Fantasy Football Starter Rankings, Week 3: From DeMarco Murray to Matt Jones and more


This week’s theme is the ever-revolving running back position. Entering week 3, there are really on five guys who are clear must-starts above and beyond everyone else: Jamaal Charles, Marshawn Lynch, Adrian Peterson, Matt Forte, and the newly reinstated LeVeon Bell. If you have one of those five, feel lucky this short distance into the year. Even Forte and Lynch, though, are carrying injuries though expected to play.

Guys like McCoy, Forsett, and Stewart become top 10 options not because they have necessarily torn it up, or have great matchups, but because we suspect they are most likely to get a large share of their team’s touches where other situations are more fluid.

After that, it’s a mixed bag of playing matchups, guesses about coaching usage, and reading the tea leaves on player health. Among the guys drafted highly just a month ago, we have the following issues:

  • C.J. Anderson has been dealing with an injury and the ineffectiveness of the offensive line;
  • DeMarco Murray has struggled mightily behind the Eagles’ line, and now has a hamstring injury that has him in question for this week; [Note: these have now been updated to reflect Murray as inactive].
  • Jeremy Hill has been outperformed by Giovani Bernard through two weeks;
  • Eddie Lacy is probably out this week with the ankle injury, though that’s not official yet.

On the flip side, you can add several surprises, where it’s not clear how longterm the success will be. That includes:

  • Dion Lewis in New England. We’ve been down this road so many times. Guessing how Belichick will use the backs from week to week is a fool’s errand. Lewis appears the best option, but that could change in a completely different matchup from playing the Bills on the road.
  • Matt Jones in Washington. Did he surpass Alfred Morris last week for good? They got the same number of carries and Jones put up the big numbers.
  • David Johnson in Arizona. The opportunity is there with Ellington’s injury, and he has proven explosive. That should portend more carries this week. But how many?
  • Devonta Freeman in Atlanta. He’ll get an opportunity for more carries with Tevin Coleman out.

Good luck with your choices. I’m not sure I’ve seen a week with so few clear cut options at the running back position. As always, I’ve marked guys who have injury issues and are questionable with ++ and those probable with a +.

Related: Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Week 3: Donte Moncrief and James Starks among top starting options


  1. Tom Brady vs JAC
  2. Aaron Rodgers vs KC
  3. Andrew Luck at TEN
  4. Ben Roethlisberger at STL
  5. Russell Wilson vs CHI
  6. Cam Newton vs NO
  7. Carson Palmer vs SF
  8. Matt Ryan at DAL
  9. Peyton Manning at DET
  10. Eli Manning vs WAS
  11. Ryan Tannehill vs BUF
  12. Philip Rivers at MIN
  13. Teddy Bridgewater vs SD
  14. Colin Kaepernick at ARI
  15. Drew Brees at CAR++ (this ranking is where I would place him if he is ruled active)
  16. Marcus Mariota vs IND
  17. Nick Foles vs PIT
  18. Derek Carr at CLE
  19. Sam Bradford at NYJ
  20. Andy Dalton at BAL
  21. Tyrod Taylor at MIA
  22. Alex Smith at GB
  23. Matthew Stafford vs DEN+
  24. Joe Flacco vs CIN
  25. Blake Bortles at NE
  26. Jameis Winston at HOU
  27. Brandon Weeden vs ATL
  28. Ryan Fitzpatrick vs PHI
  29. Kirk Cousins at NYG
  30. Ryan Mallett vs TB
  31. Josh McCown vs OAK
  32. Luke McCown at CAR
  33. Jimmy Clausen at SEA


  1. Jamaal Charles at GB
  2. LeVeon Bell at STL
  3. Marshawn Lynch vs CHI++
  4. Adrian Peterson vs SD
  5. Matt Forte at SEA++
  6. Justin Forsett vs CIN
  7. LeSean McCoy at MIA++
  8. Chris Ivory vs PHI++
  9. Jonathan Stewart vs NO++
  10. Latavius Murray at CLE
  11. Carlos Hyde at ARI++
  12. Mark Ingram at CAR
  13. Joseph Randle vs ATL
  14. C.J. Anderson at DET
  15. T.J. Yeldon at NE
  16. James Starks vs KC
  17. Devonta Freeman at DAL
  18. Lamar Miller vs BUF++
  19. Dion Lewis vs JAC
  20. DeMarco Murray at NYJ++ [Murray is out]
  21. Jeremy Hill at BAL
  22. Danny Woodhead at MIN
  23. Matt Jones at NYG
  24. Melvin Gordon at MIN
  25. David Johnson vs SF
  26. Frank Gore at TEN
  27. Isaiah Crowell vs OAK
  28. Darren Sproles at NYJ [updated with Murray out, becomes flex option]
  29. Ameer Abdullah vs DEN
  30. Giovani Bernard at BAL
  31. Eddie Lacy vs KC++[expected to play, limited]
  32. Alfred Morris at NYG
  33. LeGarrette Blount vs JAC
  34. Rashad Jennings vs WAS
  35. Bishop Sankey vs IND
  36. Doug Martin at HOU
  37. Ryan Mathews at NYJ [updated with Murray out]
  38. Shane Vereen vs WAS
  39. Tre Mason vs PIT
  40. Chris Polk vs TB
  41. Bilal Powell vs PHI
  42. Joique Bell vs DEN
  43. Lorenzo Taliaferro vs CIN++
  44. C.J. Spiller at CAR
  45. Todd Gurley vs PIT++ [active for first career game, expect limited touches in game 1]
  46. Ronnie Hillman at DET
  47. Duke Johnson vs OAK
  48. Fred Jackson vs CHI
  49. Dexter McCluster vs IND
  50. Alfred Blue vs TB
  51. Darren McFadden vs ATL
  52. Karlos Williams at MIA
  53. DeAngelo Williams at STL
  54. Josh Robinson at TEN
  55. Lance Dunbar vs ATL


  1. Antonio Brown at STL
  2. Julio Jones at DAL++
  3. Odell Beckham vs WAS
  4. Julian Edelman vs JAC
  5. Demaryius Thomas at DET
  6. Randall Cobb vs KC
  7. Brandon Marshall vs PHI
  8. Emmanuel Sanders at DET
  9. Larry Fitzgerald vs SF
  10. Calvin Johnson vs DEN
  11. A.J. Green at BAL++ [expected to play]
  12. DeAndre Hopkins vs TB++ [expected to play]
  13. Jarvis Landry vs BUF
  14. Allen Robinson at NE
  15. Jordan Matthews at NYJ
  16. Keenan Allen at MIN
  17. T.Y. Hilton at TEN
  18. Mike Evans at HOU+
  19. Amari Cooper at CLE
  20. Donte Moncrief at TEN
  21. Jeremy Maclin at GB
  22. Steve Smith vs CIN
  23. Terrance Williams vs ATL
  24. Pierre Garcon at NYG
  25. John Brown vs SF
  26. Golden Tate vs DEN
  27. Steve Johnson at MIN
  28. Davante Adams vs KC++
  29. James Jones vs KC
  30. Anquan Boldin at ARI
  31. Michael Crabtree at CLE
  32. Alshon Jeffery at SEA++  [updated 9/25 Jeffery has been ruled out, along with Cutler]
  33. Mike Wallace vs SD
  34. Doug Baldwin vs CHI
  35. Sammy Watkins at MIA
  36. Vincent Jackson at HOU
  37. Andre Johnson at TEN
  38. Roddy White at DAL
  39. Brandin Cooks at CAR++ [dropped due to Brees out and playing hurt]
  40. Darrius Heyward-Bey at STL
  41. Ted Ginn vs NO
  42. Torrey Smith at ARI
  43. Kendall Wright vs IND
  44. Rishard Matthews vs BUF
  45. Eddie Royal at SEA
  46. Markus Wheaton at STL
  47. Marques Colston at CAR
  48. Allen Hurns at NE
  49. Tavon Austin vs PIT
  50. Travis Benjamin vs OAK
  51. Brandon Coleman at CAR
  52. Percy Harvin at MIA
  53. Leonard Hankerson at DAL
  54. Cole Beasley vs ATL


  1. Rob Gronkowski vs JAC
  2. Tyler Eifert at BAL
  3. Travis Kelce at GB
  4. Jordan Reed at WAS
  5. Greg Olsen vs NO
  6. Martellus Bennett at SEA
  7. Kyle Rudolph vs SD
  8. Jimmy Graham vs CHI
  9. Heath Miller at STL
  10. Jason Witten vs ATL++
  11. Jared Cook vs PIT
  12. Jordan Cameron vs BUF++
  13. Eric Ebron vs DEN
  14. Delanie Walker vs IND++
  15. Crockett Gilmore vs CIN
  16. Zach Ertz at NYJ
  17. Vernon Davis at ARI
  18. Richard Rodgers vs KC
  19. Larry Donnell vs WAS
  20. Ladarius Green at MIN++
  21. Dwayne Allen at TEN++
  22. Charles Clay at MIA
  23. Darren Fells vs SF
  24. Jacob Tamme at DAL


  1. Stephen Gostkowski vs. JAC
  2. Steven Hauschka vs. CHI
  3. Mason Crosby vs. KC
  4. Chandler Catanzaro vs. SF
  5. Brandon McManus at DET
  6. Adam Vinatieri at TEN
  7. Graham Gano vs. NO
  8. Cody Parkey at NYJ
  9. Josh Brown vs. WAS
  10. Justin Tucker vs. CIN
  11. Randy Bullock vs. TB
  12. Matt Bryant at DAL
  13. Nick Folk vs. PHI
  14. Blair Walsh vs. SD
  15. Josh Scobee at STL


  1. DENVER vs. DET
  2. SEATTLE vs. CHI
  4. CAROLINA vs. NO
  5. NY JETS vs. PHI
  6. HOUSTON vs. TB
  8. ARIZONA vs. SF
  10. BUFFALO at MIA
  11. MIAMI vs BUF
  12. ST. LOUIS vs. PIT
  13. TAMPA BAY at HOU
  14. MINNESOTA vs. SD
  15. NY GIANTS vs. WAS