Skip to main content
Week 4 Start Em, Sit Em: Running Backs

Week 4 Start Em, Sit Em: Running Backs

NFL DFS Week 4: RB Report - Josh Jacobs Primed For Huge Production

An in-depth NFL DFS guide to the Week 4 running backs to target and fade when setting your daily lineups.

Alvin Kamara, NO (DK – $8,000/FD – $8,800)

Over the past two games with Michael Thomas injured, Drew Brees fed Kamara the ball in the passing game (9/95 and 13/139/2) while showing more explosiveness in space (10.6 yards per catch). Game score led to only six rushes for 58 yards vs. the Packers. He’s averaging 19.3 touches per game, leading to 438 combined yards with six touchdowns and 27 catches. The Lions struggled to defend running backs over the first three games (566 combined yards with four touchdowns and 11 catches). Aaron Jones beat Detroit for 45.60 fantasy points in Week 2. With Thomas expected to play, Kamara will have a drop-down in chances in the passing game. Even with three-down ability, the Saints give one-third of their running back snaps to Latavius Murray. Kamara is a hot player with a rising salary, but his matchup is winnable.

Ezekiel Elliott, DAL (DK – $7,800/FD – $9,000)

Image result for zeke elliott food

The Elliott dart hasn’t stuck on the winning teams in the daily games over the previous two games (23.20 and 17.80 fantasy points) despite being the third-highest scoring running back (68.70) on the year. In Week 3, the Seahawks bottled him up at the line of scrimmage (14/34), but he did score a rushing touchdown for the third straight game. The Cowboys attempted 106 passes over the past two games, helping Elliott’s floor in the passing game (6/33 and 6/24). He averages over 24 touches per game. Despite plenty of chances, Elliott hasn’t gained over 20 yards on any play this season. The Browns held running backs to 3.5 yards per rush with three rushing touchdowns allowed. Cleveland gave up 11 touchdowns this year, which points to Dallas having success scoring again this week at home. Elliott’s opportunity sets a high floor, but he can’t post a playable score without a minimum of two touchdowns or a couple of big plays.

Dalvin Cook, MIN (DK – $7,600/FD – $8,700)

Cook broke free into the Titans’ second level of their defense on multiple plays last week. He finished with 199 combined yards with a touchdown and two catches. Over the previous two seasons, Cook caught 93 passes over 25 contests, but he only has five catches on nine targets in three games. The Vikings had him on the field for 76.5 percent of their snaps over the last two weeks. Minnesota gave him 53 touches so far this season. Opponents average over 36 rushes per game against Houston, leading to running backs gaining 604 combined yards with four touchdowns and 11 catches. This matchup offers upside, and Cook has the explosiveness to shine if given space to make plays.

Austin Ekeler, LAC (DK – $7,100/FD – $6,900)

Ekeler filled his salary bucket in GPPs in Week 3 after shining against the Panthers (143 combined yards with one touchdown and 11 catches). After three games, he gained 378 combined yards with one touchdown and 16 catches with success in both his yards per rush (5.0) and yards per catch (8.9). The Chargers’ running backs have 113 touches on the year, with Ekeler receiving 55.7 percent of the chances. Tampa remains one of the top teams in the NFL against the run (2.9 yards per rush) while minimizing the damage to running backs in the passing game (14/98/1). Justin Herbert threw the ball well in his first two starts, but his game should regress on the road. Ekeler is a fade for me in this matchup at DraftKings.

Nick Chubb, CLE (DK – $7,000/FD – $8,300)

Cleveland won two favorable matchups at home over the past two weeks thanks to success with their running backs (430 combined yards with seven touchdowns and eight catches). Chubb gained over 100 yards with two touchdowns in back-to-backs games (22/124/2 and 19/108/2). The Browns have looked his way only once in the passing game each week this year. Dallas allowed over 100 yards rushing in each game with ball carries gaining only 3.8 yards per rush. The Rams had the most success on the ground (40/153/2) vs. the Cowboys. Chubb needs Baker Mayfield to play better to help the overall scoring chances of the Browns. Not a great matchup, especially if Cleveland needs to chase on the scoreboard.

Josh Jacobs, LV (DK – $6,800/FD – $8,000)

After three games, Jacobs has yet to gain over 20 yards on any of his 68 rushes. He’s gaining only 3.7 yards per rush while averaging 26 touches per game. The Raiders have looked his way 13 times in the passing game (10/75) over the first three weeks, helping his floor. Jacobs scored all three of his touchdowns in Week 1. In 2019, his play was much better at home (20.41 FPPG). The Bills’ defense struggled in back-to-back games (60 points allowed) with running backs gaining 194 combined yards with two touchdowns and eight catches. Jacobs does have a hip issue, which led to him seeing 59 percent of the Raiders’ snaps in Week 2 (78 and 66 percent over the first two games). Based on overall touches and his success at home, Jacobs looks primed to rush for over 100 yards with a pair of touchdowns.

Jonathan Taylor, IND (DK – $6,600/FD – $7,500)

With the Colts playing with a big lead late against the Jets, Taylor was only on the field for 40 percent of Indy’s plays. He finished with 62 combined yards with one catch while extending his scoring streak to two games. His big-play ability has been missing over his first 48 carries (3.8 yards per rush and no runs over 20 yards). The Bears gave up four rushing touchdowns over three games with running backs gaining almost 5.0 yards per rush, despite facing Adrian Peterson, Saquon Barkley (only four carries), and Todd Gurley. Taylor hasn’t worked his way to a workhorse role, making him more of a risk/reward play if he finds some running room. Right kind of swing as his ceiling is still above his salary.

James Robinson, JAC (DK – $6,500/FD – $6,600)

Robinson went from unknown to a must start over his first three games in the NFL. He gained 249 combined yards with three touchdowns and nine catches over the last two weeks while averaging 18 touches. On the year, Robinson averages 4.9 yards per rush and 12.9 yards per catch. Even with success, game score in Week 3 led to him only being on the field for 45 percent of the Jaguars’ plays. His matchup against Cincinnati points to another strong game. The Bengals allow 5.0 yards per rush with opponents scoring six running back touchdowns with 499 combined yards and nine catches. Robinson runs with power and balance, which plays well at the goal line. Viable at this level.

Clyde Edwards-Helaire, KC (DK – $6,400/FD – $7,400)

In my history watching the Patriots, I’ve seen this type of matchup play out many times for Bill Belichick's defense. Patrick Mahomes drilled the Ravens on Monday night (411 combined yards and five touchdowns). New England will play to stop the pass, which will create plenty of running opportunities for Edwards-Helaire. After shining in Week 1 on the ground (25/138/1), he gained only 102 rushing yards on his next 30 carries. The Chiefs have looked his way in the passing game in Week 2 (6/32) and Week 3 (5/70). The Patriots allowed over 5.0 yards per rush in back-to-back games (30/154 and 22/126) with running backs averaging six catches per week. With no games with over 20.00 fantasy points in PPR leagues, Edwards-Helaire looks overpriced. The bet here is on the Chiefs' offense and his 22 touches per game. I expect over 100 yards rushing with a floor of one touchdown.

Kareem Hunt, CLE (DK - $6,200/FD – $5,900)

Hunt landed on the injury report midweek with a groin issue that may be minor. After three games, he is the 13th highest scoring running back (16.87 FPPG) with one impact game (101 combined yards with two touchdowns and two catches). His receiving opportunity has been limited over the previous two contests with the Browns playing from the lead and relying on their run game. Running backs only have 11 catches for 70 yards on 14 targets against the Cowboys over the first three games. Hunt looks overpriced at DraftKings based on his lower number of touches per game (16.7), but a chaser game would work in his favor.

Kenyan Drake, ARI (DK – $6,000/FD – $7,000)

For the SHARP daily players, Drake will shine brightly this week. His play has been rather dull after three games (239 combined yards with one touchdown and five catches) while averaging 19.7 touches. The Cardinals tend to have Drake on the field for two-thirds of their plays. Carolina remains on the worst defense in the league vs. the running back position (577 combined yards with seven touchdowns and 32 catches or 43.33 FPPG). Drake should score over 30 fantasy points if he receives his normal rotation of playing time. If you need to TINKER with your lineup, it should be well worth your time to have a piece of Drake in Week 3.

Devin Singletary, BUF (DK – $5,900/FD – $6,000)

Last week Singletary fell a touchdown short of being a value at DraftKings. The game set up perfectly for him in the second half (Buffalo has a big lead), but the Bills’ defense couldn’t get the Rams’ offense off the field. He finished with 121 combined yards and four catches on 17 touches. Buffalo gave him a couple of runs inside the five yards line. Singletary was on the field for a season-high 89 percent of the Bills’ plays. The only team worse than the Panthers vs. running backs in 2020 is the Raiders (684 combined yards with seven touchdowns and 26 catches). In their defense, Las Vegas did face Christian McCaffrey, Alvin Kamara, and the great Rex Burkhead. Early in the week, Singletary looked to have the green light for the daily games, but Zach Moss is trending toward playing week, which clouds up the situation.

Joe Mixon, CIN (DK – $5,800/FD – $6,800)

Joe Mixon, Cincinnati Bengals, Fantasy Football

For the second straight season, Mixon struggled to make plays early in the year. He’s averaging only 3.2 yards per carry with no touchdowns. The Bengals gave him 20 touches in each game. In 2019, the Jaguars held him to two yards rushing on 10 carries at home. Jacksonville allowed 31 points in back-to-back games, which led to 35 rushes per game. Over this span, they allowed only 3.7 yards per carry. In Week 1, the Colts picked on the Jaguars’ pass defense with their running backs (17/142/1). Tough to get expected here, but Mixon is playing at home with an improving quarterback.

Darrell Henderson, LAR (DK – $5,800/FD – $6,400)

Henderson won the Rams' starting running back job after playing well in back-to-back games. In Week 3, Los Angeles had him on the field for 49 percent of their plays, which matched Malcolm Brown. Henderson won the battle in production (120 combined yards with one touchdown). His success over the last two contests on the road (241 combined yards with two touchdowns and three catches) pushed him to 20th in running back scoring (39.70 fantasy points). Last week the Giants allowed three touchdowns to the 49ers' running backs, but they held them to 2.7 yards per rush. New York allowed 524 combined yards with five touchdowns and 16 catches to the running back position. Henderson worked his way to a must-start in the season-long games, but his resume isn’t long enough to trust in the daily games when adding in his higher salary. Love his direction and explosiveness, which is what the Rams lacked from Todd Gurley in 2019. He does get a bump for playing at home, and Los Angeles’ defense may create a short field for scoring a couple of times in this matchup.

Mike Davis, CAR (DK – $5,700/FD – $6,300)

In his first start for the Panthers, Carolina had Davis on the field for 76 percent of their plays, and they used him in almost the same role as Christian McCaffrey. He finished with 21 touches for 91 combined yards with a touchdown and eight catches. I still can’t get excited about his 3.4 yards per rush or his 7.4 yards per catch, but Davis will get over 20 touches with a starting job. The Cardinals showed risk in Week 1 vs. the 49ers’ running backs (276 combined yards with two touchdowns and nine catches). They allow 4.4 yards per carry with one rushing touchdown allowed. A 20-point fantasy game looks to be within reach.

Mark Ingram, BAL (DK – $5,700/FD – $6,500)

The running back situation for the Ravens is extremely messy after three games. Ingram only has 28 touches so far for 136 yards with one touchdown and two catches. His 4.4 yards per rush and 11.0 yards per catch suggest his decline isn’t his fault. He remains in a dead heat in snaps with J.K. Dobbins, and Baltimore continues to rotate in Gus Edwards. Avoid for now due to his low number of touches.

Leonard Fournette, TB (DK – $5,600/FD – $5,500)

Fournette failed to build off his Week 2 success (116 combined yards with two touchdowns and four catches) in his trip to Denver. He gained only 22 yards on nine touches with two catches while receiving 37 percent of Tampa's running back snaps. Fournette landed on the injury report midweek with an ankle issue that wasn’t mentioned after last week's game. The Chargers' defense already lost three starting players, which points to regression against the run and pass. Over the first three games, they allowed 226 rushing yards to running backs with no touchdowns. Fournette has too much downside in playing time to play in the daily tournaments.

David Johnson, HOU (DK – $5,600/FD – $6,700)

Johnson only has 42 touches over the first three games while gaining only 3.8 yards per rush. He ranks 21st in running back scoring (13.17 FPPG). The Texans faced three good teams (KC, BAL, and PIT) to start the year, which is part of Johnson's early struggles. Minnesota lost the time of possession battle in each of their first three games, which led to 102 points allowed and running backs attempting 32 rushes per game. The Vikings give up 4.1 yards per rush with running backs scoring four touchdowns. Houston has Johnson on the field for 81, 95, and 96 percent of their plays. It’s all about the game score here. More rushers will come when the Texans play from the lead.

David Montgomery, CHI (DK – $5,500/FD – $5,800)

With Tarik Cohen out for the season with a torn ACL, Montgomery has a chance to work as workhorse three-down back. Over the first three games, he averaged 4.4 yards per rush and 10.7 yards per catch while averaging 16.3 touches per game. His best value came in Week 2 (127 combined yards with a touchdown and three catches). The Colts rank well in all defensive categories after starting the season with the favorable matchups (JAC, MIN, and NYJ). Montgomery is priced low enough where 100-plus yards with a touchdown and a couple of catches put him in play in the daily space. The change to Nick Foles at quarterback for the Bears may lead to more success in scoring for Chicago.

Carlos Hyde, SEA (DK – $5,300/FD – $5,700)

Hyde looked to be a path for a nice bump in playing time this week, but he landed in the injury report with a shoulder issue. Chris Carson is expected to miss a couple of games with a knee issue. Hyde gained 83 yards with a touchdown and three catches over his first 19 touches. Miami allows 4.9 yards per rush with running backs scoring three touchdowns and picking up 17 catches. Need more info here, but a split role with Travis Homer would make Hyde useless in the daily games, even with a winnable matchup.

MORE: Week 4 Rankings, Articles, Reports & Tools Hub

Alvin Kamara, NO (DK – $8,000/FD – $8,800)

Over the past two games with Michael Thomas injured, Drew Brees fed Kamara the ball in the passing game (9/95 and 13/139/2) while showing more explosiveness in space (10.6 yards per catch). Game score led to only six rushes for 58 yards vs. the Packers. He’s averaging 19.3 touches per game, leading to 438 combined yards with six touchdowns and 27 catches. The Lions struggled to defend running backs over the first three games (566 combined yards with four touchdowns and 11 catches). Aaron Jones beat Detroit for 45.60 fantasy points in Week 2. With Thomas expected to play, Kamara will have a drop-down in chances in the passing game. Even with three-down ability, the Saints give one-third of their running back snaps to Latavius Murray. Kamara is a hot player with a rising salary, but his matchup is winnable.

Member Exclusive

Get Access to Our Exclusive Content