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Fantasy football rankings, Week 3: Consensus running backs for standard leagues

The SB Nation fantasy team reveals which running backs rank in the top 50 for standard leagues heading into Week 3.

Editor's update: Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera announced Cameron Artis-Payne will be the starting running back over Fozzy Whittaker vs. the Minnesota Vikings.

Yes, the rankings we produce for running backs are a vital part of every fantasy player’s preparation for the upcoming week. And we take pride in providing them to you on a weekly basis. But as we take a look at running backs in standard leagues for Week 3, parsing over which back is more likely to gain more yards or score more touchdowns takes a backseat to a simple truth. If you have two quality backs on your roster that are actually playing this weekend, it really doesn’t matter where they are ranked -- you are probably already way ahead of the game.

Adrian Peterson, Jonathan Stewart, Arian Foster, Ameer Abdullah, Danny Woodhead, Doug Martin. It’s so bad, Ki-Jana Carter re-tore his ACL while reading the injury report!

Even the healthy guys are hurting. Are you jumping off the Todd Gurley bandwagon yet? If you are, please, don’t hurt yourself. It’s dangerous out there.

You know who’s really hurting against the run? Indianapolis has allowed 125 yards per game and three rushing touchdowns after two weeks. That sounds like fantastic news for Melvin Gordon, who is already off to a strong start this season and will really carry the load for the Chargers this week with Woodhead out and Dexter McCluster just getting fitted for a uniform. With Philip Rivers still as dangerous as ever, even without Keenan Allen, and the Colts still depleted at the back end, there won’t be any loading the box for Gordon to contend with. Expect the second-year back to be first in fantasy production this week.

You know who’s been even worse against the run with the worst rushing defense in the entire league? The Cincinnati Bengals. Their vaunted defense has been anything but, allowing an average of 138 rushing yards after two weeks. That means plenty of C.J. Anderson in Week 3. Anderson has been on fire to open the season. We saw what he did to the Colts last week (74 rushing yards, three catches for 19 yards, one TD). Did we mention the Bengals have actually been worse against the run than the Colts? Yes, we did.

Looking for that No. 2 back, or the RB flex in a week when good RBs are so hard to find? How about Isaiah Crowell. The Browns should be looking to lean on the running game with Cody Kessler under center. Good thing the Browns are playing Miami. The Dolphins are right there with Indy and Cincinnati for worst run defenses in the league, allowing 136.5 yards per game on the ground. Crowell got more than half of that on one play last week. Imagine what he might do as the Browns’ primary offense this week.

One more play to consider (if you actually have enough backs to consider more than two): Washington is another team giving up big chunks of yards to running backs early this season. DeAngelo Williams ran wild in the season opener and Ezekiel Elliott was solid last week despite his fumbles. And when Elliott got benched, former Washington back Alfred Morris got in on the fun.

In total, Washington has allowed five rushing touchdowns. No other team has allowed more than three. Rashad Jennings is nicked up himself, but is expected to play, and apparently, expected to score.

Needless to say, keep your eyes on the injury report all the way up to Sunday morning. Some of the walking wounded might try to give it a go, and that would heal many broken hearts across the fantasy landscape.

Running backs (standard), Week 3

(ZS: Zach Senvisky, JM: Jason Marcum, AP: Adam Patrick, SK: Scott Kaliska, JG: Jeff Goldberg, KB: Kyle Bennett, DG: Derek Gordon)

Rk Consensus Tm Opp. ZS JM AP SK KB JG DG
1 David Johnson ARI @ BUF 4 1 2 2 3 1 1
2 DeAngelo Williams PIT @ PHI 2 5 1 1 4 2 6
3 Ezekiel Elliott DAL vs. CHI 7 2 6 5 6 3 2
4 C.J. Anderson DEN @ CIN 5 4 9 4 2 7 5
5 Lamar Miller HOU @ NE 8 8 4 3 7 4 4
6 Todd Gurley LA @ TB 9 3 5 10 5 9 3
7 Melvin Gordon SD @ IND 1 7 7 6 1 5 18
8 Matt Forte NYJ @ KC 3 11 8 7 17 6 11
9 Mark Ingram NO vs. ATL 11 12 3 8 9 10 12
10 Eddie Lacy GB vs. DET 20 9 10 11 8 11 9
11 LeSean McCoy BUF vs. ARI 10 10 11 14 16 14 8
12 DeMarco Murray TEN vs. OAK 6 19 12 9 11 8 19
13 Latavius Murray OAK @ TEN 12 13 13 13 12 12 13
14 Devonta Freeman ATL @ NO 13 15 18 12 10 13 14
15 Spencer Ware KC vs. NYJ 21 6 30 16 13 15 10
16 Ryan Mathews PHI vs. PIT 14 14 21 18 14 17 15
17 Jeremy Langford CHI @ DAL 16 27 15 19 19 18 17
18 Rashad Jennings NYG vs. WAS 15 16 22 20 18 21 23
19 Frank Gore IND vs. SD 18 21 14 15 29 19 21
20 LeGarrette Blount NE vs. HOU 17 28 17 17 20 16 24
21 Charles Sims TB vs. LA 19 17 20 24 30 25 20
22 Thomas Rawls SEA vs. SF 34 18 24 31 27 22 7
23 Isaiah Crowell CLE @ MIA 25 30 16 25 21 23 26
24 Carlos Hyde SF @ SEA 23 24 31 27 24 23 16
25 T.J. Yeldon JAC vs. BAL 33 20 33 26 26 24 22
26 Jerick McKinnon MIN @ CAR 29 22 28 30 31 28 27
27 Theo Riddick DET @ GB 26 26 19 23 32 32 38
28 Giovani Bernard CIN vs. DEN 24 23 34 28 33 30 29
29 Matt Jones WAS @ NYG 32 25 25 34 38 26 25
30 Tevin Coleman ATL @ NO 27 33 26 21 36 31 31
31 Jeremy Hill CIN vs. DEN 35 31 32 29 28 27 28
32 Christine Michael SEA vs. SF 28 38 27 22 34 33 37
33 Fozzy Whittaker CAR vs. MIN 31 49 29 32 15 29 --
34 Justin Forsett BAL @ JAC 36 40 37 33 25 35 42
35 Derrick Henry TEN vs. OAK 44 32 35 40 37 34 30
36 Chris Thompson WAS @ NYG 39 41 42 48 22 36 39
37 James White NE vs. HOU 45 36 44 36 49 37 32
38 Alfred Morris DAL vs. CHI 37 35 45 43 42 41 36
39 Duke Johnson CLE @ MIA 46 34 46 35 35 40 50
40 Darren Sproles PHI vs. PIT 47 39 39 42 50 42 40
41 Terrance West BAL @ JAC -- 43 38 38 40 38 --
42 Chris Johnson ARI @ BUF 49 37 41 -- -- 39 33
43 Kenyan Drake MIA vs. CLE 30 -- 43 44 39 45 --
44 Dwayne Washington DET @GB -- 29 -- 47 23 -- --
45 Jay Ajayi MIA vs. CLE 42 44 -- 39 48 49 34
46 Shane Vereen NYG vs. WAS 38 -- 36 37 -- -- --
47 Cameron Artis-Payne CAR vs. MIN 50 -- 49 50 44 44 35
48 Bilal Powell NYJ @ KC 48 46 47 46 47 47 44
49 Devontae Booker DEN @ CIN -- 45 -- -- 41 43 43
50 Matt Asiata MIN @ CAR -- 42 50 41 46 46 --
-- Doug Martin TB vs. LA -- -- 23 -- -- -- --
-- Chris Ivory JAC vs. BAL 41 48 48 45 -- 50 46
-- James Starks GB vs. DET 40 50 40 -- -- -- --
-- Charcandrick West KC vs. NYJ -- -- -- -- 43 48 48
-- C.J. Prosise SEA vs. SF -- 47 -- 49 -- -- 45
-- Shaun Draughn SF @ SEA -- -- -- -- -- -- 41
-- Kenneth Farrow SD @ IND -- -- -- -- 45 -- --
-- Jordan Howard CHI @ DAL -- -- -- -- -- -- 47
-- DeAndre Washington OAK @ TEN -- -- -- -- -- -- 49