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Fantasy football rankings, Week 4: 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 4.

For a countless number of fantasy football players across the globe, even though it says Week 4 on the schedule, this is truly the start of the season.

Welcome back, Le’Veon Bell.

There’s going to be another moment like this at quarterback next week in New England – and on the other side of the ball in that game at wide receiver – but the first of the Suspended Superstars to return to action is Bell. The Pittsburgh Steelers take on the Kansas City Chiefs looking to rebound from the pounding they took across state against the Eagles.

If just having Bell back on the field isn’t huge enough news for anxious Bell owners, Steelers coach Mike Tomlin upped the expectations to lunar levels on Tuesday, announcing that far from a snap-count restriction in his first game back, Bell should carry a major load against Kansas City.

And if history is a guide, Bell is likely to be up for the challenge and his owners are likely to see a big number.

This will be the third time in four seasons that Bell’s first game comes in the final weekend of September. In his rookie season of 2013, after missing the first three games because of injury, Bell debuted against the Vikings and ran the ball 16 times, gaining 57 yards and scoring twice while also catching four passes for 27 yards.

Last season, Bell was suspended for two games to start the season, then rushed for 62 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries in his season debut along with seven catches for 70 yards.

That’s roughly 20 points in each of those games, numbers that Bell owners would gladly sign for in a year riddled with injuries to prominent backs.

Speaking of which – and speaking of the Steelers-Chiefs game, don’t be surprised if the Sunday night showdown is all about the runners. Jamaal Charles is likely to miss his fourth straight game to start the season, and Spencer Ware dominated the snaps over Charcandrick West last week against the Jets. After seeing what Darren Sproles did to the Steelers, Ware could be in for a big night trying to keep up with Bell.

Another back to focus on due to injury to the starter is Jordan Howard in Chicago. Howard was already pushing Jeremy Langford for touches even before Langford went down Sunday night. Now Howard has the job all to himself – the Bears are scrambling just to get a healthy backup on Sunday. Howard makes for a very attractive add in every league with a date against Detroit on Sunday.

Running backs (standard), Week 4

(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 vs. LA 3 1 2 1 2 1 2
2 Ezekiel Elliott DAL @ SF 1 2 3 3 3 3 1
3 Melvin Gordon SD vs. NO 2 4 1 4 1 4 10
4 Le'Veon Bell PIT vs. KC 5 3 6 2 8 2 3
5 C.J. Anderson DEN @ TB 7 5 8 5 5 5 6
6 Lamar Miller HOU vs. TEN 9 8 5 6 4 6 5
7 Todd Gurley LA @ ARI 4 7 7 11 9 7 4
8 Mark Ingram NO @ SD 14 10 4 8 6 8 11
9 LeSean McCoy BUF @ NE 10 9 10 10 10 9 7
10 DeMarco Murray TEN @ HOU 6 11 18 7 7 11 17
11 LeGarrette Blount NE vs. BUF 12 7 9 9 11 10 19
12 Matt Forte NYJ vs. SEA 8 12 14 12 12 12 13
13 Christine Michael SEA @ NYJ 18 14 12 14 17 14 8
14 Carlos Hyde SF vs. DAL 20 13 15 13 13 13 15
15 Jeremy Hill CIN vs. MIA 17 15 11 15 15 15 18
16 Frank Gore IND @ JAC 19 16 13 16 14 19 16
17 Latavius Murray OAK @ BAL 15 17 21 17 19 16 12
18 Charles Sims TB vs. DEN 13 20 16 18 16 17 22
19 Devonta Freeman ATL vs. CAR 11 21 19 19 18 18 21
20 Tevin Coleman ATL vs. CAR 16 24 25 24 22 22 14
21 Spencer Ware KC @ PIT 24 19 29 21 26 26 9
22 Isaiah Crowell CLE @ WAS 30 18 22 20 20 20 24
23 Theo Riddick DET @ CHI 21 22 17 22 21 21 39
24 Matt Jones WAS vs. CLE 23 27 20 27 23 23 20
25 Jerick McKinnon MIN vs. NYG 26 25 23 25 24 24 25
26 Giovani Bernard CIN vs. MIA 22 26 24 26 25 25 26
27 Jordan Howard CHI vs. DET 35 23 26 23 31 30 27
28 Dwayne Washington DET @ CHI 33 29 31 29 27 27 23
29 Cameron Artis-Payne CAR @ ATL 34 30 26 28 28 28 28
30 T.J. Yeldon JAC vs. IND 25 32 27 32 29 28 32
31 Duke Johnson CLE @ WAS 32 31 30 31 30 31 37
32 Chris Ivory JAC vs. IND 45 28 32 30 32 29 30
33 Derrick Henry TEN @ HOU 38 35 38 35 33 32 31
34 Justin Forsett BAL vs. OAK 31 33 33 33 38 33 42
35 Kenyan Drake MIA @ CIN 28 34 40 34 44 38 43
36 Rashad Jennings NYG @ MIN -- 41 28 41 34 34 33
37 Fozzy Whittaker CAR @ ATL 27 40 35 40 37 35 --
38 DeAngelo Williams PIT vs. KC -- 38 41 38 35 36 29
39 Terrance West BAL vs. OAK 41 42 36 42 40 37 36
40 Chris Thompson WAS vs. CLE 39 46 34 46 36 39 40
41 Alfred Morris DAL @ SF 29 45 43 45 43 41 38
42 James White NE vs. BUF 40 50 39 44 39 40 34
43 Orleans Darkwa NYG @ MIN 37 36 42 36 46 45 47
44 Matt Asiata MIN vs. NYG 44 39 37 37 41 42 --
45 Jay Ajayi MIA @ CIN 42 37 -- 39 -- 43 44
46 Jamaal Charles KC @ PIT 40 49 45 43 42 44 --
47 DeAndre Washington OAK @ BAL 36 43 -- 47 47 49 50
48 Chris Johnson ARI vs. LA 50 44 50 -- -- -- 35
49 Bilal Powell NYJ vs. SEA 43 -- 49 48 49 48 46
50 Charcandrick West KC @ PIT 46 47 48 49 48 47 49
-- Devontae Booker DEN @ TB 48 -- 44 -- 50 46 45
-- Dexter McCluster TEN @ HOU 47 -- 46 50 45 50 --
-- Shaun Draughn SF vs. DAL 49 48 -- -- -- -- 41
-- Ka'Deem Carey CHI vs. DET -- -- 47 -- -- -- --
-- C.J. Prosise SEA @ NYJ -- -- -- -- -- -- 48