Week 3 Fantasy Football Rankings: Breaking Down Each Position

Brian Mazique@@UniqueMaziqueCorrespondent IIISeptember 22, 2015

Dallas Cowboys' Brandon Weeden in action during the second half of an NFL football game against the Philadelphia Eagles, Sunday, Sept. 20, 2015, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
Matt Rourke/Associated Press

Injuries took their toll on a few lineups in Week 2 of the NFL season. While those casualties are unfortunate for the individuals who were injured and the teams that have to find replacements, the events have created opportunities for others to step up.

At least one of these opportunities might create a breakout fantasy star for Week 3 and beyond. Here's a look at the Week 3 schedule and positional rankings for the upcoming slate of football.

NFL Week 3 Matchups
AwayHome
WashingtonNY Giants
AtlantaDallas
IndianapolisTennessee
OaklandCleveland
CincinnatiBaltimore
JacksonvilleNew England
New OrleansCarolina
PhiladelphiaNY Jets
Tampa BayHouston
San DiegoMinnesota
PittsburghSt. Louis
San FranciscoArizona
BuffaloMiami
ChicagoSeattle
DenverDetroit
Kansas CityGreen Bay
ESPN.com

Quarterbacks

Week 3 QB Rankings
RankPlayerTeam
1.Carson PalmerARI
2Ben RoethlisbergerPIT
3Tom BradyNE
4Andrew LuckIND
5Peyton ManningDEN
6Brandon WeedenDAL
7Derek CarrOAK
8Andy DaltonCIN
9Joe FlaccoBAL
10Aaron RodgersGB
11Philip RiversSD
12Russell WilsonSEA
13Teddy BridgewaterMIN
14Ryan TannehillMIA
15Drew BreesNO
Rankings per Mazique

Carson Palmer

Michael Conroy/Associated Press

After shredding the Chicago Bears for four touchdown passes in the Arizona Cardinals' 48-23 win in the Windy City on Sunday, Carson Palmer has seven TD passes and just one pick through the first two weeks of the season.

In Week 3, he has another favorable matchup against the San Francisco 49ers.

The Niners defense is a shell of what it has been the last few years, and it will be no match for a hot Palmer and rejuvenated Larry Fitzgerald. Three of Palmer's touchdown passes went to Fitzgerald on Sunday.

The two are building the chemistry they hadn't been able to establish with Palmer missing all but six games last season. Look for them to be among the most dominant fantasy duos of the week.

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Brandon Weeden

Brandon Weeden looked great in relief of Tony Romo on Sunday. He completed all seven of his passes, and he looks ready to take control of the Dallas Cowboys offense in Week 3 against the Atlanta Falcons.

While Weeden won't have injured wide receiver Dez Bryant, he does have arguably the best offensive line in the NFL and Terrance Williams, who is ready to step into Bryant's role.

Running Backs

Week 3 RB Rankings
RankPlayerTeam
1.Matt ForteCHI
2.Adrian PetersonMIN
3.Marshawn LynchSEA
4.Alfred MorrisWAS
5.Joseph RandleDAL
6.Jamal CharlesKC
7.Le’Veon BellPIT
8.Carlos HydeSF
9.Chris IvoryNYJ
10.Giovani BernardCIN
11.Andre EllingtonARI
12.Melvin GordonSD
13.LeSean McCoyBUF
14.C.J. AndersonDEN
15.Dexter McClusterTEN
16.James StarksGB
17.Jonathan StewartCAR
18.Darren McFaddenDAL
19.Jeremy LangfordCHI
20.Frank GoreIND
21.DeAngelo WilliamsPIT
22.Matt JonesWAS
23.TJ YeldonJAX
24.Bishop SankeyTEN
25.Doug MartinTB
Rankings by Mazique

Matt Forte

Sep 20, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bears running back Matt Forte (22) runs with the ball during the first half against the Arizona Cardinals at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

With a banged-up Jay Cutler out for at least two weeks with a strained hamstring, per ESPN Insider Adam Schefter, the Bears aren't going to beat a desperate Seattle Seahawks team, but you can bet Matt Forte will touch the ball often in defeat.

Through two games, he is averaging 24 touches and 139.5 yards from scrimmage per game. He's only found the end zone once, which is troubling for fantasy owners. However, because of his versatility and the Bears' shaky wide receivers, Forte is the surest fantasy bet at running back.

Adrian Peterson

The real Adrian Peterson showed up in Week 2 as he ran for 134 yards on 29 carries for the Minnesota Vikings. That's just the beginning for Peterson as he'll have another shot at gashing a vulnerable San Diego Chargers defense.

The Chargers have allowed 4.8 yards per carry so far this season. Peterson should be a top performer against that defense.

 

Wide Receivers

Week 3 WR Rankings
RankPlayerTeam
1Antonio BrownPIT
2TY HiltonIND
3Julio JonesATL
4Odell Beckham Jr.NYG
5Larry FitzgeraldARI
6Keenan AllenSD
7Terrance WilliamsDAL
8Julian EdelmanNE
9Michael CrabtreeOAK
10Calvin JohnsonDET
11Amari CooperOAK
12Demaryius ThomasDEN
13Nate WashingtonHOU
14A.J. GreenCIN
15Randall CobbGB
16James JonesGB
17Michael FloydARI
18.Jordan MatthewsPHI
19Allen RobinsonJAX
20Steve Smith Sr.BAL
21Emmanuel SandersDEN
22Travis BenjaminCLE
23Victor CruzNYG
24Roddy WhiteATL
25Alshon JefferyCHI
26Doug BaldwinSEA
27DeAndre HopkinsHOU
28Louis MurphyTB
29Mike WallaceMIN
30Golden TateDET
31Marquess WilsonCHI
32Davante AdamsGB
33Jerricho CotcheryCAR
34Eddie RoyalCHI
35Kendall WrightTEN
Rankings by Mazique

Antonio Brown

Sep 20, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) and wide receiver Antonio Brown (84) talk on the sidelines against the San Francisco 49ers during the fourth quarter at Heinz Field. The Steelers won 43-18. Mandator
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

It feels almost as if 100 receiving yards and a touchdown is a given for Antonio Brown every week. If you count the postseason, he has hit the century mark and found paydirt at least once in his last three regular-season games.

He and the Pittsburgh Steelers will be in for a stiff test against the St. Louis Rams defense, but Brown and Ben Roethlisberger have such a rapport that they won't be held down. In two games this season, Brown has 18 receptions for 328 yards and two touchdowns.

With his quickness, sure hands and immaculate route-running ability, he'll again get his numbers against the Rams.

 

Tight Ends

Week 3 TE Rankings
RankPlayerTeam
1.Rob GronkowskiNE
2.Travis KelceKC
3.Jared CookSTL
4.Tyler EifertCIN
5.Jimmy GrahamNO
6.Austin Seferian-JenkinsTB
7.Delanie WalkerTEN
8.Martellus BennettCHI
9.Heath MillerPIT
10.Jordan CameronMIA
11.Zach MillerCHI
12.Daniel FellsNYG
Rankings per Mazique

Rob Gronkowski

If there's a tight end equivalent to Brown, it's Rob Gronkowski. There isn't a tougher matchup in the NFL. In two games, he has 12 catches for 207 yards and four touchdowns. In Week 3, the New England Patriots will host the Jacksonville Jaguars, who don't have an answer for Gronk.

In Week 2, Jacksonville prevailed over the Miami Dolphins, but the defense gave up 359 passing yards and two touchdowns through the air. With Tom Brady and Gronk inviting the Jaguars into Gillette Stadium, the Patriots are bound to slice up the Jacksonville pass defense.

Defense/Special Teams

Week 3 D/ST Rankings
RankTeam
1.Denver Broncos
2.New York Jets
3.Arizona Cardinals
4.Miami Dolphins
5.Seattle Seahawks
6.Dallas Cowboys
7.Cincinnati Bengals
8.Carolina Panthers
9.Cleveland Browns
10.Tampa Bay Buccaneers
11.Pittsburgh Steelers
Rankings per Mazique

Denver Broncos

Sep 13, 2015; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos cornerback Aqib Talib (21) pulls in a interception intended for Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Steve Smith (89) in the third quarter at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. The Broncos won 19-13. Mandatory Cre
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Peyton Manning's demise is greatly exaggerated, but the Denver Broncos defense has been carrying the team through the first two weeks of the season.

The Broncos have four interceptions, three forced and recovered fumbles, six sacks and two defensive touchdowns. That's what you call an impact defense and the best fantasy unit for Week 3.

The Detroit Lions are next on the docket for the Broncos, and their pass protection has been poor. Matthew Stafford has been sacked only three times, but he's taken 11 hits in two weeks. The pounding has taken a toll, as the Lions quarterback was shaken up against the Vikings on Sunday. According to USA Today, Stafford was still "very, very sore" on Monday.

Take a look at Stafford's Weeks 1 and 2 accuracy charts, courtesy of Draft Centric: 

After an even lower completion percentage and another interception against Minnesota, Stafford is struggling mightily. 

Per Michael Rothstein of ESPN.com (h/t Dan Hanzus of NFL.com), Stafford could miss the game, but even if he does give it a go, the Broncos defense is a smart play. 

Kickers

Week 3 K Rankings
RankPlayerTeam
1.Robbie GouldCHI
2.Stephen GostkowskiNE
3.Justin TuckerBAL
4.Sebastian JanikowskiOAK
5.Greg ZuerleinSTL
6.Ryan SuccopTEN
7.Dan CarpenterBUF
8.Josh LamboSD
9.Dan BaileyDAL
10.Brandon McManusDEN
11.Matt BryantATL
12.Josh BrownNYG
Rankings per Mazique

Robbie Gould

Nov 16, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bears kicker Robbie Gould (9) practices before the game against the Minnesota Vikings at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports
Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

The Bears have moved the ball well all season, but they haven't been good in the red zone. Chicago has had six trips inside the 20-yard line this season but has had to settle for Robbie Gould field goals three times.

He has been his usual dependable self, going a perfect 6-of-6 on all attempts with two from 50-plus yards. The Bears seem destined for a mediocre season, but Gould could be the best fantasy kicker in the NFL all year long.

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