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Before getting to my Week 4 Running Back Rankings Reaction, I thought it would be interesting to look at where the running back landscape currently sits.

In 0.5 PPR scoring, your top-scoring back through three weeks is… DeMarco Murray. In fact, of the consensus Top-5 running backs drafted, only one currently is in the Top 14 in scoring.

Now I know it’s early, and this is a small sample size. I just wanted to illustrate the crap shoot that is ranking running backs.

These guys are dropping like flies and that is my main Week 4 Running Back Rankings Reaction: backup plans.

I do not mean just your stud’s handcuff, but a back-up plan in general when your backs go down. Some times, this is one in the same as DeAngelo Williams is the third highest scoring running back in this young season. However, LeVeon Bell makes his season debut this week.

Bell presents a big question for ranking purposes. Will he automatically become the bell cow again? Or will the Steelers want to limit his touches, and slowly work him in? Can you they really just bench Williams after such a strong start?

This leaves many questions to be answered. So here is my complete Week 4 Running Back Rankings Reaction. As always, these are in reflection of the SCFE Staff Weekly Rankings.

Week 4 Running Back Rankings Reaction

Guys I like More

  • We will start with Melvin Gordon. I am the highest on him as I have him as the No. 1 running back this week. He is the ultimate backup plan this season, as I was the highest on Danny Woodhead in the pre-season. I backed him up with Gordon on most teams and it has softened the blow. He gets a New Orleans defense that was absolutely eviscerated by Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman this past weekend.
  • I was not a proponent of drafting Carlos Hyde, but he will be serviceable this week. You can definitely run on the Cowboys and they are still a week away from getting back a few of their top defensive linemen.
  • I am also the highest on Theo Riddick this week. Ezekiel Elliott just put up 140 on the ground against the Bears. That was with a rookie quarterback where Chicago could stack the box a little bit. I expect the Bears to have to play a little safer against Matthew Stafford, opening up running lanes for Riddick.
  • For PPR leagues, I have Paul Perkins much higher than my fellow rankers. He should take over the Shane Vereen-role in the Giants’ offense. It’s not a great matchup, but I still think he catches 4-5 passes this week.

Guys I Like Less

    • I have the lowest rank on C.J. Anderson this week. There’s nothing against him really, he is still a solid RB1 for me. I just like a few other guys more.
    • I am also the lowest on Matt Forte against Seattle. While the Seahawks have had their issues in the early part of the season, they still are not giving up a lot of rushing yards. They are 9th in the league giving up just 87.7 yards a game on 3.5 yards per carry. I also think the career-high 30 carries from a week and a half ago drained Forte quite a bit.
    • I have the lowest rank on Spencer Ware, for now. Like the past few weeks, this will come down to if Jamaal Charles plays or not. Stay tuned.

  • I’m lower than my fellow rankers on Chris Ivory. This is another fluid situation with his recent hospitalization, but even if he plays I don’t like him in PPR at all.

Other Observations

    • David Johnson checks in at the top spot again this week. He’s not giving you monster games, but has been consistent. I need to come around on the Cardinal.
    • There’s some disagreement regarding LeVeon Bell’s usage this week. John LaPresto has him as his 10th highest back with the rest of us see him as a Top-3 play this week.
    • The biggest discrepancy among the rankers is Jamaal Charles. La Presto has him at 26th in Standard and 6th in PPR. The rest of us do not have him as a starter this week. Like I said earlier, this should change one way or the other by this weekend.
    • Another guy with a high variance of rank is Orleans Darkwa. David Gonos has him ranked 25th with the rest of us having him outside of an RB3. Rashad Jennings status should clear this one up as well.

  • I predicted a big game for Tevin Coleman last week and he delivered. I also predicted that he would overtake Devonta Freeman in the rankings and he almost did, falling one spot shy of him. People were deceived last night be Freeman’s touchdown catch and long, game-clinching run. The thing is, Coleman would have been in for the touchdown catch if he had not turned his ankle earlier during the series. This is a complete 50/50 split, except Coleman is dominating at the goal line. He is the back you want.

That’s it for my Week 4 Running Back Rankings Reaction! Check out our Quarterback Rankings Reactions, Wide Receivers and Tight Ends, too.

Good luck with your running backs this week and be sure to check out my weekly picks against the spread. Back-to-back 10-5-1 weeks has me at 29-17-2 for the season.

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