UPDATED: 9/22/2011: Well we’re two weeks into the fantasy football season, and already we’re seeing a few expected trends with the wideouts, but again, this week will be all about the matchups that dictate the best possible fantasy output.
Remember that you always have to take into account what the defenses are going to do to the quarterback—particularly up front—in order to kinda gage what might come.
There’s no exact science I’m talking about here, but this approach certainly helps.
Let’s take a look at who’s who in Week 3.
1. Calvin Johnson – DET: The Minnesota pass defense has—through two weeks now—shown some significant stamina issues, and defensive coordinator Fred Pagac has shown he can’t adjust after half-time. Megatron is already a serious threat to the much smaller corners of Minnesota, but if the Vikings keep their trend of a second half collapse team, Johnson is going to wreak havoc all over this secondary for four straight quarters. He has the best matchup out of the Top 5, this week, in my opinion.
2. Andre Johnson – HOU: The only issue with keeping Andre Johnson out of the number one spot is the Saints’ ability to apply pressure on the quarterback, which they have shown for two straight weeks now. Will Johnson have a banner day? Yes. Will it be better than Calvin Johnson? Not in my opinion. The other issue here is that the Texans are likely to try and go back to featuring the run more if their backfield is healthy enough, which might cut into his potential production.
3. Vincent Jackson – SD: Jackson is back and better than ever, and he faces a Chiefs team that is reeling right now for some unknown reason. The Chiefs are playing a lot worse than they actually are, and receivers and tight ends have been reaping the benefits, along with their respective quarterbacks. Jackson is in-line for another monster day, no doubt about it.
4. Larry Fitzgerald – ARI: Is there anyone who can stop this guy for four straight quarters? The only reason why Fitz isn’t higher in the rankings is because the Cardinals are still trying to find a way to start hot. Fitzgerald caught seven passes for 133 yards and a TD last week, but the majority of the work came in the second half, after the Cardinals went to five-wide. This week he is NOT dealing with DeAngelo Hall, and should have a slightly better week than Week 2.
5. DeSean Jackson – PHI: He is a bona-certified playmaker who will always been the focal point for Michael Vick, especially in clutch situations. The problem with the ranking? There are too many other cooks in the kitchen to think he will have a better day than most of the aforementioned receivers. Jackson should still have another solid outing, however, and is certainly a Top 10 receiver.
The Rest of the Week 3 Class
|6. Kenny Britt – TEN||Two incredible outings make Britt a stellar start this week, and proves he is in fact, back. Britt's hamstring is not serious enough to prevent him from playing this week.|
|7. Roddy White – ATL||The Eagles did a nice job of shutting down White, but expect him to have a bounce back week against the Bucs.|
|8. Greg Jennings – GB||Jennings is a primary target for sure, but the Bears always seem to give the guy just a little bit of trouble…just enough to keep him down in the rankings this week.|
|9. Hakeem Nicks – NYG||Nicks is “nicked up” and you already saw what they did to Roddy White.|
|10. Brandon Marshall – MIA||Marshall is a quality start against an inconsistent Browns coverage D.|
|11. Mike Wallace – PIT||Wallace has a nice matchup against the now woeful Colts.|
|12. Wes Welker – NE||PPR machine as usual.|
|13. Steve Smith – CAR||Smith is seeing a rejuvenated season with Cam Newton, but Newton needs to show he can last 4 quarters against the better teams in the league to raise Smith’s rank.|
|14. Jeremy Maclin – PHI||Jackson will start to Vick’s left, and will see more targets this week than Maclin. I said the same about Maclin in Week 2 which our own Greg Brosh can verify, and I was right.|
|15. Steve Johnson – BUF||Johnson is a little banged up and could lose some effectiveness on the outside, but he does play the worst passing D in the league. Held out of practice Wednesday for precautionary reasons.|
|16. Santonio Holmes – NYJ||Holmes is shining right now.|
|17. Dez Bryant – DAL||Bryant’s targets will increase with Miles Austin missing time, but Bryant is also a little banged up, and should split targets with TE Jason Witten.|
|18. Mike Williams – TB||Atlanta stinks at covering and Williams excels against poor coverage teams.|
|19. David Nelson - BUF
||Nelson crack the Top 25, as the player who has the better matchup, and opportunity here. There is, however, some risk if Steven Johnson does not play, since it will reduce Nelson's opportunities.|
|20. Percy Harvin – MIN||A 44.1% snap percentage, and not being featured in the red-zone packages significantly hurts Harvin’s rank this week.|
|21. Mario Manningham – NYG||Manningham is dealing with the aftershock of a concussion which has already hurt his value. He may not even play this week, so keep checking back for more news when it becomes available. Manningham was held out of Wednesday's practice, things aren't looking good.|
|22. Santana Moss – WSH||I like Moss’ chance for a modest game here.|
|23. Anquan Boldin – BAL||The Rams are a sneaky team on defense, except against true slot receivers like Boldin.|
|24. Nate Burleson – DET||Could wind up being the forgotten man on the field.|
|25. Hines Ward - PIT||Can’t go wrong with the old veteran against the Colts.|
UPDATE: The Votes are in and Top 40 wins outright!
Since this thread became too long for any addition, you can view the extension over at the brand new Top 15 Second Tier WR Rankings when you are done with this piece.