Commentary

Harris: Week 3 player rankings

Updated: September 19, 2007, 8:50 PM ET
By Christopher Harris | ESPN.com

Week 3 Quarterback Rankings
RANKNameTeamOpponent
1Peyton ManningColts@HOU
2Carson PalmerBengals@SEA
3Tom BradyPatriotsBUF
4Matt HasselbeckSeahawksCIN
5Ben RoethlisbergerSteelersSF
6Marc BulgerRams@TB
7Vince YoungTitans@NO
8Drew BreesSaintsTEN
9Jake DelhommePanthers@ATL
10Jeff GarciaBuccaneersSTL
11Donovan McNabbEaglesDET
12Eli ManningGiants@WAS
13Jason CampbellRedskinsNYG
14Tony RomoCowboys@CHI
15Jon KitnaLions@PHI
16Matt SchaubTexansIND
17Jay CutlerBroncosJAC
18Philip RiversChargers@GB
19Josh McCownRaidersCLE
20Brett FavrePackersSD
21Rex GrossmanBearsDAL
22Derek AndersonBrowns@OAK
23Chad PenningtonJetsMIA
24Alex Smith49ers@PIT
25Matt LeinartCardinals@BAL
26Steve McNairRavensARI
27Trent GreenDolphins@NYJ
28Joey HarringtonFalconsCAR
29David GarrardJaguars@DEN
30Damon HuardChiefsMIN
31J.P. LosmanBills@NE
32Tarvaris JacksonVikings@KC

Notes: Hasselbeck's collision with Shaun Alexander cost Seattle a close win in Arizona, and he hasn't set the world ablaze through two weeks, but man, how can you not like his matchup with the Cincy defense? … We'll get a sense of exactly how good the Niners' defense is after this week. I've still got Roethlisberger ranked high because I don't trust Walt Harris. Santonio Holmes could be in for another big day. … Bulger got his brains beaten in against the Niners,

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and it's worth noting he's been an injury risk in the past. With the Rams' O-line struggling, it's not hard to imagine Tampa putting a ton of pressure on Bulger again, but the Rams will throw, so the numbers should be there. … Brees is still a fantasy starter, but this week's a big test. Tennessee will undoubtedly mix in some zone, but they play a lot of man on the edges, which should mean some openings deep. If New Orleans can't do business via the air at home on national TV against such a defense, it'll be time to completely rethink your Saints. … Garcia was the living embodiment of a West Coast quarterback last week, hitting short passes, moving the ball down the field, and basically not making mistakes. When Joey Galloway breaks big ones off short crosses, it makes Garcia look good, and the Rams have struggled against the pass. … McNabb looked borderline horrible against Washington. His mobility is severely limited, and his accuracy, never a strong suit, is biting him. You have to start him against a bad Detroit defense, but his leash is getting shorter. … Eli Manning and Campbell could put on an aerial show against one another. … I've loved Romo this year, but bench him against the Bears if you have other options. … Jon Kitna has turned the ball over only three times in two games? It is a miracle.

Week 3 Running Back Rankings
RANKNameTeamOpponent
1LaDainian TomlinsonChargers@GB
2Shaun AlexanderSeahawksCIN
3Steven JacksonRams@TB
4Brian WestbrookEaglesDET
5Willie ParkerSteelersSF
6Joseph AddaiColts@HOU
7Frank Gore49ers@PIT
8Rudi JohnsonBengals@SEA
9Travis HenryBroncosJAC
10Willis McGaheeRavensARI
11Laurence MaroneyPatriotsBUF
12Clinton PortisRedskinsNYG
13Larry JohnsonChiefsMIN
14LaMont JordanRaidersCLE
15Adrian PetersonVikings@KC
16Carnell WilliamsBuccaneersSTL
17Cedric BensonBearsDAL
18Fred TaylorJaguars@DEN
19Reggie BushSaintsTEN
20Jamal LewisBrowns@OAK
21Edgerrin JamesCardinals@BAL
22Thomas JonesJetsMIA
23Marion Barber IIICowboys@CHI
24LenDale WhiteTitans@NO
25Deuce McAllisterSaintsTEN
26Maurice Jones-DrewJaguars@DEN
27Ahman GreenTexansIND
28Marshawn LynchBills@NE
29Derrick WardGiants@WAS
30Ronnie BrownDolphins@NYJ
31DeShaun FosterPanthers@ATL
32Warrick DunnFalconsCAR
33Ladell BettsRedskinsNYG
34Tatum BellLions@PHI
35Chris BrownTitans@NO
36DeShawn WynnPackersSD
37Jerious NorwoodFalconsCAR
38Julius JonesCowboys@CHI
39Brandon JacksonPackersSD
40DeAngelo WilliamsPanthers@ATL
41Sammy MorrisPatriotsBUF
42Kevin JonesLions@PHI
43Jesse ChatmanDolphins@NYJ
44Selvin YoungBroncosJAC
45Ron DayneTexansIND
46Maurice MorrisSeahawksCIN
47Kenton KeithColts@HOU
48Michael PittmanBuccaneersSTL
49Adrian PetersonBearsDAL
50Reuben DroughnsGiants@WAS

Notes: The going may not be much smoother in Green Bay for Tomlinson, but he deserves to be on top simply because of the weekly upside. It'll all go away against Kansas City in Week 4. … Again, Alexander deserves the hike because of his opponent. He'll still be running with the splint on his hand, but he looked much better in the second half last week. … It's hard to argue for too many guys being in the top 10 who I don't list above. I suppose LaMont Jordan has the best case, especially considering his 159 yards rushing at Denver last week. And I know Cleveland isn't very good on defense. Still, I'd have a very hard time bumping any of the folks ahead of him. … Larry Johnson owners have to endure one more week of pain (OK, maybe two, since the Chargers are up next), but life will get better. LJ could score against Minny, but I don't see him getting many yards. … Give Cadillac Williams a gold star for gutting out a rib injury last week, and doubling his touchdown total from last season in one game. Considering the third-year Bucs runner had nine carries for 8 yards in the first half, the fact that Jon Gruden gave it to Caddy 15 more times in the second half (for 53 yards) is a good sign. … Benson was good against the Chiefs last week, and was almost stellar. He was about 6 inches from evading an ankle tackle and logging his first score of the year. He'll be even better against Dallas Sunday night. … Jones-Drew's mysterious X-rays after Sunday's game scare me. As of this writing, the Jags haven't announced anything, but for the moment I put Fred Taylor higher. They've pretty much split carries anyway, and Denver's rush defense isn't what it once was. … I was assaulted by e-mails from Cleveland about 30 seconds after the Browns' win ended last week, with folks telling me (in language too blue to reprint here) what a moron I was for not respecting Jamal Lewis. Well, tell you what, folks. You go ahead and start Jamal every week, and I'll take the 19 guys ahead of him on this list, and we'll see how things shake out by season's end, eh? Regardless, though, Lewis is a good start this week against a middling Oakland rush defense. … Don't get scared by Thomas Jones' start. Pats and Ravens, Ravens and Pats. … Marion Barber isn't getting all of Dallas' carries. Yet.

Week 3 Wide Receiver Rankings
RANKNameTeamOpponent
1Steve SmithPanthers@ATL
2Chad JohnsonBengals@SEA
3Randy MossPatriotsBUF
4Marvin HarrisonColts@HOU
5Reggie WayneColts@HOU
6Javon WalkerBroncosJAC
7Torry HoltRams@TB
8Roy WilliamsLions@PHI
9Terrell OwensCowboys@CHI
10T.J. HoushmandzadehBengals@SEA
11Donald DriverPackersSD
12Larry FitzgeraldCardinals@BAL
13Joey GallowayBuccaneersSTL
14Hines WardSteelersSF
15Ronald CurryRaidersCLE
16Santana MossRedskinsNYG
17Plaxico BurressGiants@WAS
18Marques ColstonSaintsTEN
19Santonio HolmesSteelersSF
20Bernard BerrianBearsDAL
21Anquan BoldinCardinals@BAL
22Laveranues ColesJetsMIA
23Deion BranchSeahawksCIN
24Reggie BrownEaglesDET
25Jerricho CotcheryJetsMIA
26Braylon EdwardsBrowns@OAK
27Lee EvansBills@NE
28Darrell Jackson49ers@PIT
29Chris ChambersDolphins@NYJ
30Calvin JohnsonLions@PHI
31Wes WelkerPatriotsBUF
32Vincent JacksonChargers@GB
33Isaac BruceRams@TB
34Brandon MarshallBroncosJAC
35Derrick MasonRavensARI
36Mike FurreyLions@PHI
37Antwaan Randle ElRedskinsNYG
38James JonesPackersSD
39Drew BennettRams@TB
40Mark ClaytonRavensARI
41Shaun McDonaldLions@PHI
42Jacoby JonesTexansIND
43Kevin CurtisEaglesDET
44Marty BookerDolphins@NYJ
45Brandon JonesTitans@NO
46Nate BurlesonSeahawksCIN
47Bobby EngramSeahawksCIN
48Jason AvantEaglesDET
49Joe HornFalconsCAR
50Brandon StokleyBroncosJAC

Notes: Well, I guess I officially buy the Randy Moss hype. The Bills don't have anyone to stay with Moss, so they'll have to double-team him, but that hasn't worked yet this season. I stand by my assertion that New England will spread it around too much (eventually) for Moss to get 15 TDs. But this week, he looks good. … Owens has a terrible matchup against the Bears, but don't sit your wide receiver studs. … Driver's the only guy getting open for Green Bay. I don't like the Packers' offense much at all, but Favre has targeted his No. 1 wideout 24 times already this season. That's tied for fourth in the NFL. … Fitzgerald was impressive making his 40-yard grab last week, and it was good to see Matt Leinart go deep again for a change. Baltimore is so much tougher against the run than they are the pass, so here's hoping the Cards don't beat their head against a wall. … Curry should bounce back against Cleveland this week. You can't blame him when Josh McCown only completes eight passes in an entire game. … I toyed with having Santana Moss a lot higher. In the end, it doesn't really matter, as long as he's in the top 20, because he should start in all leagues. The Randle El distraction looked like it was over in Philly Monday night, and Moss looked explosive. … Berrian is the clear top target in Chicago's offense, outdistancing Muhsin Muhammad. He'll get free against the Cowboys. … Deion Branch owners exhaled last week. … I'm hanging in there with Reggie Brown. He hasn't gotten open a whole lot, and when he has, McNabb has usually missed him. It's worrisome to see Kevin Curtis get more red-zone looks, but that'll even out. Detroit is ripe for the picking. … I'd sit Evans in a 12-team league this week. When J.P. Losman's under duress, he's a mess, and he'll be pressured against New England again. After Week 3, however, I'd consider buying low on Evans. … Welker is the second-most valuable receiver in New England, because Donte' Stallworth's skill set seems redundant with Moss'. … Keep an eye on Brandon Marshall. He's looked much better in his second season, and is no longer just an end-zone guy. He's on the way up.

Week 3 Tight End Rankings
RANKNameTeamOpponent
1Antonio GatesChargers@GB
2Kellen WinslowBrowns@OAK
3Todd HeapRavensARI
4Jason WittenCowboys@CHI
5Benjamin WatsonPatriotsBUF
6Chris CooleyRedskinsNYG
7Jeremy ShockeyGiants@WAS
8Tony GonzalezChiefsMIN
9Owen DanielsTexansIND
10Dallas ClarkColts@HOU
11Alge CrumplerFalconsCAR
12Vernon Davis49ers@PIT
13Marcus PollardSeahawksCIN
14Eric JohnsonSaintsTEN
15Randy McMichaelRams@TB
16L.J. SmithEaglesDET
17Heath MillerSteelersSF
18Alex SmithBuccaneersSTL
19Jeff KingLions@PHI
20Desmond ClarkBearsDAL
21Marcedes LewisJaguars@DEN
22David MartinDolphins@NYJ
23Bo ScaifeTitans@NO
24Leonard PopeCardinals@BAL
25Zach MillerRaidersCLE
26Sean McHughLions@PHI
27Donald LeePackersSD
28Daniel GrahamBroncosJAC
29Greg OlsenBearsDAL
30Reggie KellyBengals@SEA
31Chris BakerJetsMIA
32Tony SchefflerBroncosJAC

Notes: Given the way they're used in their respective offenses, I'm almost willing to say Gates and Winslow deserve to be 1-2 every week. The way Philip Rivers is looking for Gates on every pass play is almost silly, except all Gates does is get open. He's well nigh uncoverable in the middle of the field. … I have Witten too high here, but what can I say, he's got 143 yards receiving. He's performed. Whether you've got him fourth or 10th, he starts every week. … Shockey is the second-most-targeted tight end in football (after Gates), but anyone who watches Giants games knows how suspect Shockey's hands can be, especially in big spots. If he could channel half the energy he spends talking and gesturing into catching, he'd be a Hall of Famer. … The Giants have given up the most fantasy points to tight ends of any team in football through two weeks (a ridiculous 17.6 points per game in ESPN.com standard leagues), which bodes well for Cooley. … Expect Owen Daniels to be the top target in Houston's offense if Andre Johnson can't play with his strained PCL. Daniels should have a big game, though of course, these things are awfully hard to predict on a single-game basis for tight ends. … Dallas Clark was immense for the newly conservative Peyton Manning last week. Nine targets and seven receptions is sweet. When teams play back and dare the Colts to put together long drives, now Manning is content to do just that, which gives Clark a ton of value. … Less talking, Vernon Davis. More catching. … Watch out for Pollard against the Bengals' D, which is historically suspect against tight ends, and which has allowed more than 10 a game to the position so far this year.

Week 3 Kicker Rankings
RANKNameTeamOpponent
1Jason ElamBroncosJAC
2Robbie GouldBearsDAL
3Jeff ReedSteelersSF
4Adam VinatieriColts@HOU
5Jason HansonLions@PHI
6Josh BrownSeahawksCIN
7Jeff WilkinsRams@TB
8Nicholas FolkCowboys@CHI
9Nate KaedingChargers@GB
10Shayne GrahamBengals@SEA
11Mason CrosbyPackersSD
12Lawrence TynesGiants@WAS
13David AkersEaglesDET
14Neil RackersCardinals@BAL
15Shaun SuishamRedskinsNYG
16Kris BrownTexansIND
17Matt StoverRavensARI
18Phil DawsonBrowns@OAK
19Jay FeelyDolphins@NYJ
20Stephen GostkowskiPatriotsBUF
21Rob BironasTitans@NO
22Joe Nedney49ers@PIT
23Matt BryantBuccaneersSTL
24John KasayPanthers@ATL
25Mike NugentJetsMIA
26Olindo MareSaintsTEN
27Sebastian JanikowskiRaidersCLE
28Rian LindellBills@NE
29Ryan LongwellVikings@KC
30John CarneyJaguars@DEN
31Dave RaynerChiefsMIN
32Morten AndersenFalconsCAR

Notes: Week-to-week kicker rankings are already a little bit of a sham, and I've gone renegade cowboy a couple weeks early this season, trying to inject some of the early kicker results into the hierarchy before any statistical significance has been reached. Elam's two game-winners certainly help, as does his Mile High kicking status. Reed has been very good, while Vinatieri has been exceedingly shaky, yet they're both in my top five. Graham seems healthy, Crosby seems like the reincarnation of a young Ryan Longwell, and good ol' Shaun Suisham is making kicks left and right. Is having Olindo Mare this low this early pure foolishness? Maybe. … Matt Prater got himself cut by the Falcons, who brought back Morten Andersen.

Week 3 Defense Rankings
RANKNameTeamOpponent
1BaltimoreRavensARI
2New EnglandPatriotsBUF
3ChicagoBearsDAL
4PittsburghSteelersSF
5MinnesotaVikings@KC
6San DiegoChargers@GB
7Green BayPackersSD
8PhiladelphiaEaglesDET
9DenverBroncosJAC
10CarolinaPanthers@ATL
11Kansas CityChiefsMIN
12JacksonvilleJaguars@DEN
13OaklandRaidersCLE
14IndianapolisColts@HOU
15New YorkJetsMIA
16San Francisco49ers@PIT
17MiamiDolphins@NYJ
18DetroitLions@PHI
19AtlantaFalconsCAR
20New OrleansSaintsTEN
21DallasCowboys@CHI
22WashingtonRedskinsNYG
23ArizonaCardinals@BAL
24Tampa BayBuccaneersSTL
25SeattleSeahawksCIN
26HoustonTexansIND
27New YorkGiants@WAS
28TennesseeTitans@NO
29St. LouisRams@TB
30CincinnatiBengals@SEA
31ClevelandBrowns@OAK
32BuffaloBills@NE

Notes: The Cowboys have scored the most points in football through two weeks, but I think they'll find the sledding much tougher against Chicago. Even if they do put up some points, sacks and turnovers are still likely for the Bears. … I've been waxing rhapsodic about the San Diego defense for a month, and that's how they repay me? Jamal Williams hyperextends his elbow, Shaun Phillips bruises his quad, Matt Wilhelm never gets in the game after hurting his calf in warm-ups, and for the second straight time in a game against New England, Shawne Merriman disappears into the locker room for mysterious reasons in the second half? Eesh. One thing's for sure: Quentin Jammer isn't as good as I wrote just a few weeks back. I still like the aggressiveness, but there's work to do. … The Chiefs might be a one-week play against Minnesota, regardless of whether Tarvaris Jackson or Kelly Holcomb plays. KC will load up against Adrian Peterson, put their corners on islands, and dare the Vikings to throw deep, just like the Lions did last week. … I was sorely tempted to put San Francisco into the top 12, because they've been an excellent fantasy defense through two weeks. I just want to see 'em do it on the road, against a good offense like Pittsburgh's, before I truly believe. … Guess I was a bit wrong hyperventilating about the Bengals' D against Cleveland, eh?

Christopher Harris is a fantasy baseball, football and racing analyst for ESPN.com. You can e-mail him here.

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