It’s taking longer than expected for the dominant running backs to have success in fantasy football this year.

Of the consensus top-four running backs in the preseason, only LeSean McCoy (14th) ranks in the top-15 in scoring among running backs. No. 1 overall pick David Johnson won’t return until likely December, while Le’Veon Bell and Ezekiel Elliott have been ordinary so far.

That should change in the coming weeks, but it may take some more patience than we originally believed. Here’s the week 3 start ’em, sit ’em guide for running backs in fantasy football.


Derrick Henry vs. Seattle Seahawks

Finding out injury news in the NFL in today’s world is almost impossible. There’s plenty of speculation, but just as we saw in week 2 with Sam Bradford and Jordan Howard, there’s not always the best advice coming out of each individual team’s camp.

So while it may seem like DeMarco Murray may play some in week 3, I’m still betting on Henry to get the majority of touches. There’s no reason for the Titans to use an injured Murray anyway. Henry is just as good and this is only week 3. Resting Murray makes the most sense, giving way to a high-volume performance for Henry.

Everyone warned Murray drafters that he was bound to get injured. It only took 1 1/2 games to reach that level.

The Seahawks have allowed at least 14 fantasy points to starting running backs in the first two weeks. Expect Henry to have plenty of carries to reach a high output.

Joe Mixon vs. Green Bay Packers

Mixon has been a colossal failure so far this season. He’s only a rookie, but the expectations mirrored a steady veteran rather than a running back on a team with two other running backs.

With Cincinnati 0-2 and looking for a spark, look for Mixon to start seeing the majority of the action. Jeremy Hill doesn’t add much value and hasn’t looked as impressive as Mixon so far this season. That should help Mixon continue to lead the team in carries.

One of the big takeaways from week 2 was the Bengals constant approach to not getting any rhythm for their running backs. That should stop this week against a team allowing 5.1 yards per carry, ranking in the bottom-five of the NFL.

Don’t lose faith in Mixon yet. This week should be the one where he starts to make his mark.

Javorius Allen is a solid start in the week 3 start ’em, sit ’em guide for running backs in fantasy football. Flickr/Keith Allison

Javorius Allen vs. Jacksonville Jaguars

I’m banking on the Ravens to keep committed to the running game. And against a Jacksonville team more than decent against the pass, I would assume the game plan will focus on the run for the Ravens.

You’re going to have to deal with Terrance West getting some touches, but that shouldn’t deter Allen too much. He’s been a solid contributor in rushing and in the passing game, with the absence of Danny Woodhead.

Allen has 135 yards rushing in two weeks to go along with his 35 yards receiving in week 2. The Jaguars allowed the Titans to run through them last week, so that should lead to several rush attempts in week 3 by the Ravens.


C.J. Anderson vs. Buffalo Bills

Anderson has been a fantasy stalwart so far this season. He has 242 all-purpose yards in two games with two touchdowns.

He’s been a nice surprise, looking more like his 2015 self than his 2016 version. A better offensive line probably helps, but also matchups against teams without a solid rush defense also should be considered.

Buffalo will be a different beast. The Bills have stalled Carolina and the New York Jets in the first two weeks, packing a good defense to go along with one of the worst offenses in the NFL.

This game will be a low-scoring defensive battle, with both teams struggling to run the football. Anderson has been a nice surprise in the early going and this is a tough sit. However, it’s best to keep him on the bench with this matchup.

Jordan Howard vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

I loved Howard heading into 2017. He was poised to be the main back on a team that needed a solid rushing attack.

I still believe there’s room for Howard to have a nice year, but this is not the week to start him based on belief.

Howard is hampered with an injury and only had nine touches against Tampa Bay. We likely won’t hear much on the injury front from head coach John Fox, so I’m going into this matchup with the notion that Howard will once again be limited in his role.

His inability to catch the ball out of the backfield is hurting his chances at being the fantasy RB1 that I anticipated in the offseason. He needs to improve that in order to contribute on a weekly basis.

Jacquizz Rodgers vs. Minnesota Vikings

Rodgers had a pretty good opening, rushing the ball 19 times for 67 yards and a touchdown.

I like the volume, but I’m not blown away by his lack of yards per carry (over three yards per carry). Rodgers should do some damage in the receiving department, too, but he was an after-thought in week 2.

Even if the volume is there for Rodgers, he will have trouble finding room to run against a stout Minnesota defense. The Vikings have been dominant against the run, limiting the opposition to 3.1 yards per carry so far this season.

Rodgers was able to garner that volume in week 2 based on Chicago being out of the game by halftime. That won’t happen this week. The volume will decrease and I don’t expect much even when he does touch the ball.

This article has 2 comments

  1. Who to start? L. McCoy or L. Fournette.
    K. Ruldolph or J Doyle
    T. Siemens or B. Roethesburger

    • Terrible matchups with those running backs, but would favor McCoy. Rudolph over Doyle if Bradford is back. If not, then Doyle. Roethlisberger has not been great in the early going, but I’m ranking him higher than most this week against the Bears. Go with Big Ben.

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