AAF Fantasy Football Player Rankings: Week 3
Week 2’s rankings offered us a few busts in players like Mekale McKay and Jhurell Pressley whom we assumed were top plays. We also got some definition as to what true depth charts look like and hints of trends forming for opposing defenses.
This week, FantasyPros is proud to offer Expert Consensus Rankings for the first time this season for the AAF. This will help you make decisions on which players to start in season-long leagues or which players offer greater value in Fanball’s DFS tournaments. Some names to look for among AAF experts are the crew from NoExtraPoints.com such as Matt Swanson, Anders Eagleson, and Jackson Conner. All three of these guys have provided some of the best research and advice on Twitter regarding AAF.
These rankings below are based on my own and may change slightly throughout the end of the week as injury reports are released and depth charts make slight adjustments. Here’s an in-depth rundown of my ranks for Week 3 of AAF action!
At the moment, it’s really only between John Wolford and Garrett Gilbert for the top-two spots on a weekly basis. This week, I’m giving Wolford the slight edge going up against the same Salt Lake Stallions team that he shredded for 275 yards and four TDs in Week 1. Wolford popped up on the injury report on Wednesday as a limited participant in practice with a knee injury, so that will be something to monitor with him getting the Saturday game as opposed to Sunday. It doesn’t sound like anything serious at the moment, but if things start looking worse as the week goes on, he might slide to QB2 for me.
Garrett Gilbert isn’t a bad play by any means, obviously, but my concern here for him is game flow. Orlando is on fire right now and could pull ahead quick leaving the team to lean on the running game and put Gilbert in more of a game manager role. The Express also held Wolford under 200 passing yards last week in what was an impressive three-quarter performance before giving it up at the end. Gilbert should come back down to earth a little bit this week after throwing for almost 400 yards in Week 2.
Logan Woodside and Luis Perez are your QB3 and QB4 on the season overall with basically just a touchdown and some change giving Woodside the slight edge according to No Extra Points. This week, however, I’m going with Perez over Woodside. Perez gets a more favorable matchup against an Atlanta Legends defense that has given up the third-most fantasy points to QBs this season according to Fanball. Atlanta gave up a legendary 40 points to Orlando in Week 1. I think we see Perez’s scoreless streak end this week.
Woodside’s matchup is a little tougher on paper, but this is the same SD Fleet defense that he put up 255 yards against in Week 1. He didn’t score a TD in that game, however, and the potential of this QB by committee shenanigans that San Antonio is playing knocks him down a peg for me. It is worth noting that the Fleet is struggling to get a healthy defense on the field and even moved converted wideout Kameron Kelly back to cornerback.
Philip Nelson just missed out on top-five honors last week by two points, but I think he pushes for that spot this week. Nelson has the best matchup of any QB this week against a San Antonio defense that is currently giving up the most fantasy points to QBs. That, of course, is partially due to the fact that they just got lit up by Garrett Gilbert last week. Still, San Diego found tremendous success last week in their running game and are looking to build a more fluid offense over time. With a more balanced approach again this week, windows should be more open for Nelson to make plays.
I like what we saw from Matt Simms last week as it looks like he is slowly progressing in the right direction, but a matchup against Birmingham gives reason to pause. The Iron is the only team in the league who have yet to allow a passing TD. They have also held QBs to only 223 total passing yards this season. We also can’t forget that Simms was already benched once this season in favor of Aaron Murray.
Christian Hackenberg graced us with a QB4 finish last week thanks to 39 rushing yards and a rushing TD, but good old Hack barely managed 102 passing yards in the game. Orlando has some serious playmakers on defense and we already know we can’t rely on Hackenberg to really air it out. The game script will likely call for that, but that could lead to a disastrous performance leading Hack to the bench instead of the top half of fantasy leaderboards.
The Salt Lake Stallions QB situation will be one to monitor closely leading up to Saturday’s game as starting QB Josh Woodrum is trying to work his way back from a hamstring injury. He has practiced in a limited capacity so far this week but is still questionable to start. If Austin Allen gets the nod again, he pretty easily makes the bottom of my list. Woodrum offers more upside, but the potential for in-game aggravation of the injury is a concern. If Woody is a full participant later in the week I may consider bumping him above Simms and Hackenberg to QB6 but, this is a situation to avoid altogether this week if you can.
Zac Stacy continues to climb the charts for me and after we saw him impressively handle 21 touches for 109 yards from scrimmage last week, I’m ready to put him on top. Memphis isn’t going to win any games with Christian Hackenberg struggling to hrow for even 100 yards in a game. Stacy needs to be the centerpiece of this offense and get fed extensively. Trent Richardson was the only back who saw more volume at the position last week but the difference between Richardson and Stacy’s efficiency is night and day.
The combination of volume and efficiency is the primary trend of my top-three RBs this week. Ja’Quan Gardner and Kenneth Farrow are coming in at RB2 and RB3, respectively. The Fleet found a new sense of purpose on offense via the running game last week with Gardner slicing his way through the Atlanta defense. He handled 15 carries for 104 rushing yards (6.9 YPA) while also knocking in two rushing TDs. Gardner has averaged 6.9 YPA each of the last two weeks and gives the entire offense a spark while the passing game struggles to find it’s identity.
Farrow is coming off a solid outing in Week 2 where he handled 15 touches for 99 yards from scrimmage and one rushing TD against Orlando. This week, Farrow gets a rematch against a Fleet team that he also tagged for a TD back in Week 1. Farrow’s workload has been consistent with touch totals of 14 in Week 1 and 15 in Week 2, making him a safe bet to finish inside the top-five as long as he is active. Farrow got twisted up in the end zone pretty bad in Week 2 and did not participate in practice on Wednesday. It wasn’t enough to keep him from finishing the game last week which leads me to believe they’re just resting him. If he can’t go on Sunday, Aaron Green would get a bump for me. RB Trey Williams is also potentially ready for game action after sitting out the start of the season.
This might be a little bold, but I am actually leaving Richardson out of my top-three this week. Though he showed a newfound upside last week with his heavy usage in the passing game, he has generally relied on TDs to save his value in fantasy. To go along with my thought that Luis Perez finally scores a TD, I am taking some of that love away from T-Rich.
Branden Oliver has looked great as a versatile option out of the backfield for SLC. After finishing with an RB8 and RB10 finish the last two weeks respectively, I am bumping Oliver up a notch into the top-five this week. The problem here is that fellow RB and former Packer, Joel Bouagnon, continues to see heavy usage in this backfield and proved more efficient than Oliver last week. I still like Oliver’s prowess in the passing game to come into play this week in a contest where SLC may need to play catch-up.
Orlando Apollos backs seem like a safe play this week with the team a heavy favorite against Memphis. D’Ernest Johnson gets the top honors for me over De’Veon Smith as Johnson has continued to see more volume. Smith does seem to have a lock on duties in the red zone but in a game where Orlando could be doing more running and less passing for a change, I like the odds of Johnson piling up yardage and potentially breaking off a big run. Akeem Hunt is lurking in the middle of the rankings this week for Orlando after he barely managed eight yards on three touches last week. I’m not completely ruling Hunt out, however, as he did show promise averaging 7.3 YPA on 10 carries in Week 1.
Jhurell Pressley is sandwiched between Orlando’s top-two backs in the rankings this week as my stubbornness refuses to let me rank Tim Cook over him. It really comes down to Pressley just looking like a better player to me at the end of the day as he slipped and slid through tackles with ease through the first two weeks. I have come to terms with the fact that he will not get treated as a bell cow, hence moving him outside of the top-five, but I’m not giving up on Pressley yet.
Akrum Wadley rounds out the top-10 backs for me in a game where Atlanta will likely need to rely on completions in the short passing game for their best chance at survival. Wadley found himself a top-five RB in fantasy last week thanks to his eight receptions, and that’s his best bet for success again this week. The Legends aren’t getting much out of anyone on their offense, leaving me to think they might stick with what worked last week with Wadley.
Through the middle of the ranks, Ladarius Perkins will be an interesting player to watch this week as we try and get a grasp on exactly what his role is in this backfield. Perkins was heavily featured in the passing game out of the backfield in Week 1 seeing eight targets, but he took a backseat to Trent Richardson there last week only totaling two targets. The Iron is going to need to lighten up Richardson’s workload eventually here or else he’ll have a hard time making it through the full season.
David Cobb is a player who could find himself moving up the ranks if Kenneth Farrow is inactive or heads into the game in a limited capacity. I like Aaron Green’s skill set more but Cobb could find work in short yardage and potentially goal-line situations were Farrow to miss the game. Cobb was a workhorse his last two years in college for Minnesota handling 585 touches for 3,167 yards from scrimmage and 20 total TDs during that span according to Sports Reference. He was selected by the Titans in the fifth round of the 2015 NFL Draft and handled 52 carries for only 142 yards and one TD with the team.
Justin Stockton offered some highlights last week but is still operating clearly as the third option in this committee. You can’t rely on big splash plays every week, making Stockton hard to trust. There isn’t much else to see at the bottom of the rankings. Most of these guys are hoping for a short TD like Matt Asiata. Terrell Watson did see double-digit carries last week, but San Diego found new life behind Ja’Quan Gardner and I expect Watson to continue to play second fiddle there.
Rashad Ross unsurprisingly finds himself at the top of my WR rankings this week as he gets a friendly matchup against the same SLC team that he lit up for 103 yards and two TDs back in Week 1. Ross is your overall WR1 on the season heading into Week 3 just above Charles Johnson.
Potential game flow is one thing keeping Johnson out of the top spot for me this week. Just as I have Gilbert as QB2 this week, Johnson also follows suit as WR2. Last week’s demolition of the Commanders was awesome, but Johnson also did post only four catches for 60 yards in Week 1. We’re not going to get monster games every week.
Quinton Patton gets a friendly matchup against an Atlanta Legends defense that has surrendered the second-most fantasy points to wideouts so far this season. Patton has totaled seven receptions for 151 yards on the season and could have a chance at snagging the first TD for both him and Luis Perez this week.
Mekale “Big Play” McKay busted as my choice for WR1 last week, but I’m doubling down this week as he remains inside my top-five. The opportunities were all there as McKay was targeted relentlessly in the end zone last week, he just couldn’t quite come down with a TD. This week, McKay gets a San Diego defense that may feature Kameron Kelly as a cornerback after he served as a wideout to start the season for the team. San Diego has given up a TD to a wide receiver in each of the last two weeks.
Jalin Marshall rounds out the top of the rankings after finishing the last two weeks as the WR2. I’m giving him a slight downgrade this week as he has partially relied on TDs the last two weeks to stay inside the top of the ranks.
Reece Horn is a player I remain high on entering Week 3. We know the Memphis passing game sucks right now, but Horn was still able to manage a WR6 finish last week despite that. The team is going to need to pull out all their tricks this week to try and keep up with Orlando, which could lead to another voluminous day for Horn with a TD pushing him even higher.
Arizona and San Antonio get a rematch of a Week 1 game where the two teams combined for only 21 points. We could see a much higher-scoring affair this time around as both teams look much more comfortable with a couple games under their belts. Commanders wideouts get a decent amount of love in the middle of the rankings with De’Marcus Ayers leading the pack for the second week. Alonzo Moore continues to be a big-play threat while the team continues to look for ways to get Greg Ward Jr. involved.
On the SD side of the ball, my love for Dontez Ford is waining (which means he’ll probably go bananas this week). Brian Brown gets the nod as the team’s WR1 for me this week as he co-led the team in receiving yards in Week 1. Nelson Spruce is a player I would like to move a little higher, as he was the team’s leading receiver last week. With the team’s newfound sense of purpose in the running game, I just don’t know if the volume or skill is there right now in this passing game to support three quality wideouts, though. I’m keeping Ford above Spruce this week but another week of Spruce producing well will change that going forward.
I might have been a week early on my DeVozea Felton love as the speedster finished with only two catches for 16 yards last week. I just love his big-play threat on an offense whose running game demands so much attention. He has the skills to get behind defenders and rip off big plays like a poor man’s Brandin Cooks. I’m doubling down on him this week.
De’Mornay Pierson-El stepped up as SLC’s leading wideout last week with Dres Anderson inactive. Though Pierson-El finished out as the WR10 last week, that only amounted to four catches for 28 yards. This offense has been running through its tight ends in the passing game and will probably continue to no matter who is under center.
The bottom of the WR rankings doesn’t offer much. Seantavius Jones is intriguing as he has seen 15 targets over the last two games, but he hasn’t done much with them. He has also seen looks in the red zone, but until he actually starts producing it doesn’t really matter.
Josh Huff broke off a big catch for 64 yards last week that helped lift his two receptions to a total of 84 yards. This passing game is running through Rashad Ross, however, and Richard Mullaney has also looked impressive and could easily outproduce Huff any week.
The tight end position was brutal last week as the leading receiver at the position only managed 21 yards. My favorite tight end in the league so far has been Anthony Denham, and he gets overall TE1 honors this week. Denham has been the most targeted TE in the league so far and looks like the best receiving option on this offense in general. His six receptions for 70 yards on the season is second to only Gavin Escobar.
Escobar comes in at TE2 this week as probably the most consistent player at the position so far this season. Still, his role on this offense has been somewhat frustrating to start the year. He’s been the most targeted tight end on the team but has oddly been outproduced by Gerald Christian in Week 1 and Connor Hamlett in Week 2. Hopefully, this is a trend that ends in Week 3.
Nick Truesdell remains neck-and-neck with Anthony Denham and gives SLC a solid one-two punch of capable pass-catching tight ends.
Connor Davis is a player I can’t give up on as he offers an athletic skill set for a man of his size at 6’8″ and 265 lbs. Davis had some missed opportunities last week but at an injury-plagued position of the Iron, both he and Weslye Saunders are decent bets to finish somewhere near the top-five.
Evan Rodriguez saw extended playing time last week with Cole Hunt inactive. Hunt’s status is unknown heading into Week 3 at this time, but it will determine Rodriguez’s value. Rodriguez didn’t do anything spectacular with only six yards in Week 2, but a TD and two-pointer were enough for a TE1 finish.
The rest of the tight end ranks are a complete crapshoot as this position just isn’t being utilized as heavily in the passing game at the moment as we are used to seeing at the NFL level.