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Every Tuesday of the regular season, I will be updating my rest of season rankings for PPR leagues, in hopes of helping you with roster construction and trade negotiations. These are not Week 3 matchup rankings, which I will release every Wednesday. The List is created with the rest of the season in mind.
- Lamar Jackson graces the cover of this week’s list, and for good reason. Two weeks into the season, Jackson leads all quarterbacks with 64.4 fantasy points, good for a 32.2 point per game average. He’s proven to be a dangerous deep passer (596 yards, 7 touchdowns, and 0 interceptions in two games) with the infusion of young talent into the Ravens offense. And on Sunday, Jackson showed what separates him from the pack, with a bell-cow running back worthy 120 rushing yards on 16 carries. I tend to devalue quarterbacks in standard one quarterback leagues, so his 52 overall ranking should be taken as high praise. I’m keeping Deshaun Watson and Patrick Mahomes ranked ahead of him for now, but that could change. Watson has faced a much tougher schedule, on the road in New Orleans Week 1 and home against the Jaguars Week 2, while Jackson has faced arguably the easiest schedule in Miami and Arizona. But a week or two more of this performance, and Jackson may be nipping at the heels of the great Mahomes.
- The top of my list gets a shakeup with some quarterback injuries and shaky play affecting offenses league-wide. A week after nearly moving Christian McCaffrey to the top overall player, I’ve moved McCaffrey down to number three overall, with Ezekiel Elliott rising to number two. It’s a minor move, but one brought on by the shaky play of McCaffrey’s quarterback, Cam Newton. I’m worried by what I saw in the Thursday night game, as Newton is either injured or struggling to adjust his mechanics after his shoulder surgery. With Newton’s inaccuracy hurting the offense as a whole, Elliott just looks to be in a more stable situation.
- With Drew Brees set to miss six weeks (though the injury is still being evaluated), I’ve moved Alvin Kamara down below the elite wide receivers to number eight overall. I’m also concerned that even when Brees does return, he may be much less than 100%, and as a quarterback playing in his forties, he can’t afford to lose much zip on his passes. I’m keeping Kamara as an elite option out of sheer respect for his talents, and the playcalling ability of Sean Payton, but this will be a true test to Kamara’s fantasy value. Michael Thomas finds himself in a similar situation, dropping 13 spots to number 22 overall. Thomas should be able to maintain a decent enough PPR floor, but this likely saps much of his ceiling.
- David Johnson falls four spots along with Kamara to number nine overall, below the elite wide receivers in DeAndre Hopkins, Davante Adams, Julio Jones, and Odell Beckham Jr. This is just as much about respecting these elite wide receivers as it is about docking Johnson, as I am still optimistic on his rest of season outlook. But with a minor wrist injury, and some concerning usage in Week 2 (7 carries, 1 target), its just enough to drop Johnson below the elites of the wide receiver position for now.
- Dalvin Cook jumps up six spots, and there isn’t much that needs to be said. He looks explosive and powerful and is the number one option on the Vikings offense. He will be towards the top of the rankings as long as he is healthy.
- Austin Ekeler leaps 25 spots into the top 20 overall, as he is the top PPR running back through two weeks. The only thing keeping him from going higher is the slim chance that Melvin Gordon returns before expected, which remains around Week 10. Philip Rivers leans on the running back position in the passing game more than anyone, and with Hunter Henry‘s unfortunate injury, Ekeler will see as much work as he can handle.
- I love what I am seeing from Kenny Golladay, Chris Godwin, and Calvin Ridley, and frankly wanted to move them higher. I think there’s a chance they could surpass the likes of Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs if the Vikings aren’t forced to go to the air more often. Golladay, Godwin, and Ridley are supremely talented young players that seem to be improving their fantasy outlooks each week.
- JuJu Smith-Schuster and James Conner take big hits with the season-ending injury to Ben Roethlisberger. With no chance of a return from their franchise quarterback, Smith-Schuster and Conner are forced to figure things out with Mason Rudolph. I don’t think this situation is entirely hopeless, as the Steelers have an excellent offensive line, and Rudolph should be familiar with the system entering his second year. But there’s no denying that this is a devastating blow to their fantasy outlooks, with Conner even nursing a minor injury on top of everything.
- Joe Mixon plummets down my ranks along with Conner, mostly due to his supporting cast. The Bengals have shown zero ability to run the ball in 2019, posting a shockingly bad 59 yards on 33 carries through two games, good for a 1.9 yards per rush average. The offensive line simply can’t create running lanes, so new coach Zac Taylor has smartly abandoned the run. With just 17 receiving yards on eight targets in two games, Mixon doesn’t seem to be developing the passing game role we had hoped for either. Maybe I’m overreacting putting Mixon at 48 overall, but I just don’t see how this ends in a top-end fantasy campaign.
- I simply don’t see how Antonio Brown makes it through the whole season without a major suspension at this point. He’s ranked 50 overall, and he’s a no-doubt starter while playing, but I wouldn’t expect 14 more games from him, and I wouldn’t be shocked if something happened sooner rather than later.
- Marquise Brown and Mark Andrews ascend the ranks along with Lamar Jackson, with Brown settling in at 56 and Andrews at 62. Andrews actually feels like the more believable of the two, as he looks like an elite tight end going forward. Brown is likely due for some regression, but as the number four overall PPR wide receiver through two games, and coming off a game with 13 targets, we can’t chalk this all up to a couple of big plays. I certainly would need a king’s ransom to trade Brown at this point.
- Mecole Hardman and Demarcus Robinson skyrocket up the ranks to 104 and 108 respectively. Anyone with a pulse at wide receiver is playable for the Chiefs, as Mahomes had numerous receivers streaking downfield uncovered during Sunday’s game against the Raiders. Andy Reid and Mahomes are just on another level right now, so we are literally to the point of “start all the Chiefs” when in doubt. This offense can be hard to predict where the scoring will come from, but the upside is massive every week. Hardman and Robinson only stay outside of the top 100 rest of season due to the impending return of Tyreek Hill.
- All secondary options on the Steelers and Saints take a nose dive due to the quarterback injuries, including Latavius Murray, Jared Cook, Vance McDonald, James Washington, Donte Moncrief, and Ted Ginn.
- I generally devalue the tight end and quarterback positions, as they are much easier to fill being positions that only start one player. As a result, there are some good players at those positions way down my rankings. But I continue to prioritize stockpiling wide receivers and running backs, as you can already see the attrition at those positions after just two weeks. Hopefully the depth of players I rank at these positions can help you stay one step ahead of your competition at those spots, which are ultimately the positions that bring home fantasy championships.
Featured Image by Justin Paradis (@freshmeatcomm on Twitter)