The List: Ranking Each Position for Week 3

Erik Smith releases his Week 3 fantasy football rankings in time for your weekly waiver decisions.

RB Notes


  • With Christian McCaffrey and Saquon Barkley out of action, we have a big reshuffling at the top of our running back rankings. Alvin Kamara is being relied on more than ever with Michael Thomas out with injury, and his passing game work separates him from the pack. This Packers defense gave up the eighth-most rushing yards per attempt in 2019 and they are picking up where they left off in 2020 so far. Kamara is my RB1 and will be a top 3 running back nearly every week from here on out.
  • Jonathan Taylor as RB3 feels too high even for me, but with the major injuries at the position here we are. The Jets were actually an elite run defense last year, but we saw them get gashed for big plays last week against the 49ers, and they come into Week 3 allowing the thirteenth-most rushing yards per attempt and the eighth-most total rushing yards. But really the biggest factor in Taylor’s ranking is the Colts’ commitment to him as their lead back, their commitment to the running game in general, and the expected lead that Indianapolis should be playing with. Taylor still feels like he has a statement week coming, and this could be the week.


  • Miles Sanders was back last week and handled a big workload, and gets a Bengals defense that just got obliterated by the Browns running game. The Eagles need a get-right game, and I would expect Sanders to be at the forefront. He’s my RB4 ahead of some big names.
  • Dalvin Cook slips to RB5 (behind Sanders and Taylor) due to the overall struggles of his offense, which is capping his upside. Aaron Jones went nuclear last week but faces a Saints defense that really held Josh Jacobs in check and is certainly going to be focused after a disappointing performance on Monday night. The Saints are allowing the fourth-fewest rushing yards per attempt after finishing in the top half last year as well.


  • Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Josh Jacobs draw tough matchups this week against the Ravens and Patriots respectively. But these are two healthy running backs, so let’s not overthink it, as they are their team’s workhorses that will be featured all game long.
  • I guess we have to trust James Conner again now that he made it through a whole game healthy, although I don’t feel great about it. He’s a weekly injury risk, but he’s among the most featured running backs when out there on a good Pittsburgh offense. Houston has allowed the second-most rushing yards per attempt this year after ranking sixth-worst last year. Conner is my RB16 with upside for more.


  • The first muddied backfield to figure out is the one in Los Angeles, as the Rams saw Cam Akers go down with a rib injury early last week. He may be able to play this week, and if he does this is a mess you probably want to avoid if possible against the Bills. But assuming that Akers takes a week to recover and misses Week 3, I’ve got Darrell Henderson as my RB24 and Malcolm Brown as my RB31, as Henderson looked like the more explosive back last week while Brown has a broken finger that he will play through. Even if Akers does play and you are forced to sit all three this week, this is still a backfield that I want to stash and hold for the upside.
  • Next up is Tampa Bay, where we think that Leonard Fournette took over last week after the Ronald Jones II fumble on a botched handoff, but who knows. Both could have some value here against an injury-riddled Broncos team, making them both in play, but if I have to choose I’m taking Fournette, making him my RB25.


  • Mike Davis is my favorite of the pure injury replacements, as he caught eight balls last week in garbage time and could see similar work against the Chargers. He may not have much room to run, but in PPR leagues he should be a fine flex option or RB2, as the Panthers don’t have a ton of talent at the position with CMC out. I’m avoiding the Giants backfield until we get some more clarity with how quickly Devonta Freeman gets up to speed, and what Dion Lewis‘ role actually is.
  • I don’t expect Jerick McKinnon to be a true workhorse, so temper expectations even in a nice matchup, he is more of a flex play. Keep an eye on JaMycal Hasty and Jeff Wilson Jr., as one of them could emerge this week as the volume back. And in Baltimore, who knows what to expect from J.K. Dobbins or Mark Ingram II at this point. I still think Dobbins is the more explosive player and was in the third-down role last week, which could be more valuable against the Chiefs. But for now, both are boom/bust flex plays.


Green=Strong Starter, Yellow=Solid Starter, Red=Look for Better Options

Week 3 RB Rankings (PPR)

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