Week 3 Rankings (2020): Top 40 Running Backs


by Ray Kuhn

Talk about carnage. It was just ugly out there last week when it came to injuries and running back bore the brunt of that. Fantasy owners now have to replace Saquon Barkley for the rest of the season and Christian McCaffrey for the next month or so. Of course we aren’t going to find direct replacements for either, but we have to try.

Let’s take a look at how our options rank for this week:

  1. Alvin Kamara – New Orleans Saints – vs. Green Bay
  2. Ezekiel Elliot – Dallas Cowboys – at Seattle
  3. Derrick Henry – Tennessee Titans – at Minnesota
  4. Dalvin Cook – Minnesota Vikings – vs. Tennessee
  5. Jonathan Taylor – Indianapolis Colts – vs. NY Jets
  6. Nick Chubb – Cleveland Browns – vs. Washington
  7. Aaron Jones – Green Bay Packers – at New Orleans
  8. Josh Jacobs – Las Vegas Raiders – at New England
  9. Kenyan Drake – Arizona Cardinals – vs. Detroit
  10. Miles Sanders – Philadelphia Eagles – vs. Cincinnati
  11. Chris Carson – Seattle Seahawks – vs. Dallas
  12. Melvin Gordon – Denver Broncos – vs. Tampa Bay
  13. Joe Mixon – Cincinnati Bengals – at Philadelphia
  14. Austin Ekeler – LA Chargers – vs. Carolina
  15. James Conner – Pittsburgh Steelers – vs. Houston
  16. Clyde Edwards-Helaire – Kansas City Chiefs – at Baltimore
  17. David Johnson – Houston Texans – at Pittsburgh
  18. Todd Gurley – Atlanta Falcons – vs. Chicago
  19. David Montgomery – Chicago Bears – at Atlanta
  20. Devin Singletary – Buffalo Bills – vs. LA Rams
  21. Jerrick McKinnon – San Francisco 49ers – at NY Giants
  22. James Robinson – Jacksonville Jaguars – vs. Miami
  23. Darrell Henderson – LA Rams – at Buffalo
  24. Mike Davis – Carolina Panthers – at LA Chargers
  25. Nyheim Hines – Indianapolis Colts – vs. NY Jets
  26. Chris Thompson – Jacksonville Jaguars – vs. Miami
  27. Kareem Hunt – Cleveland Browns – vs. Washington
  28. JK Dobbins – Baltimore Ravens – vs. Kansas City
  29. D’Andre Swift – Detroit Lions – at Arizona
  30. Sony Michel – New England Patriots – vs. Las Vegas
  31. Leonard Fournette – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – at Denver
  32. Mark Ingram – Baltimore Ravens – vs. Kansas City
  33. James White – New England Patriots – vs. Las Vegas
  34. Zach Moss – Buffalo Bills – vs. LA Rams
  35. Antonio Gibson – Washington Football Team – at Cleveland
  36. Joshua Kelley – LA Chargers – vs. Carolina
  37. Ronald Jones – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – at Denver
  38. Kerryon Johnson – Detroit Lions – at Arizona
  39. Dion Lewis – New York Giants – vs. San Francisco
  40. Jordan Howard – Miami Dolphins – at Jacksonville


  • While there are multiple options to replace McCaffrey in Carolina’s backfield, we know it isn’t a job for just one man. Despite just one carry for one yard this season, Mike Davis should garner the most attention. Davis has been around for a while now, but last season he rushed for just 27 yards. After McCaffrey exited last week, Davis did catch eight passes for 74 yards as by that point Carolina was already trailing which took the running game out of the equation. Curtis Samuel did have four carries for 26 yards last week, but the wide receiver will likely be used in a complementary role to replace McCaffrey. Matt Rhule has already been talking up Davis and he is slated to take the leading role against the Chargers this week. He is a must own, but depending on your other options, I wouldn’t rush to insert him into your starting lineup.
  • Replacing Barkley is going to be more challenging, and for this week it will fall on Dion Lewis. How long that lasts remains to be seen as the Giants also signed Devonta Freeman on Tuesday, but I would imagine he would need a week or two before being ready for a larger role. But until then, I’m not sure how much Lewis has in the way of upside. He has never truly had a leading role and we can’t think of him as a replacement for Barkley. Last week, Lewis gained just 21 yards on 11 carries but his touchdown run helped to maintain some value. Lewis did catch four passes for 36 yards, but I’m not sure there is enough to sustain real value here. It has also been a few years since Freeman had true fantasy value and I wouldn’t expect it to change now.
  • There is no doubt who the Indianapolis backfield belongs to, and that is Jonathan Taylor. In a game where the Colts were in control from the start and merely had to worry about controlling the tempo and the clock, Taylor carried the ball 26 times gaining 101 yards and scoring a touchdown. The good news for Taylor is that this week’s matchup against the Jets is going to be a carbon copy of last week’s game against the Vikings, and game flow should once again work in his favor. While his 3.9 yards per carry weren’t as explosive as Week One or as we would have liked, you can’t argue with the ending stat line or his control over the Indianapolis backfield.
  • Another injury from Sunday was Raheem Mostert who exited after rushing for 92 yards on eight carries including a game opening 76 yard touchdown run. Not only with Mostert be sidelined this week, but the 49ers will also be without Tevin Coleman on Sunday in a matchup against the Giants which should be a favorable situation for the running game. McKinnon carried the ball just three times on Sunday, but he did gain 77 yards on three carries while also scoring a touchdown. With San Francisco’s crowded backfield, he picked up 44 yards on his six touches while also catching a touchdown pass. Now through attrition, McKinnon is slated to take advantage of being healthy for the first time since 2017.
  • It was hard to find a better debut than Clyde Edwards-Helaire as he rushed for 138 yards and a touchdown. If there was any doubt about how the rookie would perform this season, he seemed to erase them right out the gate. Last week though, the Chargers stacked the box against Edwards-Helaire and he found things a lot more difficult. The rookie gained just 38 yards on 10 carries but with six receptions for 32 yards, Edwards-Helaire did help to maintain some fantasy value. This week things will likely be difficult once again for him as he faces Baltimore. Despite this, and based on his receiving ability, he still has to be in your lineup.
  • At one point it appeared that we would be losing David Montgomery to injury as well, but that was short lived and he quickly returned. It was the second straight strong performance for Montgomery as he gained 82 yards on 16 carries while also catching three passes for another 45 yards and a touchdown. It was the second straight week where Montgomery was targeted three times while Tarik Cohen has essentially been a non-factor this season with just three receptions and 84 combined yards over the first two weeks of the season.


  1. PPR Flex-James Robinson or Robby Anderson
    PPR flex-Tyler Lockett, Tyler Boyd, Melvin Gordon, James Conner, James Robinson

    PPR flex-James Robinson, Tyler Boyd, Robby Anderson, Mike Davis

    PPR- Melvin Gordon, James Robinson, Mike Davis or Mark Ingram-start one

    PPR flex-Mike Davis, James Ingram, DK Metcalf, James Robinson or Cooper Kupp

    • PPR Flex-James Robinson or Robby Anderson — Robinson

      PPR flex-Tyler Lockett, Tyler Boyd, Melvin Gordon, James Conner, James Robinson — Conner (Robinson is close)

      PPR flex-James Robinson, Tyler Boyd, Robby Anderson, Mike Davis — Robinson (Davos close)

      PPR- Melvin Gordon, James Robinson, Mike Davis or Mark Ingram-start one — Gordon

      PPR flex-Mike Davis, James Ingram, DK Metcalf, James Robinson or Cooper Kupp — Robinson

  2. 14 Teams. 1/2 PPR

    1. RB’s are Nick Chubb, Kareem Hunt, Nyiam Hines, Leonard Fournette, Latavius Murray and Tony Pollard. Start Chubb and ___? Hunt?

    2. Assuming you’d also start WR’s Deandre Hopkins and Stefon Diggs, who would you flex from who’s left above, Nkeal Harry or Preston Williams?

    3. Currently have Tennesee’s DST, status quo? Or Cleveland, Philly, Washington or Ja

  3. Hi Professor
    6 team league at work. .5 ppr
    Rbs: Elliot, Jacobs, Mixon, Hunt, Akers, Kelley
    Wrs: Lockett, Golladay, Diggs, A-Rob

    Need to start two Rbs, two Wrs and Flex

    Also, what’s ur thought on dropping Akers for Diontae Johnson



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