Javorius 'Buck' Allen, Alex Collins' Fantasy Outlook After Week 3

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistSeptember 23, 2018

BALTIMORE, MD - SEPTEMBER 23: Alex Collins #34 of the Baltimore Ravens scores a touchdown against the Denver Broncos during the first half at M&T Bank Stadium on September 23, 2018 in Baltimore, MD.  (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)
Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

The Baltimore Ravens enjoyed a 27-14 win over the Denver Broncos Sunday, and fantasy players relying on their two running backs were the beneficiaries of touchdowns from each.

Alex Collins tallied 18 carries for 68 yards and a touchdown, while Javorius "Buck" Allen finished with six carries for seven yards and a score. They were also factors in the passing attack with Allen posting three catches for 19 yards and a touchdown on four targets and Collins hauling in three catches for six yards.

The touchdowns were stat-line savers for those counting on Allen, as he was behind Collins on the depth chart for carries and didn't impress with his yardage.

This marks the third straight week Allen finished with six or fewer carries, and he is yet to account for more than 17 yards on the ground in a single game. The receiving prowess helps seeing how he now has 13 catches for 70 yards and the touchdown, but even those numbers are only attractive in a point-per-reception league.

The bottom line at this point is Allen isn't a realistic starting option for fantasy players with Collins taking the majority of the action from the running back spot. Don't give up on Allen for depth purposes—after all he ran for a career-best 591 yards last year—but don't start him unless absolutely necessary.

As for Collins, there is at least reason to be somewhat concerned at this point. 

Sunday's 68 rushing yards marks his high through three games, as he ran for just 13 in Week 1 and 35 in Week 2. However, he salvaged his Week 2 line with three catches for 55 yards, and he tallied three more catches in Sunday's win over the Broncos.

Those catches give Collins more value than many expected entering the season seeing how he had just 23 in all of 2017. What's more, fantasy players should be encouraged by the 18 carries against Denver seeing how he had 16 combined in the opening two weeks.

Collins is the clear-cut starter at running back for the Ravens moving forward, and Sunday's showing was more reminiscent of last year's 973 rushing yards than the first two weeks this season when Baltimore enjoyed a blowout win in one and was forced to come from behind and rely on the passing attack in the other.

He isn't a top-notch running option a la Todd Gurley or Ezekiel Elliott, but Collins is a reliable fantasy starter. Don't take him out of your lineup.

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