2012 Fantasy Football Week 4: Running Backs (RB) Rankings / Projections

Sean E. Douglas@@seanfantasyinfoSenior Writer IIISeptember 24, 2012

Sep 23, 2012; Nashville, TN, USA; Detroit Lions running back Mikel Leshoure (25) runs with the ball against the Tennessee Titans during the first half at LP Field. Mandatory credit: Don McPeak-US PRESSWIRE

Apparently the Lions weren’t lying about the usage of Mikel Leshoure as the starting tailback in his first game back from suspension. At talented second-round pick back in the spring of 2010, Leshoure appears to at least be most of the way back from an Achilles injury that cost him the 2010 season.

Not only did Leshoure receive the Lions share (26 carries, four receptions) of Detroit’s workload we witnessed the coaching staff keep Kevin Smith on the sidelines as Joique Bell came in for Leshoure as the backup.

Consider Leshoure a RB2 option heading into Week 4, but remember he was playing one of the worst run defenses in football last week. This week Detroit heads back home to take on a Vikings team that manhandled the 49ers in Minnesota.


What Did We Learn From Week 3?

Tashard Choice received the bulk of work in the Bills backfield after C.J. Spiller went down to injury. Fred Jackson will be back in practice this week, but Choice could get the nod and should be an active runner, as Spiller is likely out for a week or two.

—Daniel Thomas continues to work ahead of Lamar Miller but it’s only a matter of time before the rookie earns more time on the field. With Reggie Bush battling a knee injury, both running backs are likely to receive an increase in work against the Cardinals.

—Doug Martin continues to be the feature back in Tampa Bay but his yard per carry average is atrocious. This should change and soon as the Buccaneers take on the Redskins at home. Tampa Bay has been a competitive team through all three games this year, and I expect them to win at home. Keep Martin in your lineup as a matchup-proof RB2 weekly.

—The Patriots were using a no-huddle offense against the Ravens and Stevan Ridley was the big loser, as Danny Woodhead’s role expanded. What disappointed me more was the decision to use Brandon Bolden at the goal line for a touchdown early on.

Still a young running back, Ridley has more to learn about the nuances of the game and if the Patriots continue to speed things up, he will lose opportunities. I still like him as a RB2 this week against the Bills, but let’s hope he gets the goal-line touches.

—Andre Brown is clearly the No. 2 back on this team and the feature back when Ahmad Bradshaw is out of the lineup. The final kick to the gut for David Wilson owners was when the coaching staff opted to use Da’Rel Scott in clean up duty at the end of the game.

This was a perfect time to give the rookie some work, and the fact that they kept him on the sidelines shows you they are sending him a message. Feel safe about dropping Wilson, especially if Bradshaw is ready to play again.


Sean’s Week 4 Watch List

—Michael Turner still has something left in the tank and he’s worth starting against the Panthers. Expect continued up-and-down play, but if the Falcons defense keeps playing like it did in San Diego, Turner’s odds of 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns should be considered doable.

—Ryan Williams earned his way back into the good graces of his coaching staff nailing the door shut on the Eagles with hard running at the end of the game. Beanie Wells admitted he might have turf toe after the game, and that is a great sign for Williams owners.

If Wells is out, I want to see whether Williams will earn up to 25 touches against the Dolphins this week.

—Willis McGahee injured his ribs against the Texans, but unless he suffered a break, we should expect him on the field against the Raiders. If not, Lance Ball figures to be next in line, but I want to see whether the Broncos will turn Ronnie Hillman loose.

Last week Knowshon Moreno was a healthy scratch (horrible play through two weeks), and Denver opted to activate Hillman. A potentially special runner, it would be in the Broncos' best interest to get him going, taking pressure off the passing game.

1 Ray Rice Browns
2 Arian Foster Titans
3 Maurice Jones-Drew Bengals
4 Darren McFadden @ Broncos
5 Jamaal Charles Chargers
6 Adrian Peterson @ Lions
7 LeSean McCoy Giants
8 Marshawn Lynch Rams
9 Andre Brown @ Eagles
10 Ryan Mathews @ Chiefs
11 DeMarco Murray Bears
12 Alfred Morris @ Bucs
13 Trent Richardson @ Ravens
14 BenJarvus Green-Ellis @ Jaguars
15 Doug Martin Redskins
16 Willis McGahee (I) Raiders
17 Michael Bush @ Cowboys
18 Frank Gore @ Jets
19 Mikel Leshoure Vikings
20 Stevan Ridley @ Bills
21 Darren Sproles @ Packers
22 Ben Tate Titans
23 Cedric Benson Saints
24 Tashard Choice Patriots
25 Michael Turner Panthers
26 Ryan Williams Dolphins
27 Steven Jackson (I) Seahawks
28 Jonathan Stewart @ Falcons
29 Daniel Thomas @ Cardinals
30 DeAngelo Williams @ Falcons
31 Fred Jackson (I) Patriots
32 Jacquizz Rodgers Panthers
33 Ahmad Bradshaw (I) @ Eagles
34 Lamar Miller @ Cardinals
35 Chris Johnson @ Texans
36 Lance Ball Raiders
37 Danny Woodhead @ Bills
38 Shonn Greene (I) 49ers
39 Kendall Hunter @ Jets
40 Mark Ingram @ Packers

Week 4 Standard Rankings – QB | WR | TE | K | D