Cincinnati Bengals running back Joe Mixon (R) is in the fantasy football RB2 lineup this week. File photo by John Sommers II/UPI
Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Leonard Fournette (L) carries the ball against the Green Bay Packers on Sunday at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. Photo by Steve Nesius/UPI
Houston Texans running back Dameon Pierce (31) drives the ball against the Chicago Bears on Sunday at Soldier Field in Chicago. Photo by Mark Black/UPI
Chicago Bears running back Khalil Herbert runs the ball against the Houston Texans on Sunday at Soldier Field in Chicago. Photo by Mark Black/UPI
Los Angeles Chargers running back Austin Ekeler (R) is my top option for Week 4. File photo by Jon SooHoo/UPI
MIAMI, Sept. 28 (UPI) — Joe Mixon is among my five running backs to avoid for Week 4 of the fantasy football season. Austin Ekeler leads my Top 30 weekly rankings for the position.
Josh Jacobs, Jeff Wilson Jr., Clyde Edwards-Helaire and JK Dobbins are among the other players I will try to keep out of my lineup.
Week 3 performance, opportunity, strength of Week 4 opponents and expected game script are among the factors I considered when deciding which players to avoid. My full top 30 rankings are below.
Mixon was likely a first- or second-round pick in your fantasy draft and can usually be considered an RB1. He should probably remain in your lineup this week, but tempers your expectations for the Cincinnati Bengals running back.
Mixon is my No. 16 option this week and could be used as an RB2. I would only replace him in your starting lineup if you are very deep at the position. The Bengals host the Miami Dolphins on Thursday in Cincinnati.
They allowed just 168 rushing yards to running backs through three weeks this season, third fewest in the league. They also allowed just one score to the position.
Mixon had just 23 yards on 12 carries in Week 3 and 57 yards on 19 carries in Week 2. I expect another underwhelming outing in Week 4, but a touchdown could salvage an otherwise pedestrian performance.
Las Vegas Raiders running back Josh Jacobs (28) is among my fantasy football players to avoid. File photo by Mike Goulding/UPI
Jacobs is the No. 26 option in my running Week 4 rankings and can be plugged in as a low-end RB2 if you don’t have a better player at the position.
The Las Vegas Raiders veteran has yet to score a touchdown this season. He also averaged just 64 rushing yards per game through his first three starts.
This week, the Raiders will host the Denver Broncos. The Broncos allowed the third fewest fantasy points and have yet to allow a touchdown to a running back this season.
San Francisco 49ers running back Jeff Wilson Jr. (22) is not a great football game in Week 4. File Photo by Terry Schmitt/UPI
Jeff Wilson Jr.
Wilson was a waiver favorite the past two weeks, but didn’t reward shareholders with overwhelmingly positive production. The San Francisco 49ers running back totaled 106 yards from scrimmage in Week 3, but will face a tough Los Angeles Rams front in Week 4.
The Rams allowed the second fewest fantasy points to running backs through three weeks. They also allowed just 39 yards on 13 carries to James Conner and just 16 yards on five carries to Eno Benjamin.
I expect the 49ers to split the workload in the backfield, including wide receiver Deebo Samuel in the running attack. Wilson can still gain about 80 yards from scrimmage, but I don’t expect a touchdown.
He’s my No. 27 option and can be used as a low-end RB2 or flex play, but is more valuable in point-per-reception formats.
Kansas City Chiefs running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire is outside of my top 30 fantasy football rankings for the position for Week 4. File Photo by Steve Nesius/UPI
Edwards-Helaire is outside the top 30 of my weekly rankings. The Kansas City Chiefs running back failed to gain positive yards on seven carries, but found the end zone for his third touchdown of the season in Week 3. Edwards-Helaire also totaled five catches for 39 yards.
Edwards-Helaire totaled 118 yards from scrimmage on 12 touches in Week 2. He recorded 74 yards from scrimmage and two scores in Week 1.
I don’t expect Edwards Helaire to score this week, which limits his upside. He also may struggle to find space on the ground while facing a Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense that allowed the fewest fantasy points to running backs through the first three weeks.
Look to plug another starter, if you have a better option, for Week 4.
Running back JK Dobbins is slowly being worked back into the Baltimore Ravens’ offensive game plan and can’t be trusted yet as a fantasy football starter. File photo by David Tulis/UPI
Dobbins totaled 40 yards from scrimmage on nine touches in his first start of the season in Week 3, a Baltimore Ravens win over the New England Patriots. This week he will battle the Buffalo Bills.
The Bills allowed just 173 yards from scrimmage, the fewest in the NFL, to running backs through three weeks. The Ravens’ reliance on running back Lamar Jackson and a potential split in the workload in the backfield limit Dobbins’ upside. Dobbin’s lack of use in Week 3 is also a single that the team plans to work him slowly.
He can’t be depended on as an RB2 until he gets at least 15 carries and is used more in the red zone.
Week 4 fantasy football running back rankings
1. Austin Ekeler, Los Angeles Chargers at HOU
2. Jonathan Taylor, Indianapolis Colts vs. TEN
3. Derrick Henry, Tennessee Titans at IND
4. Saquon Barkley, New York Giants vs. CHI
5. Dalvin Cook, Minnesota Vikings at NO
6. Christian McCaffrey, Carolina Panthers vs. TO RIDE
7. Alvin Kamara, New Orleans Saints vs. MY
8. Najee Harris, Pittsburgh Steelers vs. NEW
9. Javonte Williams, Denver Broncos in LV
10. Leonard Fournette, Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. KC
11. James Robinson, Jacksonville Jaguars at PHI
12. Khalil Herbert, Chicago Bears at NYG
13. James Conner, Arizona Cardinals at CAR
14. Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys vs. WAS
15. Nick Chubb, Cleveland Browns at ATL
16. Joe Mixon, Cincinnati Bengals vs. MIA
17. Jamaal Williams, Detroit Lions vs. SEA
18. Aaron Jones, Green Bay Packers vs. NO
19. AJ Dillon, Green Bay Packers vs. NO
20. Antonio Gibson, Washington Chiefs at DAL
21. Dameon Pierce, Houston Texans vs. LAC
22. Cordarrelle Patterson, Atlanta Falcons vs. CLE
23. Rashaad Penny, Seattle Seahawks at DET
24. Miles Sanders, Philadelphia Eagles vs. JAX
25. Kareem Hunt, Cleveland Browns at ATL
26. Josh Jacobs, Las Vegas Raiders vs. IT
27. Jeff Wilson Jr., San Francisco 49ers vs. THIGH
28. Cam Akers, Los Angeles Rams at SF
29. Raheem Mostert, Miami Dolphins at CIN
30. Craig Reynolds, Detroit Lions vs. SEA