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Welcome, one and all, to the weekly piece that puts my rankings under the microscope and gives me a chance to explain myself against the Expert Consensus Rankings (ECR) found on FantasyPros. My hope is to help you understand why I’m significantly higher or lower on players than the expert crowd.

I'll be examining my own ranks against the ECR on a position-by-position basis, as the overall and flex tabs can simply get insane with every position folded in with the others. I focus on QB, RB, WR, and TE -- feel free to holler if you really want K or DEF notes.

If anything strikes a chord, I’m always available for questions via Twitter: @NMariano53. But enough chit-chat, let’s dance.

Editor's Note: Try our exclusive Premium Lineup Tools for free! Our proprietary Matchup Rating projections, Lineup Optimizer, DFS value picks, waiver wire rankings and more. Sign Up Now!

 

Week 3 Quarterbacks - Rankings Analysis

I like four quarterbacks at least four slots above the consensus: Cam Newton, Russell Wilson, Blake Bortles and Mitch Trubisky. Cam gets to play at home against the Bengals -- who are getting Vontaze Burfict back -- but this dude is a goal-line back and QB rolled in one. When no one else’s matchup is screaming for the top-three then Cam’s a rather easy default.

Russ also has wheels and gets to play at home in Week 3. My hope is that Seattle learns from their embarrassing effort on MNF, though putting faith in Brian Schottenheimer is probably dumb. Bortles is one of my favorite plays, as Jacksonville should roll the Titans with the defensive advantage and win the field position war all day. I know Tennessee has historically performed well against him, but 2018 is a new year. And Trubisky simply gets to face an Arizona team whose offense is sucking the whole team down, again making for strong field positions.

I dislike Aaron Rodgers and Andrew Luck four or more slots than the ECR, as Rodgers’ limited mobility continues to hinder my love. Also, Washington’s defense at home is nothing to scoff at. Meanwhile, Luck has the tall task of facing an Eagles defense in Philly just two weeks after Matt Ryan was a fantasy dud in Week 1. I’ll pass on Luck here as he continues to get back to speed.

 

Week 3 Running Backs - Rankings Analysis

I have to assume that folks are just waiting on Dalvin Cook’s status to give Latavius Murray the proper respect for Week 3, as his ECR of 39 is criminal compared to the RB2/3 he is (even if Cook plays a bit) in a dream matchup against Buffalo. If Cook is confirmed out then I’ll probably take Murray up to RB13 or so, making him a high-end RB2. But Javorius Allen and Austin Ekeler have both been useful plays when facing the Bills in Weeks 1 and 2, so why not Murray?

Other likes include Alfred Morris, who I think gets his share in a shootout, as well as Chris Carson and Jordan Wilkins, both of whom still look like the best RBs on their teams despite some bumps in the road. Again, I think higher of Seattle at home and that whole special teams, getting gassed business for Carson better be ironed out if Pete Carroll is a real NFL coach.

Aside from being lower on Cook, I also have Saquon Barkley down to 12 from an ECR of 6. I respect his incredible, tackle-breaking talent, but the Giants are just a dumpster fire. That offensive line has more holes in it than my ex-girlfriend’s stories about what she did the night before. Barkley’s broken tackles only turn losses into modest gains, and if you’re lucky then he breaks a huge one. There are better ranges of outcomes to dance with.

I’m also down on Dion Lewis (-11), Isaiah Crowell (-7) and Royce Freeman (-7) because Lewis has a broken offense around him, Crowell faces a tough Cleveland run defense and is the less versatile RB and Freeman is the 1B to Phillip Lindsay’s 1A right now. Freeman will continue to play, but he fills more of the two-down, short-yardage back role versus Lindsay’s more agile game and his receiving chops.

 

Week 3 Wide Receivers - Rankings Analysis

Here are the WRs I like considerably more than the ECR: Larry Fitzgerald (+5), Robert Woods (+13), Keelan Cole (+7), Calvin Ridley (+11) and James Washington (+15).

The Cardinals have flat-out sucked so far, but the Bears secondary is leaky. Kyle Fuller, Prince Amukamara and slot man Bryce Callahan have had their moments, but they yielded a 9-142-1 line to Randall Cobb -- he was more than just that long TD scamper -- and we saw Tyler Lockett muster a 5-60-1 line in Seattle’s MNF struggle. I hate trusting Sam Bradford (or Josh Rosen) for anything right now, but Fitz is still in WR2 territory for me in a game where they should need to throw very quickly, lest Khalil Mack eat all of their QBs for dinner.

Robert Woods seems poised to join Brandin Cooks and Cooper Kupp at the feast in Week 3, as his potential hasn’t turned into production just yet. He leads the WR trio in air yards despite trailing in fantasy points. It can feel like a chaotic carousel at times, but the numbers under the surface point to Woods popping.

Then you have Cole, who should square off with the often-burned Malcolm Butler. Ridley, who saw five targets compared to Mohamed Sanu’s two en route to a 4-64-1 line, is working into the offense just as the Saints reeling defense comes to town. And while Washington caught just one-of-five targets for a 14-yard TD, he’s going against a very green DB corps for the Bucs that features nobody with a PFF score above 63. That PIT-TB tilt has a Vegas total that’s reached 54 already, making it a nice game to target for fringe players.

On the other side of things, I’m down on both Emmanuel Sanders (-7) and Demaryius Thomas (-5). Don’t take this as a “you cannot start him!” -- I’m just lower on them heading into a road tilt with Baltimore. I realize the Ravens got torched by Andy Dalton, A.J. Green, and Tyler Boyd in Week 2, but they’ve had 10 days to rebound and study up. Sanders should matchup well with Tavon Young in the slot, but Marlon Humphrey and Brandon Carr are worthy adversaries on the outside.

I’m also six slots lower on Allen Robinson II, who caught a stellar 10 balls in Week 2, but for 83 scoreless yards. The good news for AR owners is that he’s clearly Mitch Trubisky’s first read on the majority of pass plays. The bad news (more for Trubs) is that he doesn’t progress well through his reads and Robinson isn’t getting much separation, so the receptions tend to be in traffic. Robinson’s 21 yards after contact are nothing special and the Bears don’t generate enough offense to hit the red zone often. With whispers that Jordan Howard needs to be more involved, I’d drop AR from WR2 to WR3 status.

 

Week 3 Tight Ends - Rankings Analysis

Typically a tighter position to rank, I have Jared Cook three slots higher (No. 6 vs. No. 9) since Derek Carr and Jon Gruden both seem happy to lean on the TE thus far. Cook’s floor still leaves something to be desired against the top-tier TEs, but he’s been good for a handful of elite games in past seasons and finds himself in a good environment for his own production. Oakland will face Miami in Week 3, who have shut down opposing wideouts but have yielded 155 yards to TEs through two weeks. It’s the little edges that can turn a week for you.

I also like both Jesse James and Vance McDonald two slots above their ECR, though James is the only one you’re starting for Week 3 since McDonald hasn’t “shown it” yet after starting the season injured.

I’m not much lower on anyone that I think you’d be using, though Austin Seferian-Jenkins and Benjamin Watson are three slots below ECR for me. This takes them from 14-team viability to “eh, I’d rather not”. For instance, I have Austin Hooper at 14 -- above both of the aforementioned TEs -- and I bet most see him as lower than them.

Watson is facing a dinged-up Atlanta squad that still held Zach Ertz to a 5-48-0 line on 10 targets. ASJ has just 43 air yards so far -- fewer than Logan Thomas -- and while he’s a big target in the red zone, I sense Jacksonville just pounding it in with Leonard Fournette if they get near the goal line. I like Keelan Cole to rip off a long TD, but don’t love the outlook in that tilted contest for someone who is unlikely to score from a distance.

 

Week 3 Rankings - Nick Mariano vs. Industry Consensus

Rank Player Name Team Position ECR vs. ECR
1 Todd Gurley LAR RB 1 0
2 Alvin Kamara NO RB 2 0
3 Ezekiel Elliott DAL RB 3 0
4 Melvin Gordon LAC RB 4 0
5 Antonio Brown PIT WR 6 1
6 James Conner PIT RB 5 -1
7 David Johnson ARI RB 16 9
8 Kareem Hunt KC RB 8 0
9 Christian McCaffrey CAR RB 10 1
10 Tevin Coleman ATL RB 13 3
11 Julio Jones ATL WR 11 0
12 DeAndre Hopkins HOU WR 14 2
13 Michael Thomas NO WR 9 -4
14 Tyreek Hill KC WR 17 3
15 Jordan Howard CHI RB 15 0
16 Leonard Fournette JAC RB 31 15
17 Saquon Barkley NYG RB 7 -10
18 Kenyan Drake MIA RB 20 2
19 Odell Beckham Jr. NYG WR 18 -1
20 Giovani Bernard CIN RB 26 6
21 Dalvin Cook MIN RB 12 -9
22 A.J. Green CIN WR 19 -3
23 Rob Gronkowski NE TE 21 -2
24 Alex Collins BAL RB 35 11
25 Mike Evans TB WR 22 -3
26 Juju Smith-Schuster PIT WR 25 -1
27 Stefon Diggs MIN WR 24 -3
28 Jay Ajayi PHI RB 53 25
29 Adam Thielen MIN WR 28 -1
30 Lamar Miller HOU RB 23 -7
31 Adrian Peterson WAS RB 42 11
32 Keenan Allen LAC WR 29 -3
33 Davante Adams GB WR 27 -6
34 Brandin Cooks LAR WR 38 4
35 Marshawn Lynch OAK RB 36 1
36 T.Y. Hilton IND WR 30 -6
37 Matt Breida SF RB 34 -3
38 Carlos Hyde CLE RB 32 -6
39 Golden Tate DET WR 43 4
40 Latavius Murray MIN RB 78 38
41 Peyton Barber TB RB 49 8
42 Jamaal Williams GB RB 52 10
43 Phillip Lindsay DEN RB 46 3
44 Nelson Agholor PHI WR 40 -4
45 Jarvis Landry CLE WR 41 -4
46 Chris Thompson WAS RB 33 -13
47 Larry Fitzgerald ARI WR 57 10
48 Bilal Powell NYJ RB 58 10
49 Chris Hogan NE WR 51 2
50 Travis Kelce KC TE 37 -13
51 Alfred Morris SF RB 82 31
52 Amari Cooper OAK WR 47 -5
53 Robert Woods LAR WR 70 17
54 Zach Ertz PHI TE 39 -15
55 LeSean McCoy BUF RB 76 21
56 Keelan Cole JAC WR 64 8
57 Kenny Golladay DET WR 50 -7
58 Chris Carson SEA RB 85 27
59 Kerryon Johnson DET RB 74 15
60 James White NE RB 61 1
61 Marvin Jones DET WR 56 -5
62 Emmanuel Sanders DEN WR 44 -18
63 Sammy Watkins KC WR 66 3
64 Cooper Kupp LAR WR 65 1
65 Dion Lewis TEN RB 45 -20
66 Javorius Allen BAL RB 93 27
67 Allen Robinson CHI WR 48 -19
68 Devin Funchess CAR WR 68 0
69 DeSean Jackson TB WR 69 0
70 Isaiah Crowell NYJ RB 54 -16
71 Derrick Henry TEN RB 81 10
72 Demaryius Thomas DEN WR 59 -13
73 Kenny Stills MIA WR 62 -11
74 Jimmy Graham GB TE 80 6
75 Michael Crabtree BAL WR 77 2
76 Randall Cobb GB WR 73 -3
77 Marquise Goodwin SF WR 97 20
78 Quincy Enunwa NYJ WR 60 -18
79 Royce Freeman DEN RB 75 -4
80 Will Fuller HOU WR 63 -17
81 Tyler Lockett SEA WR 71 -10
82 Phillip Dorsett NE WR 98 16
83 Pierre Garcon SF WR 87 4
84 Chris Godwin TB WR 88 4
85 Robby Anderson NYJ WR 91 6
86 Brandon Marshall SEA WR 102 16
87 Sony Michel NE RB 72 -15
88 John Brown BAL WR 83 -5
89 Calvin Ridley ATL WR 123 34
90 Jordan Reed WAS TE 84 -6
91 Rex Burkhead NE RB 55 -36
92 Corey Clement PHI RB 67 -25
93 Jared Cook OAK TE 103 10
94 Jordan Wilkins IND RB 105 11
95 Geronimo Allison GB WR 96 1
96 George Kittle SF TE 79 -17
97 Kyle Rudolph MIN TE 95 -2
98 Rashaad Penny SEA RB 99 1
99 Corey Davis TEN WR 86 -13
100 Marlon Mack IND RB 101 1
101 Ted Ginn NO WR 90 -11
102 Dede Westbrook JAC WR 110 8
103 Jamison Crowder WAS WR 100 -3
104 Austin Ekeler LAC RB 89 -15
105 Aaron Jones GB RB 107 2
106 Sterling Shepard NYG WR 106 0
107 Antonio Callaway CLE WR 115 8
108 Evan Engram NYG TE 94 -14
109 Danny Amendola MIA WR 125 16
110 Tarik Cohen CHI RB 113 3
111 Tyler Boyd CIN WR 117 6
112 Trey Burton CHI TE 104 -8
113 Theo Riddick DET RB 108 -5
114 Frank Gore MIA RB 119 5
115 O.J. Howard TB TE 109 -6
116 Tyrell Williams LAC WR 127 11
117 Mike Williams LAC WR 112 -5
118 Josh Doctson WAS WR 133 15
119 Duke Johnson CLE RB 111 -8
120 Josh Gordon NE WR 121 1
121 Mohamed Sanu ATL WR 130 9
122 T.J. Yeldon JAC RB 92 -30
123 Devante Parker MIA WR 145 22
124 Jack Doyle IND TE 116 -8
125 LeGarrette Blount DET RB 131 6
126 Ito Smith ATL RB 126 0
127 C.J. Anderson CAR RB 137 10
128 Jordy Nelson OAK WR 120 -8
129 Donte Moncrief JAC WR 132 3
130 Albert Wilson MIA WR 149 19
131 Willie Snead BAL WR 151 20
132 David Njoku CLE TE 124 -8
133 Austin Hooper ATL TE 146 13
134 Eric Ebron IND TE 128 -6
135 Mike Gillislee NO RB 183 48
136 Paul Richardson WAS WR 118 -18
137 James Washington PIT WR 159 22
138 Kamar Aiken PHI WR 156 18
139 Jesse James PIT TE 147 8
140 Kelvin Benjamin BUF WR 122 -18
141 Jalen Richard OAK RB 152 11
142 Nyheim Hines IND RB 144 2
143 John Ross CIN WR 143 0
144 Christian Kirk ARI WR 180 36
145 Jarius Wright CAR WR 171 26
146 Ryan Grant IND WR 150 4
147 Dante Pettis SF WR 114 -33
148 Tyler Eifert CIN TE 141 -7
149 Austin Seferian-Jenkins JAC TE 134 -15
150 Benjamin Watson NO TE 135 -15
151 Ricky Seals-Jones ARI TE 153 2
152 Cole Beasley DAL WR 136 -16
153 Vance McDonald PIT TE 189 36
154 Courtland Sutton DEN WR 155 1
155 Allen Hurns DAL WR 138 -17
156 Jake Butt DEN TE 181 25
157 Darren Sproles PHI RB 160 3
158 Ty Montgomery GB RB 129 -29
159 Mark Walton CIN RB 166 7
160 Marcus Murphy BUF RB 158 -2
161 Torrey Smith CAR WR 188 27
162 Terrelle Pryor NYJ WR 163 1
163 Alfred Blue HOU RB 184 21
164 Laquon Treadwell MIN WR 217 53
165 D.J. Moore CAR WR 142 -23
166 Zay Jones BUF WR 200 34
167 Martavis Bryant OAK WR 196 29
168 Doug Martin OAK RB 175 7
169 Rishard Matthews TEN WR 157 -12
170 Taylor Gabriel CHI WR 154 -16
171 Jonnu Smith TEN TE 169 -2
172 Spencer Ware KC RB 193 21
173 Cordarrelle Patterson NE WR 187 14
174 Jaron Brown SEA WR 202 28
175 Will Dissly SEA TE 148 -27
176 Ryan Griffin HOU TE 203 27
177 Anthony Miller CHI WR 161 -16
178 Charles Clay BUF TE 170 -8
179 Kyle Juszczyk SF RB 215 36
180 Deonte Thompson DAL WR 185 5
181 Bruce Ellington HOU WR 173 -8
182 Chester Rogers IND WR 221 39
183 Rashard Higgins CLE WR 164 -19
184 Nick Vannett SEA TE 205 21
185 Nick Boyle BAL TE 201 16
186 Dallas Goedert PHI TE 243 57
187 Antonio Gates LAC TE 179 -8
188 Taywan Taylor TEN WR 178 -10
189 Seth Roberts OAK WR 190 1
190 Darrell Daniels SEA TE 237 47
191 Mark Andrews BAL TE 194 3
192 Jacquizz Rodgers TB RB 168 -24
193 Nick Chubb CLE RB 197 4
194 Michael Gallup DAL WR 172 -22
195 Tavon Austin DAL WR 199 4
196 Tre'Quan Smith NO WR 204 8
197 Cody Latimer NYG WR 227 30
198 Joshua Perkins PHI TE 273 75
199 Maxx Williams BAL TE 255 56
200 Chris Conley KC WR 223 23
201 Chase Edmonds ARI RB 167 -34
202 Chris Ivory BUF RB 139 -63
203 Chad Williams ARI WR 207 4
204 Austin Carr NO WR 230 26
205 Virgil Green LAC TE 242 37
206 Corey Grant JAC RB 140 -66
207 Equanimeous St. Brown GB WR 256 49
208 Jermaine Kearse NYJ WR 252 44
209 Tajae Sharpe TEN WR 249 40
210 Jakeem Grant MIA WR 191 -19
211 Trent Taylor SF WR 195 -16
212 Terrance Williams DAL WR 257 45
213 Adam Humphries TB WR 241 28
214 Patrick Mahomes KC QB 1 0
215 Tom Brady NE QB 2 0
216 Cam Newton CAR QB 6 3
217 Drew Brees NO QB 4 0
218 Ben Roethlisberger PIT QB 7 2
219 Kirk Cousins MIN QB 5 -1
220 Aaron Rodgers GB QB 3 -4
221 Deshaun Watson HOU QB 8 0
222 Russell Wilson SEA QB 14 5
223 Matt Ryan ATL QB 12 2
224 Ryan Fitzpatrick TB QB 9 -2
225 Matthew Stafford DET QB 10 -2
226 Jimmy Garoppolo SF QB 11 -2
227 Blake Bortles JAC QB 18 4
228 Carson Wentz PHI QB 13 -2
229 Jared Goff LAR QB 16 0
230 Tyrod Taylor CLE QB 20 3
231 Alex Smith WAS QB 17 -1
232 Philip Rivers LAC QB 19 0
233 Ryan Tannehill MIA QB 22 2
234 Mitch Trubisky CHI QB 25 4
235 Andrew Luck IND QB 15 -7
236 Andy Dalton CIN QB 21 -2
237 Dak Prescott DAL QB 26 2
238 Joe Flacco BAL QB 23 -2
239 Derek Carr OAK QB 24 -2
240 Case Keenum DEN QB 29 2
241 Sam Darnold NYJ QB 27 -1
242 Eli Manning NYG QB 28 -1
243 Marcus Mariota TEN QB 30 0
244 Sam Bradford ARI QB 31 0
245 Josh Allen BUF QB 32 0
246 Lamar Jackson BAL QB 35 2
247 Blaine Gabbert TEN QB 33 -1
248 Nick Foles PHI QB 34 -1
249 Josh Rosen ARI QB 36 0
250 Minnesota Vikings MIN DST 1 0
251 Chicago Bears CHI DST 2 0
252 Jacksonville Jaguars JAC DST 3 0
253 Cleveland Browns CLE DST 6 2
254 Houston Texans HOU DST 4 -1
255 Baltimore Ravens BAL DST 5 -1
256 Philadelphia Eagles PHI DST 7 0
257 Carolina Panthers CAR DST 10 2
258 Los Angeles Rams LAR DST 8 -1
259 Arizona Cardinals ARI DST 19 9
260 Cincinnati Bengals CIN DST 15 4
261 New York Giants NYG DST 18 6
262 Green Bay Packers GB DST 17 4
263 New England Patriots NE DST 14 0
264 Seattle Seahawks SEA DST 16 1
265 Dallas Cowboys DAL DST 11 -5
266 New York Jets NYJ DST 13 -4
267 Pittsburgh Steelers PIT DST 22 4
268 Denver Broncos DEN DST 9 -10
269 Miami Dolphins MIA DST 12 -8
270 Tennessee Titans TEN DST 20 -1
271 Kansas City Chiefs KC DST 25 3
272 Tampa Bay Buccaneers TB DST 29 6
273 Washington Redskins WAS DST 27 3
274 Oakland Raiders OAK DST 26 1
275 Indianapolis Colts IND DST 28 2
276 San Francisco 49ers SF DST 32 5
277 Los Angeles Chargers LAC DST 21 -7
278 Atlanta Falcons ATL DST 24 -5
279 New Orleans Saints NO DST 23 -7
280 Buffalo Bills BUF DST 30 -1
281 Detroit Lions DET DST 31 -1
282 Stephen Gostkowski NE K 1 0
283 Harrison Butker KC K 2 0
284 Dan Bailey MIN K 5 2
285 Matt Bryant ATL K 4 0
286 Sam Ficken LAR K 12 7
287 Justin Tucker BAL K 3 -3
288 Chris Boswell PIT K 8 1
289 Jake Elliott PHI K 7 -1
290 Wil Lutz NO K 6 -3
291 Robbie Gould SF K 9 -1
292 Mason Crosby GB K 10 -1
293 Josh Lambo JAC K 14 2
294 Chandler Catanzaro TB K 15 2
295 Matt Prater DET K 11 -3
296 Graham Gano CAR K 13 -2
297 Sebastian Janikowski SEA K 23 7
298 Ka'imi Fairbairn HOU K 18 1
299 Jason Sanders MIA K 24 6
300 Cody Parkey CHI K 17 -2
301 Dustin Hopkins WAS K 19 -1
302 Adam Vinatieri IND K 16 -5
303 Caleb Sturgis LAC K 22 0
304 Randy Bullock CIN K 21 -2
305 Brett Maher DAL K 32 8
306 Mike Nugent OAK K 28 3
307 Brandon McManus DEN K 20 -6
308 Greg Joseph CLE K 34 7
309 Phil Dawson ARI K 33 5
310 Ryan Succop TEN K 25 -4
311 Aldrick Rosas NYG K 27 -3
312 Jason Myers NYJ K 26 -5
313 Steven Hauschka BUF K 36 4

More Fantasy Football Analysis


Check out all of RotoBaller's fantasy football rankings. Staff rankings are updated regularly for all positions and include standard formats, PPR scoring, tiered rankings and dynasty leagues.