'12 ranks: Matt Ryan, A.J. Green movin' up 

September, 25, 2012
9/25/12
1:08
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Well, at least the state of NFL refereeing can make fantasy owners occasionally forget about what's happening with Aaron Rodgers, Chris Johnson and Wes Welker, right? But if you can't get enough rankings, and from the looks of things you can't, you came to the right place. Every Tuesday I update my 2012 end-of-season rankings, not necessarily to help you with weekly lineup decisions, but rather to see how players compare for the remaining weeks. Week 4 staff and individual rankings will be posted Wednesday.

Without further ado ...

Quick click by position, for easy reference:

Top 40 Quarterbacks | Top 60 Running Backs | Top 60 Wide Receivers

Top 30 Tight Ends | Top 32 Defense/Special Teams | Top 100 Overall

Top 40 Quarterbacks



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Lost in the unfortunate mess that was the Monday night result is the fact that Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, the top fellow at his position in drafts and perhaps the first overall pick of yours, delivered his most disappointing outing in more than a year. Rodgers enters Week 4 tied with -- get this -- Mark Sanchez of the New York Jets for 20th among quarterbacks in standard fantasy points. All that said, Rodgers gets to face the New Orleans Saints in Week 4, then the Indianapolis Colts in Week 5. He'll be excellent the next two weeks, and he remains in the top spot here. Trade for him with confidence.

It's tough to argue against moving Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan into the top five at this position. So far Ryan has thrown eight touchdowns and turned over the football once, and he's piling up the fantasy points. Either he or Eli Manning has the best 1-2 wide receiver duo in the game. Ryan's certainly legit, and while the Manning brothers are as well, Ryan passes them and Matthew Stafford. Ryan moves up the most in the top 10, as he is the No. 2 overall passer so far, behind only Robert Griffin III. For those wondering, Rodgers, Drew Brees and Tom Brady did not reach 20 points in Week 3. In fact, this trio of fantasy first-rounders has a combined total of two 20-point fantasy performance in nine tries. I say it's OK if you use Griffin or Ryan over them.

Let's also give credit to Joe Flacco of the Baltimore Ravens. Like Ryan, fantasy owners might have felt they had seen enough of Flacco the past few seasons to believe he'd never rise above fantasy backup status. After all, Ryan was the 11th quarterback off the board in ESPN average live drafts and Flacco was 16th, so neither was considered a starter in 10-team formats. Flacco lit up the New England Patriots on Sunday night for 382 yards and three scores, and it certainly looks as if the self-proclaimed "best quarterback in the NFL" is at least closing in on the top 10.

Of course, someone has to drop if others move up. It's amazing Michael Vick of the Philadelphia Eagles is still standing upright with the pounding he's taking. Vick's offensive line can't protect him, he holds on to the football for too long just about every pass, and the game plan has him passing a whole lot.

Vick escaped the first two weeks with victories and an average of 18 fantasy points per game. On Sunday, he scored six fantasy points. Sell now if you still can, because it's unlikely he'll be able to suit up for 16 games. He drops a few spots further in fantasy backup quarterback territory, as does Josh Freeman of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Down in the 20s rankings slots, we have to move second-year passers Jake Locker and Christian Ponder up a bit. Now that the bye weeks have started, and we all love those, you might need a fill-in, and while Locker has a bright future, Ponder is the immediate beneficiary, thanks to his schedule. The next two weeks, his Minnesota Vikings play both teams from the 85-point overtime thriller in Tennessee (Titans and Lions), and then the Washington Redskins. That's pretty sweet.

Stafford's backup, Shaun Hill, enters the rankings, because this backup can play (and showed it in 2010), and it's time to remove a few of the bad-team backups (Colt McCoy, Chad Henne, Matt Moore) and follow in Hill's footsteps with reserves on high-powered offenses. No, don't expect Rodgers to get hurt, but for those wondering, Graham Harrell is next in line for the Packers. And no, he's not the guy leading the Houston Astros in pitching victories.

Top 60 Running Backs





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