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Doug Orth | Archive | Email |
Staff Writer


Rank and File
All Out Blitz: Volume 113
11/3/16

As I noted in last week's Blitz, I planned on using this week's column to cover the individual angle of weekly finishes after using last week's column to show how often teams were susceptible to allowing huge games to certain positions (or not). The intent is to give DFS owners a valuable historical tool (one that obviously has merit since all the results are from this season) while also providing redraft owners with a handy reference tool in order to make more sound lineup decisions, something all of us can use.

Below is a list of players - broken down first by position and then by average weekly finish – that have been worthy of starting consideration in fantasy or that I believe have a chance of contributing in the coming weeks, at least given what we know at the moment. Most of what you will see below is self-explanatory, as each number represents where that player finished in a given week among his peers at his position. Please note I have excluded some players due to injuries or to a simple lack of use, but I chose to keep every player at running back, wide receiver and tight end who has posted at least one double-digit fantasy-point effort this season.

 QB Ranks by Week
Player Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Avg Rank
Tom Brady NE DNP DNP DNP DNP 4 7 10 3 6.0
Aaron Rodgers GB 8 10 5 bye 10 17 3 2 7.9
Drew Brees NO 2 21 4 16 bye 1 2 12 8.3
Matt Ryan ATL 6 2 10 1 17 8 17 9 8.8
Andrew Luck IND 1 24 16 11 7 9 1 11 10.0
Cam Newton CAR 9 1 12 17 DNP 4 bye 21 10.7
Ben Roethlisberger PIT 7 9 26 2 1 20 DNP bye 10.8
Derek Carr OAK 10 6 20 6 5 19 20 1 10.9
Blake Bortles JAC 18 7 15 3 bye 18 14 4 11.3
Jameis Winston TB 4 20 1 20 15 bye 6 14 11.4
Matthew Stafford DET 5 19 3 24 9 5 12 19 12.0
Josh McCown CLE DNP 17 DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP 8 12.5
Kirk Cousins WAS 23 12 11 13 18 14 5 7 12.9
Dak Prescott DAL 26 18 7 14 11 10 bye 5 13.0
Tyrod Taylor BUF 28 4 13 15 14 11 4 16 13.1
Marcus Mariota TEN 11 16 27 27 2 3 8 13 13.4
Philip Rivers SD 21 5 21 7 3 26 9 15 13.4
Colin Kaepernick SF DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP 16 11 bye 13.5
Andy Dalton CIN 13 14 23 22 8 12 7 10 13.6
Carson Palmer ARI 15 8 25 18 DNP 22 18 6 16.0
Ryan Tannehill MIA 20 3 6 25 23 27 15 bye 17.0
Case Keenum LA 27 28 18 8 22 2 16 bye 17.3
Joe Flacco BAL 22 13 17 4 19 23 24 bye 17.4
Brian Hoyer CHI DNP 31 9 9 6 24 29 DNP 18.0
Eli Manning NYG 12 23 14 26 20 6 26 bye 18.1
Alex Smith KC 3 29 22 10 bye 28 13 26 18.7
Carson Wentz PHI 14 26 8 bye 12 29 21 22 18.9
Sam Bradford MIN DNP 15 28 19 13 bye 19 20 19.0
Russell Wilson SEA 19 27 19 5 bye 25 23 23 20.1
Ryan Fitzpatrick NYJ 17 11 29 21 16 30 25 17 20.8
Brock Osweiler HOU 16 22 30 12 21 15 27 24 20.9
Trevor Siemian DEN 25 25 2 28 DNP 21 22 25 21.1
Cody Kessler CLE DNP DNP 24 23 24 13 28 DNP 22.4
Jay Cutler CHI 24 30 DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP 18 24.0

Eli Manning's extremely disappointing 2016 season is perhaps the most surprising development at this position. Except for a three-touchdown day against a Dallas defense that didn't know how good it was in Week 1 and a second-half eruption by Odell Beckham Jr. against a shorthanded Baltimore secondary in Week 6, Manning has struggled to be useful in fantasy, even in two-quarterback leagues. Things should get easier over the second half of the season for the Giants with games against Chicago, Cleveland, Pittsburgh and Detroit, but Manning has disappointed in enough favorable spots already that he is going to be nearly impossible to trust in redraft leagues and especially in DFS. The exact same thing could be said for Joe Flacco, but he admittedly didn't enter the season with the same expectations.

Every year, there seems to be at least one quarterback who is abysmal in reality but more than acceptable in fantasy. This season's top candidate for that dubious distinction is Blake Bortles, who has attempted only 63 passes this season when his team is either ahead or tied. This year's garbage-time king has parlayed his poor play early in games into three top-eight finishes, which is roughly about what owners probably thought they were getting from a player expected to be a low-end QB1 at best this season. The bad part of his line above is he hasn't finished any higher than QB14 in any of his other four games. So the trick with him is figuring out which games have the best chance of getting out of hand early, which comes down to deciding which opponents are built around a solid defense (and thus, will play closer games and not give up garbage-time fantasy points). Unfortunately, Kansas City, Houston (twice), Buffalo, Denver and Minnesota make up the majority of the second-half schedule, so the odds are Bortles will disappoint as much in fantasy going forward as he has in reality over the first half the season.

For all the handwringing over Aaron Rodgers' slow start, he still been the second-most consistent quarterback this year (first if you exclude Brady and his suspension-shortened season thus far). Only once has Rodgers finished outside the top 10 quarterbacks and the "new" offense gives him the volume he has lacked for most of his career.

Given the injuries to key members of his supporting cast, Philip Rivers can be excused for not having the kind of season some expected from him. With that said, he's been a top-10 quarterback in three of the last five weeks, with the lone exceptions being two games against Denver's vaunted defense. With upcoming games against Tennessee, Miami, Tampa Bay, Carolina, Oakland and Cleveland, I would not think twice about hitching my wagon to him the rest of the way. Owners need only worry about a Week 11 bye and Week 12 date at Houston.

Is it a coincidence that Andy Dalton has been a top-10 quarterback in each of the two weeks Tyler Eifert has been active? I don't think so. Does the combination of last year's remarkable play pre-injury plus some solid fantasy numbers this season put him on the verge of being one of the league's better quarterbacks? Not really. Although not to the extent of Bortles, Dalton runs more hot-and-cold than his numbers sometimes suggest - last week's game in London versus Washington being a prime example - but he does just enough as a runner and has two of the best players at their position in A.J. Green and Eifert to help him shine in fantasy, especially in neutral or favorable matchups.

His disappointing Weeks 6 and 7 notwithstanding, Derek Carr probably needs to be considered as a midrange QB1 moving forward. The combination of Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree is enough to overwhelm most defenses, and Carr is working behind arguably the best pass-blocking line in the league. The defense is still leaky enough at the moment that Carr is going to need to throw 40 times per game as well. And at some point, his 17:3 touchdown-to-interception ratio has to start speaking for itself. He's going to be difficult to use in most leagues over the next three weeks (Denver, bye, Houston), but I'm not really all that concerned about the second-half fades that have dogged him over his first two seasons, so long as his supporting cast remains intact.

 RB Ranks by Week (PPR)
Player Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Avg Rank
David Johnson ARI 7 10 5 15 1 1 6 12 7.1
Le'Veon Bell PIT DNP DNP DNP 4 6 12 7 bye 7.3
DeMarco Murray TEN 5 6 4 1 12 17 8 6 7.4
Melvin Gordon SD 10 7 15 1 16 25 1 8 10.4
Ezekiel Elliott DAL 23 11 14 6 2 11 bye 10 11.0
Theo Riddick DET 4 22 24 33 4 DNP DNP 2 14.8
LeSean McCoy BUF 12 17 3 4 15 2 51 DNP 14.9
Carlos Hyde SF 6 33 6 18 7 38 DNP bye 18.0
Devonta Freeman ATL 37 26 1 19 8 28 21 5 18.1
LeGarrette Blount NE 22 8 11 35 27 14 5 27 18.6
Christine Michael SEA 30 21 7 11 bye 8 30 25 18.9
Spencer Ware KC 2 18 32 30 bye 7 9 34 18.9
Frank Gore IND 25 14 17 10 32 20 11 22 18.9
Tevin Coleman ATL 14 15 2 41 3 49 22 DNP 20.9
Lamar Miller HOU 16 20 18 21 44 4 26 18 20.9
Isaiah Crowell CLE 15 5 38 3 41 37 15 18 21.5
Latavius Murray OAK 19 4 27 45 DNP DNP 10 24 21.5
C.J. Anderson DEN 3 8 47 25 30 22 16 DNP 21.6
Jordan Howard CHI DNP 46 20 16 5 18 45 1 21.6
Matt Forte NYJ 9 1 36 41 34 48 2 4 21.9
Jay Ajayi MIA DNP 32 35 40 24 3 3 bye 22.8
Todd Gurley LA 45 34 13 24 10 15 20 bye 23.0
Mark Ingram NO 27 30 10 7 bye 28 13 46 23.0
Shane Vereen NYG 30 24 16 DNP DNP DNP DNP bye 23.3
Giovani Bernard CIN 46 2 31 38 18 16 18 23 24.0
Duke Johnson CLE 37 24 22 22 43 13 32 13 25.8
Jonathan Stewart CAR 40 52 DNP DNP DNP 9 bye 3 26.0
Matt Jones WAS 49 16 30 8 35 10 42 DNP 27.1
Jeremy Hill CIN 30 27 12 39 48 40 4 18 27.3
Ameer Abdullah DET 8 49 DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP 28.5
Chris Thompson WAS 24 28 57 26 33 24 12 30 29.3
Ryan Mathews PHI 20 12 67 bye 13 35 27 32 29.4
Charles Sims TB 21 45 9 43 DNP bye DNP DNP 29.5
Darren Sproles PHI 44 38 8 bye 23 46 34 14 29.6
DeAngelo Williams PIT 1 3 36 36 50 52 DNP bye 29.7
T.J. Yeldon JAC 13 19 49 17 bye 45 38 29 30.0
James White NE 29 48 58 28 20 6 25 37 31.4
Terrance West BAL 43 39 44 14 22 5 53 bye 31.4
Jeremy Langford CHI 18 23 43 DNP DNP DNP DNP 42 31.5
Eddie Lacy GB 33 47 25 bye 28 27 DNP DNP 32.0
Rashad Jennings NYG 33 42 DNP DNP DNP 30 24 bye 32.3
Bilal Powell NYJ 39 60 22 20 21 38 47 15 32.8
Jacquizz Rodgers TB DNP 55 54 47 14 bye 14 16 33.3
Fozzy Whittaker CAR 54 13 28 13 37 51 bye 43 34.1
Damien Williams MIA 47 DNP 25 51 31 23 31 bye 34.7
Cameron Artis-Payne CAR DNP DNP 42 54 9 DNP bye DNP 35.0
Devontae Booker DEN 59 41 52 48 26 31 18 9 35.5
Doug Martin TB 17 56 DNP DNP DNP bye DNP DNP 36.5
C.J. Prosise SEA 55 DNP DNP DNP bye DNP 39 18 37.3
Matt Asiata MIN 58 53 56 33 11 bye 23 28 37.4
Mike Gillislee BUF 60 28 60 44 36 18 46 11 37.9
Bobby Rainey NYG DNP DNP 53 23 19 41 54 bye 38.0
Jalen Richard OAK 11 50 47 48 16 47 51 36 38.3
Justin Forsett BAL/DET 35 35 33 DNP DNP 54 35 DNP 38.4
DeAndre Washington OAK 53 40 40 37 24 41 40 38 39.1
Chris Ivory JAC DNP DNP 54 50 bye 21 33 41 39.8
Jerick McKinnon MIN 57 62 39 12 38 bye 36 DNP 40.7
Zach Zenner DET DNP DNP 64 45 40 23 28 44 40.7
Travaris Cadet NO 28 50 33 58 bye 32 42 44 41.0
Robert Turbin IND 52 37 41 51 DNP 34 40 35 41.4
Rob Kelley WAS DNP DNP 63 57 47 36 29 17 41.5
Derrick Henry TEN 40 43 50 56 39 43 55 7 41.6
Charcandrick West KC 36 36 51 DNP bye 50 47 33 42.2
Wendell Smallwood PHI 62 59 19 bye 50 26 48 48 44.6
Josh Ferguson IND 48 31 46 31 45 56 57 47 45.1
John Kuhn NO 61 54 44 9 bye 56 56 38 45.4
Kyle Juszczyk BAL 49 58 62 27 41 33 49 bye 45.6
Shaun Draughn SF 26 57 59 53 53 55 17 bye 45.7
Paul Perkins NYG DNP DNP 64 32 46 44 44 bye 46.0
Jamize Olawale OAK 42 43 64 58 28 56 49 31 46.4
Orleans Darkwa NYG 63 61 20 29 49 DNP 57 bye 46.5
Kenjon Barner PHI 51 64 29 bye 50 53 57 40 49.1
Tim Hightower NO 56 63 61 55 bye 56 37 25 50.4

Based solely off average rank, there are only five true RB1s in fantasy at the moment, although LeSean McCoy's 51st place finish in Week 7 during the Bills' (and McCoy's) ill-advised attempt to push him through a hamstring injury is the only thing keeping that number from being a bit higher. The fact that Theo Riddick is the next-closest player to RB1 status absolutely boggles the mind, but the cold hard truth is OC Jim Bob Cooter is using him like a young Reggie Bush going back to his early days in New Orleans. Riddick has yet to log more than 11 carries in a game (his 3.7 YPC speaks to the fact he still isn't a great runner), but he has received at least 15 touches in every game since Week 1 thanks to an average of 7.2 targets. His 34-267-4 line would be good production for a starting fantasy receiver, so the fact he averages nearly 40 yards per game rushing is a bonus. Riddick may end up as a top-10 fantasy back this season, but his lack of consistency is ultimately what should keep him out of the RB1 discussion.

I have long been one of Matt Forte's biggest fans and (probably) biggest supporters, but if I still owned him in any league in which I could trade him, I would be dealing him now. Despite getting what seemed like a month's worth of vacation during the season, the former Chicago Bear standout is on pace for 314 carries and 354 touches overall. It's OK if you don't want to buy into the fact he's a 30-year-old back that will turn 31 next month and has 2,699 career touches on his resume; his current workload is just tempting fate when it comes to keeping him healthy for a full season. The fact of the matter is that he isn't producing in reality nearly as much is he's producing in fantasy. Forte has averaged 3.3 YPC or less in five games this season, including last week in what should have been a soft matchup in Cleveland. He has one 20-plus yard run on 157 carries this season, while backup Bilal Powell is averaging 7.1 YPC in limited duty. In no way am I suggesting this job should be a timeshare, but there is a lot working against Forte moving forward, most of which I've already discussed. Upcoming matchups against Miami (twice), New England (twice) and Los Angeles only increase my pessimism with him, but his ability to hold up to the current workload would be my biggest concern. I would not be surprised at all if Powell is a fantasy playoff stud for the second straight season.

There's been a lot made about what James White has done in Dion Lewis' absence, but one top-12 week and one other top-24 week makes him the essence of a flex option at best. By comparison, Lewis posted five top-15 weeks (three top-six efforts) in seven games before tearing his ACL last season. A legitimate case could be made that Lewis will produce less this season given the strength of the Patriots' supporting cast, but I'd argue there is a better chance (a healthy) Lewis carries over most of his value from last year and makes LeGarrette Blount a flex option who works primarily in goal-line and short-yardage situations.

Despite Cam Newton attempting seven runs in his second game back from a concussion in Week 8, it has been the Jonathan Stewart show at the goal line since his return. Stewart converted from 1 and 2 yards out versus Arizona, just as he did in Week 6 against New Orleans, suggesting there may have been a fundamental change in philosophy in regards to reducing the number of high-impact collisions Newton has to absorb. While Stewart hasn't exactly been overly efficient - his 4.1 YPC over the last two games is typically the league average - the Panthers still possess an offense more than capable of averaging multiple red zone trips per game. If Stewart is going to get those looks going forward in addition to the volume (44 carries over the last two games), then the top-10 finishes he's posted each of the last two weeks are probably going to continue. With that said, it's impossible to know how long Carolina will hold back Newton at the goal line, which makes Stewart a risky investment, especially when one figures in his injury history.

It says a lot about the current state of the running back position when owners are looking forward to the return of James Starks. In four games prior to tearing his meniscus, the 30-year-old ran for 42 yards on 24 carries. By all indications, Starks is not dealing with knee pain prior to the injury, so one has to assume he was near full health through Week 5. If we can assume that to be true, it means Eddie Lacy (5.4 YPC) was three times the runner Starks (1.8) was over the first four games. (In case you don't remember, Lacy was having a hard time living up to be an RB2.) As a result, I'd be stunned if Green Bay doesn't go into December with Ty Montgomery operating as the lead back, while Randall Cobb, Don Jackson and fullback Aaron Ripkowski share the remaining 8-10 touches out of the backfield.

Texans HC Bill O'Brien has praised Lamar Miller on a few occasions this season, so owners can feel good about his job security going forward. However, Miller is a prime example of how a running back is used can often be as important as how often he is used. The University of Miami (Fla.) product is heading into a bye week on track for 306 carries and 350 touches overall, but his three total touchdowns on 175 touches this year are highly disappointing for a back who averaged a score once every 33.2 touches during his final three seasons in Miami. The difference (in my opinion): the Dolphins actually got him out in space. While every feature back needs to have a healthy mix of inside and outside runs in order to keep the defense honest, only 52 of Miler's 153 runs have been charted as "wide left" or "wide right", while 45 have been considered "middle" runs. Miller may sport a 220-pound frame, but he's not a pounder nor is Houston strong enough up the middle to allow him to make it work consistently. And while his 22 catches through eight games is about right in line with last year's reception total with the Dolphins, I have been mystified by the lack of screen plays in the Texans' game plan. Not only would screens help a struggling Brock Osweiler and take some pressure off an average offensive line, but it would allow Miller to get into the open field on a regular basis. For a player who has broken a TD run of at least 85 yards in each of the last two seasons (and scored on a 54-yard reception in 2015), it would seem like an obvious move to get him out in space. Let's hope O'Brien turns a critical eye on himself as he and his coaching staff self-scout during the team's open week.

 WR Ranks by Week (PPR)
Player Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Avg Rank
Mike Evans TB 12 14 6 37 12 bye 3 38 17.4
Larry Fitzgerald ARI 5 9 26 36 6 37 23 19 20.1
A.J. Green CIN 1 66 21 3 41 23 2 10 20.9
Antonio Brown PIT 3 58 9 10 10 49 16 bye 22.1
Jarvis Landry MIA 37 6 8 27 51 18 28 bye 25.0
Michael Crabtree OAK 16 35 18 2 27 81 7 17 25.4
Michael Thomas NO 40 49 14 21 bye 13 8 33 25.4
Amari Cooper OAK 8 43 40 44 4 9 55 1 25.5
Mike Wallace BAL 13 9 58 38 29 24 11 bye 26.0
Odell Beckham Jr. NYG 43 18 15 62 16 1 39 bye 27.7
Demaryius Thomas DEN 57 21 11 11 19 49 23 31 27.8
Jordy Nelson GB 24 16 7 bye 26 32 77 13 27.9
Jamison Crowder WAS 40 22 19 65 32 26 20 3 28.4
T.Y. Hilton IND 30 55 4 15 1 52 6 68 28.9
Cole Beasley DAL 27 40 23 39 23 8 bye 45 29.3
Julio Jones ATL 19 7 81 1 54 7 5 61 29.4
Corey Coleman CLE 56 4 DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP 30.0
Marvin Jones DET 39 11 1 33 27 44 29 60 30.5
Stefon Diggs MIN 17 1 48 45 DNP bye 67 7 30.8
Brandin Cooks NO 2 33 78 59 bye 4 17 24 31.0
Kelvin Benjamin CAR 10 2 87 29 34 15 bye 45 31.7
Jordan Matthews PHI 6 35 42 bye 37 38 65 4 32.4
Randall Cobb GB 38 51 76 bye 13 14 4 DNP 32.7
Quincy Enunwa NYJ 14 24 53 35 40 58 25 15 33.0
Willie Snead NO 4 19 DNP 73 bye 48 21 35 33.3
Terrelle Pryor CLE 52 64 3 20 38 5 67 18 33.4
Davante Adams GB 29 68 39 bye 14 70 1 13 33.4
Alshon Jeffery CHI 27 28 34 54 31 17 57 20 33.5
Dez Bryant DAL 83 17 26 DNP DNP DNP bye 9 33.8
Emmanuel Sanders DEN 50 62 2 9 24 51 33 39 33.8
Eddie Royal CHI 22 24 71 8 36 43 DNP DNP 34.0
Kenny Britt LA 47 23 51 34 32 2 53 bye 34.6
Allen Hurns JAC 42 45 48 31 bye 28 45 6 35.0
DeAndre Hopkins HOU 20 5 45 82 16 18 44 52 35.3
Travis Benjamin SD 49 3 32 50 15 74 41 28 36.5
Steve Smith BAL 63 50 20 5 52 DNP DNP bye 38.0
Doug Baldwin SEA 7 71 5 46 bye 59 32 47 38.1
Allen Robinson JAC 34 53 10 16 bye 52 74 30 38.4
Jeremy Maclin KC 17 38 54 30 bye 52 50 29 38.6
Brandon Marshall NYJ 66 20 66 14 8 41 55 39 38.6
Tyrell Williams SD 54 26 29 48 11 66 12 72 39.8
Sterling Shepard NYG 33 12 17 56 62 60 47 bye 41.0
Julian Edelman NE 24 28 47 76 44 55 27 27 41.0
Anquan Boldin DET 64 27 32 47 43 12 35 72 41.5
Donte Moncrief IND 14 86 DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP 25 41.7
Will Fuller HOU 8 31 63 4 69 DNP 58 66 42.7
Pierre Garcon WAS 45 73 36 52 16 24 64 32 42.8
Tavon Austin LA 69 46 12 75 22 67 9 bye 42.9
Brian Quick LA 70 87 25 12 45 35 30 bye 43.4
DeVante Parker MIA DNP 15 24 67 41 55 59 bye 43.5
Mohamed Sanu ATL 11 72 63 64 47 22 69 5 44.1
Rishard Matthews TEN 68 57 61 40 30 20 52 26 44.3
Brandon LaFell CIN 35 62 70 51 5 44 19 71 44.6
Kendall Wright TEN DNP DNP DNP 70 67 6 72 12 45.4
Golden Tate DET 43 81 56 74 46 3 25 36 45.5
DeSean Jackson WAS 21 61 13 81 49 42 45 54 45.8
Victor Cruz NYG 31 35 41 43 72 63 38 bye 46.1
John Brown ARI 83 84 26 7 66 39 DNP 23 46.9
Robert Woods BUF 67 85 35 17 55 20 DNP 49 46.9
Cameron Meredith CHI DNP DNP 74 57 3 10 76 65 47.5
Marqise Lee JAC 73 40 46 57 bye 29 21 67 47.6
Kenny Stills MIA 77 44 31 21 72 78 12 bye 47.9
Seth Roberts OAK 50 69 37 40 57 64 47 21 48.1
Terrance Williams DAL 65 90 30 21 34 33 bye 64 48.1
Sammie Coates PIT 61 42 48 24 2 86 79 bye 48.9
Jeremy Kerley SF 35 65 74 13 9 78 70 bye 49.1
Michael Floyd ARI 54 52 38 32 72 40 37 75 50.0
Tyreek Hill KC 59 83 68 26 bye 76 31 8 50.1
Adam Thielen MIN 53 55 65 65 7 bye 54 56 50.7
Chris Hogan NE 25 47 86 85 20 73 61 16 51.6
Adam Humphries TB 62 39 16 82 58 bye 62 51 52.9
Phillip Dorsett IND 31 75 66 25 55 78 DNP 53 54.7
Marquise Goodwin BUF 87 13 84 79 39 75 15 DNP 56.0
Andrew Hawkins CLE 92 66 79 60 20 55 66 11 56.1
Ted Ginn Jr. CAR 74 59 43 70 68 36 bye 43 56.1
Chris Conley KC 58 79 55 28 bye 67 60 50 56.7
Nelson Agholor PHI 22 54 71 bye 53 62 73 62 56.7
Cordarrelle Patterson MIN 79 94 82 48 25 bye 14 58 57.1
Tajae Sharpe TEN 26 60 51 69 60 85 39 70 57.5
Tyler Boyd CIN 72 33 73 80 50 31 80 47 58.3
J.J. Nelson ARI 80 DNP 87 70 72 64 35 2 58.6
Torrey Smith SF 76 30 59 84 72 15 75 bye 58.7
Dontrelle Inman SD 85 88 61 6 70 82 42 36 58.8
Dorial Green-Beckham PHI 75 77 60 bye 47 77 42 41 59.9
Danny Amendola NE 60 8 76 85 65 72 81 34 60.1
Philly Brown CAR 80 73 43 18 63 71 bye 74 60.3
Ty Montgomery GB 87 90 93 bye 71 11 10 DNP 60.3
Jermaine Kearse SEA 47 82 80 62 bye 60 49 44 60.6
Devin Funchess CAR 82 47 87 54 72 27 bye 57 60.9
Darrius Heyward-Bey PIT 87 88 87 42 72 30 34 bye 62.9
Quinton Patton SF 46 69 82 77 61 46 62 bye 63.3
Brandon Coleman NO 87 79 22 68 bye 83 50 59 64.0
Brice Butler DAL 77 90 87 19 59 47 bye 69 64.0
Tyler Lockett SEA 71 32 87 77 bye 69 71 55 66.0
Ricardo Louis CLE 87 90 57 60 63 33 78 63 66.4
Russell Shepard TB 86 78 84 85 72 bye 18 42 66.4
Taylor Gabriel ATL 93 76 68 52 72 83 DNP 22 66.6

How's that "Big Three" looking? Antonio Brown has been a top-10 receiver four times this season, a WR2 (as in ranked between 13 and 24) once and not even worthy of a flex play (outside the top 48) twice. Odell Beckham has been the overall WR1 once, a WR2 three times and borderline bench-worthy three times. Julio Jones been a top-10 receiver four times, a WR2 once and borderline bench-worthy twice. Volatility is to be expected among all players - even the elite ones - but this kind of unpredictability has to be a bit unnerving for owners who placed their faith into these players. A.J. Green is the overall WR1 halfway through the season, but his story is similar to the aforementioned three players. Amari Cooper is the overall WR3 and he has arguably been the most volatile of the bunch. T.Y. Hilton? How about a WR55, WR52 and WR68 mixed in with three top-six finishes? So who has been the epitome of consistency? You guessed it Mike Evans.

Since opening the season with two top 10 finishes, Kelvin Benjamin has been a liability in fantasy lineups just as often as he has been a WR3-callber option. The targets haven't really dried up - he's averaged nearly nine over the last four games - but he's only scored once over that span after doing so three times in the first two games. Matchups are somewhat to blame - Atlanta's Desmond Trufant and Arizona's Patrick Peterson are among the game's best cover corners - but owners probably expected more production against Tampa Bay and New Orleans in Weeks 5 and 6 (albeit one came with Derek Anderson as a starter).

Back in August, I'm pretty sure I was one of the few who didn't have a lot of conviction about Allen Robinson or DeAndre Hopkins, but I must admit I didn't see either player struggling to be an every-week WR2, much less WR3. Garbage-time volume is about the only thing that is keeping Robinson in WR3 territory, while Hopkins has as many top-20 as sub-40 finishes (four apiece).

After some early offseason hype, there weren't a ton of people left on the Michael Thomas bandwagon by the time the regular season rolled around and probably fewer following Week 2. Although he has finished inside the top 12 only once so far, he has been money ever since he got his feet wet, usually settling in around WR2 territory. That's pretty impressive for a rookie, much less one in an offense led by a quarterback who typically likes to spread it around. Brandin Cooks actually hasn't really come close to matching Thomas' level of consistency, while Willie Snead has hovered around WR3 territory following a surprising start.

There are plenty of shocking ranks on the chart above, and one of the many that stands out the most may be two receivers I like going forward: Kenny Britt and Brandon Marshall. While Britt's "arrival" as a consistent WR3 has come as something of a pleasant surprise, Marshall's fade to the same territory is a bit of a bummer. The fact Britt has actually been the more consistent option with Case Keenum as his quarterback speaks to just how much of a drag Ryan Fitzpatrick (not to mention the loss of Eric Decker) has been on Marshall's fantasy stock. Britt should benefit from a bit of a perfect storm going forward, as many of the Rams' upcoming opponents have good or great run defenses and very little in the way of cornerback talent capable of shutting down a freakish athlete like Britt. Marshall has things slightly more difficult, but he's already seen the best of the best when it comes to individual matchups, more than holding his own against the likes of Richard Sherman and Patrick Peterson. Positive touchdown regression is also likely to find him sooner than later as well. Much like Britt, Marshall will see his fair share of opponents with solid run defenses and suspect pass defenses the rest of the way. Targets haven't been the problem for him either (77), but being able to do something with them has (34 catches). After eight games, Marshall is on pace for a 68-1,080-4 line yeah, I'll take the over on that bet.

 TE Ranks by Week (PPR)
Player Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Avg Rank
Jordan Reed WAS 7 11 14 1 9 DNP DNP 2 7.3
Greg Olsen CAR 6 1 11 2 2 6 bye 34 8.9
Kyle Rudolph MIN 11 10 6 4 24 bye 8 17 11.4
Travis Kelce KC 7 21 5 8 bye 21 19 3 12.0
Eric Ebron DET 4 20 12 22 DNP DNP DNP 7 13.0
Delanie Walker TEN 19 3 DNP 23 3 34 2 11 13.6
Rob Gronkowski NE DNP DNP 37 33 7 1 3 4 14.2
Zach Miller CHI 30 27 1 11 8 16 16 5 14.3
Dennis Pitta BAL 20 4 13 25 11 16 13 bye 14.6
Julius Thomas JAC 2 14 29 DNP bye 25 7 11 14.7
Tyler Eifert CIN DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP 31 1 16.0
Jason Witten DAL 4 22 24 12 17 20 bye 14 16.1
Jack Doyle IND 1 23 10 35 26 7 1 27 16.3
Jimmy Graham SEA 42 28 3 3 bye 8 9 21 16.3
Antonio Gates SD 27 16 DNP DNP 10 28 10 9 16.7
Martellus Bennett NE 30 2 28 6 1 15 36 19 17.1
Cameron Brate TB 23 33 4 12 20 bye 17 13 17.4
Gary Barnidge CLE 48 23 7 10 13 19 5 20 18.1
Jesse James PIT 15 12 31 17 6 32 20 bye 19.0
Coby Fleener NO 45 31 2 24 bye 2 15 18 19.6
Jacob Tamme ATL 10 5 19 20 34 28 11 30 19.6
Lance Kendricks LA 34 17 37 15 22 9 6 bye 20.0
Hunter Henry SD 37 46 9 5 5 4 26 32 20.5
Vance McDonald SF 13 9 34 DNP DNP 26 22 bye 20.8
Dwayne Allen IND 3 34 18 27 4 39 DNP DNP 20.8
Vernon Davis WAS 37 17 37 34 21 10 4 8 21.0
C.J. Fiedorowicz HOU 45 45 37 7 15 3 12 6 21.3
Charles Clay BUF 23 23 37 16 14 14 18 33 22.3
Zach Ertz PHI 9 DNP DNP bye 18 33 27 26 22.6
Clive Walford OAK 25 6 23 26 DNP 26 36 25 23.9
Austin Seferian-Jenkins TB/NYJ 12 39 DNP DNP 23 DNP DNP DNP 24.7
Ryan Griffin HOU 33 44 8 19 26 23 25 21 24.9
Virgil Green DEN 21 26 DNP DNP DNP 24 40 15 25.2
Larry Donnell NYG 14 30 26 37 DNP 18 32 bye 26.2
Will Tye NYG 28 41 25 20 19 30 22 bye 26.4
Marcedes Lewis JAC 21 19 22 31 bye 43 29 23 26.9
C.J. Uzomah CIN 17 37 21 18 16 42 40 DNP 27.3
Jordan Cameron MIA 39 7 36 DNP DNP DNP DNP bye 27.3
Mychal Rivera OAK DNP DNP DNP 36 35 35 28 10 28.8
Austin Hooper ATL 41 13 37 14 28 43 40 16 29.0
Trey Burton PHI DNP 7 27 bye 31 41 40 36 30.3
Xavier Grimble PIT 48 15 37 30 25 37 22 bye 30.6
Jermaine Gresham ARI 15 46 37 37 32 36 21 24 31.0
Richard Rodgers GB 35 34 17 bye 30 30 33 38 31.0
Demetrius Harris KC 32 46 15 31 bye 37 30 29 31.4
Garrett Celek SF 40 42 20 9 32 43 39 bye 32.1
Erik Swoope IND 48 46 37 37 35 21 14 28 33.3
Josh Hill NO 48 DNP DNP DNP bye 13 35 37 33.3
Ed Dickson CAR 48 46 29 28 35 11 bye 38 33.6
Levine Toilolo ATL 48 36 37 37 35 5 36 38 34.0
Stephen Anderson HOU 25 38 37 DNP DNP DNP 40 31 34.2
Brandon Myers TB 18 46 35 37 29 bye 40 38 34.7
Jared Cook GB 44 29 33 bye DNP DNP DNP DNP 35.3
Crockett Gillmore BAL 47 40 37 29 12 43 40 bye 35.4
Luke Willson SEA 28 43 32 37 bye 39 DNP DNP 35.8
Brent Celek PHI 42 46 16 bye 35 43 33 38 36.1
Geoff Swaim DAL 36 31 37 37 35 43 bye 35 36.3
MarQueis Gray MIA 48 46 37 37 35 12 40 bye 36.4

C.J. Fiedorowicz is probably flying under the radar of most owners due to the struggles of Brock Osweiler, but it's a bad idea to let him sit around on waivers much longer. While DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller have seen their fortunes sink over the last month, Fiedorowicz has been a rock-solid TE1 in four of his last five games. Over that time, his average rank is 8.6 - a mark bettered by only Jordan Reed. At a position where there is Rob Gronkowski, Greg Olsen, Reed, Jimmy Graham and Tyler Eifert (when the last two are healthy) and a bunch of low-upside, low-floor plays, Fiedorowicz provides a high floor with a fairly decent ceiling. With at least seven targets in four straight games, he's not going away anytime soon.

Don't look now, but Vernon Davis is making his strongest bid for fantasy relevancy in a few years. The return of Reed in Week 8 was supposed to stop Davis' recent mini-surge, but a third straight top-10 finish is definitely noteworthy as Washington heads into its bye week. Perhaps Davis is nothing more than an older Jack Doyle and loses his value once Reed settles back in for a few games. But like the starter in Indianapolis (Dwayne Allen), Reed is never too far away from his next injury, which makes Davis worth owning in most leagues.

If only Baltimore would give Dennis Pitta more opportunities near the goal line. While Pitta's four red-zone targets match what Jarvis Landry has done inside the 20 so far, Pitta only has one target inside the 10 and has yet to score a touchdown this season. Now look at his line above. That's remarkable consistency from a player not getting a six-point boost every so often. The problem isn't really the Ravens ignoring Pitta, however, but rather a lack of end-zone chances in general. Baltimore has scored a disappointing 10 total touchdowns in seven games (for comparison's sake, K Justin Tucker has made 18 field goals), meaning the Ravens just don't have enough firepower to give players like Pitta more touchdown opportunities.


Doug Orth has written for FF Today since 2006 and been featured in USA Today’s Fantasy Football Preview magazine since 2010. He hosted USA Today’s hour-long, pre-kickoff fantasy football internet chat every Sunday in 2012-13 and appears as a guest analyst on a number of national sports radio shows, including Sirius XM’s “Fantasy Drive”. Doug is also a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association.