Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera talks Thursday, Sept. 21, 2017, about communicating with his relatives in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria. David T. Foster III dtfoster@charlotteobserver.com
Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera talks Thursday, Sept. 21, 2017, about communicating with his relatives in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria. David T. Foster III dtfoster@charlotteobserver.com

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Fantasy Football Blog

Fantasy football rankings: What to expect from Christian McCaffrey (and everyone else)

By Alan Satterlee

Correspondent

September 21, 2017 12:49 PM

UPDATED September 21, 2017 08:54 PM

Fantasy football position-by-position rankings for Week 3:

Quarterbacks

1. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay vs. Cincinnati … Back in Lambeau and against the Bengals, Rogers should rebound with a big game after the Week 2 loss. Rodgers did manage to become the fastest quarterback in NFL history to reach the 300-touchdown milestone (144 games).

2. Tom Brady, New England vs. Houston … No surprise, Tom Brady was all-systems-go in Week 2 against the Saints, passing for 447 yards (the most by a 40-year-old quarterback in NFL history).

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3. Matthew Stafford, Detroit vs. Atlanta … Stafford has opened the season perfect in the red-zone (five completions on five targets, collecting four touchdowns) and is tied for the NFL lead with six passing touchdowns.

4. Matt Ryan, Atlanta at Detroit

5. Derek Carr, Oakland at Washington

6. Cam Newton, Carolina vs. New Orleans … Newton has struggled some, but drawing the Saints at home is a get-right matchup. New Orleans allows the most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks.

7. Carson Wentz, Philadelphia vs. NY Giants … Wentz has opened the season with back-to-back 300-yard passing games, while oddly also leading the Eagles in rushing yards (66).

8. Drew Brees, New Orleans at Carolina … Brees drops some in the rankings this week on the road, since the Panthers have allowed the fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season.

9. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh at Chicago

10. Dak Prescott, Dallas at Arizona … Arizona looks like a tough draw on paper, but the Cardinals have allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks.

11. Kirk Cousins, Washington vs. Oakland

12. Philip Rivers, LA Chargers vs. Kansas City … In Rivers’ past six games against the Chiefs he has five total passing touchdowns.

13. Carson Palmer, Arizona vs. Dallas

14. Jay Cutler, Miami at NY Jets

15. Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay at Minnesota

16. Russell Wilson, Seattle at Tennessee

17. Trevor Siemian, Denver at Buffalo … Siemian has been one of the big surprises this year but he’ll face a stiff test on the road at Buffalo, which hasn’t allowed a passing touchdown yet this season.

18. Alex Smith, Kansas City at LA Chargers

19. Sam Bradford, Minnesota vs. Tampa Bay … Bradford (knee) will need to be monitored after being a last-minute scratch in Week 2, though he looks like he will be good to go.

20. Marcus Mariota, Tennessee vs. Seattle

21. Joe Flacco, Baltimore at Jacksonville

22. DeShone Kizer, Cleveland at Indianapolis

23. Jacoby Brissett, Indianapolis vs. Cleveland

24. Jared Goff, LA Rams at San Francisco

25. Eli Manning, NY Giants at Philadelphia

26. DeShaun Watson, Houston at New England

27. Mike Glennon, Chicago vs. Pittsburgh

28. Josh McCown, NY Jets vs. Miami

29. Andy Dalton, Cincinnati at Green Bay

30. Tyrod Taylor, Buffalo vs. Denver

31. Blake Bortles, Jacksonville vs. Baltimore

32. Brian Hoyer, San Francisco vs. LA Rams

Running backs

1. LeVeon Bell, Pittsburgh at Chicago

2. Todd Gurley, LA Rams at San Francisco

3. Kareem Hunt, Kansas City at LA Chargers

4. Ty Montgomery, Green Bay vs. Cincinnati

5. Devonta Freeman, Atlanta at Detroit

6. Jay Ajayi, Miami at NY Jets … Expect a strong game for Ajayi, who was a workhorse for the Dolphins last week. He goes against a Jets’ defense that has allowed 185 rushing yards per game.

7. Dalvin Cook, Minnesota vs. Tampa Bay

8. Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas at Arizona

9. Christian McCaffrey, Carolina vs. New Orleans … McCaffrey still gets an aggressive ranking here as he’s due for a long score. At home against the Saints could/should produce his first NFL touchdown – and New Orleans also allows the most receiving yards to backs.

10. C.J. Anderson, Denver at Buffalo … Anderson leads all running backs with 49 touches through two weeks, but it should be tough sledding at Buffalo, which allows the fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs.

11. Melvin Gordon, LA Chargers vs. Kansas City

12. Marshawn Lynch, Oakland at Washington

13. Carlos Hyde, San Francisco vs. LA Rams

14. Leonard Fournette, Jacksonville vs. Baltimore

15. Tevin Coleman, Atlanta at Detroit

16. Tarik Cohen, Chicago vs. Pittsburgh … Cohen is easily the top fantasy option for the Bears, having collected eight receptions in back-to-back games.

17. Mike Gillislee, New England vs. Houston

18. Javorius Allen, Baltimore at Jacksonville … Allen looks to have taken over as the team’s main running back. Allen played on 42 snaps in Week 2 vs. 15 for Terrance West.

19. Ameer Abdullah, Detroit vs. Atlanta … Good week to ride the hot hand in Abdullah, who comes off a career-best 86 yards rushing. Atlanta allows the second-most fantasy points to opposing running backs.

20. James White, New England vs. Houston

21. Isaiah Crowell, Cleveland at Indianapolis

22. Chris Thompson, Washington vs. Oakland

23. LeSean McCoy, Buffalo vs. Denver … McCoy gets a noticeable drop in this week’s rankings out of respect for the elite Broncos’ defense, which held Ezekiel Elliott to 8 rushing yards.

24. Jonathan Stewart, Carolina vs. New Orleans

25. Derrick Henry, Tennessee vs. Seattle … Henry is averaging 5.9 yards per carry (on 20 attempts) versus 3.3 for DeMarco Murray (on 21 attempts). Henry also comes into this one off a career-high 92 yards rushing.

26. Chris Carson, Seattle at Tennessee … It looks like the Chris Carson era is starting in Seattle after Thomas Rawls had just 4 yards on five carries last week . Carson ripped off 93 rushing yards on 20 rushing attempts.

27. Mark Ingram, New Orleans at Carolina

28. Theo Riddick, Detroit vs. Atlanta

29. Matt Forte, NY Jets vs. Miami

30. Jacquizz Rodgers, Tampa Bay at Minnesota

31. Lamar Miller, Houston at New England

32. Chris Johnson, Arizona vs. Dallas … Signed just days before Week 2, Johnson easily led the Cardinals in carries last week (11) and could draw the Week 3 start.

33. Jordan Howard, Chicago vs. Pittsburgh … It’s hard to have too much excitement starting Howard off a nine-carry game for 7 yards.

34. Alvin Kamara, New Orleans at Carolina

35. DeMarco Murray, Tennessee vs. Seattle … Murray (hamstring) will need to be monitored.

36. Frank Gore, Indianapolis vs. Cleveland

37. Duke Johnson Jr., Cleveland at Indianapolis

38. Darren Sproles, Philadelphia vs. NY Giants

39. Joe Mixon, Cincinnati at Green Bay

40. Orleans Darkwa, NY Giants at Philadelphia

41. Jalen Richard, Oakland at Washington

42. Shane Vereen, NY Giants at Philadelphia

43. Bilal Powell, NY Jets vs. Miami

44. Robert Kelley, Washington vs. Oakland … Kelly (ribs) will need to be monitored.

45. Giovani Bernard, Cincinnati at Green Bay

46. Marlon Mack, Indianapolis vs. Cleveland

47. Samaje Perine, Washington vs. Oakland … Perine handled 21 attempts last week and could be in store for more heavy usage with Rob Kelley (ribs) potentially unable to go or limited.

48. Jamaal Charles, Denver at Buffalo

49. Paul Perkins, NY Giants at Philadelphia

50. D’onta Foreman, Houston at New England

Wide receivers

1. Julio Jones, Atlanta at Detroit

2. Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh at Chicago

3. Mike Evans, Tampa Bay at Minnesota … It’s hard to really drop an elite receiver such as Mike Evans, who goes against Vikings shutdown corner Xavier Gamble.

4. Michael Crabtree, Oakland at Washington

5. Davante Adams, Green Bay vs. Cincinnati

6. Kelvin Benjamin, Carolina vs. New Orleans

7. Odell Beckham Jr., NY Giants at Philadelphia

8. Keenan Allen, LA Chargers vs. Kansas City

9. Tyreek Hill, Kansas City at LA Chargers

10. Golden Tate, Detroit vs. Atlanta

11. A.J. Green, Cincinnati at Green Bay

12. DeVante Parker, Miami at NY Jets

13. Stefon Diggs, Minnesota vs. Tampa Bay

14. Jarvis Landry, Miami at NY Jets … Landry comes into Week 3 off some amazing/bizarre statistics – an impressive 13 receptions, but for just 78 yards (6.0 yards per reception).

15. Dez Bryant, Dallas at Arizona

16. Michael Thomas, New Orleans at Carolina

17. Amari Cooper, Oakland at Washington

18. Adam Thielen, Minnesota vs. Tampa Bay

19. DeAndre Hopkins, Houston at New England … At least Hopkins should be busy – he’s totaled a league-best 29 targets in two games. But in four career games against New England he has been held in check, New England has kept him out of the end zone.

20. Doug Baldwin, Seattle at Tennessee

21. Martavis Bryant, Pittsburgh at Chicago

22. Brandin Cooks, New England vs. Houston

23. Jordy Nelson, Green Bay vs. Cincinnati … Nelson (hamstring) will needed to be monitored

24. Randall Cobb, Green Bay vs. Cincinnati … Cobb (shoulder) will need to be monitored.

25. Demaryius Thomas, Denver at Buffalo

26. Emmanuel Sanders, Denver at Buffalo

27. J.J. Nelson, Arizona vs. Dallas … Nelson has touchdown catches in six of his past seven games dating to last season.

28. Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona vs. Dallas

29. Rashard Higgins, Cleveland at Indianapolis … Higgins should move into the starting lineup after Corey Coleman left Week 2 with a broken hand. Higgins will have a lot of fantasy buzz this week on waivers after his seven-catch, 95-yard game last week.

30. Mohamed Sanu, Atlanta at Detroit

31. Chris Hogan, New England vs. Houston

32. Terrelle Pryor, Washington vs. Oakland

33. Tyrell Williams, LA Chargers vs. Kansas City

34. T.Y. Hilton, Indianapolis vs. Cleveland

35. Jamison Crowder, Washington vs. Oakland

36. Alshon Jeffery, Philadelphia vs. NY Giants

37. Marvin Jones, Detroit vs. Atlanta

38. Danny Amendola, New England vs. Houston

39. Jermaine Kearse, NY Jets vs. Miami

40. Devin Funchess, Carolina vs. New Orleans … Funchess could have an expanded role with looks across the middle with Greg Olsen sidelined. That is especially true against the Saints, who allow the most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers.

41. Pierre Garcon, San Francisco vs. LA Rams

42. Kenny Golladay, Detroit vs. Atlanta

43. Sammy Watkins, LA Rams at San Francisco

44. Jeremy Maclin, Baltimore at Jacksonville

45. Cooper Kupp, LA Rams at San Francisco

46. Sterling Shepard, NY Giants at Philadelphia

47. Kendall Wright, Chicago vs. Pittsburgh

48. DeSean Jackson, Tampa Bay at Minnesota

49. Ted Ginn Jr., New Orleans at Carolina

50. Brandon Coleman, New Orleans at Carolina

51. Kenny Stills, Miami at NY Jets

52. Geronimo Allison, Green Bay vs. Cincinnati … Allison could see increased usage pending the status of Randall Cobb and/or Jordy Nelson.

53. Paul Richardson, Seattle at Tennessee

54. Tyler Lockett, Seattle at Tennessee

55. Cole Beasley, Dallas at Arizona

56. Allen Hurns, Jacksonville vs. Baltimore

57. Marqise Lee, Jacksonville vs. Baltimore

58. Taywan Taylor, Tennessee vs. Seattle

59. Robby Anderson, NY Jets vs. Miami

60. Brandon Marshall, NY Giants at Philadelphia

61. Donte Moncrief, Indianapolis vs. Cleveland

62. Nelson Agholor, Philadelphia vs. NY Giants

63. Chris Conley, Kansas City at LA Chargers

64. Jaron Brown, Arizona vs. Dallas

65. Jordan Matthews, Buffalo vs. Denver

66. Taylor Gabriel, Atlanta at Detroit

67. Terrance Williams, Dallas at Arizona

68. Travis Benjamin, LA Chargers vs. Kansas City

69. Marquise Goodwin, San Francisco vs. LA Rams

70. Torrey Smith, Philadelphia vs. NY Giants

71. JuJu Smith-Schuster, Pittsburgh at Chicago … Smith-Schuster comes off a game in which he logged his first career NFL reception (three of them) along with his first score. He became the youngest player to score a touchdown (passing, running or catching) since 1968.

72. Rishard Matthews, Tennessee vs. Seattle

73. Eric Decker, Tennessee vs. Seattle

74. Brandon LaFell, Cincinnati at Green Bay

75. Mike Wallace, Baltimore at Jacksonville

Tight ends

1. Travis Kelce, Kansas City at LA Chargers

2. Rob Gronkowski, New England vs. Houston … Gronk (groin) will need to be monitored.

3. Jack Doyle, Indianapolis vs. Cleveland … Doyle flies high in this week’s rankings in part because of his eight-catch game (while so many top tight ends are disappointing). Cleveland has allowed a league-high 19 receptions to tight ends this season.

4. Zach Ertz, Philadelphia vs. NY Giants

5. Jason Witten, Dallas at Arizona

6. Hunter Henry, LA Chargers vs. Kansas City … Henry found his groove with 80 yards on seven receptions last week, after surprisingly not logging a single reception in Week 1. His Week 2 numbers are closing on weekly expectations.

7. Kyle Rudolph, Minnesota vs. Tampa Bay

8. Ben Watson, Baltimore at Jacksonville … Watson should provide some immediate tight end relief to teams needing fantasy points. Last year’s Ravens starter, Dennis Pitta, actually led all tight ends in receptions, so no doubt quarterback Joe Flacco likes to throw to the tight end.

9. Jordan Reed, Washington vs. Oakland … Reed (chest/sternum) will need to be monitored but it seems possible he’ll rest a week.

10. Evan Engram, NY Giants at Philadelphia

11. Coby Fleener, New Orleans at Carolina

12. Delanie Walker, Tennessee vs. Seattle

13. Austin Hooper, Atlanta at Detroit

14. Eric Ebron, Detroit vs. Atlanta

15. Charles Clay, Buffalo vs. Denver

16. Martellus Bennett, Green Bay vs. Cincinnati

17. Jesse James, Pittsburgh at Chicago

18. Jared Cook, Oakland at Washington

19. Ed Dickson, Carolina vs. New Orleans … Dickson is flying under the radar but he’s an experienced veteran with opportunity, especially in this offensive design. He will be the Panthers’ starter with Greg Olsen on injured reserve with a broken foot.

20. Antonio Gates, LA Chargers vs. Kansas City

21. David Njoku, Cleveland at Indianapolis

22. Jimmy Graham, Seattle at Tennessee … Graham (ankle) will need to be monitored but he’s missed practices and doesn’t look primed for an impact this week if he’s active.

23. George Kittle, San Francisco vs. LA Rams

24. Zach Miller, Chicago vs. Pittsburgh

25. Julius Thomas, Miami at NY Jets

26. Seth DeValve, Cleveland at Indianapolis

27. O.J. Howard, Tampa Bay at Minnesota

28. Cameron Brate, Tampa Bay at Minnesota

29. Gerald Everett, LA Rams at San Francisco

30. Vernon Davis, Washington vs. Oakland

Kickers

1. Stephen Gostkowski, New England vs. Houston

2. Justin Tucker, Baltimore at Jacksonville

3. Chris Boswell, Pittsburgh at Chicago

4. Matt Bryant, Atlanta at Detroit

5. Graham Gano, Carolina vs. New Orleans

6. Giorgio Tavecchio, Oakland at Washington

7. Dan Bailey, Dallas at Arizona

8. Matt Prater, Detroit vs. Atlanta

9. Greg Zuerlein, LA Rams at San Francisco

10. Cody Parkey, Miami at NY Jets

11. Mason Crosby, Green Bay vs. Cincinnati

12. Brandon McManus, Denver at Buffalo

13. Nick Folk, Tampa Bay at Minnesota

14. Cairo Santos, Kansas City at LA Chargers

15. Phil Dawson, Arizona vs. Dallas

16. Blair Walsh, Seattle at Tennessee

17. Dustin Hopkins, Washington vs. Oakland

18. Ryan Succop, Tennessee vs. Seattle

19. Wil Lutz, New Orleans at Carolina

20. Adam Vinatieri, Indianapolis vs. Cleveland

21. Kai Forbath, Minnesota vs. Tampa Bay

22. Jake Elliott, Philadelphia vs. NY Giants

23. Younghoe Koo, LA Chargers vs. Kansas City

24. Zane Gonzalez, Cleveland at Indianapolis

25. Chandler Catanzaro, NY Jets vs. Miami

26. Robbie Gould, San Francisco vs. LA Rams

27. Aldrick Rosas, NY Giants at Philadelphia

28. Jason Myers, Jacksonville vs. Baltimore

29. Randy Bullock, Cincinnati at Green Bay

30. Connor Barth, Chicago vs. Pittsburgh

31. Stephen Hauschka, Buffalo vs. Denver

32. Ka’imi Fairbairn, Houston at New England

Defenses

1. Baltimore DT, Baltimore at Jacksonville

2. Denver DT, Denver at Buffalo

3. New England DT, New England vs. Houston

4. Green Bay DT, Green Bay vs. Cincinnati

5. Pittsburgh DT, Pittsburgh at Chicago

6. LA Rams DT, LA Rams at San Francisco

7. Philadelphia DT, Philadelphia vs. NY Giants

8. Miami DT, Miami at NY Jets

9. Buffalo DT, Buffalo vs. Denver

10. Dallas DT, Dallas at Arizona

11. Kansas City DT, Kansas City at LA Chargers

12. Tampa Bay DT, Tampa Bay at Minnesota

13. Carolina DT, Carolina vs. New Orleans

14. Atlanta DT, Atlanta at Detroit

15. Jacksonville DT, Jacksonville vs. Baltimore

16. Tennessee DT, Tennessee vs. Seattle

17. Seattle DT, Seattle at Tennessee

18. Minnesota DT, Minnesota vs. Tampa Bay

19. Arizona DT, Arizona vs. Dallas

20. Cleveland DT, Cleveland at Indianapolis

21. NY Giants DT, NY Giants at Philadelphia

22. Indianapolis DT, Indianapolis vs. Cleveland

23. LA Chargers DT, LA Chargers vs. Kansas City

24. Oakland DT, Oakland at Washington

25. San Francisco DT, San Francisco vs. LA Rams

26. Detroit DT, Detroit vs. Atlanta

27. NY Jets DT, NY Jets vs. Miami

28. Houston DT, Houston at New England

29. Chicago DT, Chicago vs. Pittsburgh

30. New Orleans DT, New Orleans at Carolina

31. Washington DT, Washington vs. Oakland

32. Cincinnati DT, Cincinnati at Green Bay

Alan Satterlee is in his fourth year of writing about fantasy football for The Charlotte Observer. Find him on Twitter at @Speedkills_DFW.