Week 4 Fantasy Football Rankings: RBs Who Will Increase Value with Huge Game

Ian HanfordFeatured ColumnistSeptember 25, 2012

SAN DIEGO, CA - SEPTEMBER 23:  Running back Michael Turner #33 of the Atlanta Falcons carries the ball against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium on September 23, 2012 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

The success of your fantasy football team relies heavily upon the guys you have in your backfield, and this year's most productive backs features many of the usual suspects.

Everyone starts Ray Rice, Arian Foster and Maurice Jones-Drew week in and week out, but what about the other guys?

A few running backs have favorable matchups this week, and big numbers should be expected. Let's take a look at three ball-carriers who will increase their value in Week 4.


Michael Turner

According to ESPN, Turner is No. 22 among running backs in standard-scoring leagues. He's scored 27 points, putting him between Detroit's Kevin Smith and Saints' weapon Darren Sproles.

That's going to change this week when the Atlanta Falcons play the Carolina Panthers, as the Panthers are No. 27 in the league against the run, allowing nearly 140 yards per game on the ground.

Turner started very slow.

He ran for just 84 yards and one touchdown in the first two weeks combined, but he was much better against San Diego on Sunday—he ran for 80 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries against the Chargers.

The Falcons need Turner to make their offense two-pronged. He's going to get his touches, and the Panthers are very susceptible to a ground-and-pound running style.

Look for a big week from the Falcons ball-carrier.


Mikel Leshoure

Leshoure finally showed why the Lions drafted him on Sunday, ripping a 100-yard performance in Detroit's loss to Tennessee.

We still don't know how healthy Matthew Stafford is, so Jim Schwartz and his coaching staff may lean on their freshly-reinstated running back to carry the load. He showed that he's capable of it in Week 4 and should look even better with a game under his belt.

Leshoure only has 19 points in ESPN's standard-scoring leagues, but he's just scratching the surface. He's versatile, capable of getting involved in the passing game and just learning how to bear starter's responsibilities.

Detroit will give him every chance to succeed.

The Vikings are No. 12 against the run, but a Week 2 contest against Indianapolis inflates that a bit. They're a solid, but not impenetrable, defense.

If you have Leshoure stashed on your bench, start taking a hard look at his matchup every week. He's worth a start this week in front of his home crowd.


Cedric Benson

Benson has gotten the ball 43 times out of the Green Bay backfield, and I expect that to increase this week against the New Orleans Saints.

Not only are the Saints dead last at defending the run, but Green Bay knows they must keep their attack two-dimensional. Otherwise, Aaron Rodgers becomes a sitting duck, as the Seattle Seahawks showed Monday night with their nine sacks.

Expect Benson to get at least the 20 carries he saw against the Chicago Bears in Week 2. Green Bay would be wise to give him even more than that. He's a dangerous north-south runner, and the Saints haven't stopped anyone from doing anything this year.

Benson isn't a No.1 running back on your fantasy team, but he does have the makings of a No. 2 in the right situation.

Play him this week against New Orleans.