Fantasy Football Rankings Week 3: Sleepers, starts, sits, Dameon Pierce, Darnell Mooney and more – The Athletic

The Athletic

We’re starting to get a better understanding of what the 2022 NFL season will look like for many teams. As we head into the Week 3 rankings and sleepers, it’s also time to start capitalizing on overreacting managers. The buys and sells are back, and yet another random fun list. This time, inspired by your requests after I tweeted about my delicious cake from last week.

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Waivers | True SOS (APA – Wednesday update)
Fantasy Football 101 (starts, sits, trades, more)
Podcast — with video!

2022 Week 3 Fantasy Football Sleepers

🚨 BEWARE 🚨 These are sleepers. They don’t mimic my rankings 100%. This is about chasing and often carries more risk, but based on WHAT correspondencesYou can “go for broke” if necessary.


POSSIBLE STARTER: Carson Wentz, WSH – As mentioned in mine Week 3 waivers columnWentz won’t throw 40+ times each one week, but the Commanders defense — and Wentz’s interceptions — are helping push the offense to throw more. It helps that defenses can’t win, trying to stop Terry McLaurin, Jahan Dotson and/or Curtis Samuel. Death by a thousand cuts… well, three, or four if you add the backfield, and even five with a healthy Logan Thomas.

The Commanders also run the Eagles’ unstoppable offense, pointing to a shootout…which, of course, means a 10-7 slogfest is in store.

HAIL MARIA COMMENCEMENT: Jared Goff, DET — The risk with Goff is zero rushing up, and if he only throws 1-2 touchdowns, normally there won’t be 300-400 yards to make up for it. While Aaron Rodgers didn’t do much against the Vikings in Week 1, he didn’t have much to throw to, and he previously struggled early in the season. Jalen Hurts tore them apart – also on the ground – completing 26 of his 31 attempts for 333 yards and a touchdown. Goff has the advantage of throwing three touchdowns this week.


POSSIBLE STARTER: Devin Singletary, BUF – The Bills backfield continues to frustrate with its lack of consistency, but at least Singletary is consistently first in the opportunities. While the Ravens running backs didn’t do much against Miami, Lamar Jackson ate up the Dolphins, even posting 5.0 YPC on his eight rushes outside of the 79-yard house call. Additionally, Damien Harris had 48 yards on nine carries in Week 1, even if Rhamondre Stevenson didn’t have the same success. This is risky, but if the Dolphins offense can keep up, Singletary could be an RB2.

POSSIBLE STARTER: Dameon Pierce, HOU ‘We knew the slipper would drop for Rex Burkhead, but no one expected it to happen in a week. Pierce led the way, and the Bears offense can’t get out of their own way (more on them soon). Aaron Jones just shredded the Bruins for 132 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries.

SALT SEA COMMENCEMENT: Jamaal Williams, DET — We’re chasing a touchdown with Williams, as being the backup to D’Andre Swift limits Williams’ touches, seeing 12 and 13, respectively, in the first two weeks. The matchup is quite favorable, as the Vikings could not stop the Eagles ground game, going 34-for-163 and two scores (both Hurts). Boston Scott looked like he was shot out of a cannon while going straight up the middle for a 16-yard run at one point, and we’re gunning for a couple of decent runs for Williams, hopefully, with one ending in a score.


POSSIBLE STARTER: Allen Robinson, LAR — Robinson rebounded, but it wasn’t a week-changer, just a nice game (5-4-53-1). Frankly, a Top 25 performance by a team’s 2nd receiver would be a welcomed site if it happened every week. Well, the Cardinals have allowed 42.1% of their opponents’ drives to end in a touchdown, including nine receptions of 20+ yards and seven receiving touchdowns. Cooper Cooper and ARob should have a big Week 3.

POSSIBLE START: JuJu Smith-Schuster, KC – Brandin Cooks 7-82-0, Christian Kirk 6-78-2. Those were the top wideouts against the Colts the first two weeks, and while Travis Kelce is technically the top receiving option for the Chiefs, JJSS is tied for second with Marquez Valdes-Scantling with a 15.1 TmTGT%. He also has a 1.46 YPRR versus a 0.89 MVS.

SALT SEA COMMENCEMENT: Darnell Mooney, CHI – Here we go. Mooney fell into Hail Mary starting territory, and when your team only attempts 11 passes, you understand why. However, even with the Colts and Broncos having average performances against the Texans, these Texans have already allowed 10 receptions of 20+ yards – the most in the league. The Bears also faced the 49ers and Packers, two defenses much better than the Texans. Of course, Justin Fields will have to throw it more than 11 times. Hopefully, he doesn’t screw this up for desperate managers.


POSSIBLE START: Evan Engram, JAX — Don’t look now, but Engram is eighth in Route% for tight ends with 17.6 TmTGT%. Sure, it only went 74 yards, but he caught all but one of his targets (his hands work!). The Chargers are a tough matchup, but the tight end position is already dirty, and we’re chasing the volume…hopefully.

HAIL MARY COMMENCEMENT: Tyler Conklin, NYJ — Speaking of volume, Conklin has a higher Route% than Engram at 84.4. Even with the terrible trio of receivers for the Jets, Conklin saw 16 targets (16.0 TmTGT%) for 10-56-1. If the Bengals get back on track and make this a high-scoring affair, the Jets have shown they can keep up, and Conklin has the potential to score.

Fun with Rankings!

In case you missed the tweet of the amazing cake find I brought home and made (no, it wasn’t a from-scratch recipe), here it is in all its glory!

I was surprised people wanted box cookie cutters…maybe they were making fun of me, but if so, hey, I had fun anyway. However, it is a bit difficult to get 10 cakes on this list.

  1. Betty Crocker Cinnamon Toast Crunch, CTC Frosting — The cake and frosting have cinnamon crunch bits, and you know I love me some Cinnamon Toast Crunch.
  2. Betty Crocker Butter Yellow, Chocolate Frosting — It’s the classic, but better, because… butter
  3. Duncan Hines Fudge Marble, Chocolate Frosting – If you want a little more chocolate than a yellow cake but not an overload, this is the perfect mix.
  4. Pillsbury Funfetti Oreo, Funfetti Oreo Frosting – Underrated. Well, Oreos are awesome, so maybe people know how good this cake can be
  5. Duncan Hines Chocolate, Chocolate Frosting — It’s a lot of chocolate, but it’s really good, and Duncan Hines does chocolate the best (their fudge brownies are tops, too)
  6. Krusteaz Cinnamon Swirl Crumb – Technically not a “real cake” but a crumb cake (sometimes coffee cake) is one of my favorites, and this is amazing.
  7. Duncan Hines Red Velvet, Cream Cheese Frosting — Red Velvet is not a flavor! It is cocoa flavor with red dye. Now that we have that out of the way, it’s still pretty tasty with the cream cheese frosting making a perfect pairing.
  8. Pillsbury Funfetti, Vanilla Funfetti Frosting – “Birthday cake” flavor is what some call it too. Light and fun-fetti
  9. Duncan Hines Epic Fruity Pebbles, Fruity Pebbles Frosting — The Pebbles have a weird texture compared to eating the cereal, which makes this more disappointing than delicious (I mean, it’s cake, so it’s still good)
  10. Carrot Cake – Nope. Worst place! Vegetable cake? Bleh. stop



  • Tom Brady, QB, TB — Brady’s receiving corps has been a mess so far. It might take a few more weeks (once Chris Godwin comes back), but Brady was QB2 last year.
  • Derrick Henry, RB, TEN – Week 1 was fluid with Dontrell Hilliard’s receiving touchdowns, and Week 2 had the Titans pulling starters early in an explosion. Henry is still a beast, and you want to buy low before the 150/1 game happens.
  • Ken Walker, RB, SEA — I don’t want anything to do with starting Seahawks running backs, but Walker fits the Chris Carson role more than Rashaad Penny does, who loses some value to Travis Homer. Walker may never be a starter, but he’s borderline free (people want to drop him).
  • Cam Akers, RB, LAR — The return to Akers started in Week 2. We may never get to 70% of the work for Akers, but even if Akers sits around 60-65%, he would be back in the weekly Top 20.
  • Elijah Moore, WR, NYJ — Leads the Jets receivers in snaps and Route%. Moore’s time is coming, even if Garrett Wilson is his 1A or 1B, Moore would be the other half, because both are better than Corey Davis.
  • DK Metcalf, WR, SEA — I don’t want to hear any more about “cooking quarterbacks” in Seattle. In any case, the Seahawks realize that the offense stinks, and it’s really a two-man show with Tyler Lockett (26.3 TmTGT%) and Metcalf (22.8), with Metcalf having the only red zone and end zone targets so far (one each).
  • Kyle Pitts, TE, ATL — As with the Seahawks, it’s a two-man show, and Drake London’s quick ascension will help balance the coverage and open things up for better days. People drafted Pitts as a Top 4 tight end for good reason.


  • Antonio Gibson, RB, WSH – Gibson could keep his leadership role if he keeps the confidence, especially since he is second in G2G (Goal-to-Go, within 10) rushes (four) and tied for most GLR (Goal-line Rush, within 5), also with four. But, the imminent return of Brian Robinson looms large.
  • Michael Carter, RB, NYJ – The turn to Breece Hall could come soon, as the rookie flashed a lot of upside in Week 2. Carter has the passing game mostly a lock, but if Hall starts eating up that job, Carter would slide to RB3.
  • Jahan Dotson, WR, WSH — Dotson leads in Commanders Route% (94.9) and touchdowns (three), but he’s fourth in TmTGT% at 11.8, behind even Logan Thomas, which makes him the most volatile and likely to regress.
  • Gerald Everett, TE, LAC — Everett has been a great replacement for the first two weeks, and it’s rare that anyone trades for tight ends, but Donald Parham — once back — will earn Everett’s use and value.

Week 3 Fantasy Football Projections

🚨 BEWARE 🚨 These may differ from my rankings, and mine ranks is the order in which I would start players out of added context, such as “Requires highest advantage, even if risky.” Also, based on 4-point TDs for QB, 6-point rest, and Half-PPR

Download Link Added on Thursday

***These are NO updated sunday morning, FYI***

Week 3 Fantasy Football Rankings


  • Only Semi-PPR because FantasyPros automatic calculation of Non and Full-PPR ranks can be disabled. But there is so little difference from Non to Half and Full to Half that you needn’t worry.
  • ECR = Expert Consensus Rank. Don’t focus too much on it, because not all experts update constantly/constantly.
  • Updated regularly, so check back until rows lock.

(Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)

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