Fantasy Football Week 3 Rankings: Matchups We Love and Player Stat Projections

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxFeatured ColumnistSeptember 25, 2020

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray passes against the Los Angeles Rams during second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 29, 2019, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

Football isn't played in a vacuum, and neither is its fantasy equivalent. The matchups are important, and they can make or break a fantasy week. 

Even the most reliable fantasy stars can be a liability when the matchup is poor. Take Deshaun Watson in Week 2. He had 275 passing yards against the Baltimore Ravens but also had just one touchdown and one interception. Gardner Minshew II, meanwhile, racked up 339 yards with three touchdowns and two picks against the Tennessee Titans.

The point here is that positional rankings should be fluid from week to week, and sometimes playing the best matchup instead of the most talented player is the way to go.

With this in mind, let's take a look at the Week 3 positional rankings, along with some of the best individual plays for the week.

      

Quarterback

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1. Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks

2. Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals

3. Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens

4. Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys

5. Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills

6. Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs

7. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers

8. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers

9. Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons

10. Deshaun Watson, Houston Texans

11. Ryan Tannehill, Tennessee Titans

12. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints

     

Matchup to Love: Russell Wilson vs. Dallas Cowboys

While the Dallas Cowboys managed to avoid going 0-2 with a rousing comeback, they have serious issues, particularly on defense. They rank just 23rd in pass defense, 25th in points allowed and have produced a mere two sacks in two games.

You know who can take advantage of a lackluster Cowboys defense? Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson. The Seahawks are letting the offense run through their quarterback, and Wilson is now the betting favorite for MVP, according to DraftKings

So far this season, Wilson has thrown for 610 yards, nine touchdowns and one interception. He has also rushed for another 68 yards. Don't expect him to suffer a letdown against a Cowboys defense that gave up 273 yards passing and four scores to Matt Ryan a week ago.

Stat Prediction: 303 passing yards, three touchdowns, 35 rushing yards

      

Running Back

1. Derrick Henry, Tennessee Titans

2. Alvin Kamara, New Orleans Saints

3. Dalvin Cook, Minnesota Vikings

4. Aaron Jones, Green Bay Packers

5. Jonathan Taylor, Indianapolis Colts

6. Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys

7. Josh Jacobs, Las Vegas Raiders

8. Miles Sanders, Philadelphia Eagles

9. Austin Ekeler, Los Angeles Chargers

10. Kenyan Drake, Arizona Cardinals

11. Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Kansas City Chiefs

12. Nick Chubb, Cleveland Browns

13. Joe Mixon, Cincinnati Bengals

14. Chris Carson, Seattle Seahawks

15. James Conner, Pittsburgh Steelers

16. Todd Gurley, Atlanta Falcons

17. Kareem Hunt, Cleveland Browns

18. David Montgomery, Chicago Bears

19. David Johnson, Houston Texans

20. Melvin Gordon III, Denver Broncos

     

Matchup to Love: Derrick Henry at Minnesota Vikings

Wade Payne/Associated Press

The Minnesota Vikings have been one of the biggest early-season disappointments, and the struggles of quarterback Kirk Cousins are only part of the equation. Minnesota's defense has been terrible and has a sizable challenge on its hands in Tennessee Titans star Derrick Henry.

"He's big, he's powerful, he's strong. And then when he gets into the open field, he does have a second gear of speed," Vikings defensive line coach and co-defensive coordinator Andre Patterson said, per Eric Smith of the team's official website.

This isn't going to be the week in which Henry gets stopped. Minnesota has allowed the fifth-most rushing yards in the NFL. The Titans aren't going to suddenly stop feeding Henry the ball, and it's even less likely they get into an aerial shootout with Minnesota's 30th-ranked offense.

Stat Prediction: 120 rushing yards, two receptions, 15 receiving yards, two touchdowns

      

Wide Receiver

1. DeAndre Hopkins, Houston Texans

2. Tyreek Hill, Kansas City Chiefs

3. Calvin Ridley, Atlanta Falcons

4. Adam Thielen, Minnesota Vikings

5. Amari Cooper, Dallas Cowboys

6. Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

7. JuJu Smith-Schuster, Pittsburgh Steelers

8. Davante Adams, Green Bay Packers

9. Allen Robinson, Chicago Bears

10. Terry McLaurin, Washington Football Team

11. Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons

12. DK Metcalf, Seattle Seahawks

13. DJ Moore, Carolina Panthers

14. Robert Woods, Los Angeles Rams

15. Tyler Lockett, Seattle Seahawks

16. Keenan Allen, Los Angeles Chargers

17. Jarvis Landry, Cleveland Browns

18. Cooper Kupp, Los Angeles Rams

19. Julian Edelman, New England Patriots

20. Marquise Brown, Baltimore Ravens

   

Matchup to Love: Amari Cooper at Seattle Seahawks

Ron Jenkins/Associated Press

If you need any more proof that the Legion of Boom is a ghost of the past, consider this. The Seattle Seahawks rank dead-last in pass defense through two weeks—and by a pretty significant margin. They've allowed 415.5 yards per game through the air, roughly 33 yards more than the Atlanta Falcons.

This is one reason why Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Amari Cooper is a tremendous matchup play in Week 3—along with CeeDee Lamb and Michael Gallup. At the same time, Seattle ranks second in run defense, allowing just 69.5 yards per game.

This is a bad combination for Ezekiel Elliott managers—and a good one for those rostering Cowboys receivers.

Additionally, Russell Wilson and the Seahawks offense should put up enough points to keep Dallas in passing mode throughout the contest.

Stat Prediction: eight receptions, 110 receiving yards, one touchdown

    

Tight End

1. Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs

2. Mark Andrews, Baltimore Ravens

3. Darren Waller, Las Vegas Raiders

4. Dallas Goedert, Philadelphia Eagles

5. Hunter Henry, Los Angeles  Chargers

6. Tyler Higbee, Los Angeles Rams

7. Jonnu Smith, Tennessee Titans

8. Jared Cook, New Orleans Saints

9. Zach Ertz, Philadelphia Eagles

10. Hayden Hurst, Atlanta Falcons

11. Logan Thomas, Washington Football Team

12. Austin Hooper, Cleveland Browns

     

Matchup to Love: Logan Thomas at Cleveland Browns

While Logan Thomas isn't at the top of many managers' fantasy rankings, the Washington Football Team tight end is a near must-start in Week 3. Thomas only has eight receptions for 63 yards through two games, but he's been targeted 17 times, according to Pro Football Reference.

Against the Cleveland Browns, those targets could quickly turn into catches. The Browns have been atrocious against tight ends this season. Mark Andrews torched them for five catches, 58 yards and two touchdowns in Week 1. However, C.J. Uzomah and Drew Sample of the Cincinnati Bengals combined for 11 catches and 87 yards in Week 2. 

With Steven Sims dealing with a toe injury and Terry McLaurin likely to draw a heavy dose of Denzel Ward, Thomas could be the centerpiece of the receiving corps in this game.

Stat Prediction: seven receptions, 87 receiving yards