Sunday update: Dalvin Cook is looking more toward being doubtful than active in Week 3 against the Seattle Seahawks after not logging a single practice due to an ankle injury. Should he be inactive, it’s difficult to find a better spot-start against a questionable rushing defense.
Several running backs did not live up to expectations in Week 2 but luckily for them and fantasy managers, it’s still too early in the season to punt on these star players. Here are some running backs to start and fade in Week 3, with some big names expected to bounce back in positive matchups.
Running Back Starts
Kamara had the worst outing of his career last week against the Panthers, but the entire Saints team was off due to most of the coaching staff not being present. That’s not going to be the case against the Patriots in Week 3. New England has a solid defense, but it is more susceptible against the run than the pass early in this season. Expect the Saints to give Kamara plenty of volume in this contest.
The Falcons have a bad defense, especially against the run. Even as Barkley recovers from last year’s ACL injury, he’s set up well in this contest. The Giants are likely to give him more work as the season progresses, and his efficiency should be better in this contest. Barkley is due for a big performance after two down weeks. This seems like a good game for him to break out.
The Seahawks have allowed the second-most rushing yards per game through two weeks. They just gave up 182 yards and three touchdowns to Derrick Henry despite containing him for the first half of the game. Cook has similar talent and the Vikings are built around him running the ball well. He’s going to get volume and has a favorable matchup.
Running Back Sits
Not only is this not a favorable matchup for Williams, but he’s also splitting touches out of the backfield with D’Andre Swift and is less involved as a receiver. It’s never great to start someone who’s in a committee, especially if that running back is second in the pecking order. Williams had a big Week 1, but should not be your first option against a tough Baltimore defense.
Antonio Gibson, Washington vs. Bills
Gibson is going to see an uptick in volume with Ryan Fitzpatrick’s injury, but this is a bad matchup for the second-year running back. The Bills have the seventh-best rush defense in the league through two weeks and are coming a shutout win over the Dolphins. Don’t expect much from Gibson in this matchup.
Mark Ingram, Texans vs. Panthers
This is a combination of being in a running back committee and a bad matchup. The Panthers shut down Alvin Kamara and are heading into a Thursday matchup against an inexperienced quarterback. The Texans may try to lean on the run game, but Carolina is stout up front. All that means Ingram, seemingly a hot pickup after Week 1, is not likely to deliver good production in this matchup.