Fantasy RB Rankings Week 3: Who to start, sit at running back in fantasy football

Fantasy RB Rankings Week 3: Who to start, sit at running back in fantasy football
Rank Player 1 Christian McCaffrey CAR @ HOU 2 Derrick Henry, TEN vs. IND 3 Dalvin Cook, MIN vs. SEA 4 Nick Chubb, CLE vs. CHI 5 Alvin Kamara, NO @ NE 6 Aaron Jones, GB @ SF 7 Miles Sanders, PHI @ DAL 8 David Montgomery, CHI @ CLE 9 Jonathan Taylor, IND @ TEN. He’s getting ample chances to score…he just has to do it. We’re worried about the Titans defense keying on him this week given the Colts’ QB issues, but Taylor should get a lot of touches both as a runner and receiver.  10 Austin Ekeler, LAC @ KC 11 Joe Mixon, CIN @ PIT 12 Najee Harris, PIT vs. CIN 13 Chris Carson, SEA @ MIN 14 Saquon Barkley, NYG vs. ATL 15 Ezekiel Elliott, DAL vs. PHI. It would be nice if he wasn’t getting noticeably outplayed by Tony Pollard, wouldn’t it? Yes, Zeke has been the second-best back in Dallas so far, but he still seems like the better bet for any short TDs (even though Pollard got a four-yard score last week). We’re giving Elliott one more shot as a borderline RB1/high-end RB2 this week, but if Pollard once again outshines him, Zeke will move down. Philadelphia has been solid against RBs so far this year, but the Cowboys have the kind of offense that can move the ball against anyone. Pollard remains a flex on the chance he continues outshining Zeke. 16 Antonio Gibson, WAS @ BUF 17 D’Andre Swift, DET vs. BAL 18 Damien Harris, NE vs. NO 19 Elijah Mitchell, SF vs. GB. Mitchell is dealing with a shoulder injury, but every back in San Francisco is hurt right now. He was still the workhorse last week, totaling 17 carries and two catches. The production wasn’t great (53 yards), but he was inches away from a TD and will eventually do more with that kind workload. 20 Javonte Williams, DEN vs. NYJ. Williams has three more carries than Melvin Gordon on the season, and even though he hasn’t broken out yet, it feels like he’s close. The Jets could stop Christian McCaffrey, Damien Harris, or James White the past three weeks, so Williams has a great shot at his first NFL touchdown. He loses some value in PPR leagues, as Gordon is more involved in the passing game, but we like Williams in standard formats. 21 James Robinson, JAX vs. ARI. Amazingly, Robinson has yet to receive a carry inside the 20-yard line. He’s been a major disappointment this year, but so has everyone on the Jaguars. The Cardinals did a good job against Derrick Henry in Week 1 (58 yards) but allowed Dalvin Cook to go for 131 yards against them in Week 2. Robinson can’t be counted on for 100 yards, but if he gets another 14 touches like last week, he should be able to pay off as an RB2 or flex thanks to his receiving ability.  22 Josh Jacobs, LV vs. MIA 23 Ty’Son Williams, BAL @ DET. Williams saw four more carries than Latavius Murray in Week 2, but Murray once again found the end zone. Williams looks like the better, more explosive back, so perhaps we’re being stubborn thinking the Ravens agree with us, but either way, Williams has upside in Baltimore’s run-heavy offense. Detroit was awful against San Francisco’s running attack in Week 1, so we’re not expecting the Lions to be able to slow down the Ravens either. Both Williams and Murray are in play as RB2/flex backs. 24 Devin Singletary, BUF vs. WAS. Zack Moss was active and scored twice last week, but Singletary was the lead back before the game got out of hand and looked far superior, averaging 6.3 yards per carry and getting work in the receiving game. Washington hasn’t yielded much to backs this year outside of a short Austin Ekeler TD in Week 1, but Singletary is at least operating as a clear lead back for his team, something most of the backs below him can’t claim.  25 Clyde Edwards-Helaire, KC vs. LAC. CEH will keep falling as long as he keeps failing to produce. The lack of rushing yards/TDs is one thing, but the zero targets last week (and just three the week before) is far more concerning. If Edwards-Helaire doesn’t even do that, then you’re relying on a big play or random touchdown, which is basically what you’re doing with any of the guys ranked between No. 25 and 45. CEH obviously has an advantage playing for the Chiefs — and this week he’s playing a Chargers defense that had trouble with Antonio Gibson in Week 1 and was lit up by Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard in Week 2 — but he’s close to tumbling further down the rankings. 26 Melvin Gordon, DEN vs. NYJ. See Javonte Williams 27 Myles Gaskin, MIA @ LV. The sputtering Dolphins offense is a big reason why Gaskin isn’t higher. He’s clearly the No. 1 back in Miami, but the lack of sustained drives and scoring opportunities makes him tough to trust as anything more than a flex. Vegas has allowed three RB touchdowns so far this year, including a receiving TD to Najee Harris last week, so the matchup outlook for Gaskin is decent, but Miami’s QB situation certainly isn’t helping his cause.  28 Leonard Fournette, TB @ LAR. Fournette is continuing to operate ahead of Ronald Jones Jr., as he saw five more carries and caught three more passes than RoJo last week. That seems unlikely to change any time soon, so Fournette will continue to be the preferred flex play, especially in PPR leagues. The Rams got tough against the Colts running game last week, but David Montgomery did work against them in Week 1. Fournette figures to land somewhere in the middle, and whether her pays off this ranking will likely be determine by whether he can find the end zone or pile up short receptions. Jones is always a candidate for a big play or short TD, but he’s not someone you can trust in most leagues right now. 29 Kareem Hunt, CLE vs. CHI 30 Latavius Murray, BAL @ DET. See Ty’Son Williams. 31 Tony Pollard, DAL vs. PHI. See Ezekiel Elliott. 32 Chase Edmonds, ARI @ JAX. Edmonds continues to out-touch James Conner (29 to 24), but it seems clear that if the Cardinals get opportunities inside the five, it will either be Kyler Murray or Conner handling the running duties. Still, Edmonds has demonstrated value, posting 106 and 75 total yards, respectively, in his first two games. That has come with nine catches, giving him even more value in PPR leagues. Against the Jags, who allowed three different RBs to score in Week 1 before playing decently against the Broncos in Week 2, Edmonds should do enough to be worth a flex spot. Conner has similar upside in standard leagues, though he’s TD-or-bust in PPR. 33 James White, NE vs. NO. With Rhamondre Stevenson fumbling his way to the inactive list, White is now the clear No. 2 back (and primary receiving back) in New England. He responded with 11 touches, 65 total yards, and a TD against the Jets last week, and his versatility should give the Saints trouble in Week 2. White is obviously a better PPR play than standard, but he’s a big enough part of a ball-control offense to merit a flex nod in both formats. 34 Mike Davis, ATL @ NYG. Davis had two more carries, one more target, and two more receptions than Cordarrelle Patterson last week, but Patterson had six more total yards and two more TDs. That could’ve been a fluke, but the new “slash” simply looks more explosive than the veteran RB. Davis still carries value in all formats, especially PPR, but it’s clearly waning as Patterson gets more involved in Atlanta’s offense. Both have flex upside this week against a Giants defense that couldn’t cover J.D. McKissic out of the backfield last Thursday, but Davis is on thin ice. 35 Mark Ingram, HOU vs. CAR. Ingram still saw the most carries for the Texans last week (14 compared to six for David Johnson and five for Phillip Lindsay), but he wasn’t nearly as productive as Week 1. Some of that had to do with Tyrod Taylor (hamstring) exiting the game at halftime, which clearly slowed the Texans offense. With rookie Davis Mills starting this Thursday against the red-hot Panthers, Ingram has limited upside. The volume will be there, which is worth something, but another game like Week 2 seems more likely than what he did in Week 1. 36 James Conner, ARI @ JAX. See Chase Edmonds. 37 Cordarrelle Patterson, ATL @ NYG. See Mike Davis. 38 Jamaal Williams, DET vs. BAL 39 Darrell Henderson, LAR vs. TB. Henderson is dealing with a rib injury that could keep him out for Week 3. Either way, he’s a poor play against the Bucs top-tier run defense. If Henderson is out, Sony Michel will see the bulk of the carries, but he’s an even worse option. Avoid the Rams backfield if possible, but if you’re in need of a decent-floor, low-ceiling option who should get volume, you can try your luck. 40 Nyheim Hines, IND @ TEN. Hines had just one catch and one carry last week, which put a major dent into his rest-of-season outlook. It’s tough to count on him even in PPR leagues now, but we’ve seen these types of games from Hines before only to see him excel the next week. The Colts’ QB situation isn’t helping his outlook either, but he still has flex potential in PPR leagues against Tennessee’s suspect defense.  41 Kenneth Gainwell, PHI @ DAL 42 Ronald Jones II, TB @ LAR. See Leonard Fournette. 43 Michael Carter, NYJ @ DEN. A week after Tevin Coleman led the Jets in carries, Carter (11) and Ty Johnson (12) more than doubled Coleman (5) in rushes. None did much overall, but Carter impressed with 54 rushing yards and two receptions for 29 yards. It’s possible he’s inching toward taking over the Jets backfield, but for now, none of New York’s three-headed “monster” can be trusted, especially against a Broncos’ defense that shut down Saquon Barkley in Week 1 and James Robinson in Week 2. 44 Kenyan Drake, LV vs. MIA 45 Sony Michel, LAR vs. TB. See Darrell Henderson. 46 JD McKissic, WAS @ BUF. McKissic is coming off a big Week 2, but almost all of his production came at the end of the second quarter and fourth quarter. If he doesn’t get those cheap, hurry-up points, will he be useless like in Week 1? Until we see him in a regular role again, leave him on your bench in standard leagues and consider him a borderline flex in PPR leagues. 47 Tevin Coleman, NYJ @ DEN. See Michael Carter. 48 AJ Dillon, GB @ SF 49 Ty Johnson, NYJ @ DEN. See Michael Carter. 50 Phillip Lindsay, HOU vs. CAR. Lindsay has scored in each of the first two weeks, but he hasn’t done much otherwise. Against the Panthers with a rookie QB, Lindsay and David Johnson aren’t considerations. 51 David Johnson, HOU vs. CAR. See Phillip Lindsay. 52 Tony Jones Jr., NO @ NE 53 Zack Moss, BUF vs. WAS. Moss played last week and scored twice late in the game, but until he gets early-game carries, he’s not a fantasy consideration. 54 Alexander Mattison, MIN vs. SEA 55 Darrel Williams, KC vs. LAC 56 Trey Sermon, SF vs. GB 57 Damien Williams, CHI @ CLE 58 Carlos Hyde, JAX vs. ARI 59 Giovani Bernard, TB @ LAR 60 Larry Rountree III, LAC @ KC 61 Alex Collins, SEA @ MIN 62 Devonta Freeman, BAL @ DET 63 Justin Jackson, LAC @ KC 64 J.J. Taylor, NE vs. NO 65 Salvon Ahmed, MIA @ LV 66 Samaje Perine, CIN @ PIT 67 Devontae Booker, NYG vs. ATL 68 Malcolm Brown, MIA @ LV 69 Jeremy McNichols, TEN vs. IND 70 Marlon Mack, IND @ TEN 71 Benny Snell Jr., PIT vs. CIN 72 Chuba Hubbard, CAR @ HOU

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Anthony Barnett
Anthony is the author of the Science & Technology section of ANH.