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Week 4 Running Back Rankings - Standard Leagues: The Return of Le’Veon

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We’re three weeks into the NFL season. Both injuries and backfield dilemmas continue to emerge. My Week 4 running back rankings will make life easier.

Pittsburgh Steelers v Kansas City Chiefs Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

The committee-based backfields in today’s NFL are anything but stress-free for us fantasy owners, but we must continue to make the best lineup decisions possible... or face the consequences. While Bears RB Jeremy Langford and Giants RB Shane Vereen join an already-lengthy list of injuries to the position after this past weekend, one (maybe two) of the NFL’s premier all-purpose threats out of the backfield will make his debut on Sunday Night Football.

Take a look at my Top 50 RBs for Week 4 compared to FantasyPros’ ECR ranks:

Fantasy Football rankings - Week 4

View Available Players
# Player (team) Matchup ECR™ vs. ECR
1 Le'Veon Bell (PIT) vs. KC 2 +1
2 David Johnson (ARI) vs. LA 1 -1
3 Ezekiel Elliott (DAL) at SF 4 +1
4 Lamar Miller (HOU) vs. TEN 6 +2
5 Melvin Gordon (SD) vs. NO 3 -2
6 LeGarrette Blount (NE) vs. BUF 9 +3
7 C.J. Anderson (DEN) at TB 5 -2
8 DeMarco Murray (TEN) at HOU 8 0
9 LeSean McCoy (BUF) at NE 10 +1
10 Todd Gurley (LA) at ARI 11 +1
11 Mark Ingram (NO) at SD 7 -4
12 Carlos Hyde (SF) vs. DAL 12 0
13 Christine Michael (SEA) at NYJ 15 +2
14 Jeremy Hill (CIN) vs. MIA 14 0
15 Matt Forte (NYJ) vs. SEA 13 -2
16 Devonta Freeman (ATL) vs. CAR 18 +2
17 Latavius Murray (OAK) at BAL 20 +3
18 Frank Gore (IND) at JAC 16 -2
19 Jerick McKinnon (MIN) vs. NYG 26 +7
20 Charles Sims (TB) vs. DEN 17 -3
21 Spencer Ware (KC) at PIT 21 0
22 Isaiah Crowell (CLE) at WAS 19 -3
23 Tevin Coleman (ATL) vs. CAR 24 +1
24 Matt Jones (WAS) vs. CLE 25 +1
25 Jordan Howard (CHI) vs. DET 22 -3
26 Dwayne Washington (DET) at CHI 29 +3
27 Theo Riddick (DET) at CHI 23 -4
28 Giovani Bernard (CIN) vs. MIA 27 -1
29 Cameron Artis-Payne (CAR) at ATL 28 -1
30 Chris Ivory (JAC) vs. IND 30 0
31 Orleans Darkwa (NYG) at MIN 35 +4
32 Rashad Jennings (NYG) at MIN 42 +10
33 Duke Johnson (CLE) at WAS 32 -1
34 Kenyan Drake (MIA) at CIN 34 0
35 T.J. Yeldon (JAC) vs. IND 33 -2
36 Matt Asiata (MIN) vs. NYG 36 0
37 Terrance West (BAL) vs. OAK 40 +3
38 Derrick Henry (TEN) at HOU 37 -1
39 Justin Forsett (BAL) vs. OAK 31 -8
40 Fozzy Whittaker (CAR) at ATL 38 -2
41 Jay Ajayi (MIA) at CIN 41 0
42 DeAngelo Williams (PIT) vs. KC 39 -3
43 Alfred Morris (DAL) at SF 45 +2
44 Jamaal Charles (KC) at PIT 44 0
45 Charcandrick West (KC) at PIT 49 +4
46 Chris Thompson (WAS) vs. CLE 46 0
47 DeAndre Washington (OAK) at BAL 47 0
48 Jalen Richard (OAK) at BAL 56 +8
49 Bilal Powell (NYJ) vs. SEA 48 -1
50 James White (NE) vs. BUF 43 -7

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Notes & Analysis:

  • Le’Veon Bell returns from suspension and HC Mike Tomlin has already confirmed that the Steelers will heavily utilize their talented all-purpose back immediately. Fire him up as a top-notch RB1.
  • Ezekiel Elliott is headed for an enormous workload in 2016 for as long as he remains upright. With a dominant offensive line going up against a 49ers defense that was just demoralized by C-Mike and the Seahawks, Zeke looks like a high-end RB1.
  • LeGarrette Blount is going to be the Patriots’ bell-cow for at least one more week. He offers a robust amount of carries plus the always-appreciated goal line opportunities.
  • DeMarco Murray looks like his 2014 version through three weeks, albeit with a lighter workload. Still, he’ll face a J.J. Watt-less Houston front that was just blasted by Blount.
  • Todd Gurley is going to face stacked boxes all year long, making it tough to live up to his preseason draft stock. Still, he’s talented enough to produce low-end RB1 numbers even in tough matchups.
  • Christine Michael looks like a completely different running back in 2016, as his Week 3 performance showed. He’s a borderline RB1 even against a stout NYJ defensive front.
  • Jeremy Hill is coming off his best fantasy display of the young season, and this TNF home game sets up nicely for the nimble-footed power back.
  • Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman showed that they can produce produce impressive numbers even in a committee. Freeman looked much more explosive than Coleman in Week 3, however, Coleman seems like a TD vulture — a very valuable trait in standard leagues.
  • Jerick McKinnon didn’t blow anyone away in Week 3 against a tough Panthers defense, but he did out-touch the plodding Matt Asiata 17-7. Look for that trend to continue, making the freakishly explosive McKinnon an RB2 with upside on MNF.
  • Jordan Howard, if not on your bench already, is destined to be a popular waiver add this week. He’ll be given a shot to take over the Chicago backfield after Jeremy Langford sprained his ankle (and never really impressed Weeks 1-3).
  • Theo Riddick displayed why he can’t be trusted as an every-down back in Week 3, while size/speed standout Dwayne Washington sparked the run game and will likely get early-down carries plus goal line work. I believe Washington shows why he’s the better option in standard leagues as early as this week versus a depleted Bears defense. Pick him up in your fantasy leagues if he’s still on the waiver wire.

Good luck this week! Hit me up on Twitter with any Fantasy Football questions.