Thursday, September 27, 2018

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

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, Sony Michel 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 Alvin Kamara, Jordan Howard and Michel, you should start Kamara and Howard -- and in turn, bench Michel.

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 - Giovani Bernard, Cincinnati Bengals (at ATL)

If Joe Mixon (knee) misses another game, Bernard would get his second consecutive start. There was a report from Jason La Canfora earlier in the week that Mixon could return this week, but that seems unlikely at this point.

Productive last December with an expanded role, Bernard had 507 yards from scrimmage, 24 receptions and two touchdowns over a five-game stretch over the final month of the 2017 season. With Mixon sidelined in Week 3, Bernard had 12 carries for 61 yards and a touchdown plus five catches for 25 yards. Gio especially has some PPR upside as no team has allowed more receptions to running backs than the Falcons (36) so far this season.

RB - Carlos Hyde, Cleveland Browns (at OAK)

With 65 touches through three games, Hyde has been the team's clear workhorse back. After all, Duke Johnson (15) and second-round rookie Nick Chubb (seven) have combined for just 22 touches. Through three games, Hyde has 61 carries -- second to only Todd Gurley (62 through Week 3) -- for 203 yards and four touchdowns plus four catches for 15 yards. Assuming that the Browns keep this game close (as 2.5-point underdogs), Hyde should once again get a massive workload.

RB - Sony Michel, New England Patriots (vs. MIA)

In two road losses, Michel has a total of 24 carries for just 84 yards (3.5 YPC) and two catches for six yards. Already getting more work than Rex Burkhead, Michel becomes the clear early-down back with Burkhead (neck) placed on Injured Reserve.

With the Patriots returning home, they are favored by a touchdown over the unbeaten Dolphins. If the Patriots establish an early lead, positive game flow could lead to a higher run-play percentage and therefore larger workload for Michel.

Surprisingly enough, the Patriots are one of five teams without a rushing touchdown so far this season and there could be some positive regression in that category for a team that usually ranks at or near the league lead in rushing scores. Based on implied totals from Vegas odds, the Patriots are projected to score the sixth-most points on this week's slate.

RB - Marshawn Lynch, Oakland Raiders (vs. CLE)

Averaging a career-low 3.5 YPC this season, Beast Mode has 55 touches, 203 YFS and three touchdowns as he has scored the 12th-most fantasy points through three games. With seven carries inside the 10-yard line, only Todd Gurley and Alvin Kamara (12 each) have more than Lynch. While the Raiders are winless through three games, they are home favorites, which could lead to favorable game script for Lynch and a few more goal-line opportunities.


Week 4 Fantasy Football RB Sit'em


RB - Peyton Barber, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (at CHI)

After getting 19 carries for 69 yards in Week 1, Barber has just 29 and 33 yards from scrimmage in Weeks 2 and 3, respectively. Averaging just 2.89 yards per carry this season, Barber has just one catch on four targets this season despite Ryan Fitzpatrick becoming the first quarterback in NFL history to throw for 400-plus yards in three consecutive games. Given his lack of efficiency as a runner and lack of involvement as a receiver, Barber should be on your bench in Week 4.

RB - Derrick Henry, Tennessee Titans (vs. PHI)

The workload has been there, but the production has not. Henry has exactly 18 carries in consecutive games, but he has yet to reach 60 rushing yards in a game this season. In addition, he only has one reception for five yards on two targets through three weeks. In a tough matchup against the Eagles, the Titans are projected to score the fifth-fewest real points this week based on implied totals from Vegas odds. That makes Henry more of a flex option than a must-start RB2 this week.

RB - Jamaal Williams, Green Bay Packers (vs. BUF)

While the Bills just pulled off a shocking upset over the Vikings, they once again find themselves as double-digit underdogs against an NFC North playoff contender. Even though positive game script could benefit Green Bay's backfield, it's hard to trust any of the team's running backs in Week 4, especially now that Aaron Jones has returned from his two-game suspension.

After getting 15-plus carries in back-to-back games with Jones suspended, Williams had just five carries for 29 yards and two receptions for 16 yards last week. In fact, Ty Montgomery led the backfield with 10 touches in Week 3. With Jones being a more effective runner, it wouldn't be a surprise if Williams finishes third in the backfield in touches in Week 4.

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

Week 4 Fantasy Football Rankings:
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