There are a lot of fantasy owners including myself who are in panic mode about the lackluster play from some top running backs. Marshawn Lynch, C.J. Anderson, Alfred Morris, DeMarco Murray and Justin Forsett have been dreadful to start the season.
None of them have gotten remotely close a 100 yard game with a touchdown so far this season. Will they bounce back this week or is it time to keep these top tier running backs on your bench. It’s a Week 4 edition of choose or lose with running backs.
LATAVIUS MURRAY VS. CHICAGO BEARS
Latavius Murray continues to reward fantasy owners who drafted him. Murray had a spectacular performance against the Browns last week with 26 carries, 139 yards and a touchdown.
Last week the Bears defense did well enough to keep Marshawn Lynch in check but they are still 19th against opposing running backs.
The Bears have allowed more than 100 yards the last two weeks so expect Murray to get a lot of touches and be very effective with the ball in his hands.
MARK INGRAM VS. DALLAS COWBOYS
Mark Ingram is coming off of his best performance of the season, he had 99 total yards and touchdown against a stingy Carolina Panthers defense. Now Ingram and the Saints take on the Dallas Cowboys who just allowed Devonta Freeman to be the leading fantasy scorer for the week with 37 fantasy points.
Ingram should get the ball early and often and with the status of Drew Brees being up in the air he’s a bigger threat to run and catch out of the backfield. Ingram should have a great week against the Cowboys who are 27th in the NFL against opposing running backs.
MELVIN GORDON VS. CLEVELAND BROWNS
This rookie running back out of Wisconsin has been decent for the Chargers this year. His fantasy value has been hurt by Danny Woodhead who has been a touchdown vulture and viable PPR option.
Now Melvin Gordon should have a much heavier workload against a Browns team that is 26th in points allowed against opposing running backs. The Jets and Raiders both had 155 yards and a touchdown against the Browns. Melvin Gordon and the Chargers should do the same in what might be his coming out party.
JUSTIN FORSETT VS. PITTSBURGH STEELERS
Justin Forsett was really, really bad last week. There’s no two ways around it, he had 13 yards on 10 carries. Granted it was against the Bengals defense but it probably won’t get better against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The Thursday night game means a short week which doesn’t always allow players to be fully rested. On top of that the Steelers are the best in the league against opposing running backs. This is a terrible matchup for Justin Forsett and it might be a good idea to put him on your bench.
C.J. ANDERSON VS. MINNESOTA VIKINGS
C.J. Anderson was supposed to turn things around last week against a porous Detroit Lions defense, instead he had his worst game of the season. Anderson only had 8 carries for 18 yards and 1 catch for 9 yards. As the season goes on, fantasy owners will begin to be more and more concerned with the fact that Anderson has been below average based on his draft position.
The Broncos take on a Vikings defense that has rebounded well since allowing Carlos Hyde to run roughshod in Week 1. The Vikings are also 12th best against opposing running backs. If you want to start C.J. Anderson because you have to then go ahead but otherwise he should be put on the bench.
ON THE BUBBLE
JOSEPH RANDLE VS. NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
Joseph Randle is coming off of a career game against the Atlanta Falcons, three touchdowns would make any fantasy owner incredibly happy. The Cowboys will have to stay committed to the run with backup quarterback Branden Weeden running the offense.
Randle has a good opportunity to score some touchdowns but the Saints are surprisingly good against the run. The Saints are currently 12th in the NFL against opposing running backs and they have not allowed a touchdown to a running back the last two weeks.
Joseph Randle is a good option to start at running back but the Saints might actually keep him under wraps.
CHRIS IVORY VS. MIAMI DOLPHINS
Fantasy owners will be disappointed that Chris Ivory was active last week but didn’t play a single snap. This week head coach Todd Bowles said Ivory should be good to go this Sunday in London.
The Jets have gotten away from the running game the last two weeks but they should hopefully give Ivory the ball more this week.
The Dolphins are 20th against opposing running backs which means the opportunities will be there for Ivory. However, if guys like Ndamukong Suh step up and clog the running lanes, it could be a different story.