Sunday, October 1, 2017

Fantasy Football Start'em, Sit'em: Week 4 Fantasy Running Backs

Ultimately, the decision of which player to start is largely determined by the composition of your roster (as well as your league's settings).

As an example, Joe Mixon is listed below as a "start" for Week 4. And I'd feel comfortable going into Week 4 with him as one of my starting running backs.

That said, he may be a sit for your team.

In other words, if you owned Le'Veon Bell, Todd Gurley and Mixon and only start two running backs, you should start Bell and Gurley -- and in turn, bench Mixon.

So, while you won't find absolute start-sit recommendations below (use my Week 4 Fantasy Football Rankings for that instead), the goal here is to highlight some players that I like (and would feel comfortable starting) as well as some players that I dislike for this week (and would prefer to keep on my bench).

Embed from Getty Images

Week 4 Fantasy Football RB Start'em


RB - Chris Carson, Seattle Seahawks (vs. IND)

The Colts run defense has yet to allow a 50-yard rusher this season, but I expect that to change this week. Meanwhile, Carson has seemed to take firm hold of the lead-back role for the Seahawks. Through the first three weeks of the season, he has 37 carries for 166 yards (4.49 yards per carry) and four catches for 43 yards and a touchdown. Carson's 41 touches is more than the rest of the backfield has combined: C.J. Prosise (14), Thomas Rawls (five) and Eddie Lacy (five).

With Prosise out for Week 4, Carson should be more involved as a receiver in this game as well. That said, the Seahawks are favored by nearly two touchdowns and have one of the highest implied totals of the week (27.25). Positive game script should lead to a massive workload with some touchdown upside for the rookie.

RB - Joe Mixon, Cincinnati Bengals (at CLE)

In Mixon's first two NFL games, he had a total of 17 carries for 45 yards and four catches for 20 yards. In the first game following a coaching change, Mixon had as many touches against the Packers as he had in the first two games combined with 101 scrimmage yards.

Based on talent and how high the Bengals selected him, we knew that Mixon would eventually become the lead back and that time has come with Bill Lazor running the offense. Even though the Bengals are on the road, they are three-point favorites and I think they win by more than three. In other words, this game should have positive game script for Mixon to get a sizable workload and he has plenty of upside against the Browns in this spot.

RB - Christian McCaffrey, Carolina Panthers (at NE)

The Patriots defense has been bad, as has Cam Newton, so far this season. In last week's loss to the Saints, the one player that was productive on Carolina's offense was McCaffrey as he hit the 100-yard mark as a receiver. The Panthers are nearly double-digit underdogs and could find themselves in catch-up mode early. While Tarik Cohen (29) has more targets than McCaffrey (23), no running back has received a higher percentage of his team's targets than McCaffrey (25.84 percent). Especially with Greg Olsen (foot) out, that should continue for the foreseeable future.

RB - Mark Ingram, New Orleans Saints (vs. MIA)

Perhaps nobody should feel too confident about starting a Saints running back, but Ingram is ranked inside my top-24 fantasy running backs, making him a solid RB2 for the week. In a game that should feature a lot of offense, the Saints have the fourth-highest implied total this week and Ingram is clearly the leader in running back workload for the Saints.

Through the first three weeks, Ingram has 39 touches (45.88 percent of the team's backfield usage) and he's the most versatile of the group. On the year, Ingram has 28 carries for 125 yards and 11 catches for 108 yards.

Embed from Getty Images

Week 4 Fantasy Football RB Sit'em


RB - Marshawn Lynch, Oakland Raiders (at DEN)

Looking at rush attempts by running backs only, the Broncos have limited opposing backs to a league-low 2.45 yards per carry and no rushing touchdowns despite facing three top-end running backs: Melvin Gordon, Ezekiel Elliott and LeSean McCoy. Opposing running backs were a little more efficient in the receiving game (18/105/1, 5.83 Y/R), but Lynch is virtually a non-factor as a receiver for the Raiders.

In his first three games as a Raider, Lynch has seen a variety of workloads -- 18 to 12 to six carries with one reception in each game. There is always the chance that Beast Mode scores a touchdown, but he's likely to have an inefficient performance this week. Ranked just outside my top-24 running backs, Lynch is more of a flex option this week.

RB - Frank Gore, Indianapolis Colts (at SEA)

While the Broncos have allowed a league-low 2.45 YPC to opposing RBs, the Seahawks have allowed a league-high 5.84 YPC to running backs even if that's skewed a bit by a 75-yard run by DeMarco Murray. That said, negative game script will make it tough sledding for Gore as the Colts are nearly two-TD road underdogs and projected to be this week's lowest-scoring team based on Vegas implied totals. So, even though Gore has scored touchdowns in back-to-back weeks, it's unlikely that he extends that streak to three games this week.

RB - Tevin Coleman, Atlanta Falcons (vs. BUF)

A big-play threat out of the backfield, Coleman always has the potential to turn one carry or reception into a productive fantasy outing overall. That said, it's been the Devonta Freeman show over the past couple of weeks. Coleman has single-digit touches in back-to-back games while Freeman has more than 20-plus touches in back-to-back games.

The Bills have been playing really good defense and have allowed opposing running backs only 3.33 yards per carry and just 5.27 yards per reception (second-lowest in NFL). Going into the season, Coleman was ranked inside my top-20 running backs, but he's 30th in Week 4 rankings and more of a flex option this week.

- More Fantasy Football Start'em, Sit'em for Week 4

Week 4 Fantasy Football Rankings:
Week 4 DFS Resources:
More of our content and resources:
Keep track of our site's updates: (1) follow us on Twitter, (2) LIKE us on Facebook and/or (3) add us to your Google+ circle