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July 19, 2008

Fantasy Football Week 3 Wide Receiver Rankings

1. Brandon Marshall (DEN) – If week 2 was any indication (we believe it was), Marshall could be in for a monster season. He made all pro CB Antonio Cromartie look like a high school back up, catching 18 passes for 166 yards and a score. Marshall will shred a weak Saints secondary in week 3. That is if he can stay out of trouble long enough to make the game.

2. Terrell Owens (DAL) – He has yet to go over 100 yards receiving in his first 2 games, but he has found pay dirt 3 times. Owens is one of the few fantasy WR’s that you can truly count on each and every week. Green Bay’s secondary is tough, but they are no match for T.O. in week 3. Owens pulled in 7 passes for 156 yards and a TD against the Packers last season.

3. Reggie Wayne (IND) – He has been the only consistent weapon for the Colts in the first 2 games with TD receptions in both contests. Wayne will match up against a stingy Jaguars pass defense in week 3, but he has been fairly dominant against them historically. In 2 games against Jacksonville last season, Wayne hauled in 17 passes for 289 yards and a TD.

4. Plaxico Burress (NYG) – He didn’t reach double digit catches or triple digit yardage like he did in week 1, but he did reach the end zone in week 2. Burress makes it look so easy, and he will have no trouble exposing a soft Bengals pass defense that looks deceptively good on paper through 2 games. Burress should dominate the Cincinnati secondary in week 3.

5. Andre Johnson (HOU) – Even though the Titans have been dominant on defense so far, it will be a tall order for them to contain Andre Johnson. In Johnson’s last 3 games against Tennessee, he has accumulated 25 receptions, 262 receiving yards, and 2 TD’s. Johnson is a no brainer for your week 3 fantasy roster.

6. Steve Smith (CAR) – He returns from a 2 game suspension and it couldn’t have come at a better time as Smith will have the luxury of facing a shaky Minnesota secondary in week 3. He had his struggles at times last season, but with a healthy Jake Delhomme back under center, Smith should return to elite fantasy form. It’s time to find out if he was worth the wait.

7. Anquan Boldin (ARI) – He played the Dolphins secondary like a rented fiddle in week 2 to the tune of 6 catches, 140 yards, and not 1, not 2, but 3 TD’s. Boldin has been Kurt Warner’s favorite target so far this year, especially in the red zone. He will face a much tougher Redskins secondary in week 3, but he did grab 2 TD catches against them last season.

8. Calvin Johnson (DET) – After putting up back to back 100 yard games and scoring 2 TD’s in week 2, Johnson is definitely being all that he can be, and then some. The San Francisco pass defense has been really good through there first 2 contests, but as much as Johnson has been getting targeted, he should have little problem putting forth another strong fantasy effort against them in week 3.

9. Greg Jennings (GB) – Despite 2 huge yardage efforts, Jennings has yet to get into the end zone. It is obvious that he and Aaron Rodgers have a strong rapport, so it is only a matter of time before he hits pay dirt. In fact, week 3 against Dallas looks fairly promising for just that. Jennings had 87 yards receiving and a TD against Dallas last season, and while you might be thinking that those numbers came with Brett Favre under center, you would be partially wrong. Aaron Rodgers actually threw the TD pass to Jennings after Favre went down with an injury in that game. The Cowboys will be Jennings toughest test to date, but we like his chances.

10. Randy Moss (NE) – While last week’s performance is cause for concern, you probably shouldn’t hit the panic button just yet. You have to remember that you are talking about a first time starter at QB (Matt Cassel), and Moss was double covered the whole game, which probably scared Cassel to death. As soon as Cassel realizes that double coverage is no match for Moss, they should start connecting. This week’s match up against Miami will be a great opportunity for Cassel to gain confidence in Moss. The Dolphins were torched last week and have now given up 545 yards and 5 TD’s through the air without a single interception in their first 2 games. In addition, Moss owned this defense last season, scoring 4 TD’s against them in 2 games. Moss remains a must start, but if he and Cassel can’t get it going with this sweet match up, start reaching for that panic button.

11. Larry Fitzgerald (ARI) – He couldn’t find the end zone for the second straight week, but he made up for with an impressive 153 receiving yards on 6 catches against Miami in week 2. Fitzgerald will have his work cut out for him in week 3 against a much improved Redskins pass defense. Fitzgerald should be up to the challenge, as he caught 6 passes for 97 yards against Washington last season.

12. Wes Welker (NE) – He has been good, but not great so far this season. Week 3 should afford Welker the opportunity to be great. He will face his former team, the Dolphins, in week 3. In 2 games against Miami last season, he had 14 catches for 187 yards and 2 TD’s. Welker was Matt Cassel’s favorite target in week 2, and considering how bad the Dolphins secondary appears to be, he should be in for a bigger and better week 3.

13. Hines Ward (PIT) – He has been a fantasy rock through the first 2 weeks with 3 receiving TD’s. Ward has clearly become Ben Roethlisberger’s go to target in the red zone so far this year, a trend we expect to continue, and elevates Ward’s fantasy value substantially. He will be covered by either Lito Shepphard or Asante Samuel throughout most of week 3’s game, both are very accomplished and talented defensive backs, but we think Ward’s crafty veteran know how will make him available for plenty of touches, especially in the all important red zone. It’s a tough match up, but one he should get the better of.

14. Torry Holt (STL) – He may not be completely out of the woods, but his week 2 performance was probably a big relief for fantasy owners ready to hit the panic button after Holt’s week 1 bust. There should be more relief in week 3 against the Seahawks as Holt has played very well against Seattle throughout his career. The Rams offense is still a mess, but Holt should carry week 2’s momentum into week 3, and prove why he has been one of the most consistent WR’s in NFL history.

15. Roddy White (ATL) – He has been consistent through the first 2 games, consistently average. In week 1, the Falcons didn’t need him with Michael Turner running wild, and in week 2 he was facing a great Tampa Bay secondary. We like his chances to finally break out in week 3. He will be facing Kansas City at home, and while the Chiefs pass defense looks good on paper, they have had joke match ups in their first 2 games. In addition, the Chiefs will be without their best cover CB Patrick Surtain in week 3, forcing them to start 2 rookies at the CB position. White should be able to run circles around this secondary, and anything less than a huge game would be a disappointment.

16. Jerricho Cotchery (NYJ) – After a strong week1 that included a TD, Cotchery
faded into obscurity in week 2 with only 1 catch for 20 yards. He should get back on track in week 3 against a San Diego pass defense that was humiliated by Denver in week 2. While you shouldn’t expect Cotchery to put up Brandon Marshall type numbers against the Chargers, he should be in for a solid Monday Night.

17. DeSean Jackson (PHI) – In spite of the bonehead move of this NFL decade, Jackson made history in week 2, becoming the first rookie since Don Looney in 1940 to post 100 + yard receiving efforts in his first 2 games. Even though he didn’t get the TD, I’m one of the lucky ones that still won my week 2 fantasy match up, so he will make our Christmas list. We are currently trying to decide between eye glasses or a tape measure for a gift. Jackson will be hard pressed to garner a third 100 yard game against Pittsburgh, but he is the real deal and remains a must start in spite of the poor match up. Let’s hope he celebrates after crossing the goal line in week 3.

18. Braylon Edwards (CLE) – He continued to stink it up in week 2. Edwards was targeted early and often, but continued to drop pass after pass. Despite the extreme case of butter fingers, we still believe he will get things going soon. Week 3 is as good a week as any, as Edwards will be playing the Ravens. While the Ravens secondary is solid, Edwards has repeatedly torched them over the last 2 seasons. He has averaged 92 yards per game and has scored a TD in 3 of his last 4 games against them. If he can get the Vaseline off of his hands in week 3, we like his chances to bounce back. Check injury report: shoulder (limited practice on Friday, questionable)

19. Donald Driver (GB) – He had 7 catches for 52 yards and a TD in week 2. It would have been Driver’s second TD of the season if not for a blown officiating call in week1.The week 2 TD was his first since week 3 of last season. It is a good sign that Driver is at least getting opportunities to get into the end zone as he only had 2 TD’s all of last season. We think Driver will play a significant role in the Packers game plan when they take on Dallas in week 3. Driver caught 7 passes for 66 yards against the Cowboys last season.

20. Chris Chambers (SD) – After Chamber’s 2 TD performance in week 2, he now has 5 TD’s in his last 4 games going back to last season, including 3 TD’s in 2 games this season. While you probably can’t count on him to continue finding the end zone on a weekly basis, you have to stick with him while he is hot. Chambers is a quality fantasy WR that should be in your line up for week 3 against the Jets.

21. Santonio Holmes (PIT) – After a disappointing week 1, Holmes looked a little more like the fantasy WR owners were expecting to see this season. He still has a lot to prove considering the hype that surrounded him via fantasy drafts, but week 2 at least showed potential. While a week 3 match up at Philadelphia doesn’t hold a great deal of promise, Holmes is always capable of a big game against opponent.

22. Bryant Johnson (SF) – He is coming off of a strong fantasy effort in week 2, and we only expect him to get better. Johnson should see plenty of targets in week 3, and the match up against Detroit bodes well. The Lions secondary was torched in week 2 for 328 yards and 3 TD’s through the air. Johnson should make for a solid WR2 with this match up.

23. T.J. Houshmandzadeh (CIN) – In all fairness, his lack of production so far can not be placed on his shoulders alone. The Cincinnati offense as a whole has been a dud to this point and the weather during week 2’s game did not help his cause much either. Houshmandzadeh is far too talented to continue to play on this level. We expect him to get going sooner than later, but he is going to need some help from the rest of the Bengals offense, mainly Carson Palmer, if he is going to dominate a stout Giants defense in week 3.

24. Lee Evans (BUF) – He has looked good so far this season averaging 90 yards per game, but he has yet to score a TD. Week 3 against the Raiders looks like a good opportunity to do just that, as Oakland has already allowed 3 TD’s through the air in their first 2 games. Evans should be a solid WR2 option for week 3.

25. Santana Moss (WAS) – He appears to really be benefiting from the Redskins newly installed west coast offense. Moss has been on fire through the first 2 weeks with 201 receiving yards and 2 TD’s. He will face the Cardinals in week 3. The Arizona pass defense has also been on fire so far this season and have yet to allow a single passing TD in their first 2 games. In addition, Moss only caught 2 passes for 8 yards against them last season. While we aren’t real confident with this match up, it is hard to argue with a hot streak, even if it is only 2 games. Moss has earned a spot on your week 3 fantasy roster.

26. Roy Williams (DET) – He has been pretty underwhelming so far this season with only 95 receiving yards and 1 TD to his credit, but when you consider that he has only seen 12 passes come his way in the first 2 games; those numbers aren’t half bad. Unfortunately, Williams is no longer Jon Kitna’s favorite target, that honor now goes to Calvin Johnson. While you can probably expect Williams to have a big game from time to time, his days amongst the fantasy elite are probably over. Don’t get us wrong, he is still plenty capable, but he can not be effective if he doesn’t get the ball. Williams has been publicly complaining all week about the lack of attention he is receiving in the Lions offense. This will either work for him or against him in week 3 against the 49ers.

27. Dwayne Bowe (KC) – While he is a little scary this week, knowing that the inexperienced Tyler Thigpen will be throwing the ball to him, Bowe remains a viable fantasy option for week 3. Thigpen is not a great QB, but he did target Bowe 9 times last week, and considering that Bowe will be facing a very inexperienced Falcons secondary in week 3, we like his chances. He was targeted 22 times in the first 2 weeks, only Reggie Wayne received more looks (24).

28. Laveranues Coles (NYJ) – He showed promise in week 2 after a pathetic week 1 performance. Cole’s 72 receiving yards against New England is a good indication that he is starting to gel with Brett Favre. Cole’s could be in for an even better week 3 against a Chargers secondary that was toasted by Broncos WR’s last week. He is still a bit risky, but certainly worth a look as a WR2 or 3. Check injury report: thigh (limited practice on Friday, but expected to play)

29. Eddie Royal (DEN) – As we expected, Royal’s stat line dropped significantly in week 2 with Brandon Marshall returning to the line up. While he did manage to find the end zone for the second straight week, he was rarely targeted throughout the game. That said, we do think Royal will play a bigger role in week 3 against a soft New Orleans secondary. This game will probably turn into an air show and Royal should benefit, but don’t expect him to do what he did in week 1.

30. Anthony Gonzalez (IND) – After a 9 catch 137 yard performance in week 2, we may have jumped the gun in criticizing his fantasy potential in week 1’s rankings. While the jury is still out to some degree this early in the season, Gonzalez looks like he might actually become a solid fantasy option week in and week out. Based on the number of targets he has gotten from Peyton Manning in the first 2 games, Gonzalez should make for a decent WR2 or 3 against Jacksonville on Sunday, although you can expect fewer targets for him if Dallas Clark plays.

31. Chad “Ocho Cinco” Johnson (CIN) – He showed improvement in week 2, but that isn’t saying much. After an up and down season in’07 and a pre season shoulder injury, we expected him to be pretty inconsistent in 2008, but not consistently bad. He still has the tools to put together a monster game, even against a tough Giants defense in week 3, but the way things are going for this offense, Johnson is a long shot to do any real damage.

32. Isaac Bruce (SF) – Bruce rebounded nicely in week 2 after getting shut out in his first start as a 49er. Week 3 should provide Bruce with the opportunity to further regain the faith of fantasy owners lost in week 1. He will face a very shaky Lions secondary at home that was toasted in week 2. Bruce must continue to increase his targets to remain viable, but this is a good match up for him, and he is worth a look as a fantasy WR3.

34. Marvin Harrison (IND) – Just when we thought the Marvin of old was on his way back, he goes out and has a forgettable week 2. At this point, we think Harrison will probably have his big games, but it does not appear as though he is going to be the reliable fantasy option he was in the past. Hopefully, week 2 was just a fluke, but it may be that week 1 was the fluke. It is hard to say, but we will know more after week 3. Harrison has a good track record against Jacksonville, so he is probably worth another shot, but there is an obvious risk that comes with starting him.

35. Vincent Jackson (SD) – He isn’t putting up monster numbers, but Jackson seems to be much more stable than last season. He has gotten a decent number of looks through the first 2 weeks, and with his size, Jackson is always a threat in the red zone. He will face a mediocre Jets secondary in week 3.

36. David Patten (NO) – He probably isn’t going to be your most consistent fantasy WR, but as long as Colston is out, Patten has value. He will face a Denver secondary in week 3 that has already allowed 5 passing TD’s through the first 2 weeks. A promising stat that bodes well for Patten. He is capable of a big fantasy week if this game turns into a shoot out, but he is still a long shot.

37. Derrick Mason (BAL) – He had 16 catches for 161 yards in 2 games against Cleveland last season. Mason seems to always get plenty of yards and touches when he plays the Browns, but strangely enough, he hasn’t scored a single TD in his last 6 meetings with them. Mason has a shot at his usual solid fantasy outing in week 3, but considering that rookie Joe Flacco will be under center, a monster game is probably out of the question.

38. Matt Jones (JAX) – The only thing that has prevented Jones from converting solid fantasy numbers into great ones through the first 2 weeks has been the lack of a TD, but if he continues to be targeted as often as he has been so far, it is only a matter of time. Unfortunately, a week 3 match up against the Colts does not bode well for that potential TD. The Indianapolis secondary has not allowed a passing TD in either of their first 2 games. We still like what Jones brings to the table, and he is not a bad WR3 for week 3.

39. Bernard Berrian (MIN) – Now that Gus Frerotte has been named the Vikings starting QB, Berrian has a legitimate shot of becoming a valuable fantasy WR. He will face what looks to be a middle of the road Carolina pass defense in week 3. This could be a breakout week for Berrian, but he is till nursing a bad toe, and you might be best served waiting to see how things go this week before relying heavily on Berrian. Check injury report: toe, foot (limited practice on Friday, probable)

40. Patrick Crayton (DAL) – Much like last season, Crayton appears to be a hit or miss fantasy option. After a solid week 1, Crayton was only targeted 3 times in week 2. You can probably expect this throughout the season with little indication as to whether he will be good or bad. He will face the Packers in week 3, and we can tell you that he was great against them last season, scoring 2 TD’s, but that is still little comfort with a guy as inconsistent as Crayton. He is a risky WR3 at best against Green Bay.

41. Ike Hilliard (TB) – Hilliard has only been targeted 12 times so far this season, but he has made the most of those targets with 10 catches, 86 yards, and a TD. With Joey Galloway sitting this week out, it is only fair to expect that either Hilliard or Antonio Bryant will become Tampa’s go to WR in week 3. It is not a great match up against the Bears, but Hilliard is capable of a nice fantasy effort.

42. Justin Gage (TEN) – Now that Kerry Collins has stepped in as the Titans starting QB, we like Gage’s potential a lot more. He would actually be ranked higher this week if it weren’t for a groin injury that he suffered last week en route to a nice fantasy effort. The match up is promising, as Gage caught 10 passes for 112 yards and a TD in 2 games against Houston last year. If we were sure that he was going to be 100% we would recommend using Gage in week 3, but he has the kind of injury that could cut his day short even if he does try to make a go of it. Gage is appealing, but risky against Houston. Check injury report: groin (did not practice on Friday, questionable to play)

43. Chansi Stuckey (NYJ) – He has become a favorite red zone target for Brett Favre so far this season, scoring a TD in each of his first 2 games. While the match up against the Chargers bodes well for him (considering San Diego has already allowed 5 passing TD’s in 2 games) receiving TD’s are hard to come by 3 weeks in a row. Stuckey has been great so far, but he probably won’t be targeted enough to do much damage if he doesn’t get into the end zone this week, which is possible, but not likely.

44. Antonio Bryant (TB) – With Joey Galloway sitting week 3 out, Bryant has real sleeper potential. The match up isn’t great against the Bears, but Bryant is an underrated WR capable of a solid game or better. He is pretty risky, but starting him could pay off.

45. Muhsin Muhammad (CAR) – Only 3 WR’s have been targeted more than Muhammad through the first 2 weeks, unfortunately that will likely change in week 3 with Carolina’s go to WR Steve Smith back from suspension. We still think Muhammad will get his fair share of touches, but don’t expect his numbers to add up to much for you.

46. Kevin Walter (HOU) – He is not a reliable fantasy WR, but Walter did have a solid week 1. He will match up against the Tennessee Titans in week 3. Walter was impressive against the Titans in his first game against them last season, catching 6 passes for 97 yards and a TD. Those numbers are little deceptive however as they came while Andre Johnson was sidelined with injury. The second time Walter faced the Titans, with Johnson back in the line up, he only had 1 catch for 11 yards. Walter is capable of nabbing a few points for you this week, but little more.

47. James Jones (GB) – He is not someone you can count on every week, but as he proved in week 2 with a TD, Jones makes for a nice bye week fill in or desperation WR3. He is not a great option against Dallas in week 3.

48. Antwaan Randle El (WAS) – He continued to be targeted early and fairly often in week 2 against the Saints. Randle El is not much of a TD threat, but he will get you a few catches every week, and is capable of some nice yardage totals. He is not your best bet against Arizona in week 3.

49. James Hardy (BUF) –The promising rookie finally got some love in week 2 as he scored on a 7 yard pass from QB Trent Edwards. Hardy should get on the field even more in week 3 against the Raiders, but he is probably best left on the bench until he starts showing that he can get it done on a regular basis, which he has the potential to do.

50. Amani Toomer (NYG) – Considering his week 2 match up against the Rams, we kind of expected Toomer to have a nice fantasy day, but you can not expect that kind of production from him every week. He has a fairly promising match up again in week 3 against the Bengals, but he is a long shot to do the kind of damage he did against St. Louis.

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