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2013 Fantasy Football Advice: Deep Look at Week 4 Running Back (RB) Depth Charts

With injuries wreaking havoc and other guys just not able to seize the featured back job, there are lots of Running Back situations in the NFL are in major flux. RotoBaller takes a deep dive into these situations and helps you understand who to target in your 2013 fantasy football leagues.

2013 Fantasy Football - A Deep Look at Week 4 Running Back (RB) Depth Charts


Denver Broncos - Knowshon Moreno vs. Montee Ball vs. Ronnie Hillman

The Broncos are a tough one to figure out. Let’s analyze the 2013 season for the Broncos' running game through three weeks. Player (% carries, % rushing yards):

  • Knowshon Moreno (43%, 47%) – Moreno has received the bulk of the backfield work, handling 43% of the carries. He is averaging 4.7 yards per carry and has accounted for 160 rushing yards. Moreno leads the team as a running back in both PPR and non-PPR leagues and has double the points of Hillman.
  • Montee Ball (39%, 29%) – Ball is second on the team in carries (39%) and third in yards at 29%. He is the only Bronco RB that does not have a touchdown. He is struggling on the season with only 3.2 YPC and is third on the team in terms of fantasy production in both PPR and non-PPR leagues. Ball is a first-year player, so his numbers should get better as he progresses and adjusts with the speed of the game. 
  • Ronnie Hillman (18%, 43%) – Hillman had a solid game Monday night on only nine carries. On the season, Hillman leads the team in YPC with 5.8, but with minimal workload, just 18% of the carries. Despite receiving fewer than half the carries, his one touchdown is a big difference-maker in terms of fantasy points.

Bottom Line: Moreno and Ball are splitting time as the feature back with around 80% of the carries while Hillman is around 20%. If Hillman has games like he had on Monday, he could steal carries from the other two, but Moreno has been the dominant running back, especially with his mix of abilities as a pass-catcher. Ironically, the Broncos have yet to really rely on the passing game despite Manning’s gaudy numbers (12 TDs), and Broncos backs have been the beneficiaries. Late in their first three games, they've seen a lot of carries in offensively-controlled football games. Net net, Moreno is the primary back to own on the Broncos, but for the time being, Ball is getting his fair share of the carries and should be stashed. As with all running back committees, we will monitor this one closely.


Indianapolis Colts - Trent Richardson vs. Ahmad Bradshaw

Newly-acquired RB Trent Richardson rushed for a one-yard touchdown in his first carry as a member of the Colts. Things looked good for T-Rich to start, but in his next 12 carries, he only managed 34 yards, his longest a seven-yard job. Bradshaw, on the other hard, was a bruiser, rushing 19 times for 95 yards and scoring a touchdown of his own. Donald Brown was also incredibly efficient on three carries. The Colts stuck to the running game for 35 carries while throwing only 27 times, and they dominated the 49ers defensively, which played a major role in their sticking with the run game that was ultimately working. What does this mean going forward? The Colts signed Bradshaw to a one-year deal for a little over $2M, while they invested a future first-round pick in Trent Richardson. But those facts should not be considered in who gets carries. Trent Richardson's biggest knock was his low YCP, his career YPC sits at 3.5. The Colts don't care about that number, apparently unworried about third-and-three situations. If Bradshaw continues to improve, as he has in each game this season, both players are going to steal carries from one another. The major dynamic here will be RB use in the passing game. Last season, T-Rich caught 50 passes. It will be interesting to see how Luck utilizes his new weapon.

Bottom line: One thing is for sure; Richardson is the #1 back.  But if he wants to avoid Bradshaw cutting into his time, he is going to need to avoid tip-toeing and hit the holes-- 3.5 YPC is just not going to cut it.


Green Bay Packers - Eddie Lacy vs. James Starks vs. Johnathan Franklin

There is a lot to be said about the Packers' running backs. We went into the season with Eddie Lacy as the Packers #1 back. Lacy went down in Week Two after an ugly helmet-to-helmet hit. James Starks took over and rushed for over 100 yards. He looked like a solid bet heading into Week Three to manage the bulk of the groundwork, but he left the game with a knee injury in the second half of the game. Johnathan Franklin, who has been sharing time with Starks, turned in a solid fantasy performance, racking up top points for available players on waivers. With under four minutes left in the game, though, Franklin fumbled in what would have become the winning touchdown after the fumble was returned 60 yards.  Ouch. You know that fumble isn't sitting too well with Packers' offensive coaches.

Bottom Line: Expect Starks and Franklin to split carries until Lacy returns.


Cleveland Browns - Willis McGahee vs. Chris Ogbonnaya vs. Bobby Rainey

The Browns went from one of the more fluid depth chart situations to a very unorganized mess. Ogbonnaya only rushed the ball twice, while Rainey (who is listed as the RB1), rushed four times. Newcomer Willis McGahee had a team-leading nine carries but only managed nine yards. With more preparation, McGahee will provide a higher yards-per-carry than he did this past Sunday (1.1), and hopefully more than the 3.5 YPC that Trent Richardson had managed on the season.

Bottom Line: The Browns are a passing team and will face some tough competition in the weeks to come, including the Bengals twice and the Packers and Chiefs once each in the next seven weeks, so any Browns' RB will have a tough time racking up solid numbers. None of these guys will be worth starting just yet.


Atlanta Falcons - Jacquizz Rodgers vs. Jason Snelling

With S-Jax nursing his injured leg, Rodgers and Snelling were given the tough task of running on the 'Fins. While neither back got into the end zone, they both averaged a solid 4.8 YPC. Rodgers received the majority of the carries and should he get the start this Sunday-- he will be a must-start against New England.

Bottom Line: Both backs will get carries and will split time for the most part. Both are worth starting.



Make sure to check out our full RB depth charts for information on all the RBs in the league.  Our Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Pickups Blog also has a ton of good RB info and recommendations to help you win your league in 2013.

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