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Week 3 fantasy football rankings: Bank on some big breakouts

Steven Psihogios
·17-min read

Last week I started off my weekly rankings by complaining about injuries. That seems very silly now considering the demolition derby we were subject to in Week 2. Christian McCaffrey, Saquon Barkley and Courtland Sutton, just to name a few, all suffered significant ailments.

If your team isn’t trying to overcome a significant injury, you’re part of a lucky few. Hopefully come this time next week we’ll be talking more about what went down instead of who.

Below are my half-point PPR fantasy football rankings for Week 3.

QB

1. Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens (vs. Kansas City Chiefs)

2. Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals (vs. Detroit Lions)

Although his passing numbers are solid, Murray has been making his mark felt on the ground in fantasy football. Through two weeks, Murray leads all QBs in rushing yards (158) and is tied for second in rushing touchdowns (3). The matchup against the Lions, who will be without CB Justin Coleman and CB Desmond Trufant is very exploitable.

3. Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks (vs. Dallas Cowboys)

New week, same message: #LetRussCook.

4. Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys (at Seattle Seahawks)

5. Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs (at Baltimore Ravens)

If you selected Mahomes within the first three rounds of your fantasy draft, you’re not upset about his production so far, but you’re likely not thrilled either. Through Week 2, Mahomes is QB8, but he has failed to crack the top-5 at the position in either week. This matchup against the suffocating Ravens’ secondary is not a great spot for him to go off. Baltimore has allowed just 5.6 yards per pass attempt thus far while surrendering just two passing touchdowns. You’re starting him though because he is Patrick Mahomes.

6. Cam Newton, New England Patriots (vs. Las Vegas Raiders)

7. Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills (vs. Los Angeles Rams)

8. Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons (vs. Chicago Bears)

9. Matt Stafford, Detroit Lions (at Arizona Cardinals)

The Stafford we’ve seen through the first two weeks isn’t the one we saw last season. Both his intended air yards and aggressiveness percentage have taken noticeable dips in the early going. I expect that to change in Week 3 with the possible return of star WR Kenny Golladay. Although Golladay may not be fully healthy, even a limited effort from him will make a difference. In eight games with Golladay last season, Stafford topped eight yards per attempt seven times. He’s yet to reach that mark this season.

10. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers (vs. Houston Texans)

11. Gardner Minshew, Jacksonville Jaguars (Played Thursday vs. Dolphins) *

#MinshewMania is running wild over the NFL and there’s nothing you and I can do to stop it. He is fantasy football’s QB9 and he has an excellent matchup against the Dolphins. Miami conceded a QB6 finish to Cam Newton in Week 1 and a QB3 performance to Josh Allen in Week 2. If you’re looking for a streaming option (32% rostered on Yahoo) he’s the guy.

12. Carson Wentz, Philadelphia Eagles (vs. Cincinnati Bengals)

After a pair of poor performances for Wentz, this is it. In order to regain the trust of fantasy football managers, he must put together a solid showing against the Bengals. Through two weeks, he owns the second-worst passer rating in the NFL (64.4). It’s bad news that he’ll be without WR Jalen Reagor for reportedly six-to-eight weeks, but he has to do something against a Cincinnati secondary that ranked 17th according to Pro Football Focus entering this season.

PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 20: Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz (11) looks on during the game between the Los Angeles Rams and the Philadelphia Eagles on September 20, 2020 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, PA. (Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
(Getty)

13. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers (at New Orleans Saints)

14. Deshaun Watson, Houston Texans (at Pittsburgh Steelers)

15. Ryan Tannehill, Tennessee Titans (at Minnesota Vikings)

16. Joe Burrow, Cincinnati Bengals (at Philadelphia Eagles)

17. Mitchell Trubisky, Chicago Bears (at Atlanta Falcons)

18. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints (vs. Green Bay Packers)

There’s no way to sugarcoat it: Brees looked extremely limited against the Raiders on Monday Night Football. I understand everything that happens in a primetime game is magnified, but his inability to stretch the field shouldn’t be ignored. Without WR Michael Thomas, the perfect and seemingly irreplaceable complement to Brees’ game, the Saints’ passing attack looked broken. Returning home will help, but the team will have to figure out its woes during a shortened week of preparation.

19. Daniel Jones, New York Giants (vs. San Francisco 49ers)

20. Tom Brady, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (at Denver Broncos)

21. Jared Goff, Los Angeles Rams (at Buffalo Bills)

22. Baker Mayfield, Cleveland Browns (vs. Washington Football Team)

23. Ryan Fitzpatrick, Miami Dolphins (Played Thursday at Jaguars) *

24. Philip Rivers, Indianapolis Colts (vs. New York Jets)

25. Justin Herbert, Los Angeles Chargers (vs. Carolina Panthers)

26. Nick Mullens, San Francisco 49ers (at New York Giants)

27. Teddy Bridgewater, Carolina Panthers (at Los Angeles Chargers)

28. Derek Carr, Las Vegas Raiders (at New England Patriots)

29. Dwayne Haskins, Washington Football Team (at Cleveland Browns)

30. Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings (vs. Tennessee Titans)

RB

1. Alvin Kamara, New Orleans Saints (vs. Green Bay Packers)

2. Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys (at Seattle Seahawks)

3. Jonathan Taylor, Indianapolis Colts (vs. New York Jets)

Taylor is firmly in the RB1 picture entering Week 3. Last week, Taylor seemed up to the task as the Colts’ lead back, rushing 26 times for 101 yards and a touchdown. He added a pair of receptions for nine yards as well. Matching up against the Jets is about as good as it gets. Opposing teams through two weeks have averaged 140 yards on the ground against New York, the eighth-highest total in the league.

4. Derrick Henry, Tennessee Titans (at Minnesota Vikings)

It’s hard to complain too much about Henry given the current status of the running back position, but fantasy managers haven’t gotten what they drafted. He’s averaged 3.6 yards per carry and despite leading the NFL in red-zone carries (13), he’s yet to punch one in. The spot against the Vikings is not the greatest, as Minnesota’s rush defense is deceptively difficult. The unit has looked good while limiting the formidable Packers and Colts rushing attacks to just 4.3 yards per attempt.

5. Dalvin Cook, Minnesota Vikings (vs. Tennessee Titans)

6. Aaron Jones, Green Bay Packers (at New Orleans Saints)

7. Miles Sanders, Philadelphia Eagles (vs. Cincinnati Bengals)

8. Kenyan Drake, Arizona Cardinals (vs. Detroit Lions)

In Week 2, the Lions had no answer for RB Aaron Jones who gashed the run defense for 168 yards and two touchdowns while adding 68 more yards and a TD through the air. Drake’s been hindered by QB Kyler Murray’s rushing work and RB Chase Edmonds’ role, but he shouldn’t need too much volume to have a great fantasy effort this weekend. The Lions-Cardinals matchup also has an Over/Under total of 54.5, the second-highest total on the board this week.

9. Josh Jacobs, Las Vegas Raiders (at New England Patriots)

10. Austin Ekeler, Los Angeles Chargers (vs. Carolina Panthers)

11. James Conner, Pittsburgh Steelers (vs. Houston Texans)

Any worry about RB Benny Snell Jr. assuming a role in this offense was put to bed last week. Conner out-touched Snell 18-4, clearly re-establishing himself as the lead back. Conner had a good performance which was boosted by a 59-yard scamper to close out the game. The Texans have allowed 5.6 rushing yards per attempt thus far, the second-worst total in the NFL.

12. Chris Carson, Seattle Seahawks (vs. Dallas Cowboys)

13. Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Kansas City Chiefs (at Baltimore Ravens)

With the Chiefs falling behind early to the Chargers, the game script forced Kansas City to abandon the run. With that, Edwards-Helaire saw just 10 carries, a far cry from the 25 he received the previous week. He did stay involved in the passing game, corralling six of his eight targets for 32 yards. He should see more work in a tough matchup this week against Baltimore.

14. Nick Chubb, Cleveland Browns (vs. Washington Football Team)

15. Joe Mixon, Cincinnati Bengals (at Philadelphia Eagles)

16. James Robinson, Jacksonville Jaguars (Played Thursday vs. Dolphins) *

Meet the ultimate fantasy football sleeper. Robinson couldn’t be found on a single draft board before the Jaguars dropped RB Leonard Fournette and depth backs like RB Devine Ozigbo and RB Ryquell Armstead missed time. Now, Robinson is dominating the touches, topping RB Chris Thompson 36-7. Against a Dolphins run defense allowing 5.0 yards per carry, he’s right in the RB2 mix.

17. David Montgomery, Chicago Bears (at Atlanta Falcons)

18. David Johnson, Houston Texans (at Pittsburgh Steelers)

19. Melvin Gordon, Denver Broncos (vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers)

20. Leonard Fournette, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (at Denver Broncos)

Fournette clearly established himself as the top back in this Buccaneers’ backfield last week. After Ronald Jones “fumbled,” it was all Fournette, and he dominated the Panthers’ run defense. He finished with 103 yards and two scores on 12 carries while adding 13 yards on four receptions.

21. Kareem Hunt, Cleveland Browns (vs. Washington Football Team)

22. Joshua Kelley, Los Angeles Chargers (vs. Carolina Panthers)

23. Todd Gurley, Atlanta Falcons (vs. Chicago Bears)

24. Devin Singletary, Buffalo Bills (vs. Los Angeles Rams)

25. Jerick McKinnon, San Francisco 49ers (at New York Giants)

McKinnon spent the past two seasons on the sideline due to injuries, but the 28-year-old is potentially walking into a larger opportunity for the Niners in their Week 3 date against the Giants.

Both RB Raheem Mostert (knee) and RB Tevin Coleman (knee) are out for this Sunday’s game, likely giving McKinnon an expanded role in this run-first offense. He’s been very effective in 2020, averaging 13.4 yards per touch on nine touches.

26. Mark Ingram, Baltimore Ravens (vs. Kansas City Chiefs)

27. Mike Davis, Carolina Panthers (at Los Angeles Chargers)

28. Myles Gaskin, Miami Dolphins (Played Thursday at Jaguars) *

29. Antonio Gibson, Washington Football Teams (at Cleveland Browns)

30. Darrell Henderson, Los Angeles Rams (at Buffalo Bills)

WR

1. DeAndre Hopkins, Arizona Cardinals (vs. Detroit Lions)

2. Tyreek Hill, Kansas City Chiefs (at Baltimore Ravens)

3. Allen Robinson, Chicago Bears (at Atlanta Falcons)

To this point, Robinson has not been great. Despite receiving 18 targets through two weeks, he has just eight receptions and 107 yards to show for it. I’m predicting that changes in Week 3 against a very weak Falcons pass defense. Atlanta’s secondary has surrendered an average of 372 passing yards through its first two games and was ranked 30th by PFF entering the season.

Allen Robinson is due for a big game. (Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Allen Robinson is due for a big game. (Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

4. Calvin Ridley, Atlanta Falcons (vs. Chicago Bears)

5. Terry McLaurin, Washington Football Team (at Cleveland Browns)

McLaurin may get a boost against the Browns this weekend as CB Denzel Ward suffered a groin injury during practice on Thursday and is now listed as questionable. With CB Greedy Williams already ruled out, McLaurin may not have to face either of the Browns’ top-two corners.

6. Amari Cooper, Dallas Cowboys (at Seattle Seahawks)

For most of the 2010s, the Seahawks were associated with strong secondary play. The “Legion of Boom” was possibly the greatest group of DBs assembled during that stretch, but the team has been very beatable through the air in 2020. They’ve allowed an average of 415 passing yards per game through Week 2, the highest total of any team in the NFL. Squaring off against the Cowboys, who have averaged the third-most passing yards in 2020 (344.5) per game, seems like a recipe for success for each Cowboys WR.

7. Tyler Lockett, Seattle Seahawks (vs. Dallas Cowboys)

8. Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (at Denver Broncos)

9. Adam Thielen, Minnesota Vikings (vs. Tennessee Titans)

10. D.K. Metcalf, Seattle Seahawks (vs. Dallas Cowboys)

Thanks to the #LetRussCook movement, both Lockett and Metcalf have looked near impossible to stop. The team’s upcoming game against the Cowboys should be a shootout, as its over/under point total is 56.5, the highest number of any game. Both are locked-in WR1s.

11. Kenny Golladay, Detroit Lions (at Arizona Cardinals)

After missing Weeks 1 and 2, it seems like Golladay is trending towards suiting up in Week 3. The Lions offense hasn’t been able to function as expected without the constant field-stretching capabilities Golladay provides. Likely reunited with Stafford for the first time since Week 9, Golladay should be in store for instant success. Four of his five 100-plus receiving yard games last season came with Stafford under centre.

12. Chris Godwin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (at Denver Broncos)

13. JuJu Smith-Schuster, Pittsburgh Steelers (vs. Houston Texans)

14. D.J. Moore, Carolina Panthers (at Los Angeles Chargers)

15. Diontae Johnson, Pittsburgh Steelers (vs. Houston Texans)

Smith-Schuster’s massive Week 1 performance caught everyone's attention, but it’s Johnson who actually leads Pittsburgh in receiving yards, receptions and targets through Week 2. The Texans have been good against the pass, allowing the third-lowest number of passing yards per game thus far despite squaring off against the Chiefs and Ravens. Johnson’s involvement in the offense has made him a WR2.

16. Stefon Diggs, Buffalo Bills (vs. Los Angeles Rams)

17. CeeDee Lamb, Dallas Cowboys (at Seattle Seahawks)

18. Odell Beckham Jr., Cleveland Browns (vs. Washington Football Team)

19. Keenan Allen, Los Angeles Chargers (vs. Carolina Panthers)

Following Week 1, I was a little concerned about Allen’s connection with QB Tyrod Taylor. The two connected on just four of his eight targets for 37 yards. After the unfortunate injury Taylor sustained prior to last week’s game against the Chiefs and rookie QB Justin Herbert’s solid performance, I’m a little more confident in Allen. Allen’s targeted air yard percentage jumped from 27.78 to 38.65 as the two connected seven times on 10 targets for 96 yards and one fumble in Week 2.

20. Cooper Kupp, Los Angeles Rams (at Buffalo Bills)

21. Marquise Brown, Baltimore Ravens (vs. Kansas City Chiefs)

22. Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons (vs. Chicago Bears)

Jones is currently nursing a hamstring injury, hence the poor performance (2-24-0) last week against the Cowboys. The matchup this week against the Bears isn’t ideal as they’ve only surrendered 6.2 yards per pass attempt, the eighth-lowest mark in the league in 2020. If Jones is playing, you’re starting him.

23. Devante Parker, Miami Dolphins (Played Thursday at Jaguars) *

24. Desean Jackson, Philadelphia Eagles (vs. Cincinnati Bengals)

25. Darius Slayton, New York Giants (vs. San Francisco 49ers)

26. Julian Edelman, New England Patriots (vs. Las Vegas Raiders)

27. Robert Woods, Los Angeles Rams (at Buffalo Bills)

28. Tyler Boyd, Cincinnati Bengals (at Philadelphia Eagles)

29. Corey Davis, Tennessee Titans (at Minnesota Vikings)

30. Keelan Cole, Jacksonville Jaguars (Played Thursday vs. Dolphins) *

TE

1. Mark Andrews, Baltimore Ravens (vs. Kansas City Chiefs)

2. Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs (at Baltimore Ravens)

3. Mike Gesicki, Miami Dolphins (Played Thursday at Jaguars) *

It’s not that tricky, just go Gesicki. That was one of my mottos leading up to the 2020 NFL season. Last week, the Dolphins tight end/slot receiver erupted for eight receptions, 130 receiving yards and two touchdowns against the Bills. This week on Thursday Night Football he draws the Jaguars, who conceded four receptions, 84 yards and two TDs to Titans TE Jonnu Smith last week. I think he explodes for another solid output in Week 3.

4. Tyler Higbee, Los Angeles Rams (at Buffalo Bills)

5. Jonnu Smith, Tennessee Titans (at Minnesota Vikings)

Last week I had Smith ranked as my TE7 and labelled him as a must-start.

Sure, the WR Parris Campbell call didn’t pan out, but Smith was stellar for fantasy managers. In Week 3 he matches up against the Vikings who have allowed the fifth-most passing yards per game so far. He’s once again locked-in as a must-start at TE with WR A.J. Brown out.

6. Hunter Henry, Los Angeles Chargers (vs. Carolina Panthers)

7. Dallas Goedert, Philadelphia Eagles (vs. Cincinnati Bengals)

I’m ranking Goedert ahead of teammate TE Zach Ertz because in each game so far, Goedert has received more targets. The matchup is great against a Bengals secondary that shouldn’t frighten anyone. The Eagles’ emphasis on targeting TEs in the passing game should be even larger with rookie WR Jalen Reagor expected to miss 6-8 weeks.

8. Darren Waller, Las Vegas Raiders (at New England Patriots)

9. Zach Ertz, Philadelphia Eagles (vs. Cincinnati Bengals)

10. T.J. Hockenson, Detroit Lions (at Arizona Cardinals)

11. Noah Fant, Denver Broncos (vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers)

The Broncos are banged up at wide receiver with Courtland Sutton (torn ACL) out for the season and rookie WR Jerry Jeudy dealing with a rib injury, making him a game-time decision for this Sunday’s game. Fant’s 11 targets are second on the team and he could emerge as a reliable option for QB Jeff Driskel who will start in place of QB Drew Lock who’s dealing with a shoulder injury.

12. Evan Engram, New York Giants (vs. San Francisco 49ers)

13. Jared Cook, New Orleans Saints (vs. Green Bay Packers)

14. Jordan Reed, San Francisco 49ers (at New York Giants)

TE George Kittle has been ruled out for this Sunday’s game. Last week, Reed posted a 7-50-2 line against the Jets as the team’s lead tight end. He’s serviceable as a back-end TE1 with the 49ers in desperate need of pass-catching options.

15. Hayden Hurst, Atlanta Falcons (vs. Chicago Bears)

16. Logan Thomas, Washington Football Team (at Cleveland Browns)

17. Austin Hooper, Cleveland Browns (vs. Washington Football Team)

18. Mo Alie-Cox, Indianapolis Colts (vs. New York Jets)

19. Dalton Schultz, Dallas Cowboys (at Seattle Seahawks)

20. Greg Olsen, Seattle Seahawks (vs. Dallas Cowboys)

DEF

1. Pittsburgh Steelers (vs. Houston Texans)

2. New England Patriots (vs. Las Vegas Raiders)

3. Indianapolis Colts (vs. New York Jets)

4. Los Angeles Chargers (vs. Carolina Panthers)

5. Buffalo Bills (vs. Los Angeles Rams)

6. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (at Denver Broncos)

7. Tennessee Titans (at Minnesota Vikings)

8. Philadelphia Eagles (vs. Cincinnati Bengals)

9. San Francisco 49ers (at New York Giants)

10. Denver Broncos (vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers)

11. Baltimore Ravens (vs. Kansas City Chiefs)

12. Green Bay Packers (at New Orleans Saints)

13. Los Angeles Rams (at Buffalo Bills)

14. Washington Football Team (at Cleveland Browns)

15. Cleveland Browns (vs. Washington Football Team)

16. Chicago Bears (at Atlanta Falcons)

17. New Orleans Saints (vs. Green Bay Packers)

18. New York Giants (vs. San Francisco 49ers)

19. Arizona Cardinals (vs. Detroit Lions)

20. Kansas City Chiefs (at Baltimore Ravens)

K

1. Justin Tucker, Baltimore Ravens (vs. Kansas City Chiefs)

2. Harrison Butker, Kansas City Chiefs (at Baltimore Ravens)

Forget Patrick Mahomes vs. Lamar Jackson, how about this kicking matchup?

3. Greg Zuerlein, Dallas Cowboys (at Seattle Seahawks)

4. Wil Lutz, New Orleans Saints (vs. Green Bay Packers)

5. Jason Myers, Seattle Seahawks (vs. Dallas Cowboys)

6. Zane Gonzalez, Arizona Cardinals (vs. Detroit Lions)

7. Matt Prater, Detroit Lions (at Arizona Cardinals)

8. Rodrigo Blankenship, Indianapolis Colts (vs. New York Jets)

9. Mason Crosby, Green Bay Packers (at New Orleans Saints)

10. Younghoe Koo, Atlanta Falcons (vs. Chicago Bears)

11. Chris Boswell, Pittsburgh Steelers (vs. Houston Texans)

12. Robbie Gould, San Francisco 49ers (at New York Giants)

13. Jake Elliott, Philadelphia Eagles (vs. Cincinnati Bengals)

14. Michael Badgley, Los Angeles Chargers (vs. Carolina Panthers)

15. Ryan Succop, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (at Denver Broncos)

16. Joey Slye, Carolina Panthers (at Los Angeles Chargers)

17. Tyler Bass, Buffalo Bills (vs. Los Angeles Rams)

18. Sam Sloman, Los Angeles Rams (at Buffalo Bills)

19. Nick Folk, New England Patriots (vs. Las Vegas Raiders)

20. Cairo Santos, Chicago Bears (at Atlanta Falcons)

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