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Fantasy Football Week 3 Rankings: Top Players and Matchups for All Positions

Fantasy Football
September 23, 2015

Some guys are just fantasy studs you can ride week after week regardless of the matchup. The Pittsburgh Steelers’ Antonio Brown is one of those guys.

Fresh off back-to-back 100-receptions, 1,000-yard seasons, Brown hasn’t missed a beat. Allow this to soak in: Through two games in the 2015 season, he is on pace to have 144 receptions for 2,624 yards and 16 touchdowns. Will he get those numbers? Probably not, but it gives you an example of the type of Madden-like numbers Brown has produced.

In Week 3, Brown and the Steelers head to the Show Me State to take on the St. Louis Rams. The Rams aren’t a bad defensive team, but Ben Roethlisberger and Brown have perhaps the best chemistry of any quarterback-wide receiver duo.

They will light it up again on Sunday. Here’s a look at the schedule for the week and the rankings at every fantasy position:


I love Roethlisberger on Sunday, but my top quarterback is the Arizona Cardinals’ Carson Palmer. While he hasn’t thrown for a ton of yards this season, he has found the end zone with regularity and has barely turned the ball over. He and Tom Brady lead the NFL in touchdown passes with seven, and Palmer has tossed just one interception.

In Week 3, he has an excellent matchup for fantasy owners.

A woeful San Francisco 49ers secondary that has allowed a league-high 10.2 yards per pass attempt is an easy mark for Palmer and Co. Expect Arizona to fly high again this week with Palmer finding the end zone at least three more times.

Running Backs

Matt Forte may be the most versatile running back in the NFL. Because of his many talents and the Chicago Bears’ lack of weapons, the offense uses him an awful lot. Through two games, he’s carried the ball 39 times, caught nine passes and seen 13 targets.

That high amount of usage and Forte’s 101 rushing yards per game make him the top player at his position. Chicago is headed to the Pacific Northwest to take on the Seattle Seahawks in Week 3.

This isn’t meant to convince you that the Bears will beat a desperate—yet superior—Seahawks team. Don’t be silly. The Bears are going to get killed. Nevertheless, Forte is going to touch it early and often, and he’ll still do his fantasy owners proud with a strong performance.

While Forte is a solid man to start, he doesn’t have the best matchup. That distinction belongs to the Minnesota Vikings’ Adrian Peterson. After a mediocre opening week, Peterson showed us in Week 2 against the Detroit Lions what we can expect for the rest of the season.

He didn’t get in the end zone, but he did run the ball 29 times for 134 yards. In Week 3 against a San Diego Chargers run defense that is giving up 4.8 yards per carry, Peterson should follow up Week 2’s breakout performance with an even better one.

Wide Receivers

If you have Brown, consider yourself fortunate. Aside from him, the best receiver to have in your lineup in Week 3 is T.Y. Hilton.

The Tennessee Titans have only allowed 339 passing yards this season, but that number is a little deceiving. In Week 1 they faced rookie QB Jameis Winston and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In Week 2, the Titans took on second-year signal caller Johnny Manziel and the Cleveland Browns.

With two consecutive games against mediocre passing offenses, the Titans haven’t been tested through the air this year. That’s going to change on Sunday. The Indianapolis Colts have limped out of the gates this year, but this is a matchup they can exploit.

The Titans secondary has been banged up this season. Jason McCourty missed the Week 2 loss to the Browns with a groin injury, as did Cody Riggs (knee). Audra Martin of WKRN in Nashville, Tennessee, tweeted that head coach Ken Whisenhunt said there’s a chance McCourty returns to practice this week.

Even if he does play, it doesn’t sound as if he’ll be 100 percent. He’ll need to be fully healthy to help contain Hilton. Indy will bounce back and out of the 0-2 hole with a big day from Andrew Luck and Hilton.

Tight Ends

The automatic guy at the tight end position is the New England Patriots’ Rob Gronkowski. With 207 receiving yards, he is third in the NFL in that category. His four touchdown receptions are tops in the league.

The Jacksonville Jaguars are next on Gronk’s hit list. Jacksonville gave up 359 yards through the air in Week 2 to the Miami Dolphins. Don’t expect to see anything less than another strong performance from the game’s best tight end as Brady takes it to the Jags with Gronk as his top target.

Defense/Special Teams

The NFL’s two best defenses so far this season have been the New York Jets and Denver Broncos. Gang Green is allowing just 8.5 points per game, but what’s even more valuable for fantasy owners is the team’s penchant for forcing turnovers. Through the first two games, the Jets have four interceptions.

You have to like the Jets defense against a Philadelphia Eagles team that is averaging just 17 points this season. Quarterback Sam Bradford has thrown four interceptions and lost a fumble this season. This dynamic seems to suggest more defensive control for the Jets.

Denver’s defense has been less stingy but more opportunistic than the Jets.

The Broncos have six sacks, four interceptions and three fumble recoveries on the season. The Detroit Lions will host the Broncos in Week 3, but there are questions as to whether quarterback Matt Stafford will play. Per Mike Klis of 9News.com in Colorado, Stafford is listed as questionable.

Even if he does play, the Broncos defense has nothing to fear. Take a look at Stafford’s numbers through the first two weeks, per Draft Centric:

Any way you slice it, Denver’s defense is a prime play.


The Bears have moved the ball well this season, but they haven’t been able to punch it in the end zone as often as they would like. Robbie Gould has already attempted and made six field goals this season.

Without Jay Cutler in the lineup, per ESPN.com, the Bears may have trouble on offense. However, because of how well they have created running lanes for Forte, they’ll still move the ball against the Seahawks. Finishing drives will still be an issue, though. They will have to settle for Gould’s dependable leg.

Stats per Pro-Football Reference.com.

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