Week 3 fantasy RB rankings for standard leagues
Last week provided thrilling victories, agonizing defeats, and a day-long rollercoaster at the running back position. Many fantasy football owners were riding high by the end of the weekend, while plenty others found themselves licking their wounds. Our Week 3 fantasy RB rankings for standard leagues will pick up the pieces, reset the table, and help you decide who's gonna eat and who's gonna be left sifting through scraps.
One guy who ate well: D'Andre Swift in the Eagles' home opener. What a difference a week makes! In Week 1, Swift touched the ball twice and netted three total yards. In Week 2, he turned 31 touches into 181 yards and a TD. That made him one of the top backs of the week, even better than modern RB GOAT Christian McCaffrey and rookie Falcons star Bijan Robinson.
That's just some of the highlights, but there were plenty of lowlights, including Saquon Barkley (ankle) limping off the field at the end of the Giants' triumphant comeback over the Cardinals. Detroit's David Montgomery didn't even limp off — he got carted to the locker room with a quad injury. And Cam Akers seems to have finally fallen out of favor in L.A. after being announced a healthy scratch ahead of the Rams-Niners tilt. We'll discuss who the "next man up" will be for the G-Men, Lions, and Rams.
WEEK 3 STANDARD RANKINGS:QBs | WRs | TEs | D/STs | Kickers
Let's get right to it. Here are our RB rankings for Week 3 of the 2023 NFL season, including write-ups about the cream of the crop, potential sleepers and flops, and injuries of note to consider with add/drops. Good luck, have fun, check back often, and enjoy the ride!
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Austin Ekeler (@ Vikings) and Christian McCaffrey (vs. Giants) are the best of the best in PPR and standard — they are cheat codes, especially against these lame-duck defenses. Monitor Ekeler's ankle throughout the week, but reports suggested he was nearly a go in Nashville last weekend, so he's back to the top of our ranks.
WEEK 3 PPR RANKINGS:QBs | RBs | WRs | TEs | D/STs | Kickers
Also appearing near the upper echelon, Falcons' rookie Bijan Robinson (@ Lions) could wreak havoc on Motown this week. He looks more like a five-year vet as opposed to a fresh-faced 21-year-old. He's right up there with the Cowboys' Tony Pollard (@ Cardinals) and Jaguars' Travis Etienne (vs. Texans), who also enjoy cake Week 3 matchups. On the other side of ATL's matchup, Detroit's Jahmyr Gibbs (vs. Falcons) should see a nice boost with David Montgomery hurt.
Some of the guys in the top 12 have less appealing matchups, like Josh Jacobs (vs. Steelers), Nick Chubb (vs. Titans), Derrick Henry (@ Browns), and Joe Mixon (vs. Rams). However, these guys command so much of their respective backfields — and have such well-established floors — that they remain among the best options going into Week 3.
Jerome Ford (vs. Titans) is not only a must-roster player in the wake of Nick Chubb's season-ending knee injury — but he's probably a must-start, too. Ford demonstrated his solid vision and burst in his relief-effort performance on Monday night against a tough Steelers defense, so we're not worried too much about Tennessee's run D. Cleveland's offensive line makes the lead dawg in the pound matchup-proof.
Last week we told you to target Ravens backs Justice Hill and Gus Edwards as sleepers in the wake of JK Dobbins' season-ending Achilles' tear. Now that Edwards (vs. Colts) just gashed Cincinnati for 62 yards and a TD on just 10 totes, he creeps into our top 25 in standard leagues. If he's somehow still available in your league, you might want to unload 50 percent of your FAAB or use a high waiver priority on the Gus Bus.
Speaking of Cincy, the Rams' Kyren Williams (@ Bengals) has been awesome through two weeks and appears to be "the guy" in L.A. He takes his NFL-leading four TDs into the rematch of Super Bowl LVI, and we have no reason to think Williams won't continue to excel. The Bengals surrendered 163 total yards to RBs in Week 1 and 115 scrimmage yards and a TD to RBs in Week 2. KW has needed 15 or fewer carries to produce 52 ground yards and a score in two straight weeks, and Matthew Stafford even found him for six catches, 48 yards, and a TD against the 49ers.
He's not a sleeper per se, but the Texans' Dameon Pierce (@ Jaguars) could be a good buy-low bounce-back candidate this week in Jacksonville. Houston's offensive line has been very banged up, making things difficult for Pierce against Baltimore and Indy. If DeMeco Ryans' line can get healthy by the weekend, look out — the Jags let Isiah Pacheco tally 70 yards on just 12 carries on Sunday.
Regarding the Giants, we wouldn't be nearly as excited about any of Saquon Barkley's potential replacements after his ankle injury. The Giants face the 49ers in San Francisco on Thursday — so no matter what happens between now and then, we'll be weary of starting a New York back.
Things haven't started swimmingly for the Jets' Breece Hall (vs. Patriots). Aaron Rodgers' injury stung, but the offensive line's underwhelming run-blocking hasn't helped. Now Gang Green has a date with New England, an early-season matchup Bill Belichick always seems to have circled on his calendar in big green Sharpie ink.
We knocked the Buccaneers' Rachaad White (vs. Eagles) way down despite his 100-yard, one-TD effort against Chicago in Week 2. Philadelphia's d-line is a much different animal than the Bears. We have similar reservations when it comes to Arizona's James Conner (vs. Cowboys), who has been surprisingly efficient so far this season but draws perennial DPOY candidate Micah Parsons and the Cowboys this weekend.
UPDATE (9/19): Nick Chubb's devastating knee injury on Monday Night Football obviously headlines this list, with the Browns' veteran out for at least the rest of the season. As we mentioned in the sleepers section, Jerome Ford should be a priority add wherever he's available.
As we mentioned in the beginning, we'll have to keep our eye on Saquon Barkley (ankle) and David Montgomery (quad) throughout the week. Saquon was noticeably distraught after limping off the field, clearly worried that he'll miss time in his "bet-on-yourself" campaign (he signed a one-year deal in hopes of landing a big contract following the season).
Montgomery (quad) also doesn't seem like a promising situation. The Lions veteran needed a cart to go back to the locker room following the injury, which was initially disclosed as a thigh. He later surmised that he could need "a couple weeks" to heal. We thought it was pumpkin spice season, but as it turns out, it might be Jahmyr Gibbs SZN.
We'll also have to watch Austin Ekeler (ankle), Kenneth Gainwell (ribs), and Aaron Jones (hamstring) after they missed last week. We tentatively expect all to play, but their presences will obviously have a big effect handcuffs Joshua Kelley (@ Vikings), D'Andre Swift (@ Buccaneers), and AJ Dillon (vs. Saints).
We'll continue to update our standard RB rankings throughout the week, so check back for updates.
Rankings based on standard, non-PPR scoring
Rank Player1 Austin Ekeler, Chargers @ Vikings2 Christian McCaffrey, 49ers vs. Giants3 Bijan Robinson, Falcons @ Lions4 Travis Etienne, Jaguars vs. Texans5 Tony Pollard, Cowboys @ Cardinals6 Josh Jacobs, Raiders vs. Steelers7 Kenneth Walker III, Seahawks vs. Panthers8 Joe Mixon, Bengals vs. Rams9 Derrick Henry, Titans @ Browns10 Aaron Jones, Packers vs. Saints11 Rhamondre Stevenson, Patriots @ Jets12 Isiah Pacheco, Chiefs vs. Bears13 Jahmyr Gibbs, Lions vs. Falcons14 James Cook, Bills @ Commanders15 Miles Sanders, Panthers @ Seahawks16 Jerome Ford, Browns vs. Titans17 Najee Harris, Steelers @ Raiders18 Javonte Williams, Broncos @ Dolphins19 Kyren Williams, Rams @ Bengals20 Dameon Pierce, Texans @ Jaguars21 Gus Edwards, Ravens vs. Colts22 Breece Hall, Jets vs. Patriots23 Khalil Herbert, Bears @ Chiefs24 Alexander Mattison, Vikings vs. Chargers25 Jamaal Williams, Saints @ Packers26 D'Andre Swift, Eagles @ Buccaneers27 James Conner, Cardinals vs. Cowboys28 Tyler Allgeier, Falcons @ Lions29 Rachaad White, Buccaneers vs. Eagles30 Zack Moss, Colts @ Ravens31 Ezekiel Elliott, Patriots @ Jets32 Brian Robinson Jr., Commanders vs. Bills33 Raheem Mostert, Dolphins vs. Broncos34 Roschon Johnson, Bears @ Chiefs35 Chuba Hubbard, Panthers @ Seahawks36 Dalvin Cook, Jets vs. Patriots37 Samaje Perine, Broncos @ Dolphins38 Justice Hill, Ravens vs. Colts 39 Joshua Kelley, Chargers @ Vikings40 Latavius Murray, Bills @ Commanders41 Kenneth Gainwell, Eagles @ Buccaneers42 Jerick McKinnon, Chiefs vs. Bears43 AJ Dillon, Packers vs. Saints44 Matt Breida, Giants @ 49ers45 Zach Charbonnet, Seahawks vs. Panthers46 Tank Bigsby, Jaguars vs. Texans47 Elijah Mitchell, 49ers vs. Giants48 Kendre Miller, Saints @ Packers49 Deon Jackson, Colts @ Ravens50 Michael Carter, Jets vs. Patriots51 Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Chiefs vs. Bears52 Jaylen Warren, Steelers @ Raiders53 Antonio Gibson, Commanders vs. Bills54 Tyjae Spears, Titans @ Browns55 De'Von Achane, Dolphins vs. Broncos56 Damien Harris, Bills @ Commanders 57 Sean Tucker, Buccaneers vs. Eagles58 Rashaad Penny, Eagles @ Buccaneers
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28 of September 2023