As we enter the fourth week of the NFL season, some teams that weren’t on anyone's radar three weeks ago look like the best in the business.
The Steelers are winning without Big Ben, the Chiefs have a potent offense, and the Bears are playing (sort of) mistake-free football. How is this affecting our fantasy teams, however?
With some of last year’s best not living up to their preseason billing, is it making you pull your hair out for drafting their QB/RB/WR so high? Check the Fantasy Football Positional Power Rankings to get a good feel for how each player is looking as the season is moving on.
This isn’t just a listing of who has the most fantasy points this season. Instead, it gives a good understanding of who are the most productive and consistent fantasy threats.
1(3) Mike Nugent, Cincinnati Bengals: The rockstar has been the best weapon for the Bengals so far this season. (1 30-39, 1 50+, 2/2 XP)
2(1) Neil Rackers, Houston Texans: They have an electric offense, although they were stymied by that other Texas team.
Still, Rackers got his chances when the team couldn’t get in the end zone, and was perfect. (1 20-29, 1 30-39, 1/1 XP)
3(N/R) Matt Bryant, Atlanta Falcons: The Falcons' offense has found their legs again, and they can trust their kicker to keep them in the game or win it.(1 20-29, 1 40-49, 3/3 XP)
4(4) Jeff Reed, Pittsburgh Steelers: He was so clutch before because he was the Steelers’ only offense.
This time, it was just the opposite. (1 20-29, 5/5 XP)
5(N/R) Graham Gano, Washington Redskins: The young kicker stepped up big when the offense failed to get inside the red zone. (3 20-29, 1/1 XP)
On the cusp: Mason Crosby, Green Bay Packers; Sebastian Janikowski, Oakland Raiders; Nick Folk, New York Jets; Robbie Gould, Chicago Bears; Adam Vinatieri, Indianapolis Colts.
1(1) Pittsburgh Steelers: They’re dominating, and they attack violently. Even their big guys get in the end zone. (13 PA, 1 int, 1 fr, 4 sack, 1 td)
2(N/R) Chicago Bears: They gave up a few points, but made some big stops against one of the league’s best offenses.
Add Devin Hester to the mix, and you could see this outcome fairly regularly. (17 PA, 1 int, 1 fr, 1 prtd, 1 blk)
3(N/R) Kansas City Chiefs: The Chiefs are one of the surprises of the year, and more surprisingly is the fact that they are winning with some hard-nosed defense. (10 PA, 1 int, 5 sack)
4(3) New York Jets: They allowed 23 points on Sunday night, but the defense stepped up when needed and had some key turnovers. (23 PA, 1 int, 2 sack, 1 blk)
5(N/R) Tennessee Titans: The Titans played a Giants team in disarray, but they stymied a good running back and good receiving corps. (10 PA, 2 int, 1 fr, 2 sack)
On the cusp: Seattle Seahawks; Miami Dolphins; Indianapolis Colts; St. Louis Rams; Atlanta Falcons.
1(1) Antonio Gates, San Diego Chargers: Gates continues to show that he is the best tight end in football week after week.
He is also the best receiving threat on the Chargers' team.
The run game has stalled, and although Philip Rivers has been able to spread the ball around to different receivers, none are as reliable as Gates. (7 rec, 109 yds, 1 td, 13 tar)
2(N/R) Dustin Keller, New York Jets: They wouldn’t have won without Braylon Edwards, but Mark Sanchez wouldn’t have looked so good without Dustin Keller.
After his bonehead move in the first game of the season, when he stepped out of bounds a yard short, Keller has been doing his best to make people forget. Keller had the most targets on the team, and that should stay constant until Santonio Holmes is off suspension. (6 rec, 98 yds, 2 td, 10 tar)
3(2) Dallas Clark, Indianapolis Colts: Even on a down week for Clark, he is still better than most tight ends in the league. Clark drops in the rankings this week, but we can’t expect that to stay. (5 rec, 44 yds, 7 tar)
4(3) Chris Cooley, Washington Redskins: He is still one of McNabb’s favorite targets.
It will be a tough test for Cooley and the ‘Skins in hostile Philadelphia this week, but I expect for Cooley to stick around. (5 rec, 53 yds, 8 tar)
5(N/R) Jermichael Finley, Green Bay Packers: Finley was one holding penalty away from having his stats blow up.
Finley still had a fantastic day in Chicago, and his size and skill set should keep him in the top-five for a while to come. (9 rec, 115 yds, 9 tar)
On the cusp: Visanthe Shiancoe, Minnesota Vikings; Vernon Davis, San Francisco 49ers; Marcedes Lewis, Jacksonville Jaguars; Tony Moeaki, Kansas City Chiefs; Tony Gonzalez, Atlanta Falcons
1(N/R) Austin Collie, Indianapolis Colts: He has been sitting on the cusp for three weeks now, but Collie has to be the best receiver in football right now.
Collie stepped in for an injured Pierre Garcon, and the transition was seamless, if not better. Collie could end up being the Colts’ best receiving option by years end. (12 rec, 171 yds, 2 td, 16 tar)
2(N/R) Anquan Boldin, Baltimore Ravens: Finally, that heralded Ravens’ passing attack lived up to the hype.
It wasn’t an easy game for the Ravens against the Browns, but they got it done through the air. When Boldin came in to Baltimore, he was called the final piece of the puzzle.
If the defense continues its dominance, and Boldin can preform like that week in and week out those predictions might be right. (8 rec, 142 yds, 3 td, 11 tar)
3(N/R) DeSean Jackson, Philadelphia Eagles: He is a true playmaker, and it was evident in his performance against the Jaguars.
Jackson has the third-most fantasy points on the season for receivers. Consistency is his game. (5 rec, 153 yds, 1 td, 8 tar)
He has lived up to the billing so far, being Kyle Orton’s best target. Lloyd had 10 targets this past week, and an average of seven per game. (6 rec, 169 yds, 1 td, 10 tar)
5(1) Miles Austin, Dallas Cowboys: It was a poor week for Austin this past week in Houston.
It can’t drop Austin out of the top five just yet. Austin should bounce back, but one more poor performance could give way to someone else. (2 rec, 20 yds, 3 tar)
On the cusp: Reggie Wayne, Indianapolis Colts; Brandon Lloyd, Denver Broncos; Santana Moss, Washington Redskins; Roddy White, Atlanta Falcons; Kevin Walter, Houston Texans.
1(2) Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings: Peterson broke the longest run of his career this past week, and was the shot of offense that the Vikings needed to get that first win.
Favre continued to struggle, so Peterson should continue to get the bulk of the offensive workload. (23 car, 160 yds, 2 td, 5 car, 30 yds, 7 tar)
2(5) Chris Johnson, Tennessee Titans: Johnson is off pace for his 2,000 yards rushing on the season, he did have a good showing for his owners against the Giants this past week.
The added work he saw this week (over 30 carries) has prompted head coach Jeff Fisher to increase the workload of backup Javon Ringer. (32 car, 125 yds, 2 td)
3(1) Arian Foster, Houston Texans: Foster has dropped off the radar after that massive first week.
No touchdowns two weeks in a row is hurting his rank, but Foster is still posting good yardage rushing and receiving. (17 car, 106 yds, 4 rec, 20 yds, 5 tar, 1 fuml)
4(N/R) Rashard Mendenhall, Pittsburgh Steelers: It looks like the Steelers have figured out how to improve their running game, and that's to have a passing game.
They were able to move the ball pretty handedly against a decent defensive front. Mendenhall had a ridiculous average of over seven yards per carry.
That shouldn’t keep up, but it’s still nice. (19 car, 143 yds, 1 td)
5(N/R) Darren McFadden, Oakland Raiders: McFadden has been looking like the star he was drafted to be. All that athleticism is finally working for the Raiders offense. (25 car, 105 yds, 1 td, 2 rec, 17 yards, 3 tar)
On the cusp: LeSean McCoy, Eagles; Frank Gore, 49ers; Darren McFadden, Raiders; Steven Jackson, Rams; Rashard Mendenhall, Steelers.
1(1) Peyton Manning, Indianapolis Colts: So who needs a running game, anyway?
There is no more consistent fantasy player of the past three years. It doesn’t even matter if his second receiver on the chart is hurt; he will just find a new target. (27/43, 325 yds, 3 td, -1 rush yds)
2(4) Michael Vick, Philadelphia Eagles: The knock on Vick was always that he isn’t a skilled passer.
Those days are gone, now that he actually has a reliable group of receivers on his side of the field. The Jaguars aren’t exactly the toughest defense to go up against in the league right now, but a four-touchdown performance is still hard to ignore. (17/31, 291 yds, 3 td, 31 rush yds, 1 td)
3(2) Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers: Rivers is probably getting frustrated in San Diego that things aren’t quite going his way.
His fantasy owners, on the other hand, don’t mind that he has to throw more often at the end of games. (29/53, 455 yds, 2 td, 2 int)
4(4) Jay Cutler, Chicago Bears: Cutler has only thrown two interceptions so far through three games, compared to five in the first three last year. (16/27, 221 yds, 1 td, 1 int, 37 rush yds)
5(N/R) Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers: Last season, Rodgers led all quarterbacks in yards rushing (he probably won’t do it again thank to No. 2), and that added statline can win you a game.
This week, that extra rushing touchdown could have been just what the doctor ordered. (34/45, 316 yds, 1 td, 1 int, 11 rush yds, 1 td)
On the cusp: Kyle Orton, Denver Broncos; Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints; Tom Brady, New England Patriots; Mark Sanchez, New York Jets; Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys.