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Running Back Roundup Week 3: Alvin Kamara, Darrell Henderson, Myles Gaskin

by Zachary Hanshew | @ZaktheMonster | Featured Writer
Sep 30, 2020

Is Kamara the 2020 Christian McCaffrey?

Week 3 is in the books, and it’s time to take stock of the crazy week we just experienced. What better way to do that then with a retrospective of the top stories from fantasy’s favorite position – the running back. Each Wednesday, we’ll look back on studs, busts, breakouts, timeshares, situations to monitor, and all things RB from the past week.

So settle in, partner. It’s time to saddle up for the RB Roundup. Yeehaw.

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Stud of the week: Alvin Kamara (NO): 51.7 fantasy points
Kamara was the top RB of the week, and it really wasn’t close. His 51.7 fantasy points were nearly 17 more than the next closest player, Rex Burkhead, thanks to 207 yards and two scores on 19 touches.

Bust of the week: D’Andre Swift (DET): 2.9 fantasy points
It’s been a rollercoaster of a season for Swift, as the rookie dropped a potential game-winning touchdown in Week 1, led the Lions in receiving in Week 2, and logged just two touches in Week 3. The Lions’ backfield is as pedestrian and unpredictable as ever, and Adrian Peterson is the only consistent option – though that’s a very low bar. Those who spent a mid-round pick on Swift are surely sweating right now, but you’ve got to hang onto him at least until after the Lions’ Week 5 bye.

Breakout of the week: James Robinson (JAC): 31.9 fantasy points
As expected, J-Rob went off against Miami, rolling the ‘Fins with an 11/46/2 rushing line while leading the Jags in receiving with 83 yards. He was the fourth-highest scoring back of the week, and he’s got a tantalizing matchup with Cincinnati in Week 4, where he should be considered an RB1.

Surprise of the week: Rex Burkhead (NE): 34.8 fantasy points
With James White out of action again, Burkhead was expected to see some additional run, but his 98-yard, three-score day was far from expected. He should continue to see enough work to be flex-worthy as long as White is out, but Burkead’s long-term value is as clear as mud in this unpredictable committee backfield.

Alvin Kamara: CMC 2.0?  

Sure, it’s only Week 3, but it’s not too early to speculate on Kamara’s rest-of-season outlook. Through three games, Kamara’s work as a receiver has been absolutely insane. Here’s where he ranks among all NFL pass-catchers – not just running backs. For reference, the next closest RB in terms of targets is Ezekiel Elliott with a distant 23.

Player Targets Receptions Receiving Yards Receiving TDs
DeAndre Hopkins (ARI) 37 32 356 1
Keenan Allen (LAC) 37 24 265 1
Calvin Ridley (ATL) 35 21 349 4
Amari Cooper (DAL) 35 25 267 0
Allen Robinson (CHI) 31 18 230 1
Alvin Kamara (NO) 31 27 285 3

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That begs the question – can Kamara have a season similar to Christian McCaffrey‘s massive 2019 campaign? You know – the one that saw him break his own single-season reception record for a RB (116) while amassing an unholy 471.2 fantasy points? Here’s how the two backs’ seasons stack up through the first three weeks of the season:

Player Rush Attempts Rush Yards Rush TD Targets Receptions Receiving Yards Receiving TD Total Touches Total Yards Fantasy Points (PPR)
Christian McCaffrey (2019) 59 318 3 21 15 132 0 74 450 78.0
Alvin Kamara (2020) 31 153 3 31 27 285 3 58 438 106.8

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Kamara’s target share will take a hit when Michael Thomas returns, but with Drew Brees relying on the checkdown with such regularity, Kamara could maintain a large percentage of this early-season workload and challenge CMC’s monstrous 2019 fantasy total. Oh, yeah, it also helps that Kamara has the ability to do stuff like this:

He’s the unquestioned RB1 for the rest of 2020, and frankly, it’s not very close.

My, Oh Myles…Gaskin

If you predicted Myles Gaskin would lead the Dolphins in total touches and yards through the first three weeks of the 2020 season, raise your hand. Though I’m sitting at my kitchen table writing this on my laptop and obviously can’t see anyone who reads this nonsensical question, I can say with certainty that not one hand was raised (and if you did predict this, don’t raise your hand while reading an article – people will think you’re weird).

Player Rush Attempts Rush Yards Rush TD Receptions Receiving Yards Receiving TD
Myles Gaskin 38 152 0 15 91 0
Jordan Howard 16 12 3 0 0 0
Matt Breida 15 63 0 1 2 0

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The disparity in touches between Gaskin and the lackluster Howard/Breida tandem is laughable, and the former looks like he’ll run away (no pun intended) with the lead-back job in Miami. While the fantasy community at large discussed the merits of Jordan Howard‘s between-the-tackles rushing ability and goal-line upside and Matt Breida‘s break-away speed this offseason, the Dolphins’ coaching staff was likely holed up in a Frankenstein-esque lab cackling maniacally as they drew up the gameplan to make Gaskin the featured back.

If he’s still on your waiver wire, the time is nigh to add MG to your roster and reap the sweet, sweet benefits. His scoring upside is capped by Howard, but otherwise Gaskin can be counted on as a weekly flex with a solid floor, especially in PPR leagues.

Hendo: The Ram, the Myth, the Legend

Over the last two weeks, Darrell Henderson has seen has role expand rapidly, culminating in Week 3’s 20-carry showing. In that two-game stretch, he’s totaled 35 touches for 241 yards and two scores and looks like a firm RB2 if he can keep his hold on the backfield. Henderson is doing things for the Rams that haven’t been done since 2018, when Todd Gurley was at full health:

Even when Cam Akers returns, Henderson could remain the lead back in this offense. Malcolm Brown is droppable in 12-team leagues, and Akers will be tough to trust after back-to-back big games from Henderson.

Quick Hitters

  • Mike Davis has racked up 17 targets (fourth-most in the NFL among RBs) over just Weeks 2-3. If you were able to get him off the waiver wire, continue to play him confidently while Christian McCaffrey is out.

  • Jeff Wilson made some noise in Week 3 with a big, two-score performance, and he could be in line for an even bigger role in Week 4 if Jerick McKinnon is forced to miss that contest.
  • Nyheim Hines received 11 touches in Week 3 and scored a receiving TD in the process. After a breakout Week 1, Hines had a dismal outing in Week 2, followed up by a solid Week 3. The Colts just lost Michael Pittman, and they’ll be without he and Parris Campbell for the foreseeable future. Hines’ pass-catching upside should be even higher moving forward.

  • Clyde Edwards-Helaire has 55 carries through three weeks (fourth in the NFL), and the Chiefs continue to call his number. Any questions that existed in the preseason concerning his workload should be extinguished by now.
  • On the other hand, Kenyan Drake has 54 carries, though CEH has outscored him 52.2 to 34.9 in fantasy points. The opportunities have been there, but Drake has only scored once. That number is due to come up if he continues to see this type of volume, so there’s no reason to panic. I think Drake said it best, when he tweeted:

  • Through three weeks, J.K. Dobbins has out-snapped Mark Ingram 67-66. He’s posted a 15/127/2 line (total touches and scrimmage yards) compared to Ingram’s 28/136/1 line, and the rookie has been far more effective on nearly half the touches. Neither back is especially appealing right now due to the timeshare, but both are clear holds.

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Zachary Hanshew is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Zachary, check out his archive and follow him @zakthemonster.

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