Week 3 Fantasy Football Rankings: Breaking Down Each Position

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxFeatured ColumnistSeptember 20, 2016

Where does Vikings receiver Stefon Diggs place in this week's fantasy rankings?
Where does Vikings receiver Stefon Diggs place in this week's fantasy rankings?Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

Week 2 of the 2016 NFL season brought us unexpected surprises, like a New York Giants defense worth starting against quarterback Drew Brees. It also featured familiar fantasy trends—that Cam Newton guy can really put up points.

The second week introduced the fantasy world to new faces—hello, Corey Coleman—while hitting trusted favorites with the injury bug.

This past week also saw two more starting quarterbacks go down with injuries. New England Patriots fill-in Jimmy Garoppolo suffered a shoulder injury that could cause him to miss at least a week. The Cleveland Browns lost their second starter in two weeks when Josh McCown experienced a shoulder injury of his own.

We might have thought we had a solid grasp on the fantasy landscape at draft time, but it is constantly changing. How does that landscape look moving forward? We're going to take an early look at the immediate fantasy future along with Week 3 positional rankings.


1Matt RyanFalcons
2Drew BreesSaints
3Cam NewtonPanthers
4Ben RoethlisbergerSteelers
5Andrew LuckColts
6Carson PalmerCardinals
7Aaron RodgersPackers
8Philip RiversChargers
9Derek CarrRaiders
10Russell WilsonSeahawks
11Eli ManningGiants
12Ryan FitzpatrickJets
13Matthew StaffordLions
14Jameis WinstonBuccaneers
15Blake BortlesJaguars
16Marcus MariotaTitans
17Joe FlaccoRavens
18Ryan TannehillDolphins
19Sam BradfordVikings
20Carson WentzEagles
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Up: Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan put up big numbers in Week 2 against the Oakland Raiders. Granted, the Raiders defense is a work in progress right now, but it was good to see Ryan play with efficiency and confidence.

He finished the game with 396 yards, three touchdowns and an interception.

This week, Ryan and the Falcons visit the New Orleans Saints, a team whose defense is also maligned. Though New Orleans did put together a decent performance against the Giants this past week, the team is rated just 30th in pass coverage by Pro Football Focus.

Plus, Ryan gets to chuck the ball to Julio Jones, who had an injury scare Sunday but appears to be fine.


Down: Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals

Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton was having a wonderful 2015 season before he decided to play hero and broke his thumb following an interception. His return this season has yielded mixed results.

Dalton has racked up impressive yardage—366 yards in each of the past two games, to be exact—but he has been sacked eight times and has thrown just two touchdowns with one interception.

According to Richard Skinner of WKRC-TV Cincinnati, Dalton also got banged up a bit against the Pittsburgh Steelers this past week:

This week, he has to face the mighty Denver Broncos defense. Stay away.


1DeAngelo WilliamsSteelers
2David JohnsonCardinals
3Melvin GordonChargers
4Theo RiddickLions
5Spencer WareChiefs
6Ezekiel ElliottCowboys
7Todd GurleyRams
8C.J. AndersonBroncos
9Frank GoreColts
10Matt ForteJets
11Lamar MillerTexans
12Eddie LacyPackers
13LeGarrette BlountPatriots
14DeMarco MurrayTitans
15Isaiah CrowellBrowns
16T.J. YeldonJaguars
17Ryan MathewsEagles
18Latavius MurrayRaiders
19Devonta FreemanFalcons
20Jeremy HillBengals
21Jay AjayiDolphins
22Christine MichaelSeahawks
23Tevin ColemanFalcons
24Fozzy WhittakerPanthers
25Jeremy LangfordBears
26LeSean McCoyBills
27Carlos Hyde49ers
28Mark IngramSaints
29Charles SimsBuccaneers
30Matt JonesRedskins


Up: Melvin Gordon, San Diego Chargers

As a rookie, San Diego Chargers back Melvin Gordon struggled to find the end zone. In fact, he didn't.

This year, Gordon has been playing a lot more like what was expected from the former first-round pick. He has 159 yards and three touchdowns on the ground through two games and has also hauled in three passes.

This week, he faces an Indianapolis Colts defense that has allowed an average of 125.0 rushing yards per game, fourth-most in the league.

Gordon's value should also increase now that Danny Woodhead has been lost for the season to a torn ACL:


Down: Duke Johnson, Cleveland Browns

Cleveland Browns running back Duke Johnson made quite a bit of noise in 2015 because of his ability to make plays in the passing game. He notched 61 catches as a rookie and totaled 913 combined rushing and receiving yards. In points-per-reception (PPR) leagues, he was a commodity.

Though Johnson already has seven receptions this season, his value took a big hit when the Browns lost their second starting quarterback of the year. Josh McCown appeared to have the Cleveland offense in a rhythm last week against the Baltimore Ravens before injuring his shoulder. He looks to be out for an extended period.

The Browns turn to rookie Cody Kessler now, which likely hurts the value of every pass-catcher on the roster.


1Julio JonesFalcons
2Antonio BrownSteelers
3Eric DeckerJets
4Kelvin BenjaminPanthers
5Larry FitzgeraldCardinals
6Jarvis LandryDolphins
7Travis BenjaminChargers
8Stefon DiggsVikings
9Mike EvansBuccaneers
10DeAndre HopkinsTexans
11Odell Beckham Jr.Giants
12Marvin JonesLions
13Demaryius ThomasBroncos
14Brandin CooksSaints
15Dez BryantCowboys
16Jordan MatthewsEagles
17Mohamed SanuFalcons
18Allen RobinsonJaguars
19Amari CooperRaiders
20Brandon MarshallJets
21A.J. GreenBengals
22Julian EdelmanPatriots
23Andre JohnsonTitans
24Jeremy MaclinChiefs
25Jordy NelsonPackers
26Golden TateLions
27Willie SneadSaints
28Will FullerTexans
29Sterling ShepardGiants
30DeSean JacksonRedskins


Up: Stefon Diggs, Minnesota Vikings

At various points in the 2015 season, then-rookie Stefon Diggs looked like he could be an emerging star for the Minnesota Vikings. So far this season, it appears that he is indeed headed for stardom.

This is terrific news for fantasy owners.

Through two weeks, Diggs has produced 16 receptions, 285 yards and a touchdown. He caught nine passes for 182 yards and a score from newly crowned starter Sam Bradford on Sunday. With Adrian Peterson likely out for an extended period, Bradford and Diggs will form the centerpiece of the Vikings offense.

Minnesota head coach Mike Zimmer has a lot of confidence in Bradford and likes what he has seen so far.

"I was impressed with pretty much everything he did," he said of Bradford, per Rob Maaddi of the Associated Press. "I thought he had great composure. I thought he had good control of things."

The Vikings face a tough challenge this week in Carolina, but expect Zimmer to attack the Panthers defense through the air.


Down: Chris Hogan, New England Patriots

The New England Patriots decided to snag wideout Chris Hogan away from the rival Buffalo Bills this offseason. For the first couple of weeks, it seemed like the move was paying off in a big way.

Hogan has seven receptions for 119 yards and a touchdown so far.

The problem for Hogan is that quarterback Tom Brady is still on suspension, and his replacement, Jimmy Garoppolo, is expected to miss at least a week.

We're not saying to dump Hogan if he happens to be sitting on your roster, but you might want to examine other options for Week 3.


1Greg OlsenPanthers
2Jacob TammeFalcons
3Julius ThomasJaguars
4Delanie WalkerTitans
5Dennis PittaRavens
6Clive WalfordRaiders
7Jordan ReedRedskins
8Martellus BennettPatriots
9Jordan CameronDolphins
10Antonio GatesChargers
11Jason WittenCowboys
12Virgil GreenBroncos
13Zach MillerBears
14Austin HooperFalcons
15Travis KelceChiefs


Up: Delanie Walker, Tennessee Titans

Tight end Delanie Walker was the most consistent pass-catcher on the Tennessee Titans roster last season, and he seems to be picking up right where he left off. Through two games, he has racked up nine receptions for 125 yards and a touchdown.

This week, Walker and the Titans get to host the Oakland Raiders, who have been terrible against the pass this season.

The Raiders have allowed an average of 404.0 yards passing per game thus far. Expect Walker to have a notable day.


Down: Gary Barnidge, Cleveland Browns

Browns tight end Gary Barnidge was virtually matchup-proof in 2015, making him one of the most surprising fantasy stars of the year. Unfortunately, Barnidge is running out of guys to throw him the football.

It might be time to consider ignoring Barnidge until/unless Josh McCown returns to Cleveland's starting lineup.


1Graham GanoPanthers
2Adam VinatieriColts
3Justin TuckerRavens
4Nick FolkJets
5Matt BryantFalcons
6Chris BoswellSteelers
7Chandler CatanzaroCardinals
8Brandon McManusBroncos
9Stephen GostkowskiPatriots
10Josh LamboChargers
11Dan BaileyCowboys
12Matt PraterLions
13Nick NovakTexans
14Cairo SantosChiefs
15Josh BrownGiants
1Cardinals@ BUF
2Broncos@ CIN
3Texans@ NE
4Panthersvs. MIN
5Dolphinsvs. CLE
6Seahawksvs. SF
7Buccaneersvs. LA
8Bengalsvs. DEN
9Patriotsvs. HOU
10Jets@ KC
11Lions@ GB
12Steelers@ PHI
13Giantsvs. WAS
1449ers@ SEA
15Rams@ TB