Fantasy Football Week 4 Starts, Sits Rankings: Running Back Handcuffs To Pay Off?

Jamaal Williams, Khalil Herbert, Alexander Mattison might all be worthy


September 28

Fantasy football managers who drafted and have continued to roster running back handcuffs rather than the shiny toy on the waiver wire should be entering a favorable situation with Week 4 of the NFL season approaching.

The respective injuries to running backs like D’Andre Swift, David Montgomery and Dalvin Cook create opportunities for their respective backups like Jamaal Williams, Khalil Herbert and Alexander Mattison, respectively. It’s worth keeping tabs on injury reports and updates as Sunday’s slate of games creeps closer given the fluidity of one or two of those aforementioned situations.

With that in mind, we’ve highlighted three starts and three sits prior to Week 4 in fantasy football:

Jamaal Williams, RB, Detroit Lions
Williams was viewed as one of the top handcuffs behind Swift and the potential of a Week 4 outburst is exactly why. Williams saw 45% of snaps in Week 3 with Swift hindered by a shoulder injury and finished RB3 in total scoring with 24.70 points in full-point leagues, per Sportradar. The hard-running ball carrier finished with four rushes of 10-plus yards, tied for second in the league, as he turned 22 touches into 107 yards with two touchdowns. Williams now has four scores in three games this season. Williams, viewed as Yahoo’s RB12 entering the slate, will go against an abysmal Seattle Seahawks defense that has allowed the sixth-most points to running backs.

Dameon Pierce, RB, Houston Texans
The potential of Pierce was on display in Week 3 with the Texans rookie earning 59% of the offensive snaps, more than double what he received in the season opener. Pierce finished ninth in scoring among players at the position as he turned 22 touches into his first 100-plus yard game for 18.10 points in full-point leagues. Pierce is ranked Yahoo’s RB19 entering Houston’s contest against the injury-plagued Los Angeles Chargers, who are allowing the eighth-most points to running backs through three weeks.

Drake London, WR, Atlanta Falcons
The Falcons rookie ranks 14th in scoring this season and 21st in targets among all wide receivers, per Sportradar. He’s probably started to creep into starting lineups for fantasy managers given his 17.13 point-per-game average, and it’s worth running it back with London again in Week 4. The Falcons host a Cleveland Browns defense that has allowed the sixth-most points to wideouts through three weeks with star Myles Garrett potentially missing the contest after being involved in a scary car accident Monday. London is ranked Yahoo’s WR19 entering the contest.

Allen Robinson, WR, Los Angeles Rams
Robinson has struggled to produce alongside Matthew Stafford, seeing an average of just four targets per game and turning it into merely seven touches for 88 yards on the season. He’s averaged 7.27 points per week with Cooper Kupp, rather obviously, taking the majority of the target share (35 in three weeks). Los Angeles now will go up against a San Francisco 49ers unit that has given up the fourth-fewest points to wide receivers.

DeVante Parker, WR, New England Patriots
For all the managers that are hoping the Week 3 breakout from Parker — he scored 20.60 points in full-point leagues, ranking WR11 on the week — indicates better days ahead, well, it’s probably smart to pump the breaks. Parker did so without Jakobi Meyers active against the Ravens, and with Mac Jones behind center. The Patriots quarterback almost certainly won’t play this week with the potential of Meyers’ return likely resulting in fewer targets from second-stringer Brian Hoyer. Oh yeah, and the Patriots will go up against a Packers defense far better suited to stop the passing attack with Green Bay ranking in the top 10 in fewest points allowed to wideouts.

Clyde Edwards-Helaire, RB, Kansas City Chiefs
A regression to the mean has to be coming for Edwards-Helaire, right? The Chiefs running back ranks fourth in points per game this season despite ranking 34th among running backs in touches and 18th in yards from scrimmage. The Chiefs third-year back has played an average of 41% of offensive snaps, while being given 20 fewer snaps (87-67) than teammate Jerrick McKinnon. Edwards-Helaire has relied far too heavily on touchdowns this season, and goes up against a Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense that has not given up a touchdown to a running back en route to the fewest fantasy points allowed to the position.

NESN 360 in-article asset
Thumbnail photo via David Reginek/USA TODAY Sports Images

Picked For You