Atlanta Falcons running back Devonta Freeman didn’t waste an opportunity to grab hold of a No. 1 spot on the depth chart.

With Tevin Coleman out with injury, Freeman tallied 37.30 fantasy points last week, outdistancing the next best running back performance of 28.50 by Dallas Cowboys running back Joseph Randle.

With Coleman coming back soon, Freeman’s workload will likely diminish, but for now, he has by far the biggest output of any running back this season in the NFL.

If Freeman is alone this week, he’s an obvious start. Here’s our list of start ’em, sit ’em for week 4 of the NFL season.

Matt Forte would be a good start this week in fantasy football. Flickr/ Martinez Pavliga
Matt Forte would be a good start this week in fantasy football. Flickr/ Martinez Pavliga

Daily fantasy start of the week

Matt Forte vs. Oakland Raiders

Why do we like the Chicago Bears running back this week?

Because the Oakland Raiders defense is terrible and the Bears have nothing else but him on offense.

With Jimmy Clausen slated to start another game, the Bears have to score, or at least make an attempt at the end zone or field goal (Chicago punted on every possession last week against Seattle), so we’re banking on Forte to be the surest bet at receiving the most touches this week.

Forte has the second-most rushing yards in the NFL at 276 yards, despite mustering only 74 yards against the Seahawks in week 3. He’s tied with Adrian Peterson for the most rushing attempts in the NFL with 59, and he also has 16 targets in the passing game, with nine catches.

Although the Raiders are middle-of-the-pack against the run, the overall defense for Oakland is the worst in the NFL, allowing 414.7 yards per game. Since the Bears can’t pass, they will have to run the ball, which we believe will yield good results.


Bilal Powell vs. Miami Dolphins

Miami’s defense isn’t where it wants to be this season.

The Dolphins are the seventh-worst defense in the NFL in yards allowed, giving up 391 yards per game this season. Miami is even worse against the run, ranking second-worst in yards allowed at 145 yards per game.

Teams aren’t wasting the opportunity to runĀ against the Dolphins, either, totaling the second-most rushing attempts through three games in the NFL.

In conclusion, teams run often against the Dolphins and with plenty of success. The New York Jets will likely attempt to stick with that strategy this week in London against Miami. Powell may see the lion’s share of the carries with Chris Ivory possibly still out with an injury.

Without Ivory last week, Powell was the feature back, tallying seven catches and 10 carries out of the backfield. The Jets fell behind early, forcing the offense to go to more of a pass-heavy unit. That’s not what the Jets want to do, so expect Powell to get plenty of looks, even if Ivory comes back.

Now with Arizona, Chris Johnson is resurrecting his career. Flickr/ Rupert
Now with Arizona, Chris Johnson is resurrecting his career. Flickr/ Rupert

Chris Johnson vs. St. Louis Rams

It appears the Arizona Cardinals have made its decision. Chris Johnson will see more carries than David Johnson.

With Ellington slated to come back this week, but not to full strength, Chris Johnson should see the bulk of the carries against the Rams. In fact, head coach Bruce Arians said this week Chris Johnson should see 15 to 20 touches this week.

That’s enough evidence to start Chris Johnson this week. Chris Johnson scored 27 points last week in fantasy football with 110 yards rushing, two touchdowns and 40 yards receiving.

It’s not just Chris Johnson’s recent success that should sway fantasy football owners to start him. The matchup against the Rams gives the Cardinals the edge in the rushing game. St. Louis is allowing more than 120 yards per game on the ground this season, and if Chris Johnson can steal some touches away from Ellington, he should contribute to your fantasy football roster.

Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson should top your draft board this year in fantasy football. Flickr/ Morbeck
Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson should top your draft board this year in fantasy football. Flickr

Daily fantasy sit of the week

Adrian Peterson vs. Denver Broncos

Our decision to rate Peterson as the top fantasy football draft pick going into the season is looking good so far. But this matchup doesn’t bode well for a daily fantasy team. Peterson’s price tag would be too much to risk in a game on the road against a solid rush defense.

The Broncos are ranked sixth against the run in the NFL, and although we’re encouraged by the Vikings recent strategy of handing off the ball to Peterson and letting him do the rest, we still can’t forget about the first road game for the Vikings. In that one, Peterson was an afterthought and the Vikings dug themselves into an early hole, making Peterson’s value less for fantasy football owners.

We’re not saying Peterson won’t garner some points in this matchup. However, it won’t be enough to spend that amount on one player in your daily fantasy league.

Andre Williams hasn't got going this season. Flickr/ Kortum
Andre Williams hasn’t got going this season. Flickr/ Kortum


New York Giants running backs

Maybe you have Rashad Jennings, and wonder if he’ll ever get going. Or maybe you have Shane Vereen, and hope that the Giants utilize more of a passing attack. Possibly, you’re holding onto Andre Williams, just in case one of those other options gets hurt, and he’ll become the featured back.

Either way, don’t start them this week…and possibly not again unless desperate.

All three running backs have scored in double digits this season. However, in three games, none of them have reached 20 points.

That’s a problem for fantasy football owners now and in the future. None of them have jumped to the top of the leaderboard to garner more carries, and right now, it doesn’t appear there’s actually a featured back.

And this week’s matchup would be bad, even if one of them was the main running back. The Buffalo BillsĀ are the best in the NFL against the run, allowing 74 yards per game. The Bills also are home, making this a difficult matchup for the Giants.

Look for quarterback Eli Manning to throw plenty, limiting any opportunity for the Giants running backs.

Matt Jones put up big numbers in week 2 of fantasy football. Flickr/ Allison
Matt Jones put up big numbers in week 2 of fantasy football. Flickr/ Allison

Washington Redskins running backs

We’re completely confused about the running back situation in Washington.

Last week, Chris Thompson led the Washington running backs in carries. The week before, it was Matt Jones. In week 1, it was Alfred Morris.

If you have the right one, it can pay dividends. A Washington running back has recorded double-digit scoring in each of the first three weeks. The problem — it’s been three different running backs.

Jones got the start last week, but his ball security issues — two fumbles in two games — may decrease his playing time a bit. That early round fantasy football draft pick on Morris is likely a bust, as he’s seen his workload diminish greatly in just three weeks, while Thompson is more of a receiver out of the backfield.

What does this mean with a game at home to Philadelphia? Stay away from the Redskins on offense.

This article has 2 comments

  1. I have Andrew luck and Eli Manning which would be the best to play. I really have no faith in luck.

    • Luck hasn’t been Luck in the first 11 quarters of the season. But he was a different guy in that fourth quarter against Tennessee. Three-out-of-three on scoring drives against the Titans to win the game, and it was pretty much all on his shoulders. That should give him confidence this week. Also, Jacksonville is terrible against the pass, while Eli Manning will have to go against Buffalo. While the Bills haven’t been great against the pass, it should at least be better than the Jaguars. I’d go with Luck this week.

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