Outliers, Week 3

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

This article will take a weekly look at players who are either undervalued or overvalued in a given week. The outlier value players offer is calculated by a comparison between the Top 200 forward, a look at the top 200 players with the whole season in mind, and the weekly Footballguys 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, the matchup of the week, or short-term situation.  Now, let's look at this week's outlier players. 


Cam Newton

  • Top 200 ranking: 14
  • Weekly ranking: 2
  • Difference: +12

Newton and the Panthers host divisional-rival Saints this week.  While Carolina is 2-0 and New Orleans is 0-2, these two teams are well matched and should score plenty of points.  The Panthers have defeated the 49ers and Bills the first two weeks while the Saints lost to the Vikings and Patriots.  Given the sieve-like defense of New Orleans, this game should allow Newton and his offensive pals a chance to finally break out of their collective offensive slump.  This is the same Saints defense which allowed Tom Brady to put up gaudy statistics last week. 

Alex Smith

  • Top 200 ranking: 18
  • Weekly ranking: 9
  • Difference: +9

Smith has led the Chiefs to a roaring 2-0 start with victories over the Patriots and Eagles.  His game in Los Angeles this week, against the struggling Chargers, should be a great one for fantasy production.  Jay Cutler lit up this defense last week and Smith becomes a great spot starter in a week many elite starters have difficult matchups.

Drew Brees


  • Top 200 ranking: 3
  • Weekly ranking: 13
  • Difference: -10


As noted above, Brees marches his troops (Saints) into Carolina this week to face the Panthers.  The Carolina defense has played well this season and this is its first real test.  While Brees is better (much better) than Brian Hoyer and Tyrod Taylor, it is difficult to project him with more than moderate fantasy production unless he gets a few garbage-time drives late in a blowout. 

Jameis Winston


  • Top 200 ranking: 4
  • Weekly ranking: 19
  • Difference: -15


The Buccaneers were still shaking the rust off last week in the victory over the Bears.  The Tampa Bay offense was not especially sharp.  This week, Winston leads his team to Minnesota to face a tough defense.  This Vikings defense stifled the Saints in Week 1, holding Drew Brees to one touchdown pass and limited passing yards until garbage time. 

Running Back

C.J. Anderson


  • Top 200 ranking: 26
  • Weekly ranking: 14
  • Difference: +12


Anderson is coming off a great game against the Dallas Cowboys and looks to keep the momentum going against the Buffalo Bills.  Buffalo does have a solid defense but Denver should have a lead early enough to establish the running game, namely Anderson.  The game script favors Anderson getting a full workload with few pass attempts by Trevor Siemian

Chris Thompson


  • Top 200 ranking: 32
  • Weekly ranking: 18
  • Difference: +14


Thompson was the best Washington back last week against the Los Angeles Rams.  In what appears to be a high-scoring game against Oakland this week, Thompson could have a huge role in the offense.  The rib injury to Rob Kelley will only increase Thompson’s snaps as rookie Samaje Perine gets up to speed.

Theo Riddick


  • Top 200 ranking: 14
  • Weekly ranking: 33
  • Difference: -19


Riddick was outplayed on Monday night by Ameer Abdullah in the victory over the New York Giants.  The game against Atlanta this week will be another tough matchup for the Lions receiving back.  The Falcons have the speed to stay with Riddick.  Given the few carries he receives, Riddick is dependent on receptions for fantasy value.  Atlanta will be able to contain him.  He does not have a great matchup this week. 

James White


  • Top 200 ranking: 23
  • Weekly ranking: 32
  • Difference: -9


Admittedly, it is risky placing one of the Patriots backs on this list, but the game script seems to favor Mike Gillislee and his powerful running style over the pass-receiving ability of White. The Patriots play the Texans in what should be a lopsided affair. In a game where his team is heavily favored, we do not like White’s fantasy upside. 

Wide Receiver

Jarvis Landry


  • Top 200 ranking: 13
  • Weekly ranking: 7
  • Difference: +6


After getting a whopping 15 pass targets against a lackluster Chargers defense last Sunday, Landry gets the Jets this week.  Quarterback Jay Cutler trusts the veteran receiver with a high volume of passes.  This should be another solid PPR (Point Per Reception) performance for Landry even if lacking in yards or scores. 

Kelvin Benjamin


  • Top 200 ranking: 29
  • Weekly ranking: 15
  • Difference: +14


The large receiver may be looking at his 2017 breakout game this against the Saints.  The culmination of a soft defensive backfield and the loss of leading receiver, Greg Olsen, should result in more pass targets for Benjamin.  It is now or never time for him to step up and assert his dominance on the field. 

T.Y. Hilton


  • Top 200 ranking: 14
  • Weekly ranking: 29
  • Difference: -15


Hilton may be on this list every week as we – and millions of fantasy owners – anxiously await the return of quarterback Andrew Luck.  The matchup against the Browns is not a particularly difficult one but it quickly becomes one with Jacoby Brissett or Scott Tolzien under center.  Hopefully, Luck will be back in a couple of weeks. 

Dez Bryant


  • Top 200 ranking: 15
  • Weekly ranking: 30
  • Difference: -15


Bryant has struggled to light up fantasy lineups in the first two games, albeit against two of the NFL’s best cornerbacks.  The game in Arizona against the Cardinals should be another tough matchup for the physical pass catcher.  Bryant plays better against the smaller cornerbacks who he is able to out-muscle for the ball.  He struggles against the bigger defensive backs, something the Cardinals possess.  There will be better matchups on the horizon. 

Tight End

Jared Cook


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


Cook has played better than expected in the Oakland offense.  This week, he gets a great matchup against Washington.  He faces a defense that has been horrid against opposing tight ends so far in this young season.  If your fantasy team is missing one of the several top tight ends to injury, like many teams are, Cook is a solid play off the waiver wire. 

Ben Watson


  • Top 200 ranking: 21
  • Weekly ranking: 10
  • Difference: +11


Watson reeled in all eight of his pass targets last week and could see his role expand against the Jaguars this week.  This is the very early game, played in England, so make sure you get him in the lineups early.  Jacksonville has allowed solid productions to opposing tight ends, so Watson makes a strong play for owners needing a one-week option. 

Jack Doyle


  • Top 200 ranking: 5
  • Weekly ranking: 14
  • Difference: -9


Like Hilton above, Doyle will see his star rise once Luck returns to the lineup.  But, in the meantime, the young tight end has played well with the mediocre quarterback play.  He should really ascend when his quarterback is back. 

Feel free to (email me) with feedback.  Also, I am on Twitter (www.Twitter.com/JeffTefertiller), LinkedIn, and Google+, so you can ask me questions on one of these as well.