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Fantasy football start/sit advice, Week 4: Running backs

With injuries ravaging the running back position, we try to help you navigate your fantasy lineup this week.

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

With Week 4 here, the running back position has already been blown up by injuries. This week, a number of notable names will be out, including Doug Martin, Jonathan Stewart, and Thomas Rawls. In addition, fantasy owners now have to start worrying about bye weeks, and Eddie Lacy and Ryan Mathews won't be available to use.

If there's good news, it's that Le'Veon Bell is back and Jamaal Charles could make his first appearance this year, so owners who stashed them on their benches should have their patience rewarded soon. In the meantime, let's look at three running backs you should have in your lineup this week, along with three you should probably leave on the bench.


Melvin Gordon, San Diego Chargers (vs. New Orleans Saints)

After a disastrous rookie year, Gordon is starting to unlock his potential in 2016. He has 194 rushing yards and four touchdowns so far, good enough for the seventh-most Yahoo! fantasy points among running backs. Oh, and he gets a Saints defense that got blown up by Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman last week. Gordon could end up having his best game of the year here.

Frank Gore, Indianapolis Colts (vs. Jacksonville Jaguars)

Still chugging along at age 33, Gore just keeps putting up decent RB2 numbers. He'll likely never be an elite fantasy player again, but his floor is safely established with no serious backfield competition. Look for him to pile up another 20 carries or so against the Jaguars' 20th-ranked rush defense in London.

LeGarrette Blount, New England Patriots (vs. Buffalo Bills)

Blount is leading the league with 298 rushing yards, which may be a surprise until you watch a Patriots game. He's been pounding the rock all season, not flashing highlight reel plays but picking up reliable yards with every carry. With the Patriots' quarterback situation still unsettled, Blount will eat once again against Buffalo. He's one of the safest RB2 plays in Week 4.


Matt Forte, New York Jets (vs. Seattle Seahawks)

Sitting Forte is a tough decision, since he's been a reliable workhorse so far with 67 carries in three games. However, he's averaging only 3.9 yards per carry and it seems like a matter of time before the Jets scale back his carries (Bilal Powell is already getting a role on passing downs). Add in the fact that he's running against Seattle's defense, and Forte becomes a major risk. Perhaps see if you have any higher-floor flex options to play over Forte this week.

Latavius Murray, Oakland Raiders (@ Baltimore Ravens)

Murray's snap counts have gone down from 45, to 36, to 31 in Week 3. His touches have decreased from 15 in Week 1 to 11 last week. DeAndre Washington and Jalen Richard keep eating into his playing time and carries. The Ravens are eighth in the league in rushing yards allowed per game. All signs point to Murray being a hard sit this week.

Jerick McKinnon, Minnesota Vikings (vs. New York Giants)

McKinnon is the ostensible lead back with Adrian Peterson out, but he's still losing goal line touches to Matt Asiata and the Giants have a much-improved run defense this season. McKinnon should still have productive fantasy games this season, but Week 4 is not shaping up as one of them.