Welcome to the fantasy football Week 3 running back rankings hub!
Below you will find my top-60 running backs for Week 3. Do-it-all Los Angeles Chargers’ back Austin Ekeler did it all last week, hauling in 9-of-9 targets after a target-less Week 1. He should push for top 5 honors in a plus matchup against Kansas City this week. Saints’ back Alvin Kamara had to be dropped out of the position’s elite RB1 tier after the New Orleans Saints’ flaccid performance last week. With Bill Belichick and his “erase the opponent’s best player” defensive strategy inbound for Week 3, expectations for Kamara have to be slightly lowered. Be it the ankle injury he suffered in August or his subpar speed, something’s going on with Clyde Edwards-Helaire. He’s a low-end RB2 right now. Jets’ “lead” back Tevin Coleman may already be getting phased out in favor of spry, young backs Michel Carter and Ty Johnson. The latter two are quietly on the flex radar this week.
These rankings are geared toward .5PPR scoring formats for Week 3 of the 2021 NFL season but should aid those who play in both non-PPR and full-point PPR formats. Check back throughout the week to see how expectations have changed as news continues to roll in, enhancing our prognostication abilities. Feel free to hit me up on twitter @Ginger__Nic for any fantasy related advice.
Week 3 Standouts
Derrick Henry (RB2) — Henry is an obvious auto-start every week but The Big Dog deserves special attention right now. Currently in his sixth NFL season, the fleet of foot bruiser has never seen more than 31 targets in a single season. This year Henry looks to see a massive change in that department. Through just two weeks, he’s already seen 10 passes come his way. Should Henry stay anywhere near his 2021 85-target pace, he is a serious candidate to dethrone Christian McCaffrey as the overall RB1. Sending out trade offers for him immediately after his 237-yard, 3 touchdown outing in Week 2 isn’t likely to be successful but were he to maintain this kind of dual threat usage and maybe finish in the back-end of the RB1 ranks once or twice over the next few weeks, you might be able to acquire him at a slightly depressed value.
Saquon Barkley (RB5) — Barkley’s level of play has steadily improved through the first two weeks of the season and simply may just be a victim of his own greatness. Those who haven’t noticed are missing the trees for the forest. This week against the Atlanta Falcons, Barkley should end all doubt as to his readiness for 2021. Atlanta’s run defense is one of the worst teams in the league in both total rushing and yards per attempt. Opposing backfields have also tagged the Dirty Birds for 94 receiving yards as well.
Elijah Mitchell (RB22) — Per Dr. Edwin Porras of FantasyPoints.com, Mitchell (shoulder) has “a decent chance” of playing on Sunday. San Francisco’s backfield got badly beaten up last week; Trey Sermon is in the concussion protocol and has a 42% chance on playing this weekend, (again per Dr. Porras), but JaMycal Hasty is expected to miss two weeks or more. With the continued reduction in healthy backs, Mitchell has perhaps an even greater shot at owning a size-able portion of SF’s valued backfield work this week against Green Bay.
Javonte Williams (RB23) & Melvin Gordon (RB25) — Veteran back Gordon has been crushing it from a raw stat perspective while rookie Williams has been quietly breaking ankles right and left. Per PFF’s Ian Hartitz, Williams in No. 2 in the NFL with 0.41 forced missed tackles per carry right now, trailing only the Faustian Nick Chubb. Williams and Gordon managers should be licking their chops ahead of Denver’s bout with the New York Jets this week. Denver currently boasts the league’s third highest rated offensive through two games (per NEFF). This matches up quite nicely with the Jets’ T-21st rated run defense (per RDNEFF).
Week 3 Running Back Rankings
|Melvin Gordon III
|Ronald Jones II
|Mark Ingram II
|Tony Jones Jr.