This isn’t about the standard top three running backs in the league, as there’s very little chance that you’d be able to acquire them at this stage without trading the good half of your team away. So, here are three running backs who may still be sitting on the waivers. Oddly enough, all three players are from the NFC and range from being mostly available in shallower leagues to mid-sized leagues, to deep leagues.

Tarik Cohen

IMAGE SOURCE: ESPN Chicago, via Twitter

At 65.5% owned on NFL Fantasy, there’s a fair chance that the Chicago Bears rookie running back is still available in your league. Tipped for pickup in Week 3, it’s clear that the Bears’ offensive line is putting the work in to allow the running back duo of Tarik Cohen and Jordan Howard to do a lot of the heavy lifting on offense. After four games, Cohen put up strong numbers in both receiving and rushing yards, regardless of his usage, per the ESPN, averaging 6.0 yards per attempt rushing from 30 carries as well as a 6.3 yard average per reception from 24 catches. He’s a very talented back, with the potential for him and Howard to form a two-headed monster coming out of the Chicago backfield.

There is, however, a problem with the use of Tarik Cohen, and that’s that the team simply isn’t strong enough elsewhere to be utilizing the running backs a huge amount – explaining their 80/1 odds to win the NFC North on some betting sites. Howard tends to get a lot of the rushing work as well as the red-zone touches, and while Cohen does provide pass-catching skill, his usage has been somewhat hit and miss.

J.D. McKissic

IMAGE SOURCE: Twitter

The Seattle Seahawks offensive line is and shall continue to be an issue for any running back trying to find some space. However, Chris Carson drew attention after his 100 yards from scrimmage against the San Francisco 49ers in Week 2, going on to score his first professional touchdown in the following week. But then he picked up a nasty ankle injury in Week 4 which required surgery. C.J. Prosise’s availability is also somewhat of a question mark with a niggling injury. With that, head coach Pete Carroll has said that Eddie Lacy and Thomas Rawls will take up the bulk of the groundwork, leaving room for last week’s sensational stand-in, J.D. McKissic, to take up some more work in the passing game.

In only his second game over two seasons, per ESPN, McKissic impressed with two touchdowns, 38 yards from four attempts – two of which resulted in first downs – and an incredible 27-yard catch for a touchdown. It may have been a mere cameo appearance, making up numbers following injuries, but he showed great ability to move into space and make big plays. Owned by 5.6% of NFL Fantasy teams, he’s likely sitting in your free agency. If you’re in a big league, he’s certainly worth a punt against the Los Angeles Rams – who give up the most fantasy points to running backs.

Andre Ellington

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IMAGE SOURCE: The Rad League, via Twitter

Ok, yes, the Arizona Cardinals are a mess; far from the top offense and elite-level defense of just a few years ago, but with David Johnson going down, an opportunity has arisen for the other Cards rushers. Thus far, each of Chris Johnson, Kerwynn Williams, and Andre Ellington have given a lackluster stab at becoming dominant – with the latter duo expected to fight it out for the lead role after Week 1 – but Ellington looks to emerge victorious eventually.

As shown by his NFL profile, Ellington is in his fifth year as a Cardinal, with his role diminishing since his 12 game season in 2014. He knows the system well, as well as quarterback Carson Palmer, which should give him an edge over Williams and Chris Johnson, and he’s also got his versatility going for him, being a decent pass-catcher. He’s a risky pick, which explains his 2.8% ownership, but it could pay off if Arizona is willing to commit. If the Cardinals want to win the NFC West and rise from their 7/2 odds – as of September 30 – they’ll need at least a partially threatening running game, which could be established with consistent play from Ellington.

There’s a long season ahead, but these three running backs – two more so than the other – look to be great picks for a fantasy team right now. They’ll all suffer some ups and downs along the way, but Carson can secure his place as the top running back, Cohen will continue to be a major piece of the Chicago offense, and Ellington may just be able to prove himself to the Cardinals in the coming games.

 

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