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2020 Fantasy Football Rankings: Running backs for Week 4

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Tiered RB rankings for Week 4.

Miami Dolphins v Jacksonville Jaguars Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

Welcome to Week 4 and my tiered running back rankings for the week.

New Chargers’ quarterback Justin Herbert brought Austin Ekeler’s passing game usage back to life, vaulting the veteran back into high-ceiling RB1 territory. Carolina’s Mike Davis finds himself as the overall RB12 in the perfect match-up for his dual threat role as the Panthers’ bellcow. James Robinson leapfrogs Nick Chubb and Kenyan Drake to take over this week’s premier RB2 spot. Jeff Wilson Jr. is primed to build on his excellent Week 3 showing. Kareem Hunt’s ceiling could be unlocked as Cleveland’s opponent, Dallas, is sure to push the pace.

Week 4’s Tiered Running Back Rankings - .5PPR

Rank High Floor/High Ceiling RB1s Team Opponent Breakdown
Rank High Floor/High Ceiling RB1s Team Opponent Breakdown
1 Alvin Kamara NO at DET Kamara and Zeke should rotate as fantasy's projected RB1 on a weekly basis until CMC returns. Great matchup.
2 Ezekiel Elliott DAL CLE Cleveland's front-seven has played moderately well but LT Tyron Smith should be back this week.
3 Aaron Jones GB ATL Atlanta remains the Horn of Plenty for running back fantasy production. If WR Davante Adams is out (hamstring), Jones should see an uptick in passing game usage and the Falcons are exceptionally deficient at stopping running backs through the air.
4 Dalvin Cook MIN at HOU HC Mike Zimmer is intent on running his way to a losing season, inflating Cook's box score success as a result. Houston's defensive front is dreadful.
5 Miles Sanders PHI at SF Miles Sanders is the unquestioned bellcow in Philly's backfield. Per PFF's Ian Hartitz, Sanders racked up a 77% snap share in Week 3 (sourced below).
6 Jonathan Taylor IND at CHI Chicago's formerly scary D-Line won't slow Taylor.
7 James Conner PIT at TEN Tennessee has allowed the 4th-most rushing yards to opposing backfields thus far (sourced below) and there's no running back committee in Pittsburgh.
8 Derrick Henry TEN PIT Touchdowns could be hard to come by against Pittsburgh's lockdown defense but he's a lock for high-volume usage.
9 Clyde Edwards-Helaire KC NE CEH's passing game usage will be needed against the Pats' front-seven.
10 Austin Ekeler LAC at TB Justin Herbert has singlehandedly returned this backfield to its 2019 state. Ekeler saw 11 targets this week, after seeing 1 with Tyrod Taylor at the helm in Week 1 and 4 in Week 2 with an unprepared Herbert in his unexpected debut (sourced below).
11 Darrell Henderson LAR NYG Henderson is now the lead back on the NFL's run-heaviest early-down team, per Ben Baldwin (sourced below).
12 Mike Davis CAR ARI As predicted in last week's Rundown, Davis is the king of the Panthers' backfield -- especially the passing game work (9 targets in Week 2). That kind of usage is invaluable against Arizona.
Rank High Floor/High Ceiling RB2s Team Opponent Breakdown
13 James Robinson JAX at CIN Glorious matchup for Jacksonville's bellcow. Robinson's usageand talent are undeniable at this point. His uptick in passing game usage drastically raises his ceiling (usage sourced below).
14 Nick Chubb CLE at DAL Dallas' defense is entirely unimposing. The threat here is that Chubb's usage reverts to Week 1's usage (courtesy of PFF's Ian Hartitz, sourced below) because of the game script. He'll be involved early but if Dallas jumps out to an early lead, Hunt will become the team's primary back.
15 Kenyan Drake ARI at CAR Arizona's air show continues to dominate the team's offensive touches. This is a good enough usage for Drake to get the job done but he has to be dropped to high-end RB2 status given his string of performances thus far.
16 Jerick McKinnon SF PHI McKinnon did not, in fact, break any ribs last week -- just severely bruised them. Expect him to be the lead back this week but with a smaller, health-preserving workload.
17 Chris Carson SEA at MIA This should be Seattle's most run-heavy game thus far. Expect the 'Hawks to jump out to an early lead and then pound the rock through the second half. Carson's knee sprain did not prevent him from practicing this week.
18 Melvin Gordon DEN at NYJ Gordon's fantasy outlook rests on Phillip Lindsay's status. If Lindsay sits (turf toe), Gordon is all-systems-go.
19 Joe Mixon CIN JAX Even in a cake matchup, it's time we dropped expectations for Mixon and his disappointing usage.
20 Kareem Hunt CLE at DAL In theory, Hunt has a higher ceiling than Chubb does in this one as the Cowboys are likely to score at will and HC Kevin Stefanski likes to turnover the reins of the backfield to Hunt when the team is trailing. His groin injury is a concern though.
21 Josh Jacobs LV BUF Josh Jacobs has still never scored a touchdown in a Raiders' loss (sourced below). His lack of real passing game usage prevents him from being heavily involved when Las Vegas isn't winning. His rush total should hit 15 at least but against the dominant Buffalo Bills, he's no more than a mid-range RB2.
22 David Johnson HOU MIN Minnesota's defense is a joke, top to bottom.
23 Myles Gaskin MIA SEA Gaskin is Miami's primary back and needs to be owned in all formats. His resolute strangehold on the passing game targets will be crucial in this game as Miami tries to catch-up to Seattle through 3 quarters, or more.
24 Ronald Jones TB LAC A date with the Chargers' banged up defensive-front bodes well for Jones' outlook. Leonard Fournette (ankle) is Out this week too.
Rank High Floor/High Ceiling RB3s Team Opponent Breakdown
25 David Montgomery CHI IND Tough matchup but the installation of Nick Foles at quarterback, and the loss of Tarik Cohen (ACL) drastically improves Montgomery's prospects.
26 Devin Singletary BUF at LV Las Vegas' defense posses far less of a challenge to Singletary's Week 4 box score outlook than Bills' QB Josh Allen's red zone rushing does.
27 Antonio Gibson WAS BAL A tragically tough match-up for the league's up and coming running back.
Rank High Floor/Capped Ceiling RB3s Team Opponent Breakdown
28 James White NE at KC Kansas City's run-friendly front-seven will provide a warm welcome for James White's return.
29 Sony Michel NE at KC Michel will make the most of his 12 or so touches in a great matchup.
30 Todd Gurley ATL at GB Gurley is not seeing bellcow usage nor, more importantly against Green Bay who has locked down opponent's rushing ability, much passing game usage. He's just a flex option. Usage listed below, per PFF's Ian Hartitz.
31 Jeff Wilson Jr. SF PHI Philly's defensive front has been generous to opposing RBs. As predicted here last week, Wilson was a touchdown scorer last week and stands to see more work this week and Jerick McKinnon battles a rib injury.
32 Mark Ingram BAL at WAS Washington's D-Line will be a problem for Baltimore's lead committee back.
33 Josh Kelley LAC at TB An early fumble likely contributed to Kelley's light workload but there does appear to be a reversion to early 2019 with Ekeler soundly leading the backfield.
34 Carlos Hyde SEA at MIA Hyde is battling a shoulder injury but could see time in the 2nd-half if the Seahawks get out to a comfortable enough lead that they opt to rest Carson and his sprained knee.
35 Brian Hill ATL at GB It possible that it's only a matter of time before Hill takes the starting job. He's getting his fair share of touches now.
36 J.K. Dobbins BAL at WAS Touchdown-dependent player at this point.
Rank Shaky Floor/Capped Ceiling RB4s Team Opponent Breakdown
37 Adrian Peterson DET NO Brutal match-up for a washed up lead back.
38 Jordan Wilkins IND at CHI It's possible Nick Foles messes things up for Wilkins but Indy has a good shot at maintaining control of this game, which would give Wilkins access to 10 touches.
39 Frank Gore NYJ DEN Gore should see 15+ touches.
30 Jalen Richard LV BUF Richard should see 5-7 touches in a tough spot.
41 Chris Thompson JAX at CIN Thompson's passing game role may be in jeopardy.
42 Devonta Freeman NYG at LAR Not an imposing match-up but Freeman is still limping along, learning the play book after being signed last week.
43 Malcoln Brown LAR NYG Until Brown's finger is fully healed, Henderson is the Rams' bellcow.
44 Chase Edmonds ARI at CAR There hasn't been enough work to go around for ARI's No. 2 back to have standalone value.
45 La'Mical Perine NYJ DEN Perine would likely move ahead of Gore if Adam Gase were to be fired.
46 Latavius Murray NO at DET Murray could see action against Detroit's weak defensive front.
47 D'Andre Swift DET NO Clearly the team's most dynamic back.
48 J.D McKissic WAS BAL A bad match-up for a bad running back.

Miles Sanders’ usage per PFF’s Ian Hartitz, the Tennessee Titansrushing production-allowed as it pertains to James Conner, Mike Davis predictions via Week 3’s Rundown, Mike Davis9 Week 3 targets, Austin Ekeler’s Week 3 usage, the Los Angeles Rams’ early-down rushing volume per Ben Baldwin as it pertains to Darrell Henderson, Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt’s Week 1 usage per PFF’s Ian Hartitz, James Robinson’s 2020 usage, Josh Jacobsinability to score when the Las Vegas Raiders lose, the New England Patriots’ backfield usage per PFF’s Ian Hartitz, and the Atlanta Falcons’ backfield usage per PFF’s Ian Hartitz.