan BoldinSFvs. Ind20-4
    25Mike WallaceMiavs. Atl21-4
    26Eddie RoyalSDat Ten35+9
    27James JonesGBat Cin270
    28Josh GordonCleat Min37+9
    29Steve SmithCarvs. NYG23-6
    30DeAndre HopkinsHouat Bal33+3
    31Mike WilliamsTBat NE310
    32Reggie WayneIndat SF18-14
    33Antonio BrownPitvs. Chi28-5
    34Roddy WhiteAtlat Mia39+5
    35Miles AustinDalvs. StL30-5
    36Kenbrell ThompkinsNEvs. TB45+9
    37Donnie AveryKCat Phi65+28
    38Nate BurlesonDetat Was48+10
    39Greg JenningsMinvs. Cle42+3
    40Brian HartlineMiavs. Atl36-4
    41Kendall WrightTenvs. SD51+10
    42Cecil ShortsJacat Sea38-4
    43T.Y. HiltonIndat SF29-14
    44Harry DouglasAtlat Mia59+15
    45Santonio HolmesNYJvs. Buf63+18
    46Marlon BrownBalvs. Hou44-2
    47Lance MooreNOvs. Ari43-4
    48Andre RobertsAriat NO46-2
    49Rueben RandleNYGat Car50+1
    50Michael FloydAriat NO40-10
    51Mohamed SanuCinvs. GB64+13
    52Vincent BrownSDat Ten49-3
    53Sidney RiceSeavs. Jac55+2
    54Golden TateSeavs. Jac47-7
    55Kenny BrittTenvs. SD53-2
    56Chris GivensStLat Dal34-22
    57Austin PettisStLat Dal73+16
    58Robert WoodsBufat NYJ69+11
    59Emmanuel SandersPitvs. Chi41-18
    60Denarius MooreOakat Den57-3
    61Kenny StillsNOvs. Ari66+5
    62Alshon JefferyChiat Pit52-10
    63Brandon LaFellCarvs. NYG75+12
    64Jerome SimpsonMinvs. Cle62-2
    65Riley CooperPhivs. KC89+24
    66Aaron DobsonNEvs. TB56-10
    67Rod StreaterOakat Den54-13
    68Greg LittleCleat Min76+8
    69Keenan AllenSDat Ten81+12
    70Darrius Heyward-BeyIndat SF700
    Expert Consensus Rankings (ECR) from over 100 experts provided by FantasyPros.

Tight Ends: Play Rob Gronkowski If He's Active

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    Rob Gronkowski is doing more in practice and told the Boston Herald's Ben Volin he has progressed "big time," but insiders still rate his odds of playing at 25 percent, per Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. It is too bad, too, because the Buccaneers have allowed the most fantasy points to tight ends through two weeks, making Kellen Winslow look like his father and Jimmy Graham look like, well, himself or Gronk.

    You should play Gronk if he plays, but that doesn't look likely enough right now. We rank him 12th below, very optimistically.

     

    Champs just aren't the same

    The Ravens were the No. 1 team in fantasy against tight ends a year ago, but that is because they had Ed Reed and Bernard Pollard as the safeties. Those two are elsewhere, and the Ravens have made Julius Thomas and Jordan Cameron look like Hall of Famers the first two weeks. That bodes well for Owen Daniels, who we would rate as a must-start tight end in all leagues, even if Garrett Graham has vultured some touchdowns from him.

    Graham is dealing with hip and groin issues, so you cannot trust him, particularly since his usage is circumstantial in the red zone. Even if he was 100 percent, you cannot count on those goal-line throws week to week. Daniels is the clear play against a Ravens defense that has allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to tight ends through two weeks.

     

    Fleener will rise post-Allen injury

    With Dwayne Allen (hip) going down for the season, you have to love Coby Fleener as a breakthrough player at the position. You definitely add him off the waiver wire, but you probably shouldn't activate him in a tough matchup against the 49ers defense.

    Andrew Luck and Fleener are going to have the benefit of Pep Hamilton's system and play-calling, but the 49ers defense takes away what Hamilton tries to do. Plus, Trent Richardson will find his sledding tough the first week with his new team.

     

    Week 3 sleepers

    We said a week ago in this very space you needed to stay confident with Antonio Gates. He rewarded your loyalty with eight catches for 124 yards. Go back to the well again there. He is a must-start tight end every week, through thick and thin, for as long as he stays healthy.

    Here are the tight ends we like considerably more than the consensus:

    1. Antonio Gates
    2. Jermichael Finley
    3. Kyle Rudolph
    4. Jermaine Gresham
    5. Dallas Clark

     

    Week 3 duds

    The Giants have given up three touchdowns to tight ends, having played Jason Witten and Julius Thomas through two weeks. While Greg Olsen is a must-start tight end, he is going to be a focus of the Giants' game plan, unlike Witten or Thomas were. Start Olsen, but don't expect a touchdown. 

    Here are top tight ends we like less than the others this week:

    1. Greg Olsen
    2. Julius Thomas
    3. Jared Cook
    4. Brandon Myers
    5. Brandon Pettigrew 

     

    Week 3 Tight Ends Rankings - Eric Mack
    RankTight EndsTeamOpponentECRvs. ECR
    1Jimmy GrahamNOvs. Ari10
    2Tony GonzalezAtlat Mia3+1
    3Jason WittenDalvs. StL 2-1
    4Vernon DavisSFvs. Ind5+1
    5Antonio GatesSDat Ten11+6
    6 Jermichael FinleyGBat Cin 9+3
    7Jordan CameronCleat Min70
    8Owen DanielsHouat Bal 10+2
    9Greg OlsenCarvs. NYG 6-3
    10Julius ThomasDenvs. Oak4-6
    11Kyle RudolphMinvs. Cle 15+4
    12Rob Gronkowski NEvs. TB14+2
    13 Martellus BennettChiat Pit12-1
    14Jared CookStLat Dal8-6
    15Brandon MyersNYGat Car13-2
    16 Coby Fleener Indat SF160
    17Jermaine GreshamCinvs. GB23+6
    18Tyler Eifert Cinvs. GB17-1
    19Charles ClayMiavs. Atl 18-1
    20Brent Celek Phivs. KC19-1
    21Kellen WinslowNYJvs. Buf 210
    22Dallas ClarkBalvs. Hou 25+3
    23Brandon Pettigrew Detat Was20-3
    24Fred DavisWasvs. Det 22-2
    25Zach Ertz Phivs. KC35+10
    Expert Consensus Rankings (ECR) from over 100 experts provided by FantasyPros.

Defense/Special Teams: Browns Punted Their Season, so Play the Vikings

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    Jared Allen and the Vikes will get to pin their ears back Sunday vs. Brian Hoyer and the woebegone Browns.
    Jared Allen and the Vikes will get to pin their ears back Sunday vs. Brian Hoyer and the woebegone Browns.David Banks/Getty Images

    We said earlier in the week the Jets were the No. 1 streaming option for those who love to have a carousel at the position. That was before the Browns decided to sit Brandon Weeden (thumb) for Brian Hoyer and trade Trent Richardson.

    The Minnesota Vikings are the most intriguing one-week play now. The Jets actually look like a defense you can trust in future weeks, though.

     

    Saints now living the life of Ryan

    You want to take your defense from the worst in the NFL to one that actually might be feared in fantasy? Just add a Ryan as a defensive coordinator. Rob Ryan has the Saints playing much better defense this year, and the error-prone Arizona Cardinals remain in the bottom 10 of fantasy against opposing fantasy defensive units.

    This isn't a great week to use the Saints, but you can get value out of them whenever they are at home. This is a contender that can play some defense now.

     

    Packers have better weeks ahead

    The 49ers abused the Packers in Week 1 and the Redskins picked up a lot of yards and points in garbage time last week. This is still a Packers defense that will wind up in the top 10 among fantasy defensive units, though. You should not use it against the Cincy this week. The Bengals have been the stingiest team against opposing fantasy defenses through two weeks, because they avoid sacks, turnovers and negative plays.

     

    Week 3 sleepers

    Lost amid the slow start by the Steelers (0-2) is a defense that still is No. 1 against opposing quarterbacks and No. 3 against wide receivers in fantasy. They will also play much better against running backs than they showed Monday night.

    We understand the decision to bench the Steelers defense right now, but we still rank it as starter-worthy. Here are the other units we like more than the consensus this week:

    1. San Francisco 49ers
    2. Houston Texans
    3. Pittsburgh Steelers
    4. New York Jets
    5. Atlanta Falcons

     

    Week 3 duds

    The Browns might be playing decent defense through two weeks, but the expected offensive woes with Hoyer and without Richardson might be too much to overcome. You cannot trust any Browns fantasy options, including the defense now.

    Here are the other defenses we like less than the masses this week:

    1. Chicago Bears
    2. New England Patriots
    3. St. Louis Rams
    4. Cleveland Browns
    5. Miami Dolphins

     

    Week 3 Defenses and Special Teams Rankings - Eric Mack
    RankDefenses and Special TeamsTeamOpponentECRvs. ECR
    1Seattle SeahawksSeavs. Jac 10
    2Denver BroncosDenvs. Oak3+1
    3San Francisco 49ersSFvs. Ind5+2
    4Chicago BearsChiat Pit2-2
    5Houston TexansHouat Bal 7+2
    6New England PatriotsNEvs. TB4-2
    7Minnesota VikingsMinvs. Cle 6-1
    8Baltimore RavensBalvs. Hou 80
    9Pittsburgh SteelersPitvs. Chi15+6
    10New York JetsNYJvs. Buf 12+2
    11Cincinnati BengalsCinvs. GB110
    12Atlanta FalconsAtlat Mia21+9
    13New Orleans SaintsNOvs. Ari25+12
    14Carolina PanthersCarvs. NYG 17+3
    15Dallas CowboysDalvs. StL 14-1
    16Green Bay PackersGBat Cin 19+3
    17St. Louis RamsStLat Dal13-4
    18Cleveland BrownsCleat Min10-8
    19Miami DolphinsMiavs. Atl 16-3
    20San Diego ChargersSDat Ten27+7
    Expert Consensus Rankings (ECR) from over 100 experts provided by FantasyPros.

Kickers: We're Still Wary of Sebastian Janikowski

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    Sebastian Janikowski had a huge Week 2 vs. the Jags, but don't expect it to continue in Denver on Monday.
    Sebastian Janikowski had a huge Week 2 vs. the Jags, but don't expect it to continue in Denver on Monday.Bob Stanton-USA TODAY Sports

    If you have followed this writer through the preseason and early start to the regular season, you know we have a distaste for Sebastian Janikowski as a fantasy kicker. It was at an unhealthy level last week, particularly since a favorable matchup against the Jags netted him a league-high five field-goal attempts.

    Go with a kicker who has a better quarterback, offense and matchup every week—no matter what you think of Janikowski’s leg. You will be better off in the long run.

     

    Favorable matchup

    The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have allowed the most field-goal attempts—save for the Eagles, who played their third game Thursday night—through two games. Also, the Pats offense has sputtered in the red zone with Tom Brady’s rookie receiver frustrations. It sets up beautifully for Stephen Gostkowski. (Oh, great, he's saying I can play the No. 1 kicker in fantasy. Brilliant).

     

    Unfavorable matchup

    Kickers have not made a field goal against the Titans through two weeks, but that is because first-year kicker Randy Bullock whiffed three times last Sunday. Nick Novak has gotten off to a hot start and will kick more than a couple field goals against the Titans this week. Consider Novak among the starter-worthy kickers in fantasy now, especially amid Philip Rivers and the Chargers’ offensive resurgence.

     

    Week 3 sleepers

    There are fantasy owners jumping off the Justin Tucker bandwagon. You should be jumping back on. Tucker is among the kickers we like more than the consensus this week:

    1. Blair Walsh
    2. Justin Tucker
    3. Mason Crosby
    4. Caleb Sturgis
    5. Nick Novak

     

    Week 3 duds

    You probably aren't at the stage of playing roulette with your kicker—that is a bye-week activity—but here are the kickers we like less than the consensus:

    1. Dan Bailey
    2. Alex Henery (already played Thursday night)
    3. Josh Brown
    4. David Akers
    5. Robbie Gould

     

    Week 3 Kickers Rankings - Eric Mack
    RankKickersTeamOpponentECRvs. ECR
    1Stephen GostkowskiNEvs. TB2+1
    2Matt PraterDenvs. Oak1-1
    3Matt BryantAtlat Mia30
    4Blair WalshMinvs. Cle 7+3
    5Phil DawsonSFvs. Ind6+1
    6Garrett HartleyNOvs. Ari4-2
    7Justin TuckerBalvs. Hou 11+4
    8Greg Zuerlein StLat Dal80
    9Dan BaileyDalvs. StL 5-4
    10Mason CrosbyGBat Cin 18+8
    11Steven Hauschka Seavs. Jac 9-2
    12Caleb Sturgis Miavs. Atl 16+4
    13Sebastian JanikowskiOakat Den130
    14Nick Novak SDat Ten20+6
    15Alex Henery Phivs. KC10-5
    16Jay FeelyAriat NO21+5
    17Graham Gano Carvs. NYG 26+9
    18Josh BrownNYGat Car15-3
    19David AkersDetat Was12-7
    20Robbie GouldChiat Pit17-3
    Expert Consensus Rankings (ECR) from over 100 experts provided by FantasyPros.

     

     

    Eric Mack, one of the giants among fantasy writers, is the Fantasy Football Lead Writer for Bleacher Report this season. Follow him on Twitter, where you can ask him endless questions about your team, rip him for his content and even challenge him to a head-to-head fantasy game. You can also listen to him on his podcast that he deprecatingly dubbed the Fantasy FatCast.

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