Join the Footballguys Daily Update
Start your morning with our roundup of the most important stories in football - with the fantasy insight you need to make league-winning decisions. Delivered straight to your inbox, 100% free.
We are three weeks into the season and the fantasy landscape is starting to take shape. This week I'll take a look at the top 10 quarterbacks and top 15 running backs, wide receivers, and tight ends by fantasy points (PPR scoring) from each skill position, and provide my take on which players belong and which are destined to decline.
The top quarterbacks are taking shape
There are currently three tiers of quarterbacks in the top 10 - the elite (85 fantasy points or more) which includes Lamar Jackson, Josh Allen, and Jalen Hurts. Tier two is 60-70 points, including Patrick Mahomes II, Tua Tagovailoa, Carson Wentz, and Justin Herbert. Tier three is 55-60, Joe Burrow, Jared Goff, and Trevor Lawrence.
The biggest surprises in the top are Carson Wentz (6), Jared Goff (9), Tua Tagovailoa (5), and Trevor Lawrence (10). All four were projected to finish outside of the top 10 in preseason rankings. You can make a case for Tagovailoa being in the top 10 due to the weapons he has on offense in Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle, plus offensive-minded head coach Mike McDaniel. The writing was on the wall, but we still needed to see him (Tua) execute the game plan. So far, he and the Dolphins have exceeded expectations. Wentz being in the top 10 is a huge surprise after watching him struggle to find a foothold in Philadelphia and then Indianapolis. The Commanders have decent weapons to work with in Terry McLaurin, Jahan Dotson, and Mr. Utility, Curtis Samuel. These pieces to the puzzle may just mean Wentz has found a rather successful niche in Washington. A top 10 finish may not be in the cards, but he is performing well above expectation at the moment.
The top three quarterbacks (Lamar Jackson, Josh Allen, and Jalen Hurts) all have over 100 rushing yards through three games and the top 2 (Jackson and Allen) also have 10 and 9 touchdown passes respectively. Both Jackson and Allen are pacing themselves for a tremendous season. Those who spent relatively high on a quarterback in the draft are likely having early success, especially those who targeted Jackson. Patrick Mahomes II and Justin Herbert, two highly ranked quarterbacks in the preseason, are not playing poorly, but they have not entered the upper echelon of fantasy success this season. At least not yet. Herbert has a steeper hill to climb due to a rib injury that could cause some problems, but he also is dealing with injuries on the offensive line as well as his top target, Keenan Allen.
Some additional unexpected results after three weeks include:
- Trevor Lawrence, JAC - The Jaguars are turning heads, especially in the last two games, outscoring their opponent 62-10. Lawrence has yet to toss a 300-yard game. However, he has two multiple-touchdown games in a row and is starting to figure out how to move the ball and score points consistently. The Jaguars are entering the territory of being a dangerous team and Lawrence is a big reason why.
- Jared Goff, DET - The Lions are quietly scoring 31.6 points per game, their top rusher, DAndre Swift has dealt with ankle and shoulder injuries, and they haven't missed a beat. Amon-Ra St. Brown highlights a capable receiving corps, and their top draft pick, Jameson Williams (knee), still hasn't seen the field yet. Things are looking up for this young Lions team. They have two winnable games (SEA, at NE) before their Week 6 bye. Jared Goff has seven touchdowns in three games, and the offense is clicking.
Needle down - Rising soon?
- Russell Wilson, DEN - It is safe to say Wilson has been a big disappointment three games into the season as the Broncos quarterback of the future. How much of his lack of success can be attributed to him, and how much is due to the offensive structure of first-year head coach Nathaniel Hackett? Despite Wilson's struggles, Denver is 2-1, so it's not all horrendous news. From a fantasy standpoint, Wilson has not produced, scoring only two touchdowns in three games. Perhaps his needle is so far down that it can only go up from here? Aside from last year's 18th place rank, he has not finished lower than 11th among fantasy quarterbacks in his 10-year career. There may be some growing pains in understanding the new offense. Are adjustments and better days ahead? We'll soon see. For those who invested in Wilson, hang in there.
- Aaron Rodgers, GB - In addition to Rodgers losing his top target, Davante Adams, to Las Vegas, he is also dealing with injuries in his wide receiver corps that has yet to establish an identity. From a fantasy perspective, he is not winning you games with his legs, so if touchdowns and yardage is down, so is he. Rodgers has not exceeded 260 yards passing in a game this season, and he doesn't have a true go-to receiver yet. Romeo Doubs leads the way for now, but the Packers' second-round pick, Christian Watson, is waiting in the wings. Rodgers finished fifth overall last year and won the league MVP Award. At this time last year, he was 23rd. Better days are likely ahead.
- A few things come to mind immediately - Saquon Barkley owning the top spot is great to see. The rule of thumb is to stay away from a running back coming off an ACL tear and try your luck again in the second year coming off the injury. Barkley has reassured us that he is indeed back.
- James Robinson at #3 is also a surprise. Another unwritten rule is to stay clear from running backs coming off of an Achilles tear, but Robinson is bucking that trend. It is said that a back's explosiveness is reduced coming off an Achilles tear, but Robinson was never an explosive back to begin with. So far, we've seen Jacksonville in positive game scripts, which have been great for Robinson and not so much for Travis Etienne. Perhaps when/if Jacksonville is trailing, in a negative game script, Etienne, not Robinson, will be the preferred back of choice in Jacksonville, but for now, it's Robinson.
- Two Lions running backs are roaming the top 10 with D'Andre Swift (5th) and Jamaal Williams (8th). Detroit has scored 95 points in three games and is starting to look like a tough out compared to years past. Swift is likely out until Week 7 with a shoulder injury, thus catapulting Williams into the primary running back role.
- Nick Chubb has 62 carries for 341 yards and 4 touchdowns in one of the best rushing offenses in the league. He doesn't appear to be letting up anytime soon.
- Cordarrelle Patterson is bulldozing his way through defenses at 6.2 yards per carry with two touchdowns. His receiving prowess hasn't been center-stage, only 4 receptions for 28 yards, but he is the Falcons' top back for the foreseeable future.
- Jonathan Taylor and Christian McCaffrey have yet to have that signature game, but they are keeping pace with the top tier. One big game could put them right back on the map in the top 5. The same goes for Austin Ekeler and Derrick Henry.
Continue reading this content with a PRO subscription.
"Footballguys is the best premium
fantasy football only site on the planet."
Matthew Berry, NBC Sports EDGE