Week 3 RB Fantasy Rankings PPR: Miles Sanders’ and Kenyan Drake’s Breakout Week

Going into Week 3 the top two RBs in fantasy football, Christian McCaffrey and Saquan Barkley, are both out of the picture due to injury. It was a horrible Week 2 in terms of the ACL bug with 7 players going down with season-long injuries and a myriad of other players going down to long-term injuries. However, with this new RB landscape, it has completely shaken up the rankings for Week 3. There are some huge surprise names that could easily end up as an RB1 on the week, as well as a few big-time names who have faded down the list due to timeshares and unfavorable matchups.

RankPlayerTeamOPPProj. Pts
1Ezekiel ElliottDALat SEA17.1
2Derrick HenryTENat MIN16.8
3Jonathan TaylorINDvs. NYJ16.4
4Alvin KamaraNOvs. GB16
5Kenyan DrakeARIvs. DET15.5
6Miles SandersPHIvs. CIN15.4
7Austin EkelerLACvs. CAR14.6
8Aaron JonesGBat NO14.5
9Josh JacobsLVat NE14.2
10Dalvin CookMINvs. TEN13.8
11Clyde Edwards-HelaireKCat BAL13.4
12Chris CarsonSEAvs. DAL13.4
13David MontgomeryCHIat ATL13.2
14Joe MixonCINat PHI13.2
15Todd Gurley IIATLvs. CHI13.1
16Melvin Gordon IIIDENvs. TB12.9
17Jerick McKinnonSFat NYG12.1
18James ConnerPITvs. HOU11.9
19James RobinsonJACvs. MIA11.8
20Nick ChubbCLEvs. WAS11
21Kareem HuntCLEvs. WAS10.7
22David JohnsonHOUat PIT10.1
23Mark Ingram IIBALvs. KC9.8
24Antonio GibsonWASat CLE9.5
25Zack MossBUFvs. LAR9.3
26Devin SingletaryBUFvs. LAR8.9
27J.K. DobbinsBALvs. KC8.8
28Leonard FournetteTBat DEN8.6
29Joshua KelleyLACvs. CAR8.5
30Ronald Jones IITBat DEN8.2
31Malcolm BrownLARat BUF7.9
32Sony MichelNEvs. LV7.8
33Mike DavisCARat LAC7.7
34James WhiteNEvs. LV7.6
35Dion LewisNYGvs. SF7.7
36Myles GaskinMIAat JAC7.7
37Latavius MurrayNOvs. GB7.6
38Adrian PetersonDETat ARI7.4
39D'Andre SwiftDETat ARI7.3
40Frank GoreNYJat IND7.1
41Nyheim HinesINDvs. NYJ7
42J.D. McKissicWASat CLE6.8
43Tarik CohenCHIat ATL6.5
44Chase EdmondsARIvs. DET6.4
45Kerryon JohnsonDETat ARI5.5

The Top 6

These six RBs are all extremely safe plays with extreme plus matchups. These are the guys that you should be plugging into your starting lineup knowing that you will get massive weeks out of them to help your team. Ezekiel Elliot’s production speaks for itself. He has started out with a huge workload for Dallas’s offense and they will be taking on a Seattle defense who not only looks atrocious but just lost Bruce Irvin to an ACL injury. This is why Elliot comes in at my #1 spot.

The guys that might surprise you, and I have much higher than the consensus rankings, are Kenyan Drake and Miles Sanders. Drake has had a rough two weeks, but they were both against top tier rush defenses and probably the two best defensive lines in the league. I would 100% be trying to buy Drake right now, as his schedule gets extremely easy starting with this week vs Detroit who gave up 40+ points to Aaron Jones. Drake is a similarly talented back to Jones and I can see him performing just as well. Meanwhile, Miles Sanders had a good first game against a talented Rams’ defense and now gets to play a terrible Bengals’ front-7 who gave up 20+ points to BOTH Chubb and Hunt in one game. Sanders will have almost the entire workload and should get the majority of those points that Chubb and Hunt scored last week.

The Bottom Tier RB1

I do not feel good about this tier of RBs, with each one of them either having workload concerns or matchup concerns going into this week 3 game. Let us talk first about the most surprising name on the list, Dalvin Cook at #10. The Minnesota offense, and team in general, looks horrible. On top of this Cook is being subbed out at a greater share of snaps than we saw last year, which is puzzling considering the contract they gave him. The Titans will control the ball this game by rushing all over the Vikings with Henry, and Dalvin will struggle against an elite front-7 for the Titans.

One guy that I do love this week is Chris Carson. The Dallas defense is not good, and the Seattle offense just looks unstoppable now that Russell Wilson has more freedom. While Carlos Hyde’s workload is much more than you want as a Chris Carson owner, it has not stopped Carson from producing. He has 3 receiving touchdowns already and has been extremely efficient both on the ground and through the air. I love this matchup for Carson despite the limited workload.

Lastly, I want to speak about the man who almost cracked the top 6, Austin Ekeler. While Ekeler has given up more snaps than we wanted to Joshua Kelley, he has been extremely good with the snaps and touches he has received. Averaging 5.1 yards per carry on the ground and racking up 4 receptions for 55 yards in the air against the Chiefs, there is no doubt Ekeler has been good when he gets the touches. The Carolina defense is probably the best matchup for RBs and Ekeler is a must-start. I would move him into the top 6, maybe even top 5, if we could get confirmation that Justin Herbert is starting. Tyrod Taylor is extremely detrimental to that offense and does not pass to the RB. Ekeler will see far better numbers with Herbert in there.

Lower Tier plays that I like

Jerick McKinnon gets to take on the New York Giants’ questionable defense without Raheem Mostert or Tevin Coleman being healthy for the game. That means he will only be splitting carries with Jeff Wilson. McKinnon has only touched the ball 9 times but has created 121 yards and two scores with those 9 touches. I love those efficiency numbers in a plus matchup, but now you get the added benefit of him being the lead back and probably a 50-65% snap count. McKinnon is in my flex-spot in all of the leagues that I am rostering him, and I recommend you do the same.

Antonio Gibson got fed the ball much more in Washington’s second game against the Arizona Cardinals. He led the RB room in routes run with 22 and was handed the ball 13 times for 55 yards and a score. However, what excited me more than anything is the eye-test. If you watch Gibson and do not think that he will turn into a good to elite running back then I think that you need to check your vision. His cuts, acceleration, speed, strength, and size are all elite. He is building up his vision as he only played RB for one season in college, but as that develops he will turn into Washington’s clear lead back. For this week he has the easy matchup of the Browns. While I do think that the Browns’ rush defense is okay, Gibson will feast in the receiving game and get the rushing work needed to be an extremely solid RB3 on the week. If he can get into the endzone he may even creep into high-end RB2 territory.

Matthew is a UC Berkeley economic and philosophy graduate. He has played DFS, Football pools, and survival leagues for most of his adult life. Matthew brings to the table great strategies for both your GPP and Cash plays as well as a winning track record with his picks of the week.

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