Value Plays - Week 3

  Posted 9/18 by Jeff Tefertiller, Exclusive to Footballguys.com

This article will take a weekly look at players who could provide value in a given week. The basis for this value will be the difference between the Top 250 forward, a look at the top 250 players with the whole season in mind, and the weekly rankings. Both of these are from the Footballguys.com subscriber content. An emphasis will be on the players with the largest differences between the season outlook and this week only. Also, a preference will be given to differences for the higher ranked players. Some of these differences will be due to injury, matchup of the week, or short-term situation. Now, let's take a look at this week's value players.


Aaron Rodgers

  • Top 200 ranking: 6
  • Weekly ranking: 3
  • Difference: +3

Rodgers really impressed many by his strong play against the Minnesota Vikings and Detroit Lions the last two weeks. Dallas comes to town after yielding great production and big plays to the Philadelphia Eagles. Rodgers should have another big game.

J.T. O'Sullivan

  • Top 200 ranking: 18
  • Weekly ranking: 5
  • Difference: +13

The journeyman passer has bounced around several teams. The Martz offense has served him well. O'Sullivan faces a porous Detroit Lion defense that has given up big points to the Falcons and Packers the last two weeks. The 49er offense looked good last week and has another chance to have a big game.

Matt Cassel

  • Top 200 ranking: 13
  • Weekly ranking: 5
  • Difference: +8

The Patriots have played conservatively so far with Cassel under center. This week, New England gets the Dolphins in an easy matchup. This should be the game we see the Patriot offense look like a well-oiled machine. The offense was used to Brady and there should be improvement each week as Cassel looks more comfortable. Also, it looks as though Maroney and Jordan might not play for New England.

Running Back

Darren Sproles

  • Top 200 ranking: 42
  • Weekly ranking: 26
  • Difference: +16

Darren Sproles has not failed to impress. He is underrated due to his size, but is a playmaker. With the toe injury to Tomlinson, Sproles should see the field quite often against the Jets. The diminutive back is a threat with the ball in his hands, whether on a run, a pass, or a return. The Chargers are trying to get him touches with the Tomlinson toe injury.

Julius Jones

  • Top 200 ranking: 28
  • Weekly ranking: 13
  • Difference: +15

Julius Jones surprised many with his strong game last week. With a great matchup against the Rams this week, Jones will look to prove he is the primary back for the future. Maurice Morris is still nicked up, leaving Jones as the only decent back. In addition, the void at the receiver position only helps Jones' situation.

Chris Johnson

  • Top 200 ranking: 18
  • Weekly ranking: 6
  • Difference: +12

Johnson is making a strong push for the Rookie of the Year award. He is a multidimensional threat. The Titans will look to control the game this week with a strong ground game. For this reason, expect the Titans to run Johnson early to get the lead. His receiving ability allows him to be in position for a big play as Tennessee has few big play players.

Frank Gore

  • Top 200 ranking: 7
  • Weekly ranking: 1
  • Difference: +6

Gore has played well amidst concerns of his role in the Martz offense. He gets a great matchup as the 49ers face the Detroit Lions. Yes, this is the same Lion defense that yielded over 200 yards to Michael Turner in week one. Expect a big week from Gore.

Wide Receiver

DeSean Jackson

  • Top 200 ranking: 38
  • Weekly ranking: 21
  • Difference: +17

Jackson has played well enough to vault from WR52 to WR38 in the last week. He has strung two good games in a row. The Eagles are still without Kevin Curtis and it is not known yet whether Reggie Brown will be back in week three. Jackson has the speed to make big plays and the matchup against the Steelers will provide a good test. He is a good fantasy WR2 or WR3 until the Eagle starting receivers get healthy.

Eddie Royal

  • Top 200 ranking: 37
  • Weekly ranking: 18
  • Difference: +19

Eddie Royal has started off well in his first two games as a pro. Royal still was able to produce with Brandon Marshall back in the lineup and playing well. The key is the play of Jay Cutler. This week, the Broncos face a weak Saint defense that made Jason Campbell look good last week. Fantasy owners should expect another strong game from the rookie receiver.

David Patten

  • Top 200 ranking: 44
  • Weekly ranking: 27
  • Difference: +17

Patten has emerged as the best Saint receiver with Colston out because of injury. He moved up from WR62 to WR44 in the last week. Drew Brees will continue to attempt a ton of passes. This week, against the Broncos, should be a shoot-out. The Broncos have given up a lot of passing yardage this season.

Dwayne Bowe

  • Top 200 ranking: 17
  • Weekly ranking: 8
  • Difference: +9

The Chiefs have few offensive weapons and have to lean on the second-year receiver to make plays. This week, the Chiefs face a weak defense in the Atlanta Falcons. Bowe has been able to get open even with no WR2 to keep opposing defenses honest. This could be a huge game for the emerging wideout.

Tight End

John Carlson

  • Top 200 ranking: 13
  • Weekly ranking: 8
  • Difference: 5

John Carlson went from not ranked in the Top 26 tight ends to a TE13 ranking in the Top 250 in just a week. He benefits from the lack of viable receivers in Seattle. The Seahawks have lost their three best wideouts to injury. This leaves Courtney Taylor and Koren Robinson as the top wide receivers. Last week's strong game against the 49ers helped solidify his role in the offense. This week, the Seahawks play an inert defense in the Rams. Carlson could have another big game.

Donald Lee

  • Top 200 ranking: 18
  • Weekly ranking: 11
  • Difference: +7

Lee has disappointed some in 2008. He was one of Favre's favorite targets last year. This week, he gets an opportunity against the Cowboys in what should be a shoot-out. Lee does need to hold onto the ball and not drop passes, especially in the endzone. He should get scoring opportunities the next few weeks.


Matt Prater

  • Top 200 ranking: 11
  • Weekly ranking: 2
  • Difference: 9

Prater was ranked as K16 last week. He now is ranked as K11 because of the strong Bronco offense. With a potential high scoring game expected this week against the Saints, the young kicker should be inserted into fantasy lineups. Cutler is playing so well, giving Prater ample scoring chances.

John Carney

  • Top 200 ranking: 16
  • Weekly ranking: 3
  • Difference: 13

Carney went from unranked to K16 this week. Eli Manning has the Giant offense clicking. The injury to Tynes has allowed the opportunity for Carney to showcase his ability. This week, the Giants face the porous Bengal defense. Carney should get plenty of scoring chances this week.


Atlanta Falcons

  • Top 200 ranking: unranked in Top 25
  • Weekly ranking: 8
  • Difference: n/a

The Falcons are not a great defense, but get a great matchup in week three. This week, Atlanta faces the downtrodden Chiefs and their anemic offense. The Chiefs turned the ball over a ton against the Raiders and have big uncertainty at the quarterback position. Youngster Tyler Thigpen will start under center for Kansas City. The Raiders were able to thwart Larry Johnson and keep Bowe and Gonzalez under control. The Falcons are a good waiver wire defense this week.

Seattle Seahawks

  • Top 200 ranking: 1
  • Weekly ranking: 6
  • Difference: +12

The Seattle defense is very nicked up, but not as much as the offensive side of the ball. The Seahawk defense yielded a ton of production against the 49ers last week, but still produced like a good fantasy defense with sacks and turnovers. This week, the Seahawks face the Rams and their porous offensive line. Expect the Seahawks to keep the pressure on Bulger all game.