We’ve made it through 4 weeks of a crazy NFL Season. The first quarter of games have happened and we’ve had a good look at which players have broken out and which we’re waiting to see more from. Check out our quarterly awards article to see who we have winning what so far based on their current performance. In this article, we’ll break down other players who are on the rise and should be starting in your lineup or sit if they are fading. We intentionally exclude players such as Alvin Kamara and Dalvin Cook who should be in your starting lineup every week.
Running Backs to Start:
Kareem Hunt – With the loss of Nick Chubb against the Cowboys, the Browns running game still prevailed with the power of Kareem Hunt and the speed of D’Ernest Johnson. The Browns are one of the top teams in the NFL this season in rushing yards and percentage of running plays. Even with Chubb active and healthy, Hunt has been one of the top fantasy running backs this season and a reliable RB2. With Chubb out and playing a Colts team which has one of the top defenses against the pass, Hunt could see many touches and put him in a good position for a breakout game.
James Robinson – Robinson has been a huge surprise for the Jacksonville Jaguars this season and in a great way! The rookie running back has a combined 447 yards with 3 touchdowns. He’s been great in PPR leagues and should continue doing so as the lead back in the Jacksonville Offense. Jacksonville faces an 0-4 Houston Texans angstful for a win, but this will be a high-scoring shootout with the Jags and Texans going toe for toe which sets Robinson up for a good matchup for your fantasy team.
Mike Davis – Davis has filled in well in the wake of Christian McCaffrey’s absence over the last 3 weeks. Davis has been playing well against teams with weaker defenses and is set to face another lower-end defense against the Atlanta Falcons this week. The Atlanta Falcons have allowed huge games to their opponent in almost every game this season and with the Carolina Panthers in town, this could be the game for breakout performances for Teddy Bridgewater and Mike Davis who need to be starting in your lineups to capitalize off of this great opportunity.
Running Backs to Sit:
Myles Gaskin – Gaskin has surprisingly stepped into the lead back role for the Miami Dolphins overtaking the recently signed Jordan Howard and Matt Breida for the bulk of the carries. Howard and Breida began the season as 1-2 in the lineup but the young Gaskin has emerged into a promising candidate for the rebuilding Dolphins to have as their future running back. The Dolphins team is in the middle of this lengthy rebuild and will still need time for Gaskin to fully develop which is going to happen through the course of this season. The 49ers are another tough NFC West team that the Dolphins will have to face and similar to the Seattle Seahawks, the 49ers defense is one to be reckoned with. Regardless of the injuries to the 49ers team, they should win this game and Gaskin would be safer left on your bench unless you’re in deeper leagues or dealing with injuries/postponed games and need a starter.
Le’Veon Bell – The Jets have activated Le’Veon Bell off the injured reserve list and is set to be the starting running back for the Jets this week. The Jets are also starting Joe Flacco who starts his first football game in over a year. With Flacco in at quarterback and Bell still not being fully recovered, we truly do not know what to expect from the Jets offense this week. The Jets are not a team we can always rely on and until we know how Flacco performs to see if he still has some juice left in him to help lead the Jets offense, both Flacco and Bell are better left on your bench until we know how the pair will work together this week and moving forward.
Chase Edmonds – Edmonds has been a popular waiver wire pickup as Kenyan Drake has had a disappointing season for fantasy owners as he was a late first round / early second round pick in most fantasy leagues. Drake might play but even if he plays he will be dealing with a chest injury which will allow Edmonds to see more touches. With Drake’s decline, Edmonds falls into the mix, but it’s not just Drake who has been performing worse than usual, Kyler Murray hasn’t been at his peak level yet this season and the Cardinals offense isn’t at a place where we’d like it to be overall yet. The blame doesn’t necessarily fall on Kenyan Drake, but on the Cardinals play in general which has set Drake up for tougher opportunities to break out. With Edmonds, why would we expect anything to be different? Edmonds has a similar play style to Drake and Edmonds hasn’t proven himself as a starting running back in the NFL. Despite the friendly matchup against the Jets, it’d be best to wait to see how the Cardinals offense can perform in this game and what the running back situation looks like after this week before jumping the gun and starting Edmonds.