There were quite a few notable running backs out in Week 3. Between injuries to top picks Raheem Mostert, Cam Akers, Phillip Lindsay, and Zack Moss, as well as the personal matter that James White is attending to, the RB rankings were a bit thin last week. Luckily, our Week 4 RB rankings look a bit stronger, and some of the key injured players may have a chance to return to action. That will make lineup decisions a bit easier for fantasy owners, as their best players returning to action could help them avoid tough start ’em, sit ’em decisions.
For all the latest fantasy injury news and updates, check back here and on Twitter @SN_Fantasy.
Is James White playing Week 4?
White has missed the past two games for the Patriots following the death of his father in a car accident. There is no timetable for his return to the team, and the Patriots will surely give him all the time he needs to recover emotionally from this devastating and traumatic event.
With White out, the Patriots have relied on Sony Michel and, more recently, Rex Burkhead to carry the load in the backfield. Undrafted rookie J.J. Taylor has also been sprinkled in among the mix. It seems likely that Michel and Burkhead will continue to get some work, but there could be another mouth to feed in the backfield soon.
Damien Harris (hand) is now eligible to return from IR and the second-year back could emerge as the backfield leader for the Patriots. He had a great offseason, so he’s definitely a guy with fantasy value that should be picked up and stashed on benches. There should be some more touches available for him considering that Taylor handled 11 carries against the Raiders last week with White and Harris sidelined.
WEEK 4 WAIVER WIRE: Top pickups
Raheem Mostert injury update
Mostert (knee) is one of several 49ers players to miss the last game and a half after getting injured in the team’s Week 2 victory over the Jets. His status moving forward is questionable, and according to the 49ers official website, the team will know more about his availability for Week 4 on Wednesday.
With Mostert out along with top backup Tevin Coleman (knee), the 49ers relied on Jerick McKinnon and Jeff Wilson Jr. as their top two backs. McKinnon handled 62 percent of the snaps and is a low-end RB2 against the Eagles in our Week 2 RB rankings if Mostert can’t play. Meanwhile, Wilson (30 percent of the snaps) should be a solid flex play in that scenario.
Cam Akers injury update
Akers (ribs) missed most of the Rams’ Week 2 win over the Eagles with a rib injury and was held out against the Bills in Week 3. As of last week, Sean McVay said Akers wasn’t progressing as quickly as the team had hoped in his recovery, per ESPN’s Lindsey Thiry, so that should be a red flag about the status of Akers moving forward.
With Akers out, Darrell Henderson has emerged as the Rams’ lead back anyway, and it appears that he’ll be starting for Los Angeles in Week 4 against the Giants. Even when Akers returns, it may be hard for him to overtake Henderson in the RB rotation, so he should only be viewed as a speculative flex play when healthy before we see what the carry split might be.
Is Phillip Lindsay playing in Week 4?
Lindsay has missed a couple of weeks of action after suffering a toe injury in the Broncos season opener against the Titans. Now, according to NFL Network’s James Palmer, Lindsay is close to returning.
Broncos head coach Vic Fangio confirmed that Lindsay’s return was drawing near. Now, the question becomes, will Lindsay return in Week 4 or Week 5? With the Broncos playing a Thursday night game against the Jets in Week 4, Lindsay’s status will have to be watched closely in the lead-up to kickoff. If the Broncos feel that he’s ready, he’ll be active and ready to split carries with Melvin Gordon. If they have a hint of doubt, they may opt to sit him and get him the extra 10 days rest to heal up before taking on the Patriots in Week 5.
Lindsay would be a solid flex play bordering on an RB2 if he does play. If not, Royce Freeman will draw low-end flex consideration in PPR leagues while Melvin Gordon continues to be an RB1 in our Week 4 RB rankings.
Zack Moss injury news
Last week, Moss missed practice all week with a toe injury and was declared out on Friday as a result of his inability to practice. Ahead of a juicy matchup against the Raiders in Week 4, he’ll need to get back on the practice field fairly early in the week and start logging some sessions that are at least limited.
Moss’ Wednesday practice status will be worth watching. If he misses practice entirely again, that would be a bad sign to start the week. If he’s limited, that will indicate that he’s making progress and may have a chance to play against the Raiders in Week 4.
If Moss does play, he’ll be a solid flex and complement to Devin Singletary. Moss will likely get more goal-line carries than Singletary so his TD upside is greater even if his explosive play potential is not.