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Nick Chubb hunts for top-five respect in Atlanta, Austin Ekeler bargains for a big day against the Texans' sorry run defense, and Rhamondre Stevenson battles Damien Harris for starting duties in Green Bay.
Updated 10/2 at 10:30 AM ET. Removed Alvin Kamara after the fact to avoid confusion. I was totally blindsided by his inactive, and he remained in the ranks at game time. My deepest apologies.
Week 4 Running Backs
RB Notes: A disappointing RB10 by average PPR points, Jonathan Taylor is now set to play through a toe injury. Working in his Week 4 favor is the fact that the Colts are safe home favorites against the Titans, and that Tennessee is currently coughing up 5.8 yards per carry and 145 yards rushing per game. … After dismissing Christian McCaffrey's injury issues earlier this season, Panthers coach Matt Rhule hasn't been so sanguine about CMC's thigh ailment. Fantasy managers frankly need to begin planning for D'Onta Foreman Day vs. the Cardinals. If Foreman gets the call, it will be against a defense that hasn't been impressive in any phase of the game. He would definitely slot in as an RB2. … RB1, RB17 and RB5. Those are Saquon Barkley's PPR finishes so far in 2022. Only the Texans are allowing more weekly rushing yards than the Bears. … Some backs get hurt. Others struggle. Nick Chubb keeps on ridin', ridin', ridin', scoring touchdowns, carrying the ball north of 20 times and almost always finishing with a YPC north of 5.0. Week 4 opponent Atlanta is silver plattering a 4.8 enemy YPC.
The Big Dog Derrick Henry finally came to full roar in Week 3, finishing as the RB2 while uncharacteristically catching five passes for 58 yards. The five receptions were the second most of his career. Good signs, though the Titans are nearly four-point road 'dogs vs. a Colts defense permitting just 2.6 yards per carry, albeit after dates with the Texans, Jaguars and Chiefs. This will be a telling test for both sides. … Week 3's RB1 overall, Khalil Herbert will be handling lead-back duties for the fifth time in his career if David Montgomery (ankle, knee) sits against the Giants. It's not looking good for D-Mont. In Montgomery's 2021 absences, Herbert finished as the PPR RB40, RB11, RB8 and RB33, leaving Damien Williams in the dust. Impressive as that was for a rookie, Herbert appeared to be operating at an entirely different level against the Texans last Sunday. Running behind what has been a road-paving offensive line in the early going, Herbert is a legitimate plug-and-play RB1 in his run-drenched offense. … Whatever was going on with Joe Mixon's ankle in Week 3 was not enough to keep him on the Week 4 injury report. His touches should remain plentiful and high-value vs. Miami.
Quietly the RB13 in PPR leagues despite his atrocious start, Austin Ekeler has kept his value afloat with 17 receptions over his past two appearances. Now it is time to do something on the ground against the only run defense in the league surrendering more than 200 yards per game. Lovie Smith's D is being tagged for 5.6 yards per pop. It will officially be panic time if Ekeler remains stuck in neutral. … Wearing a shoulder harness last Week 14, Dalvin Cook went ballistic for 205 yards against the Steelers. Just one caveat: It was after he missed a game. Cook has the same issue now. If he can't go across the pond vs. New Orleans, Alexander Mattison will be a plug-and-play RB1. If Cook makes the flight, it will be a strong indication he's playing. Teams aren't in the business of flying players to England for no reason. … Averaging 19 fruitless touches over the past two weeks, Najee Harris catches a disorganized Jets defense as a three-point favorite at home. It is worth noting that Gang Green has been stronger on the ground than through the air.
Alvin Kamara isn't popping big plays on the ground, and Jameis Winston isn't checking down. If Kamara doesn't have a big day vs. a Vikings defense surrendering the fourth most RB fantasy points, it will officially be time to adjust expectations. … With their offense one of the very worst in the league through three games, the Cardinals are predictably talking about getting the running game/James Conner going. With Kliff Kingsbury out of ideas through the air, it's probably a good idea to believe his Conner talk. … It was tempting to rank Jamaal Williams as an RB1. The problem is that Dan Campbell has never used fewer than two backs. If D'Andre Swift (ankle, shoulder) sits as expected, Craig Reynolds should see enough run to dock Williams' upside, if not necessarily create any of his own. … Javonte Williams has only two touches inside the red zone. Bad, but Melvin Gordon has just four. It's far too early to call this goal-line fight. Demonstrating far superior rushing and play-making so far, Williams remains worth betting on in the “Aaron Jones zone.”
James Robinson has bookended his sluggish Week 2 with a pair of highly-efficient outings. He has a good Week 4 setup in what will hopefully be a high-scoring contest with the Eagles. … I'm not totally solid on Cordarrelle Patterson's workload, but he gets all the important touches on the ground and Vegas is expecting upwards of 50 points in ATL/CLE. … It was a nice Week 3 for Dameon Pierce, but one where he fumbled twice and picked up a hip issue. Game script might not be the friendliest vs. the Chargers. On the other hand, the Bolts are banged up and relatively modest five-point favorites. … Ready to be hurt again by Rhamondre Stevenson? You better believe I am. He is out-snapping and out-routing Damien Harris, and seems to have the advantage in the two-minute drill. With the Pats forced to rely more heavily on the running game during Mac Jones' (ankle) absence, another Bill Belichick rug pull seems unlikely. … How did J.K. Dobbins' Week 3 debut go? Well, John Harbaugh is talking up Justice Hill as a “star.” Not a good sign. Dobbins is a difficult-to-trust FLEX even for what should be a high-scoring affair with the Bills.