by Ray Kuhn
Here we go again… It never is easy in the land of running backs as we have to deal with timeshares, struggles and injuries. What else is new though?
All in all it was a relatively quiet week with injuries, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have more questions than answers. Let’s take a look at how our options rank as teams hit the 25% mark of their season:
- Alvin Kamara – New Orleans Saints – at Detroit
- Dalvin Cook – Minnesota Vikings – at Houston
- Aaron Jones – Green Bay Packers – vs. Atlanta
- Ezekiel Elliot – Dallas Cowboys – vs. Cleveland
- Nick Chubb – Cleveland Browns – at Dallas
- Derrick Henry – Tennessee Titans – vs. Pittsburgh
- Josh Jacobs – Las Vegas Raiders – vs. Buffalo
- Jonathan Taylor – Indianapolis Colts – at Chicago
- Clyde Edwards-Helaire – Kansas City Chiefs – vs. New England
- Miles Sanders – Philadelphia Eagles – at San Francisco
- James Conner – Pittsburgh Steelers – at Tennessee
- David Johnson – Houston Texans – vs. Minnesota
- Kenyan Drake – Arizona Cardinals – at Carolina
- Joe Mixon – Cincinnati Bengals – vs. Jacksonville
- David Montgomery – Chicago Bears – vs. Indianapolis
- Austin Ekeler – LA Chargers – at Tampa Bay
- Melvin Gordon – Denver Broncos – at NY Jets
- Mike Davis – Carolina Panthers – vs. Arizona
- Todd Gurley – Atlanta Falcons – at Green Bay
- Darrell Henderson – LA Rams – vs. NY Giants
- James Robinson – Jacksonville Jaguars – at Cincinnati
- Devin Singletary – Buffalo Bills – at Las Vegas
- Chris Carson – Seattle Seahawks – at Miami
- Jerrick McKinnon – San Francisco 49ers – vs. Philadelphia
- Kareem Hunt – Cleveland Browns – at Dallas
- Ronald Jones – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – at LA Chargers
- Antonio Gibson – Washington Football Team – vs. Baltimore
- Myles Gaskin – Miami Dolphins – vs. Seattle
- James White – New England Patriots – at Kansas City
- Mark Ingram – Baltimore Ravens – at Washington
- Leonard Fournette – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – at LA Chargers
- Nyheim Hines – Indianapolis Colts – at Chicago
- Sony Michel – New England Patriots – at Kansas City
- Adrian Peterson – Detroit Lions – vs. New Orleans
- Frank Gore – New York Jets – vs. Denver
- Devonta Freeman – New York Giants – at LA Rams
- Carlos Hyde – Seattle Seahawks – at Miami
- J.K Dobbins – Baltimore Ravens – at Washington
- Joshua Kelley – LA Chargers – at Tampa Bay
- D’Andre Swift – Detroit Lions – vs. New Orleans
- At this point we are going to operate under the assumption that Chris Carson will take the field in Week 4, but with a knee sprain that could sideline him for a week or two I have my doubts. So far this season Carson has yet to rush for a touchdown as the Seattle offense has been the Russell Wilson show, but he does have three receiving touchdowns. Last week Carson carried the ball 14 times for 64 yards as he has yet to really get going. Should he be sidelined, that brings us to Carlos Hyde, who has yet to make his presence felt gaining 57 yards on 16 carries in the first three weeks. Even if we simply give Hyde the same rushing production that Carson had, there isn’t much value as the veteran doesn’t do much in the passing game.
- Does it really matter that Alvin Kamara wasn’t really used as a running back last week? When he did carry the ball the results was there (six carries for 58 yards) as they have been all season (31 carries for 153 yards and 3 TD) at 4.9 yards per carry. Entering last week he had 14 receptions for 146 yards and a TD in the first two weeks of the season, but with Michael Thomas sidelined he took things to the extreme. Kamara caught 13 passes for 139 yards and 2 TD, and while that is not going to be an every week occurrence we no longer have to worry about the New Orleans running back as he is a top option.
- Aaron Jones followed up his 168 yard performance with just 69 yards on 16 carries but he did reach the end zone for the third straight week. Jones was the victim of Aaron Rodgers’ success last, but I wouldn’t hold that against him. After rushing for 16 TD last season, Jones has continued his knack for finding the end zone and the Green Bay offense is one of the league’s best. We know that facing Atlanta and their weak defense will only lead to more success.
- Game flow didn’t work in David Montgomery’s favor last week as the Bears fell behind early before going into catchup mode. He is still looking for his first rushing touchdown of the season, and last week he managed just 45 yards on 14 carries. He did look better towards the end of the game, but he has yet to be much of a factor from a receiving perspective with just six receptions for 64 yards. With Tarik Cohen likely sidelined for the remainder of the season, I would imagine that Montgomery’s role in the passing game will increase and the Chicago offense with Nick Foles under center should do a better job at moving the ball.
- Devin Singletary took advantage of Zack Moss’ absence last week but we still need to tread carefully with the Buffalo running back. He gained 71 yards on 13 carries, but Singletary is still waiting for his first rushing touchdown of the season (he only had two last season) as Buffalo still doesn’t look to him in the red zone. Singletary did get one chance at the goal line last week, but that was unsuccessful and having Josh Allen around doesn’t work in his favor with the quarterback’s proficiency near the end zone. He did show something in the receiving game with four receptions for 50 yards, and that gives him 11 catches on the year for 93 yards. Singletary is a reliable source of yardage, but his upside is limited.
- With Saquon Barkley sidelined for the rest of the season someone needs to take his place. On first and second downs, that responsibility will likely fall to Devonta Freeman, but on Sunday we didn’t get a chance to see what he was capable of. Freeman only had a few days to get acclimated with the Giants and game flow didn’t work in his favor as he mustered 10 yards on five carries. Things should get better, but I’m not sure that will come this week against a tough Rams defense.
Make sure to check out all of our Week 4 rankings: