Week 4 RB Rankings, Projections and Analysis
Week 4 Running Back Sleepers
Week 4 Start N' Sit
Week 5 Waiver Wire Tips



RBs title bar graphic
Steelers RB Le'Veon Bell
By Matt Brandonphoto of journalist Matt Brandon
Matt is a journalism major at SUNY Purchase College with a concentration in sportswriting. He graduates next January and is hoping to start a career as a sports journalist.
This is how we rank the RBs for Week 4 of the fantasy season. Our rankings aren't just based on name value or past performance - each week we take a comprehensive look at the match-ups and each RBs past performance and factor that into our projections. Just click on the links to read our rationale behind the ranking. The ratings are based on a standard non-PPR league where 10 rushing or receiving yards equal 1 point, rushing and receiving TDs equal 6 pts. and fumbles deduct 2 points.

Running Back Rankings
  1. Le'Veon Bell
  2. Matt Forte
  3. DeMarco Murray
  4. Rashad Jennings
  5. Eddie Lacy
  6. Donald Brown
  7. LeSean McCoy
  8. Alfred Morris
  9. Jamaal Charles
  10. Arian Foster
  11. Lamar Miller
  12. Ahmad Bradshaw
  13. Frank Gore
  14. Stevan Ridley
  15. Pierre Thomas
  16. Reggie Bush
  17. Doug Martin
  18. C.J. Spiller
  19. Matt Asiata
  20. Khiry Robinson
  21. Shane Vereen
  22. DeAngelo Williams
  23. Chris Ivory
  24. Fred Jackson
  25. Darren Sproles
  26. Darren McFadden
  27. Steven Jackson
  28. Joique Bell
  29. Trent Richardson
  30. Toby Gerhart
  31. Chris Johnson
  32. Lorenzo Taliaferro
  33. Knile Davis
  34. Bobby Rainey
  35. Shonn Greene
  36. Bernard Pierce
  37. Carlos Hyde
  38. Alfred Blue
  39. LeGarrett Blount
  40. Bishop Sankey
49ers RB Frank Gore
By Matt Brandonphoto of journalist Matt Brandon
Matt is a journalism major at SUNY Purchase College with a concentration in sportswriting. He graduates next January and is hoping to start a career as a sports journalist.
Paying attention to the match-ups each week can help you identify less heralded players with the upside to surprise and help you avoid some potential land mines. This is our list of players we expect to surpass expectations, along with a few stud RBs who may fail to deliver:

Start
Frank Gore
49ers RB Frank Gore
Frank Gore has not looked great this season. He had a dismal performance against a very stingy Arizona Cardinals defense last week rushing for just 10 yards. However, San Francisco did not pound the ball up the middle like they often do and went to the aerial attack, which proved to be costly in the loss. I expect Coach Harbaugh to go back to the ground and pound game. Frank Gore will shine against an Eagles defense that has allowed the 11th most points to running backs this season.

Rashad Jennings
Giants RB Rashad Jennings
The Giants tailback was on this list last week and if you listened, you were rewarded with 23.6 points. Jennings was a monster, rushing for a career-high 176 yards and a touchdown against the Houston Texans. This week the Giants take on the Washington Redskins, who have actually been much better than expected defensively. That still won’t stop the Giants from giving the ball to their workhorse in both the run and passing game. He won’t go off for another 20+ point outing but he should easily reach double digits.

Lamar Miller
Dolphins RB Lamar Miller
Knowshon Moreno’s backup was spectacular last week against a strong Kansas City defense. Miller gained 136 yards from scrimmage but was held without a touchdown. The Dolphins travel to Oakland to face a Raiders defense that has allowed the 7th-most fantasy points to running backs. Miller should have no problem scoring his first touchdown since Week One.


Sit
Chris Johnson
Jets RB Chris Johnson
CJ2K has looked like a shadow of his former self the past two weeks for the New York Jets. He has been splitting carries with Ivory and has failed to prove himself to Rex Ryan as a No. 1 back. The Jets will host the Lions, who have a very strong front four and held Matt Forte to just 33 rushing yards on Monday Night Football. Look for Ivory to continue to outperform Johnson.

Joique Bell
Lions RB Joique Bell
Bell was dreadful against a poor Packers defense, recording just 33 yards on 15 carries. It looks like he is in for the same thing this week against Rex Ryan’s strong front seven. I’m expecting this game to be a shootout between Matthew Stafford and Geno Smith. Bush should be on the field most of the time as the Lions line up in passing formation. Expect Bell to put up another dud performance.

Trent Richardson
Colts RB Trent Richardson
I think it is safe to say that the Colts have finally realized what they should have a long time ago - that Ahmad Bradshaw is better than Trent Richardson. Bradshaw has outgained his counterpart and has three touchdowns to Richardson’s zero. Tennessee has been a bit shaky against the run this season and I expect Bradshaw to be the lead back this Sunday. Richardson is still relevant in the fantasy world but his time could be coming to an end.


Donald Brown
Chargers RB Donald Brown
Donald Brown wasn’t anything special against the Bills on Sunday but he’s got a beautiful match-up against the struggling Jaguars defense. With Mathews and Woodhead sidelined, I expect Brown to crack the Top Ten list of highest-scoring running backs this week.

Pierre Thomas
Saints RB Pierre Thomas
Thomas recorded 30 yards rushing, 21 yards receiving, and a touchdown last week against the Minnesota Vikings. With Mark Ingram out for another few weeks, Thomas is poised to put up solid numbers versus the Dallas Cowboys. This game should be a shootout and fortunately for Thomas owners, the Saints are not afraid to use him in the passing game.

Matt Asiata
Vikings RB Matt Asiata
With Adrian Peterson suspended indefinitely, Asiata assumed the role of lead back, recording 71 yards from scrimmage against the Saints in a losing effort. This week, the Vikings host the Falcons, who have allowed the 3rd-most fantasy points to running backs so far this season. Matt Cassel is out for the season, so expect rookie Teddy Bridgewater to lean on Asiata all day. This could be his breakout performance.

Vikings RB Jerick McKinnon
By Matt Brandonphoto of journalist Matt Brandon
Matt is a journalism major at SUNY Purchase College with a concentration in sportswriting. He graduates next January and is hoping to start a career as a sports journalist.
Don't get too discouraged if your draft didn't work out as you planned. Fantasy success isn't the exclusive result of a solid draft - often it's the in-season waiver wire moves that determines who makes it to the post-season. We've got some hot tips for you that should help you improve your roster and catch up to those lucky sons-of-guns who always seem to draft the right players:

Running Backs to Add

Jerick McKinnon
The running back of the future for Minnesota has arrived. McKinnon came out of the gates on fire when Teddy Bridgewater led the struggling Vikings to victory against the Atlanta Falcons. McKinnon shared the rock with Matt Asiata but managed 135 yards on 18 carries and a 17-yard reception. He did prance into the end zone but after review, he was ruled down just shy of the goal line. Prior to the game, Coach Mike Zimmer read a text message aloud to his team from Adrian Peterson. Whatever it said, it worked for both Vikings tailbacks. McKinnon showed speed, elusiveness, and an ability to break tackles. On a 55-yard run, he made five defenders miss with spin moves and stiff arms. Unfortunately, Asiata is the goal-line back but McKinnon has made things interesting for Coach Zimmer. The kid should continue to see an increase in snaps as long as Peterson is suspended.

Bishop Sankey
We have waited long enough and apparently, so have the Tennessee Titans. Coach Whisenhunt has refused to give Sankey a considerable amount of touches due to his footwork. However, following the Titans poor showing in Indianapolis, Whisenhunt said Sankey’s “footwork is improving,” which could (and should) lead to more opportunities. Sankey rushed for 34 yards and a touchdown on just six carries combining for more production than Shonn Greene and Dexter McCluster combined. Sankey is clearly the most talented back of the group and is averaging close to 6 yards per carry. It may take some time but with two juicy matchups on the horizon against Cleveland and Jacksonville, he should be able to take the starting role away from Shonn Greene in the forseeable future.

Running Backs to Drop

Toby Gerhart
The former Minnesota Viking has been a disappointment to say the least. Many expected Gerhart to have a break out season for the Jaguars but it doesn’t seem likely. He did score his first touchdown of the year in the loss to San Diego but it came after fumbling on his first rushing attempt of the day. He finished with 32 yards rushing, one reception for 8 yards, a fumble, and a touchdown. That amounts to 8 fantasy points, which sadly is his best outing of the season. With a rookie quarterback leading an awful offense, the Jaguars will be playing catch up far too often for the running game to ever get going. It’s time to say goodbye to Toby.

DeAngelo Williams
Williams exited the Panthers loss to the Ravens on Sunday with a high ankle sprain after rushing for 34 yards on 11 carries. The injury should keep him sidelined for 4-6 weeks. Williams missed two of the first three games and will now miss many more. He is very injury prone and does not produce enough to keep him on your bench. There are many intriguing options on the waiver wire and you should be able to find a solid replacement. If you play in a very deep league, add Darrin Reaves, the Panthers 4th string running back who will most likely get the start against Chicago in Week 5.