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

Fantasy Football
September 25, 2015

By now, fantasy football owners have to feature some sort of trust issues going into Week 3.

Week 2 was one of the wildest weekends in recent history. To kick off Week 3, Thursday Night Football between Washington and the New York Giants saw Rueben Randle score more points than Odell Beckham and a guy named Chris Thompson outscore all other running backs.

It’s getting harder and harder to tell owners things will return to normal. The good news? Predictable matchups litter the Week 3 schedule, with the Thursday game actually perhaps the most difficult to project.

Below, let’s project points at each position in standard-scoring leagues and highlight matchups we love.

Week 3 Schedule


Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers tops the list of names who have yet to hurt fantasy owners.

Rodgers abused a shaky Chicago defense in Week 1 with three scores and 22 points. A tougher matchup in Week 2 presented itself in the form of Seattle, but he posted another two scores and 21 points.

Things get much, much easier on Rodgers in Week 3 with the Kansas City Chiefs in town. Andy Reid’s defense allowed a hodgepodge of Houston quarterbacks to throw two scores and hit 18 points before Peyton Manning tossed three scores with 20 points.

Long story short—defending the edges is Kansas City’s biggest issue this year, meaning Rodgers will hit Randall Cobb and James Jones all day long.

In fact, Rodgers should finish second in scoring only to Tom Brady. The New England Patriots gunslinger gets a cupcake matchup against the Jacksonville Jaguars this week. The man already leads all quarterbacks with 55 points by way of seven touchdowns, so it’s a lead that only figures to increase.

The Jacksonville defense had already allowed an average of 17.5 points to quarterbacks. On the road against Brady, the unit might just lead the league by the time he’s done.

Running Backs

Adrian Peterson is back to his usual self, folks.

Well, maybe it’s easier to say the coaching staff in Minnesota saw the light. The Vikings only gave Peterson 10 carries to start the season, which obviously produced a mediocre fantasy performance.

Peterson saw his usage almost triple the following week with 29 carries for 134 yards and 16 points. It’s a sign that he can still carry a team on his back and that the coaching staff will lean on him with the lesson from Week 1 well-learned.

Which is nothing but good news for owners as Peterson heads into a matchup with the San Diego Chargers. Not only does the team make the trip east for an early kickoff, but the Chargers let up 27 points to backs in Week 1, then 12 to Cincinnati, an impressive number considering it was backup Giovani Bernard doing the damage, not Jeremy Hill, who was benched for fumbling.

Peterson won’t have any problems running wild at home against a team that is incapable of stopping backups.

On the other side of the Green-Bay Kansas City showdown is one of the best matchups of all: Jamaal Charles. Owners know Charles as one of the league’s best, something he’s proved with 15 and 14 points in tough assignments against Houston and Denver, respectively.

Things lighten up for Charles in Green Bay, though. The Packers allow an average of 17 points to backs, and Charles’ every-down status, not to mention his ability to catch passes, makes him a top play as the Chiefs gun in an effort to keep pace.

Maybe it’s boring to lean on a guy as notable as Charles, but when the matchup is this good, it’s overthinking to look elsewhere.

Wide Receivers

Demaryius Thomas hasn’t had the production most thought he would through two weeks, which is what happens when a team such as Denver also touts weapons such as C.J. Anderson, Emmanuel Sanders, Virgil Green and more.

Thomas touts six- and 11-point games so far. He’s due for a breakout, and it’s one that figures to come in Detroit this weekend. The Lions gave up a whopping 32 points to San Diego wideouts in Week 1, then seven in Week 2—only because aforementioned Minnesota let Teddy Bridgewater throw just 18 passes while running with Peterson.

Denver won’t focus so much on the run. Thomas might not hit 32 points on his own, of course, but he’s due for a score or two after a quiet debut.

Also quiet? The praise for New York Jets wideout Brandon Marshall.

The veteran wideout in a new locale has a touchdown in each game so far with 28 total points to show for it. He has a clear rapport with Ryan Fitzpatrick, and as he heads into a matchup with Philadelphia, it doesn’t sound like Eric Decker will be able to go thanks to a knee injury.

With even more targets headed his way, Marshall is a must-start option against a Philadelphia defense that allowed 35 points to wideouts in Week 1, then 16 the week after.

Yet another Packers-Chiefs player to know in what should be a high-scoring affair? Cobb.

Cobb hasn’t been his usual explosive self just yet with 20 points in two games, but last week against Seattle should prove quiet encouraging. Against a Richard Sherman-led defense, Cobb still found room for 116 yards and 11 points.

Remember the nuggets about the Chiefs being unable to contain wideouts? Cobb looks to be in for the biggest day of his season so far.

Tight Ends

At a volatile position, finding a guy like Jared Cook on a week-to-week basis will do league chances wonders for owners.

Cook has just 12 points through two games, but still figures to finish close to the top 10 in scoring at the position by season’s end. He personifies underrated, especially heading into a matchup with Pittsburgh.

The rebuilding Steelers defense hasn’t been able to contain tight ends yet, letting up 33 points to New England in Week 1 and eight to run-first San Francisco the week after.

Cook isn’t Rob Gronkowski, but he is the top option in the St. Louis offense for Nick Foles. When consistency outside of Gronkowski is so hard to find, someone sure to see many targets can save an owner.

This week the matchup outlook says it’s Cook.

Defense/Special Teams

Too easy, right?

The Seattle Seahawks have one of the league’s best defenses when the unit isn’t playing the Chicago Bears.

When it is?

The best. Seattle scored 18 points against St. Louis to start the season before a rough patch in Green Bay. An understandable trajectory, especially going into a matchup with Chicago. With Jay Cutler and Alshon Jeffery sitting out practice with injuries, this looks like a goldmine for fantasy production.

Even if they both suit up, Cutler already has a pair of interceptions and sacks and Jeffery has just five catches. Seattle’s going to have a field day.


Sometimes a grind-it-out affair is the best avenue toward solid kicker production in lineups.

So seems to be the case with Cincinnati’s Mike Nugent when the Bengals travel to Baltimore to take on the Ravens.

Nugent only has 14 points through two games, but that total figures to take a big jump as AFC North teams collide in a defensive matchup.

Nugent hits 80.8 percent of his kicks on his career, so he’s a reliable option this weekend. Opportunities equal production, so look for Nugent to have a big day as the defenses shut one another down.

All scoring info courtesy of ESPN standard leagues, as is points-against info and ownership stats as of September 25. Statistics courtesy of ESPN.com.

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