Patrick Daugherty

Goal Line Stand

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Week 4 Rankings

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Week 4 Running Backs

Rank Player Name Opponent Notes
1 Adrian Peterson vs. PIT -
2 Jamaal Charles vs. NYG -
3 LeSean McCoy at DEN Probable (ankle)
4 Doug Martin vs. ARZ -
5 Matt Forte at DET -
6 Alfred Morris at OAK -
7 Marshawn Lynch at HOU -
8 DeMarco Murray at SD -
9 Frank Gore at STL -
10 Trent Richardson at JAC -
11 Reggie Bush vs. CHI Probable (knee)
12 Ray Rice at BUF Questionable (hip)
13 Chris Johnson vs. NYJ -
14 Arian Foster vs. SEA -
15 C.J. Spiller vs. BAL -
16 Darren Sproles vs. MIA -
17 Bilal Powell at TEN Probable (illness)
18 Stevan Ridley at ATL -
19 Darren McFadden vs. WAS -
20 Knowshon Moreno vs. PHI -
21 Lamar Miller at NO -
22 Bernard Pierce at BUF -
23 Maurice Jones-Drew vs. IND Probable (ankle)
24 David Wilson at KC -
25 Ryan Mathews vs. DAL -
26 Jacquizz Rodgers vs. NE -
27 Giovani Bernard at CLE -
28 Le'Veon Bell at MIN Probable (foot)
29 Joique Bell vs. CHI -
30 Ben Tate vs. SEA -
31 Daryl Richardson vs. SF Probable (foot)
32 Fred Jackson vs. BAL -
33 Rashard Mendenhall at TB Probable (toe)
34 Jason Snelling vs. NE -
35 Pierre Thomas vs. MIA -
36 Danny Woodhead vs. DAL -
37 BenJarvus Green-Ellis at CLE Probable (ankle)
38 Brandon Bolden at ATL Questionable (knee)
39 Willis McGahee vs. CIN -
40 Montee Ball vs. PHI -
41 Daniel Thomas at NO -
42 Michael Bush at DET -
43 Andre Ellington at TB -
44 LeGarrette Blount at ATL -
45 Donald Brown at JAC -
46 Brandon Jacobs at KC -
47 Chris Ogbonnaya vs. CIN -
48 Jonathan Dwyer at MIN -
49 Alex Green at TEN -
50 Robert Turbin at HOU -
51 Da'Rel Scott at KC -
52 Jackie Battle vs. NYJ -
53 Kendall Hunter at STL -
54 Ronnie Hillman vs. PHI -
55 Bryce Brown at DEN -
56 Benny Cunningham vs. SF -
57 Ronnie Brown vs. DAL -
58 Marcel Reece vs. WAS -
59 Knile Davis vs. NYG -
60 Zac Stacy vs. SF -

RB Notes: Looking stronger every week, Jamaal Charles might finally blast back into the fantasy stratosphere against the Giants’ walking-dead defense. Charles’ 18 catches are tied for the league lead amongst running backs. … The NFL hasn’t found an answer for LeSean McCoy through his first three games in Chip Kelly’s offense, but Denver’s top-ranked run defense — 43.3 yards per game, 2.3 yards per carry — will be by far the toughest challenge he’s faced. … The most surprising part of Doug Martin’s so-so (but still solid) start? He’s caught just four passes through three games after snagging 49 as a rookie. That should change in a big way going forward. Although new Bucs QB Mike Glennon is known for his big arm and big frame, he was also known for checking it down at NC State. With the Bucs lacking a capable slot threat or pass-catching tight end, you better believe the Muscle Hamster will be racking up targets, restoring the receiving threat that helped make him third in the NFL in yards from scrimmage last season.    

Matt Forte’s 363 yards from scrimmage are fourth amongst running backs, while his 18 catches are tied with Jamaal Charles for the running-back lead. … Alfred Morris is averaging 5.6 yards per carry. So why does he have just 40 of them? Because the Redskins have spent the entire season playing from behind. Astonishingly, Morris has gotten the ball once while Washington’s had a lead. That should finally change this weekend with the Redskins taking on an opponent more their speed in the Raiders. … DeMarco Murray is a good player. Perhaps a great one. So take this amusing, but mostly pointless, statistic with a grain of salt. For his career, Murray has averaged 4.8 yards on his 383 carries. If you take out his 51 totes against the Rams, however? His YPC plunges from 4.8 to 4.3. Murray gets a run defense almost as soft as the Rams’ in San Diego this weekend.

Squeaky wheel, is thy name Frank Gore? For many reasons, the answer is almost certainly “yes.” Rightfully upset after he received just 11 carries in Sunday’s blowout loss — despite averaging 7.45 yards per tote — Gore reportedly had some “choice words” for coach Jim Harbaugh. Gore has since downplayed the situation, but all signs point to a much bigger workload against the Rams. St. Louis is fresh off getting torched by DeMarco Murray, while the 49ers have proven utterly incapable of moving the ball through the air since Week 1. It all adds up to re-emphasizing the run game against a division rival in a must-win game, and to fantasy owners finally getting a big week out of their pseudo RB1. … Ray Rice (hip) expects to play Sunday, but could end up a game-time decision for the second consecutive week. If the Ravens declare him ready to go on Friday or Saturday, however, he’ll be a must start RB1 against the Bills’ battered run defense. If Rice ends up again sitting out, Bernard Pierce will be a plug-and-play RB2 in a far juicier matchup than the one he ran into last Sunday against the Texans.

Darren McFadden’s first three games by carries/yards/YPC: 17/48/2.8, 19/129/6.8 and 12/9/0.8. The boom-or-bust trend is set to continue for another week against the Redskins’ saloon-door run defense. DMC will be bumped down, though, if Terrelle Pryor (concussion) can’t go. Thus far, the running lanes opened up by Pryor’s scrambling ability appear to be the difference between DMC’s 2012 and 2013. … Fresh off a terrible matchup in his abbreviated first week as a Colt, the opponent for Trent Richardson’s second game in blue-and-white couldn’t be more inviting. To date, the Jaguars’ overmatched front seven is allowing 167.7 yards per game on the ground, and 5.2 yards per carry. The Colts’ coaching staff is intent on making things complicated, however, with head man Chuck Pagano saying Wednesday his running back rotation would remain the same as it did in Week 3’s upset win. Ahmad Bradshaw touched the ball 22 times against the 49ers, with T-Rich taking the rock 13 times. Do we really expect Bradshaw to get the ball nine more times than Richardson for the second consecutive week? No. Is it a fluid enough situation to keep Richardson out of the ranks out of the RB1s for at least one more game? Unfortunately, yes. T-Rich could end the timeshare by doing what he’s expected to do against the league’s worst run defense.

Update: With Ahmad Bradshaw (neck) now declared out for Week 4, Trent Richardson has been bumped into the top 10. 

Bilal Powell is short on talent, but he’s suddenly long on volume in an offense that’s missing Chris Ivory and rediscovered the run in Week 3. With so many question marks across the running-back landscape, Powell is a legit RB2. … Is Bill Belichick the new Mike Shanahan when it comes to seemingly arbitrary use of his backs? Stevan Ridley’s owners seem to think so, but the answer is a flat “no.” Ridley easily led all Patriots backs in snaps and touches last season, and is going to do so again in 2013. His uneven first three weeks — mostly the result of two fumbles and two tough run-game opponents — aren’t going to change that. Start him confidently against Atlanta’s injury-smoked ground unit. … Don’t let Montee Ball and Ronnie Hillman’s garbage-time carries fool you: Knowshon Moreno remains the unquestioned leader of Denver’s running-back carousel. … David Wilson was two holding penalties away from a 13/70/1 day in Week 3. He’s getting closer, but is a decidedly boom-or-bust option against Kansas City’s apparently elite defense. … Joique Bell will be bumped down if Reggie Bush (knee) keeps trending in the right direction, moved up if it doesn’t.      

A struggling and gimpy Daryl Richardson (foot) is an uncompelling option against the 49ers’ run defense, even though it’s missing Aldon Smith and Patrick Willis. He’s a desperation FLEX play. … A 50-percent player by snaps for the first time in Week 3, Giovani Bernard continues his effortless kick past BenJarvus Green-Ellis on the depth chart. … Keep your expectations low for Le’Veon Bell’s debut. Perhaps he’ll be immediately thrust into an every-down role, but it seems unlikely after he’s missed so much time. He is a solid FLEX play, however. … Avoid the Browns backfield. … Take a flier on Isaiah Pead.

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Patrick Daugherty is a football and baseball writer for He can be found on Twitter .
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