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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.
No elite quarterbacks...yet
Surprisingly, we don't have any quarterbacks over 85 fantasy points. Usually, at this time, we have three or four quarterbacks in this range. Kirk Cousins currently sits atop the rankings with 76.7 points. His 1,075 yards and 9 touchdowns lead both categories. After Cousins, only Justin Herbert (70.4) has over 70 points.
The biggest surprises at the top are Tua Tagovailoa (3), Jordan Love (5), Russell Wilson (8), and C.J. Stroud (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 (Tagovailoa) execute the game plan and stay away from any big hits that could result in a concussion. So far, he and the Dolphins have exceeded expectations once again. Stroud being in the top 10 is a huge surprise after watching him go through some growing pains in the preseason. The Texans have decent weapons to work with in Nico Collins, Robert Woods, and emerging rookie Tank Dell. These pieces to the puzzle may mean Stroud has found a rather successful niche in Houston. A top-10 finish may not be in the cards, but he is performing well above expectations at the moment. He is the only rookie in the top 20, let alone the top 10.
Usually, we see a correlation between high rushing output and quarterback fantasy success. Looking at the top 10, only three quarterbacks have 100 yards rushing or more. Lamar Jackson (193), Patrick Mahomes II (103), and Jalen Hurts (100). If anyone is going to catapult into the top 10, it will most likely be a quarterback who runs the ball well and often. This includes Justin Fields, who, despite his shortcomings this season, he still has 109 rushing yards and a QB19 ranking after three games. Other quarterbacks to watch who could sneak into the top 10 include Deshaun Watson (83 rushing yards), Josh Dobbs (93), and Daniel Jones (107).
Some additional unexpected results after three weeks include:
- Trevor Lawrence, JAC 17th
- Justin Fields, CHI 19th
- Dak Prescott, DAL 20th
- Daniel Jones, NYG 22nd
- Joe Burrow, CIN 30th
- Anthony Richardson, IND - Richardson missed Week 3 with a concussion but he is expected back soon, if not this week. When he returns, he is worthy of finding your starting lineup due to his immense athleticism combined with his ability to score points with his arm. So far, Richardson has exceeded expectations. If he can stay injury-free he has the chance to put up respectable numbers every week.
- Jameis Winston, NO - Derek Carr (shoulder) may be out for at least one week, if not more, which opens the door for Winston to flex his downfield arm. The Saints boast a capable receiving corps that will benefit from Winston's ability to rack up the air yards.
- Aidan O'Connell, LSV - We have only seen O'Connell's impressive arm in the preseason but in limited action, he has produced. He is a deep sleeper that could be one of those NFL surprises that we always tend to see year in and year out. He is not a mobile weapon, but his big arm can rack up the yards. If the Raiders are looking for a move at quarterback, he could put his stamp on their future. Jimmy Garoppolo is in the concussion protocol and could miss Week 4. Could O'Connell get the nod? If so, he's a pre-emptive pick-up in two-quarterback leagues.
- Desmond Ridder, ATL - The Falcons have Taylor Heinicke waiting in the wings if the team decides that Ridder isn't quite the answer to keep the team afloat. Atlanta is sitting pretty at 2-1 but offensively, they have just two passing touchdowns and five touchdowns total in three games. If that continues, Arthur Smith may elect to try a different approach at quarterback. Ridder was a rushing quarterback at Cincinnati, but through three games, he has 41 yards rushing. It's good, but not good enough to offset his passing deficiencies.
- Sam Howell, WAS - At times, Howell looks the part of a quarterback who can make consistent plays downfield, however, he also has some blunders, namely 5 interceptions in three games, to go with only 3 touchdown passes. The former fifth-round pick could find himself replaced by Jacoby Brissett if he doesn't improve. He has led the Commanders to a 2-1 record, but the house of cards could come crashing down with a string of losses.
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