There’s a Twilight Zone vibe to the NFL so far this season, and it shows up in the Week 4 running back rankings. We’re still waiting to see a multi-TD performance from Matt Forte, while Jamaal Charles just turned in such a game, but failed to produce 100 total yards. Meanwhile, Joseph Randle seized the opportunity in Dallas and looks to be the RB1 there, despite Lance Dunbar turning into the Cowboys’ new receiver weapon.
Of course injuries plague a handful of guys right and that too has affected the running back rankings reaction: LeSean McCoy, Chris Ivory, Tevin Coleman and Marshawn Lynch are battling nagging injuries. Well, that presents opportunities to a bunch of RBs, though you probably already saw Devonta Freeman start over Coleman for the Atlanta Falcons and do serious damage.
Or perhaps you watched Karlos Williams impress in a game in which McCoy saw limited action. Then again you could’ve watched Thomas Rawls in Week 3, who secured the RB2 role for the Seahawks while placating concerns that Lynch could miss time. If Rawls keeps pace with the offense, that concern fades away and presents fantasy owners another RB streaming option.
Without question, injuries will continue to affect playing time, as will standout performances. If you’re struggling with who to start this weekend, take a look at So Called Fantasy Experts’ Start/Sit. Don’t forget to check the Week 4 Injury Report either. Now, here are my Week 4 running back rankings reaction.
Week 4 Running Back Rankings Reaction
Who I Like
Latavius Murray, Oakland Raiders
Murray has seen more carries each week (11, 15, 26) and still, in each game, he’s increased his YPC (4, 4.3, 5.3). The Raiders have used him less in the passing game. Even though Murray plays on the road in Week 4, he gets the Chicago Bears, a defense that has allowed opposing RBs to achieve 4.8 YPC. SCFE ranked him sixth in the Week 4 running back rankings, almost unanimously.
Danny Woodhead, San Diego Chargers
Since he’s primarily used as a passing-down back, Woodhead carries FLEX value this week. The Chargers play the Cleveland Browns in San Diego and the Browns have allowed the most rushing yards (464) to RBs in 2015. If the Chargers get the ball moving, Woodhead has the chance to run and catch for a big week. This week, Woodhead fell just inside the Top 25 RBs at 24th and is best suited for PPR FLEX/RB3 roles.
Karlos Williams, Buffalo Bills
I’ll admit, he was in my Week 3 and 4 Waiver Wire Targets, and he is still under 25 percent owned in ESPN leagues. LeSean McCoy’s hamstring is still hurting him. He said so. The Bills focus on the run game, so Williams could perform as a low-end RB1 in Week 4 and perhaps Week 5. His Week 3 wasn’t too shabby: 12 rushes for 110 yards and 1 TD. That earned him the 18th spot in the Week 4 running back rankings.
Could the Bills sit LeSean McCoy to rest his hamstring? Here’s what he and Rex Ryan said about it: http://t.co/6pKweDamoX
— Mike Rodak (@mikerodak) September 28, 2015
Who I Don’t Like
Marshawn Lynch, Seattle Seahawks
Look for more news as the Seahawks’ Thursday practice approaches to hear the reevaluation on Lynch’s hamstring. That injury concern compounds another problem: Lynch’s use in the red zone. He’s only carried the ball twice for -2 yards in the red zone. SCFE ranked Lynch seventh in Week 4, but one SCFE dropped him to 10th. If Beast Mode doesn’t take the field this week, expect Thomas Rawls to get the start in an attempt to repeat his Week 3 performance (16 carries, 104 yards).
Carroll said RB Marshawn Lynch had an MRI on his hamstring, will be reevaluated later in the week.
— Seattle Seahawks (@Seahawks) September 28, 2015
Jeremy Hill, Cincinnati Bengals
Right now it’s hard to get the production from Hill you likely expected if you drafted him. In the last two games, Hill has struggled: 22 carries, 60 yards, 0 TDs; 1 reception, 2 yards, o TDs. It seems teammate Giovani Bernard will split time with Hill, which makes both of them frustrating fantasy options. Still, Hill earned the 14th spot in the Week 4 running back rankings.
Tre Mason, St. Louis Rams
Ranked 47th, Mason’s value is plummeting as the Rams introduce Gurley to the offense. The Rams’ offense has 471 total yards in the last two games, including just 138 rushing yards. Even though Gurley is a better option, the Rams look sluggish on the ground and go to Arizona in Week 4 to play the Cardinals, who’ve allowed just 194 rushing yards to RBs this year.
Ronnie Hillman, Denver Broncos
Last week, Hillman’s counterpart, C.J. Anderson, made this list. But now they both have given the weak Broncos’ offensive line. Until I see signs of life from either of these RBs, I’m not interested. Hillman’s 7 carries for 13 yards and 1 TD last week does not merit excitement. Anderson maintains a Top 20 RB ranking at 19th, while Hillman is much further down the list at 42nd.
As the running back rankings change, so will many of the NFL teams’ depth charts. Always make sure to check back each week for the latest reactions for every position. Feel free to ask us questions in the comments below. We’re here to help!
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