In fantasy football, it happens all the time — the dreaded sophomore slump. It infamously happened to Todd Gurley two years ago. Well, for those who drafted Alvin Kamara, the dreaded sophomore slump is not happening.
But we should start to pump the brakes a little bit with Mark Ingram coming back this week from his four-game suspension. He will no doubt cut into Kamara’s workload. Or will Ingram’s return cut into Michael Thomas’s workload?
Either way, both Kamara and Ingram are easy must-start running backs in Week 5. But which other ball carriers should you start and which should you sit? L:et's take a look at the Week 4 suggestions before we move on to Week 5.
Good Calls for Week 4...
Start Giovani Bernard (21.6 fantasy points) – With Joe Mixon out Gio dominated the backfield touches and scored two touchdowns.
Sit Isiah Crowell (0.3 FP) – It should come as no surprise that Crowell and the whole Jets offense couldn’t do anything against the vaunted Jags defense last week.
Sit Peyton Barber (3.0 FP) – If you own Barber it's time to cut your losses and hope that Roland Jones II is on the waiver wire.
Bad Calls for Week 4...
Start Lamar Miller (4.9 FP) – For a player that used to have so much promise and has no competition to struggle the way Miller has is unbelievable.
Teams on bye: Chicago, Tampa Bay
START THESE RBs...
Aaron Jones, GB (at DET)
The Lions have allowed some massive games to running backs this season, and Jones has the chance for a strong outing this week, even in a timeshare with Jamaal Williams and Ty Montgomery. Isaiah Crowell (102 rushing yards and two touchdowns) in Week 1, Matt Breida (138, TD plus three catches for 21 yards) in Week 2 and Ezekiel Elliott (152 rushing and four catches for 88 yards and a TD) in Week 4 all went off against Detroit. Jones just had 11 carries for 65 yards and a touchdown and a catch for 17 yards in last week against Buffalo, and he should have the chance for a similar stat line this week – if not better.
Matt Breida, SF (vs. ARI)
The Cardinals have been plain awful against opposing running backs this season and Breida should take advantage of this matchup at home. Adrian Peterson, Chris Thompson, Todd Gurley, Jordan Howard and Mike Davis have all scored at least 16 PPR points against Arizona. Breida, who is averaging 7.6 yards per carry, might not score at that level in PPR, but he is averaging 15.7 PPR points in his past three outings. He also has three catches in each of the past three games. Alfred Morris will take away some touches, but Breida should have the chance for a quality outing against this bad defense at home.
Derrick Henry, TEN (at BUF)
Henry has been a regular must-sit all year as the Titans just aren’t using him the way they should be. But a breakout game is coming and those of you who have been patiently waiting for Henry to finally do something for your fantasy team, should be rewarded this week. The Bills' offense should struggle to move the ball this week, and the Titans should dominate time of possession. And while the Bills haven't given up a lot of rushing yards, they have allowed seven rushing touchdowns. Henry has yet to find the end zone, but look for him to score at least one touchdown this week.
MIGHT BE WORTH THE RISK...
Phillip Lindsay, DEN (at NYJ)
Denver needs both of its rookie RBs to carry their offense, as Case Keenum simply isn’t a playmaker and Demaryius Thomas is a fraction of what he used to be. Last week Lindsay’s 24 snaps led all Denver RBs (Royce Freeman had 16, Devontae Booker had 20) as he out-touched Freeman 14-8, though both scored TDs. Lindsay being the change-of-pace back in a game that Denver is the slight underdog in bodes well for his floor compared to Freeman who’s more TD-dependent.
SIT THESE RBs...
LeSean McCoy, BUF (vs. TEN)
McCoy keeps ending up here as a must-sit and even though he was drafted in the second or third round, he needs to stay on the bench. McCoy is still dealing with a rib injury that caused him to miss Week 3 and has only touched the ball a measly 29 times in three games thus far. McCoy’s skill set should make him matchup-proof, but Buffalo's offense is far from a sure thing. Mix in a Titans defense that hasn’t yielded a rushing TD yet and you’ve got a recipe for disaster. It’s truly a sad waste of talent for a guy whose prime window is closing with his age-30 season.
Lamar Miller, HOU (vs. DAL)
Miller is battling an undisclosed injury, although he's expected to play Sunday night against Dallas. It's a good matchup on paper with Cowboys linebacker Sean Lee (hamstring) potentially out again, but it's hard to trust Miller as anything more than a flex option this week. He has two games this season with at least 11 PPR points, and two games with no more than eight, including last week vs. the Colts when he had just 14 carries for 49 yards and no catches. Keep an eye on Miller's health for Sunday, but he should not be considered a starting-caliber fantasy option this week in most 10- and 12-team leagues.
Adrian Peterson, WAS (at NO, Mon.)
The Saints' defense looks like it’s improving. They showed last week they can win when Drew Brees is having an off day, and the defense looked much more like the unit we saw last season. That's a problem for Peterson, who will square off against the defense giving up fewest yards per carry in the NFL. Peterson has been one of the major surprises this season. Even with a bye week, he's currently 10th among running backs in fantasy points. He's in an offense that needs him to produce on the ground, with Alex Smith continuing to be the same dink-and-dunk quarterback we witnessed in Kansas City. New Orleans will force Smith to throw, so I'm not expecting much room for Peterson to run.
YOU’VE BEEN WARNED...
Dalvin Cook, MIN (at PHI)
Cook said this week that his hamstring injury still has him at less than 100 percent heading into a matchup in Philadelphia. Last week he was limited to just 10 carries for 20 yards and no catches. Philadelphia has been excellent against opposing running backs all season, with one touchdown allowed to Tevin Coleman in Week 1, and no running back has gained more 36 yards on the ground in the first four games. It’s hard to sit Cook, but sometimes tough decisions have to be made, especially if they are in the best interests of your fantasy football team.
— Written by Michael Horvath, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Horvath is a Canadian who also happens to be a fantasy football (not to be confused with CFL) and fitness nut. Follow him on Twitter @realmikehorvath.