Week 3 is already here, and there has certainly been no shortage of drama and backfield woes up to this point. This weekend, we lost Danny Woodhead for the season to an ACL tear, plus guys like Adrian Peterson, Doug Martin, Jonathan Stewart, and Ameer Abdullah for what appear to be a multi-week injuries. As fantasy football team owners, however, we must continue to grind it out, regardless of who we may lose along the way. On the bright side, these aforementioned injuries create opportunities for other running backs to shine, meaning there will be a couple new faces in my rankings this week.
Take a look at my top 50 RBs for Week 3 compared to FantasyPros’ ECR ranks:
Fantasy Football rankings - Week 3View Available Players
|#||Player (team)||Matchup||ECR™||vs. ECR|
|1||David Johnson (ARI)||at BUF||1||0|
|2||Lamar Miller (HOU)||at NE||4||+2|
|3||DeAngelo Williams (PIT)||at PHI||2||-1|
|4||Ezekiel Elliott (DAL)||vs. CHI||3||-1|
|5||C.J. Anderson (DEN)||at CIN||5||0|
|6||Matt Forte (NYJ)||at KC||7||+1|
|7||Melvin Gordon (SD)||at IND||6||-1|
|8||Todd Gurley (LA)||at TB||10||+2|
|9||Mark Ingram (NO)||vs. ATL||9||0|
|10||LeGarrette Blount (NE)||vs. HOU||15||+5|
|11||DeMarco Murray (TEN)||vs. OAK||8||-3|
|12||Eddie Lacy (GB)||vs. DET||12||0|
|13||Latavius Murray (OAK)||at TEN||14||+1|
|14||Devonta Freeman (ATL)||at NO||13||-1|
|15||LeSean McCoy (BUF)||vs. ARI||11||-4|
|16||Jerick McKinnon (MIN)||at CAR||28||+12|
|17||Frank Gore (IND)||vs. SD||18||+1|
|18||Rashad Jennings (NYG)||vs. WAS||25||+7|
|19||Ryan Mathews (PHI)||vs. PIT||17||-2|
|20||Jamaal Charles (KC)||vs. NYJ||45||+25|
|21||Spencer Ware (KC)||vs. NYJ||16||-5|
|22||Jeremy Langford (CHI)||at DAL||20||-2|
|23||Isaiah Crowell (CLE)||at MIA||21||-2|
|24||Charles Sims (TB)||vs. LA||19||-5|
|25||Thomas Rawls (SEA)||vs. SF||33||+8|
|26||Tevin Coleman (ATL)||at NO||23||-3|
|27||Theo Riddick (DET)||at GB||22||-5|
|28||Christine Michael (SEA)||vs. SF||24||-4|
|29||Chris Ivory (JAC)||vs. BAL||43||+14|
|30||Matt Jones (WAS)||at NYG||31||+1|
|31||Carlos Hyde (SF)||at SEA||27||-4|
|32||Giovani Bernard (CIN)||vs. DEN||26||-6|
|33||Cameron Artis-Payne (CAR)||vs. MIN||41||+8|
|34||Jay Ajayi (MIA)||vs. CLE||32||-2|
|35||Derrick Henry (TEN)||vs. OAK||37||+2|
|36||Jeremy Hill (CIN)||vs. DEN||29||-7|
|37||T.J. Yeldon (JAC)||vs. BAL||30||-7|
|38||Terrance West (BAL)||at JAC||42||+4|
|39||Jordan Howard (CHI)||at DAL||55||+16|
|40||Justin Forsett (BAL)||at JAC||34||-6|
|41||Dwayne Washington (DET)||at GB||47||+6|
|42||Fozzy Whittaker (CAR)||vs. MIN||35||-7|
|43||Kenyan Drake (MIA)||vs. CLE||46||+3|
|44||Duke Johnson (CLE)||at MIA||36||-8|
|45||Matt Asiata (MIN)||at CAR||39||-6|
|46||James White (NE)||vs. HOU||40||-6|
|47||Shane Vereen (NYG)||vs. WAS||38||-9|
|48||Alfred Morris (DAL)||vs. CHI||48||0|
|49||Chris Johnson (ARI)||at BUF||56||+7|
|50||Darren Sproles (PHI)||vs. PIT||44||-6|
Notes & Analysis:
- David Johnson has a nice matchup against a banged-up Bills defense and is the best all-around running back in the NFL for at least another week (when Le’Veon Bell returns).
- Lamar Miller has gotten the ball a ton, but hasn’t been able to translate it into high efficiency. Look for that to change soon — he’s liable to blow up any game.
- Melvin Gordon has the looks of SD’s workhorse now that Danny Woodhead is out for the season. His fantasy value rises from borderline RB2 to borderline RB1, and the Colts have been absolutely torched by opposing backs through two weeks. We’ll have to wait and see if the newly signed Dexter McCluster can fill the receiving void left by DW.
- LeGarrette Blount figured to be the bell-cow in New England until Brady (and eventually Dion Lewis) returned to action, and that’s just what he’s been. With 51 carries, 203 rushing yards and a pair of TDs in two weeks, Blount is a high-end RB2 in standard leagues for the time being.
- Latavius Murray has seen his workload decline thus far, but he’s been more efficient than last season and seems to have a nose for the end zone. He’s still a rock-solid RB2, but until Jack Del Rio seems intent on feeding him the ball more often, his upside is capped.
- Jerick McKinnon is in line for an expanded role with Adrian Peterson dealing with a meniscus tear, and I’m expecting him to at least double Matt Asiata’s production. Talks of Asiata being a more reliable option based on a 2014 sample are overblown — McKinnon was a converted QB in his rookie season. This kid is explosive (5.0 YPC in two seasons).
- Jamaal Charles seems to be close to returning, and he’ll likely jump back into a major role once he’s on the field. His slow recovery is concerning, but history tells us that Charles will be at least an RB2 even with an initially limited workload. Spencer Ware’s value is on the decline unless Charles suffers a setback.
- Tevin Coleman touched the ball 14 times (and scored) in the Falcons’ Week 2 win over the Raiders and has firmly entrenched himself in the RB3/flex discussion, even if Devonta Freeman plays a major role as well.
- Thomas Rawls has had an up-and-down stock these past few weeks, dealing with injury and committee concerns, but he should get the bulk of the carries in a nice matchup assuming he gets healthy. Christine Michael looks better, but he’s a risky RB3.
- Chris Ivory may return to the field this weekend after being hospitalized for undisclosed reasons, and he should get plenty of chances against the Ravens after T.J. Yeldon failed to impress in Weeks 1 and 2.
- Gio Bernard is the better Bengals RB to play this week, especially in PPR, but I’m not expecting much from him or Jeremy Hill against a ferocious Denver defense.
- Charles Sims figures to be Tampa Bay’s do-it-all running back in Week 3 with Doug Martin looking doubtful, but since that’s an unfamiliar role for him, he’s hard to trust as more than a sketchy flex.
- Cameron Artis-Payne is expected to be active with Jonathan Stewart out of action, giving him flex appeal, but Fozzy Whittaker will be involved as well.
May the fantasy force be with you in Week 3!