Fantasy Football Week 4 Rankings: Top 40 Running Backs
Injuries and inability are certainly playing a major role on the rankings this week. Obviously things change dramatically if C.J. Spiller, Reggie Bush or Fred Jackson dress, but can we count on that? Throw in the struggles of some of the top backs, like LeSean McCoy, DeMarco Murray and Chris Johnson and there are a lot of owners shaking their heads. Let’s take a look at how things currently fall, but keep in mind that there could be major changes as the week progresses:
- Arian Foster – Houston Texans – vs. Tennessee
- Ray Rice – Baltimore Ravens – vs. Cleveland
- Maurice Jones-Drew – Jacksonville Jaguars – vs. Cincinnati
- LeSean McCoy – Philadelphia Eagles – vs. New York Giants
- Darren McFadden – Oakland Raiders – at Denver
- Trent Richardson – Cleveland Browns – at Baltimore
- Jamaal Charles – Kansas City Chiefs – vs. San Diego
- Ryan Mathews – San Diego Chargers – at Kansas City
- Marshawn Lynch – Seattle Seahawks – at St. Louis
- Adrian Peterson – Minnesota Vikings – at Detroit
- Doug Martin – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – vs. Washington
- Frank Gore – San Francisco 49ers – at New York Jets
- BenJarvus Green-Ellis – Cincinnati Bengals – at Jacksonville
- Willis McGahee – Denver Broncos – vs. Oakland
- Michael Bush – Chicago Bears – at Dallas
- Mikel Leshoure – Detroit Lions – vs. Minnesota
- Michael Turner – Atlanta Falcons – vs. Carolina
- DeMarco Murray – Dallas Cowboys – vs. Chicago
- Darren Sproles – New Orleans Saints – at Green Bay
- Cedric Benson – Green Bay Packers – vs. New Orleans
- Andre Brown – New York Giants – at Philadelphia
- Alfred Morris – Washington Redskins – at Tampa Bay
- Steven Jackson – St. Louis Rams – vs. Seattle
- Tashard Choice – Buffalo Bills – vs. New England
- Stevan Ridley – New England Patriots – at Buffalo
- Chris Johnson – Tennessee Titans – at Houston
- Ryan Williams – Arizona Cardinals – vs. Miami
- Jonathan Stewart – Carolina Panthers – at Atlanta
- Daniel Thomas – Miami Dolphins – at Arizona
- Ahmad Bradshaw – New York Giants – at Philadelphia
- Ben Tate – Houston Texans – vs. Tennessee
- Pierre Thomas – New Orleans Saints – at Green Bay
- DeAngelo Williams – Carolina Panthers – at Atlanta
- Shonn Greene – New York Jets – vs. San Francisco
- Peyton Hillis – Kansas City Chiefs – vs. San Diego
- Jacquizz Rodgers – Atlanta Falcons – vs. Carolina
- Daryl Richardson – St. Louis Rams – vs. Seattle
- Danny Woodhead – New England Patriots – at Buffalo
- Beanie Wells – Arizona Cardinals – vs. Miami
- Mark Ingram – New Orleans Saints – at Green Bay
- The early talk is that both C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson could play in Week 4 for the Bills, but for now I am going to leave them both off the rankings (meaning Tashard Choice could get the opportunity to shoulder the load). However, the news this week will have a major impact on how things play out. If Spiller plays, he is a RB1. If Jackson plays, he is probably more of a RB2.
- Is anyone wondering how healthy Jamaal Charles is now? After exploding for 288 total yards (233 rushing, 55 receiving) in Week 3 it is apparent that he is back to being a must use option. While it isn’t fair to expect him to get that many touches on a weekly basis (Peyton Hillis’ injury contributed to it), he should be considered one of the better plays in the league at this point.
- Maybe this will be the week that the Eagles finally lean on LeSean McCoy? How long can they really continue to watch Michael Vick get beat up and turn the ball over? McCoy is averaging just more than 100 total yards per game against the Giants in his career (six games), so if they do they should be rewarded. We can’t predict what Philadelphia will do, but it certainly would make sense for them to go more run oriented.
- We are no longer concerned about Maurice Jones-Drew’s holdout affecting him on the field, are we? With a positive matchup, consider him an easy Top 5 option.
- According to Ben Volin (via Twitter), “Reggie Bush said this morning on @PaulandYoungRon about his left knee: ‘It’s just a bruise. I’m working hard to get back for this week.’” He’s another one who we will have to monitor the news, but if he is in the lineup he is going to be the focal point of the Dolphins offense once again. However, given his history can we really expect him to dress? If he does he’s a RB2, but for now we are leaving him off the rankings. If Bush is out, consider Daniel Thomas a viable FLEX option, though a risky play as anything more than that.
- Ryan Mathews got through his first game back, now I would expect him to start living up to the expectations. With a favorable matchup against the Chiefs (who are allowing 122.7 rushing yards per game, tied for tenth most in the league), look for him to erupt.
- DeMarco Murray has far from lived up to expectations, like the majority of the Cowboys’ offense. With a tough draw against the Chicago Bears, it is unfair to expect him to suddenly figure it out this week as well. He still has potential keeping him as a RB2, but with 82 yards on 30 carries over the past two games (along with 48 receiving yards) that’s all he can be considered.
- The New Orleans Saints have allowed 215.0 rushing yards per game over the first three weeks of the season. While Cedric Benson’s value is typically capped, it is impossible not to consider him a RB2 this week.
- Will it be Andre Brown, Ahmad Bradshaw or a time share in New York? A lot of that may depend on Bradshaw’s health, but after a big performance Brown may be the option to own this week. Regardless, I would consider both low-end options.
Make sure to check out the rest of our Week 4 rankings:
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