Fantasy Football Week 4: Must-Have Running Backs on Waiver Wire

Ryan DavenportContributor ISeptember 25, 2013

ATLANTA, GA - AUGUST 29:  Jason Snelling #44 of the Atlanta Falcons slips as he rushes a reception upfield against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Georgia Dome on August 29, 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

In today's NFL, it seems, every week, there's a running back explodes and has a big game, but manages to fly under the radar in fantasy leagues for far too long. 

So, not surprisingly, three weeks into the 2013 NFL season, in a sizable chunk of fantasy leagues, there are a handful of backfield-based studs worth a look before they've all been snapped up by an opposing owner. 

Heading into Week 4 of the NFL schedule, here's a look at the most valuable backs up for grabs in many leagues across the country. 


LeGarrette Blount 

It's been a while since LeGarrette Blount was a 1,000-yard back for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but the former Oregon standout has recently established himself as a legitimate backfield option. 

And it happened against his former team. 

Upon joining the New England Patriots, it took Blount time to get comfortable to Bill Belichick's offense, but now that he has, he's worth consideration as a depth back on any fantasy team. 

FOXBORO, MA - SEPTEMBER 22: LeGarrette Blount #29 of the New England Patriots bobbles a kick off against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the second half at Gillette Stadium on September 22, 2013 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Jim Rogash/Getty Images

Part of that is due to the fact that Steven Ridley has been so ineffective, thus far, as the former LSU Tiger has struggled mightily after racking up more than 1,200 yards a year ago. 

As the NFL Network's Michael Fabiano suggested, Ridley may have already played his way out of the No. 1 job in the Patriots' backfield. 

But back to Blount.

Against the team that traded him to New England for a seventh-rounder, the 26-year-old burned Tampa Bay for 65 yards on 14 carries, and, perhaps, more importantly, got more opportunities than Ridley, which suggests that Blount will get the opportunity to be the Patriots' featured back. 

As of now, Blount's owned in less than two percent of ESPN fantasy leagues, so if your roster is in need of some depth in the backfield, the Madison, Fla., native is certainly worth consideration.


Bilal Powell

Once again, the New York Jets appear to have a new No. 1 running back, as Chris Ivory looks to be on the shelf for at least the time being, via ESPN New York's Rich Cimini

With Ivory appearing to be unavailable, Bilal Powell will be the Jets' top rushing option, but given how effective the former Louisville back was during Week 3 against the Buffalo Bills, that should be just fine with Rex Ryan

That's because Powell ended up with 149 yards on 27 carries against Buffalo and played a major role in the Jets' win over their AFC East rivals from up north. 

Given how Powell thrived during his first opportunity to be New York's No. 1 back, it seems ludicrous that he's owned in just over 50 percent of ESPN fantasy leagues, but that means there are owners who have golden opportunities to snatch up the former fourth-rounder before he's gone. 

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - AUGUST 17:   Bilal Powell #29 of the New York Jets runs the ball against the Jacksonville Jaguars during their preseason game at MetLife Stadium on August 17, 2013 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Imag
Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images


Jason Snelling

As usual, much of the focus on the Falcons' attack has centered upon Matt Ryan and Atlanta's passing game, and rightfully so. 

But that doesn't mean that there isn't a waiver wire candidate worth a look in the Falcons' backfield, as Jason Snelling has, once again, emerged as a legitimate fantasy running back.

Though Snelling sits third on Atlanta's depth chart, as far as pure running backs are concerned, the 29-year-old has been contributing enough both through the air and on the ground that he's definitely worth consideration.

As ESPN's fantasy spin points out, Steven Jackson's absence will likely give Jacquizz Rodgers more carries, but that doesn't mean that Snelling won't reward fantasy owners. 

While Steven Jackson (thigh) sits out for the next few games, expect Rodgers to see a lot of work on early downs, with Snelling playing on third downs and in short yardage or goal line situations.

ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 13:   Jason Snelling #44 of the Atlanta Falcons runs a reception in for a third quarter touchdown against the Seattle Seahawks during the NFC Divisional Playoff Game at Georgia Dome on January 13, 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

In Week 2, Snelling managed 60 all-purpose yards and a rushing touchdown, but that was nothing compared to what the former University of Virginia Cavalier had in store for Week 3's date with the undefeated Dolphins. 

Against Miami, Snelling put up 53 yards rushing on 11 carries, but also hauled in four catches for 58 yards and a receiving touchdown, so although it's unrealistic to expect that kind of production on a regular basis, his last two outings merit a look from fantasy owners in search of a hidden gem to help out in the backfield. 

He's currently owned in less than 15 percent of ESPN fantasy leagues, so chances are, this underrated multi-purpose threat is still an attainable option for your team.