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Fantasy Football: Julio Jones tops Week 3 Wide Receiver Rankings

By Alex Butler
Fantasy Football: Julio Jones tops Week 3 Wide Receiver Rankings
Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones (11) takes in a Matt Ryan pass. UPI/A.J. Sisco | License Photo

MIAMI, Sept. 20 (UPI) -- It's only Week 3 but it's starting to get to the point where people who drafted wide receivers early are reaping the benefits. With highly drafting running backs going down to injury or underperforming, those owners can sleep peacefully.

If you are one of the rare owners so far unblemished by the injury bug, consider yourself lucky. Still, you are likely faced with some tough decisions heading into this week, whether your team is 0-2, 1-1, or 2-0. Houston Texans wide receiver Will Fuller and Minnesota Vikings speedster Stefon Diggs have shot up the charts, forcing owners to decide if they want to start them over players that they drafted at a high draft position, i.e. Sammy Watkins.

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I am here to help and make those choices easier, giving you a better shot at Week 3 glory. Here are my top 50 wide receivers this week. Please return to our site for my add/drops for the week and more positional rankings.

TOP SHELF

I expect an offensive eruption Monday in the Superdome. You weren't sitting him, but Julio Jones is my top receiver for Week 3 in this shootout. Don't look for a lot of running in this one as two gunslingers race toward 0:00. Look for Jones to be Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan's favorite target against a New Orleans Saints defense already allowing the seventh-most fantasy points per game to wide receivers this season. The Saints held the same ranking in 2015, and already lost top cornerback Delvin Breaux to injury this season. Now the Saints' second best cornerback, P.J. Williams, is in the concussion protocol. Look for Jones to devour this depleted secondary. Don't shy away from Houston Texans stud DeAndre Hopkins, despite him facing the New England Patriots on the road. The Patriots' secondary has been much less-than-stellar through two games, allowing the sixth-most fantasy points per game to wide receivers.

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SNEAKY PLAYS

Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans leads the NFL with 24 targets, but has a tough match up against the Los Angles Rams. The Rams have allowed the third fewest fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers. I wouldn't shy away from Jameis Winston's favorite target. The Rams secondary hasn't faced a receiver like Evans yet this season, with Seattle Seahawks' Doug Martin arguably being its most talented foe through two weeks. I expect the Rams' secondary to struggle through the next five weeks with games against Evans, the Arizona Cardinals, Detroit Lions, Watkins, and Odell Beckham Jr. When will Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald regress? Not this week. I expect Fitzgerald to put up solid WR1 numbers again this week. It looks like quarterback Carson Palmer has finally shaken off the offseason rust. Palmer lit up the Buccaneers for 308 yards and three touchdowns in last Sunday's beat down. I expect more from the Palmer-Fitzgerald connection against a Bills secondary allowing the third-most fantasy points per game to wide receivers in 2016. Fitzgerald, 33, is tied for fourth in the league with 21 targets. A.J. Green also has 21 targets, while Antonio Brown has 22 targets. The early hype is for real with Fitzgerald. His 17 receptions trail only Jarvis Landry and Stefon Diggs, while his three scores are tied with Kevlin Benjamin for the league lead.

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LONGSHOTS

Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Jeremy Maclin has a shot at putting up big numbers Sunday against a shockingly bad New York Jets secondary. This game is a dark-horse for a shootout as well. Darrelle Revis has not been himself through two weeks against the likes of A.J. Green and the Buffalo Bills. The Jets are allowing the second-most fantasy points per game to wide receivers this season. Maclin's 22 targets are the third-most in the NFL. Don't doubt Maclin's spot in your starting lineup as a rock solid WR2 and fringe WR1 in deeper leagues. Baltimore's Mike Wallace is in the midst of the resurgence. He already has three scores on just seven receptions, but he hasn't been completely boom-or-bust, developing into a red zone target for Joe Flacco. Although I don't expect his catch-to-touchdown ratio to continue, I think he scores again against the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Jags have allowed the most touchdowns to receivers in 2016, allowing 2.5 per game so far. I see a big game for Flacco and Wallace as the main beneficiary. Tennessee Titans rookie Tajae Sharpe is tied for the team lead in targets and has 11 catches through two weeks. He doesn't get as much praise as Houston's Fuller, and deservedly so, but I expect Sharpe to fully blossom this week. Sharpe is battling an Oakland Raiders secondary, which allowed 373 yards and three touchdowns to wide receivers in Week 1 and 191 yards and two scores to the position last week. Unsurprisingly, the Raiders lead the league in fantasy points allowed to the position in 2016. Sharpe could be a guy you plug into your flex or WR3 slot in a deeper league. He could even be a guy that you put in for a struggling WR2 in a spot start.

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RANK NAME TEAM OPPONENT
1 Julio Jones Atlanta Falcons at New Orleans
2  Antonio Brown Pittsburgh Steelers at Philadelphia
3  Odell Beckham Jr. New York Giants vs. Washington
4 DeAndre Hopkins Houston Texans at New England
5 Allen Robinson Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Baltimore
6 Brandin Cooks New Orleans Saints vs. Atlanta
7 Alshon Jeffery Chicago Bears at Dallas
8 Amari Cooper Oakland Raiders at Tennessee
9 Jordy Nelson Green Bay Packers vs. Detroit
10 Dez Bryant Dallas Cowboys vs. Chicago
11 Mike Evans Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Los Angeles
12 Brandon Marshall New York Jets at Kansas City
13 A.J. Green Cincinnati Bengals vs. Denver
14 Jarvis Landry Miami Dolphins vs. Cleveland
15 Eric Decker New York Jets at Kansas City
16 Larry Fitzgerald Arizona Cardinals at Buffalo
17 Travis Benjamin San Diego Chargers at Indianapolis
18 Kelvin Benjamin Carolina Panthers vs. Minnesota
19 Willie Snead New Orleans Saints vs. Atlanta
20 Stefon Diggs Minnesota Vikings at Carolina
21 T.Y. Hilton Indianapolis Colts vs. San Diego
22 Jordan Matthews Philadelphia Eagles vs. Pittsburgh
23 Will Fuller Houston Texans at New England
24 Jeremy Maclin Kansas City Chiefs vs. New York Jets
25 Doug Baldwin Seattle Seahawks vs. San Francisco
26 Demaryius Thomas Denver Broncos at Cincinnati
27 Randall Cobb Green Bay Packers vs. Detroit
28 Marvin Jones Detroit Lions at Green Bay
29 Michael Crabtree Oakland Raiders at Tennessee
30 Mike Wallace Baltimore Ravens at Jacksonville
31 Allen Hurns Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Baltimore
32 Julian Edelman New England Patriots vs. Houston
33 Michael Floyd Arizona Cardinals at Buffalo
34 Sammy Watkins Buffalo Bills vs. Arizona
35 Sterling Shepard New York Giants vs. Washington
36 Golden Tate Detroit Lions at Green Bay
37 Corey Coleman Cleveland Browns at Miami
38 DeSean Jackson Washington Redskins at New York Giants
39 Emmanuel Sanders Denver Broncos at Cincinnati
40 Donte Moncrief Indianapolis Colts vs. San Diego
41 Steve Smith Sr. Baltimore Ravens at Jacksonville
42 Phillip Dorsett Indianapolis Colts vs. San Diego
43 Tajae Sharpe Tennessee Titans vs. Oakland
44 Mohamed Sanu Atlanta Falcons at New Orleans
45 Tyler Lockett Seattle Seahawks vs. San Francisco
46 John Brown Arizona Cardinals at Buffalo
47 Devante Parker Miami Dolphins vs. Cleveland
48 Davante Adams Green Bay Packers vs. Detroit
49 Kevin White Chicago Bears at Dallas
50 Cole Beasley Dallas Cowboys vs. Chicago
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