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Value Plays: Week 3

A comparison of the weekly positional rankings and the Top 200, this is an output of the players who could have unexpected big fantasy weeks.

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 200 forward, a look at the top 200 players with the whole season in mind, and the weekly rankings. Both of these are from the Insider 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, the matchup of the week, or short-term situation. Now, let's take a look at this week's value players.


Matt Ryan

  • Top 200 ranking: 20
  • Weekly ranking: 2
  • Difference: +18

Ryan is coming off big games against the Buccaneers and Raiders and now gets another great fantasy matchup in New Orleans against the Saints.  The Top 200 ranking shows we are not confident in Ryan to keep up the pace for the remainder of the season, but he makes a great fantasy option this week.  Both quarterbacks in this game are expected to put up big fantasy points. 

Philip Rivers

  • Top 200 ranking: 15
  • Weekly ranking: 6
  • Difference: +9

Even without Keenan Allen and Danny Woodhead, Rivers found a way to light up the scoreboard against the Jacksonville last week.  The game against the Colts could provide the veteran passer a great opportunity for an elite fantasy week.  Indianapolis is without several defensive starters, especially in the secondary.  With so many injuries and poor matchups this week, Rivers is a fine spot starter. 

Running Back

DeAngelo Williams

  • Top 200 ranking: 45
  • Weekly ranking: 1
  • Difference: +44

Williams has been the top fantasy back in most leagues.  He has carried the heaviest workload of all running backs and has the stage for one more week while Le'Veon Bell serves his final game on suspension.  The Eagles defense is better against the pass than the run and we expect the Steelers to run the ball frequently.  The Pittsburgh offense is so good through the air that running lanes are wide open.  Williams is a must-start for fantasy owners.

Theo Riddick

  • Top 200 ranking: 15
  • Weekly ranking: 4
  • Difference: +11

Riddick has played very well this season.  He has received more opportunities to carry the ball than many expected.  The injury to Ameer Abdullah will only allow Riddick more touches in a game that looks to be a shootout against Green Bay.  In what looks to be a shootout, we like Riddick’s chances of catching at least five passes and racking up 100 total yards. 

Charles Sims

  • Top 200 ranking: 24
  • Weekly ranking:  15
  • Difference: +9

Sims will inherit the starting role against Tampa Bay this week as Doug Martin nurses a hamstring injury.  The starter is only expected to miss a few weeks, but the hamstring injury is tough to judge.  Sims will see plenty of pass targets and rushing attempts to be a solid fantasy RB2 against the stiff Rams defense. 

Wide Receiver

Eric Decker

  • Top 200 ranking: 23
  • Weekly ranking: 16
  • Difference: +7

This favorable ranking has more to do with Brandon Marshall’s injury than the matchup, a tough one against the Chiefs.  The game is in Kansas City so we expect a lower scoring game than most desire.  Decker makes a great fantasy WR2 this week and a Marshall absence should lead to more red-zone opportunities.

Jordan Matthews

  • Top 200 ranking: 25
  • Weekly ranking: 12
  • Difference: +13

Matthews has become the top target for rookie Carson Wentz.  The injury to Zach Ertz and lack of consistency from Nelson Agholor only solidify his standing.  Matthews gets to face the Pittsburgh Steelers this week.  The once-vaunted defense is a shell of its former self, and will give up big production to opposing receivers in what could be a high-scoring affair. 

Marvin Jones Jr

  • Top 200 ranking: 20
  • Weekly ranking: 11
  • Difference: +9

Jones has quickly emerged as the Lions WR1.  He has earned the trust of quarterback Matthew Stafford and gets targets down the field.  In the divisional game in Green Bay this week, we expect both teams to throw often.  After seeing Stefon Diggs abuse the Packers secondary Sunday night, we are hopeful that Jones will do the same. 

Tight End

Jacob Tamme

  • Top 200 ranking: 23
  • Weekly ranking: 9
  • Difference: +14

Tamme has benefited from playing in a pass-first offense against bad defenses the first two weeks.  This has allowed the veteran tight end to be a top fantasy option at the position.  The game against the Saints should be high scoring and allow the Tamme to be startable once again.  These two pass offenses know how to throw the football and neither pass defense is especially strong.

Dennis Pitta

  • Top 200 ranking: 15
  • Weekly ranking: 4
  • Difference: +11

Of all the storylines this season, the return of Pitta is at the top.  He overcame two hip fractures, and almost a two-year absence just to make it back on the field.  The veteran tight end is Joe Flacco’s top target.  This should continue against the Jaguars this week. Jacksonville allowed two Oakland tight ends to put up decent fantasy numbers last Sunday.  Pitta could get ten pass targets once again.

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