If you decided to test out the Zero Running Back Strategy in your 2014 fantasy football draft, you didn’t feel much of a hit in Week 4. If you drafted a running back as your first-round pick, however, things did not look good.
There is still time for Jamaal Charles to make his way on the board as a top-10 back for Week 4, but things did not go great for LeSean McCoy and Eddie Lacy.
At least for Lacy’s sake, he was able to find his fantasy owners a few points with 48 rushing yards, 11 receiving yards and one rushing touchdown. This isn’t the type of value you expected when you spent a fifth or sixth-round pick on the sophomore back, but Lacy only accumulated a total of 10 points between Weeks 1-3, so this provided relief for most owners.
When looking at the production of McCoy, fantasy football players need to understand if the offensive line is not allowing McCoy to make the most of his touches. According to Football Outsiders, the Philadelphia Eagles‘ offensive line ranked the highest for how often it allowed running backs to get tackled at, or behind the line of scrimmage. When you taking into account that 35% of the running plays for Philadelphia result in no gains or a loss of yards, you can see why McCoy is having such a difficult time producing for his owners. Unless the offensive line can drastically improve, McCoy’s success is going to depend on the amount of touches he receives. Though his workload has decreased in the past two weeks, Darren Sproles is currently averaging 8.5 total touches per game, which does hurt. Hopefully Chip Kelly can find a remedy for fantasy owners, and RT Lane Johnson will return in Week 5, but the offensive line needs to quickly figure out a way to help protect and create space for McCoy.
With 122 rushing yards and 34 receiving yards, Matt Forte was able to provide his fantasy owners with a return on their investment. In standard scoring leagues, Forte is still outside of the top 10 for production on the year, however, but he did face some very smothering defenses to start the season. As long as he is used as the talented dual-threat back that he is, Forte should find his way into the top 12.
Finally, Marshawn Lynch had a bye week, and it doesn’t look like Adrian Peterson will play for the Minnesota Vikings anytime soon.
If you did draft a back in the first round, hopefully you landed Lynch or Forte, but if not, maybe you were able to rely on some talent on your bench. If your running back situation is bleak all around, make sure you hit the waiver wire hard for the rest of the season. Looking at matchups is extremely important with bye weeks now a routine occurrence.
Here are the top-scoring running backs in ESPN standard leagues for Week 4: