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Week 3 Rankings

By Cody Smith

Injuries stole the show during Week 2, as many top-notch fantasy football assets saw their seasons cut short with some devastating injuries.

Others were fortunate enough that they should be able to return in a few weeks' time.

I wish them all the best, but fantasy football never misses a week, so I’m back for Week 3 to attempt to navigate through all these injuries and provide some accurate rankings.

I’ll try to touch on as many injuries as I can below, but if I attempt to break them all down, it may take me until Week 16.

So, let’s get started.

Injury Notes

Jimmy Garoppolo’s status is up in the air for Week 3. I doubt the 49ers risk it this early in the season with the health of one of their key contributors. I expect Nick Mullins to start this weekend.

Drew Lock is expected to miss at least two weeks before being reevaluated for a rotator cuff/labrum issue sustained in Week 2 against the Steelers. Jeff Driskel should step in in the meantime, though the team did sign Blake Bortles on Tuesday.

Tyrod Taylor was a surprise scratch on Sunday as he was replaced by Justin Herbert after having trouble breathing before the game. Anthony Lynn says Tyrod is the guy, but with how Herbert played Sunday, I’d be surprised if Taylor takes the first snap of the game this weekend.

Christian McCaffrey – the almost certain 1.01 pick in your draft this season – is set to miss the next four-to-six weeks with a high ankle sprain. Mike Davis ought to be the guy out of this backfield that will see the most work. He’ll be my highest ranked Carolina running back this week.

Raheem Mostert is currently listed as doubtful for this weekend after suffering a knee injury this weekend. Mostert is another guy I’m not expecting to play against the Giants. Fire up those Jerick McKinnon shares, because Tevin Coleman is also expected to miss a few weeks with a knee injury.

Malcolm Brown is questionable with a finger injury, while backfield mate Cam Akers suffered some separated rib cartilage last weekend. Darrell Henderson could make some noise this weekend, and he’ll be my highest-ranked Rams' running back, even if Brown or Akers play.

Davante Adams suffered a hamstring injury, but it sounds as if it isn’t serious and he is expected to play this weekend. Be vigilant to the practice reports this week, but if Adams goes, he is a must start. If he sits, Allen Lazard and Marquez Valdes-Scantling get a slight bump.

Diontae Johnson is currently questionable with a toe injury but seems likely to play through it. Apparently this issue has nagged him for a while and he has been producing in spite of it. Johnson has been targeted 23 times in two games. He is a borderline must-start going forward.

Julio Jones says he played through a hamstring injury last weekend, which may help explain his 2-24 receiving line on just four targets. I would keep an eye on the practice reports this week to see if Jones will be out there this weekend. If its not too late to grab Russell Gage, he would be a great fill in of Jones sits.

De’Vante Parker played through an injury last weekend and recorded four catches for 62 yards on seven targets. He ought to be fine this week as long as the apparent hamstring injury wasn’t aggravated over the weekend.

Jack Doyle is still dealing with knee and ankle issues, but there is a chance he suits up this weekend. Keep an eye on the injury report and have a backup plan if Doyle is your tight end. Mo Alie-Cox isn’t a bad option if Doyle sits again.

George Kittle may be healthy enough to play this weekend, but it wouldn’t surprise me if he sits again. With many of the 49ers' skill position players banged up and an easy early-season game against the Giants on the docket, Kittle may take an extra week just to be sure he’s good to go. In that case, Jordan Reed would start at tight end coming off of an impressive game against the Jets in week two.

Dawson Knox is in concussion protocol. He hasn’t made a huge fantasy impact this season so as it is, but if he happens to be your guy, have a backup plan ready.

Others to keep an eye on: Jamison Crowder (hamstring), D.J. Chark (chest), Sammy Watkins (concussion), Sterling Shepard (toe) and Chris Hogan (ribs)

The following players suffered season-ending injuries this past weekend: Saquon Barkley, Courtland Sutton, Parris Campbell and C.J. Uzomah.

Quaterbacks I like

Dak Prescott led a remarkable comeback victory against the Falcons on Sunday. In the game, Dak became the first player in league history to throw for over 400 yards and rush for three or more touchdowns in a game. This week, Dak gets the Seahawks defense who have been picked apart by both Matt Ryan and Cam Newton already this season. Expect a high-flying offensive game between these two teams, and look for another huge game for the contract-seeking quarterback.

Ryan Tannehill has carried his hot 2019 season over into 2020. Through two games, Tannehill has 488 passing yards and six passing touchdowns without turning the ball over. Next he gets to face the Minnesota Vikings, who’s secondary was annihilated by Aaron Rodgers in Week 1. I’m expecting a big week from Tannehill in week three.

Quaterbacks to avoid

New game-managing style quarterback Jared Goff makes me a little nervous this week. The Buffalo Bills have a strong secondary and the way the Rams have been game-planning lately, I’d be 100% shocked to see Goff air it out. Everything for his has been thrown close to the line of scrimmage and it has worked so far. Goff may have a decent floor, but not a very high ceiling in this week’s matchup.

I believe Matt Stafford’s success this week hinges on the return of Kenny Golladay. Without Golladay, Stafford has only managed to be the QB19 through two weeks. This week he is on the road against the improved Cardinals who have not allowed a 300-yard passing performance yet this season. If Golladay returns, expect a bit of an improvement from Stafford, but if he sits again, I wouldn’t trust Stafford in week three.

Quarterback Rankings

1. Dak Prescott @Sea

2. Lamar Jackson vs. KC

3. Russell Wilson vs. Dal

4. Kyler Murray vs. Det

5. Patrick Mahomes @Bal

6. Josh Allen vs. LAR

7. Aaron Rodgers @NO

8. Ryan Tannehill @Min

9. Ben Roethlisberger vs. Hou

10. Deshaun Watson @Pit

11. Cam Newton vs. LV

12. Matt Ryan vs. Chi

13. Gardner Minshew vs. Mia

14. Matt Stafford @Ari

15. Mitch Trubisky @Atl

16. Derek Carr @NE

17. Drew Brees vs. GB

18. Tom Brady @Den

19. Jimmy Garoppolo @NYG

20. Joe Burrow @Phi

21. Jared Goff @Buf

22. Carson Wentz vs. Cin

23. Dwayne Haskins @Cle

24. Ryan Fitzpatrick @Jax

25. Baker Mayfield vs. Wsh

26. Philip Rivers vs. NYJ

27. Teddy Bridgewater @LAC

28. Kirk Cousins vs. Ten

29. Daniel Jones vs. SF

30. Jeff Driskel vs. TB

31. Justin Herbert vs. Car

32. Sam Darnold @Ind

Runningbacks I like

As much as I hate to say it, this week sets up wonderfully for Austin Ekeler. Ekeler gets to take on the Carolina Panthers who were last against the run in 2019, and have carried that lack of success over to 2020. Carolina has allowed three touchdowns to running backs in each of its first three games. Look out for the one-two punch of Ekeler and Josh Kelley this weekend. I believe they both find the end zone at least once.

Alvin Kamara stays on my list this week in a match-up with Green Bay. Last week Kamara was an absolute force with 13 carries for 79 yards and two touchdowns, while adding nine receptions for 95 yards. Drew Brees is going to continue to look his way more often during Michael Thomas’ absence. Have no doubt he will lead your fantasy team for the next few weeks, barring injury.

Runningbacks to avoid

Rookie running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire had a rough go of things last weekend against the Chargers. Things don’t get any easier this weekend when the team takes a trip to Baltimore to face the top rushing defense in the league through two weeks. In close games, Kansas City tends to throw the ball quite a bit, as we saw last week. Clyde was more involved in the passing game but had just 16 touches in the game. He’ll need more than that Monday night to be effective.

Don’t get sucked into the Leonard Fournette trap this weekend. Fournette had over 100 yards last weekend, but that was against the pathetic Carolina run defense. This week he faces Denver, a team that has allowed a pair of 100-yard rushers on the season in Derrick Henry and James Conner. Despite this, I believe Ronald Jones will still get quite a few opportunities, limiting Fournette’s upside.

Runningback Rankings

1. Alvin Kamara vs. GB

2. Josh Jacobs @NE

3. Aaron Jones @NO

4. Ezekiel Elliott @Sea

5. Austin Ekeler vs. Car

6. Miles Sanders vs. Cin

7. Kenyan Drake vs. Det

8. Derrick Henry @Min

9. Melvin Gordon vs. TB

10. Jonathan Taylor vs. NYJ

11. Dalvin Cook vs. Ten

12. David Montgomery @Atl

13. Joe Mixon @Phi

14. Chris Carson vs. Dal

15. James Conner vs. Hou

16. James Robinson vs. Mia

17. Todd Gurley vs. Chi

18. Nick Chubb vs. Wsh

19. Clyde Edwards-Helaire @Bal

20. David Johnson @Pit

21. Antonio Gibson @Cle

22. Myles Gaskin @Jax

23. D’Andre Swift @Ari

24. Joshua Kelley vs. Car

25. Devin Singletary vs. LAR

26. Leonard Fournette @Den

27. Kareem Hunt vs. Wsh

28. Mike Davis @LAC

29. Jerick McKinnon @NYG

30. J.K. Dobbins vs. KC

31. Ronald Jones II @Den

32. Darrell Henderson Jr. @Buf

33. Adrian Peterson @Ari

34. Mark Ingram II vs. KC

35. Malcolm Brown @Buf

36. James White vs. LV

37. Nyheim Hines vs. NYJ

38. Dion Lewis vs. SF

39. Zack Moss vs. LAR

40. Frank Gore @Ind

41. Boston Scott vs. Cin

42. Rex Burkhead vs. LV

43. Tarik Cohen @Atl

44. Latavius Murray vs. GB

45. J.D. McKissic @Cle

46. Sony Michel vs. LV

47. Chase Edmonds vs. Det

48. Jamaal Williams @NO

49. Chris Thompson vs. Mia

50. Alexander Mattison vs. Ten

Wide Receiver I like

DK Metcalf has used long touchdown receptions in the first two games of the season to place himself as the WR7 early in the season. I don’t believe he will need a long score in this game to return value, though it will certainly help. The Cowboys weak pass defense should supply Metcalf with plenty of opportunities to remain in the top-10 wide receivers to end week three. Russell Wilson is also cooking on high heat early in the season which has helped Metcalf tremendously.

Scary Terry McLaurin produced one of his trademark games last week against Arizona, catching seven passes for 125 yards and a score. This week McLaurin gets the Cleveland defense that allowed Joe Burrow to complete 17 passes for 167 yards and two touchdowns to just his wide receivers last weekend. McLaurin lines up nicely for a huge week three.

Wide Receivers to avoid

Tyreek Hill has saved himself from a pedestrian fantasy week two weeks in a row with a touchdown. He’s going to need one again against a stout Ravens defense that hasn’t allowed a touchdown to the position yet this season. I think Hill is still a must start, but temper expectations against a tough defense.

As of me typing this, Kenny Golladay is set to make his season debut against the Arizona Cardinals this weekend. You may be surprised to learn that this season, the Cardinals have been the best defense against wide receivers so far. This combination gives me some pause to starting Golladay right off the bat. Take a week to see how he looks and if he can stay healthy.

Wide Receiver Rankings

1. Amari Cooper @Sea

2. Mike Evans @Den

3. DeAndre Hopkins vs. Det

4. Davante Adams @NO

5. Terry McLaurin @Cle

6. Calvin Ridley vs. Chi

7. Allen Robinson @Atl

8. DK Metcalf vs. Dal

9. Adam Thielen vs. Ten

10. Juju Smith-Schuster vs. Hou

11. Julian Edelman vs. LV

12. D.J. Moore @LAC

13. Chris Godwin @Den

14. Julio Jones vs. Chi

15. Stefon Diggs vs. LAR

16. Tyreek Hill @Bal

17. Robert Woods @Buf

18. Corey Davis @Min

19. Tyler Lockett vs. Dal

20. Hollywood Brown vs. KC

21. Keenan Allen vs. Car

22. Will Fuller V @Pit

23. Odell Beckham Jr. vs. Was

24. Darius Slayton vs. SF

25. Diontae Johnson vs. Hou

26. Keelan Cole vs. Mia

27. Cooper Kupp @Buf

28. T.Y. Hilton vs. NYJ

29. DeVante Parker @Jax

30. Jamison Crowder @Ind

31. N’Keal Harry vs. LV

32. Jarvis Landry vs. Wsh

33. Robby Anderson @LAC

34. DeSean Jackson vs. Cin

35. Laviska Shenault Jr. vs. Mia

36. Jerry Jeudy vs. TB

37. A.J. Green @Phi

38. CeeDee Lamb @Sea

39. Russell Gage vs. Chi

40. Tyler Boyd @Phi

41. Marquez Valdes-Scantling @NO

42. John Brown vs. LAR

43. Michael Gallup @Sea

44. Adam Humphries @Min

45. Marvin Jones Jr. @Ari

46. Tre’Quan Smith vs. GB

47. Larry Fitzgerald vs. Det

48. Allen Lazard @NO

49. Sammy Watkins @Bal

50. Cole Beasley vs. LAR

Tight Ends I like

Mike Gesicki has a juicy matchup on Thursday night against the Jaguars and is coming off of a huge game against the Bills where he caught eight passes for 130 yards and a score on 11 targets. The Jaguars allowed eight receptions for 129 and two touchdowns last week to the Titans tight end position.

Logan Thomas makes the list for the second week in a row after disappointing a bit last week while catching only four of nine targets. Thomas is a big threat in the Washington offense and probably the second-best pass catcher on the team. He faces the worst-ranked defense against tight ends this week in Cleveland who allowed an astounding 11 receptions for 87 yards to C.J. Uzomah and Drew Sample. Thomas has a chance to make an impact this weekend.

Tight Ends to avoid

Darren Waller is coming off a huge game where he caught 12 passes for 103 yards and a score. He also came away with an injury and has not practiced since with a sore knee. Keep your eye on Waller to see if he plays. Even if he does, he’ll be facing a tough New England defense.

Chris Herndon has struggled mightily this season, catching just seven passes for 42 yards in two games. This weekend he takes on the top defense against tight ends in the Indianapolis Colts. Herndon can more than likely be dropped in favor of other tight end options. I certainly wouldn’t play him this weekend.

Tight End Rankings

1. Travis Kelce @Bal

2. Tyler Higbee @Buf

3. Mike Gesicki @Jax

4. Mark Andrews vs. KC

5. Zach Ertz vs. Cin

6. Dallas Goedert vs. Cin

7. Noah Fant vs. TB

8. Jonnu Smith @Min

9. George Kittle @NYG

10. Hunter Henry vs. Car

11. Darren Waller @NE

12. Evan Engram vs. SF

13. Logan Thomas @Cle

14. O.J. Howard @Den

15. Hayden Hurst vs. Chi

16. Jordan Akins @Pit

17. T.J. Hockenson @Ari

18. Jared Cook vs. GB

19. Drew Sample @Phi

20. Chris Herndon @Ind

21. Jimmy Graham @Atl

22. Darren Fells @Pit

23. Mo Alie-Cox vs. NYJ

24. Dalton Schultz @Sea

25. Tyler Eifert vs. Mia

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