Pierce, Cook among 5 fantasy football RBs to avoid in Week 3

Houston Texans running back Dameon Pierce (R) is a low-end RB2 or flex play if you don't roster a better option. File Photo by David Tulis/UPI
1 of 5 | Houston Texans running back Dameon Pierce (R) is a low-end RB2 or flex play if you don't roster a better option. File Photo by David Tulis/UPI | License Photo

MIAMI, Sept. 19 (UPI) -- Dameon Pierce and James Cook are among my five fantasy football running backs to avoid in lineups in Week 3.

My Week 3 rankings for quarterbacks, tight ends and wide receivers, and waiver-wire additions articles remain available for your preparation. My positional rankings will continue to be altered for developments, including injuries.


San Francisco 49ers and New York Giants running backs were removed from my rankings because of their Thursday matchup.

Cleveland Browns running back Nick Chubb, who sustained a season-ending knee injury Monday, should be removed from all lineups. Injured running backs Austin Ekeler, Aaron Jones and David Montgomery also should be removed from starting lineups.


My Top 30 running back rankings for Week 3 are below. My running backs to avoid rank just inside or outside the Top 24 of my rankings.

Arizona Cardinals running back James Conner (R) totaled 176 yards from scrimmage through two weeks, but will face a stingy Dallas Cowboys defense in Week 3. File Photo by Tasos Katopodis/UPI

James Conner

Conner ranks outside the Top 14 in points per game among running backs this season, but I would even avoid him as an RB2 if possible in Week 3. The Arizona Cardinals running back logged 64 yards on 14 carries in Week 1 against a respectable Washington Commanders defense.

He rebounded with 103 yards and a score against the New York Giants in Week 2, but I expect another bad performance in Week 3 against the Dallas Cowboys.

The Cowboys allowed a league-low 112 total yards and no touchdowns to running backs through two weeks. They held Saquon Barkley to just 51 yards in Week 1 and erased the New York Jets running game in Week 2.

I expect the Cowboys to jump out to a big lead and dominate in time of possession, limiting Conner's opportunities. He is my No. 24 option.

Running back Dameon Pierce ran for just 69 yards through his first two games this season for the Houston Texans. File Photo by Joe Marino/UPI

Dameon Pierce

Pierce ranks outside the Top 40 running backs in fantasy points per game. The Houston Texans running back failed to eclipse 40 rushing yards in either of his first two starts.

This week, the Texans will face the Jacksonville Jaguars on the road. The Jaguars allowed just 93 rushing yards and no scores to running backs through two games.

Pierce should play better next week against the Pittsburgh Steelers, but I would keep him out of my lineup until Week 4.

He is the No. 25 player in my rankings.

Running back James Cook (28) and the Buffalo Bills will face the Washington Commanders at 1 p.m. EDT Sunday in Landover, Md. File Photo by John Sommers II/UPI

James Cook

Cook posted the 11th-most fantasy points among running backs in Week 2, with a 159-yard performance against the Las Vegas Raiders.

I don't expect the same success this week when the Buffalo Bills face the Washington Commanders. The Commanders tied for allowing the seventh-fewest fantasy points to running backs through two weeks.

Cook should still provide low-end RB2 or flex-level production, but I would bench him if you have a player higher in my rankings.

Cleveland Browns running back Jerome Ford (34) changes direction against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday at Acrisure Stadium in Pittsburgh. Photo by Archie Carpenter/UPI

Jerome Ford

Ford is expected to be the Cleveland Browns' lead back after Chubb left their lineup because of his knee injury.

The second-year running back went off for 131 yards from scrimmage and a score in Week 2, mostly while filling in for Chubb. He likely won't find as much room in Week 3, when the Browns face the Tennessee Titans.

The Titans allowed the second-fewest fantasy points to running backs through two weeks. I expect the Titans to dominate time of possession, while giving running back Derrick Henry a large workload. Ford should only be used if you are in a league with at least 14 teams and need someone to fill your flex spot.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Rachaad White (R) ranks outside the Top 24 in my Week 3 rankings. File Photo by Steve Nesius/UPI

Rachaad White

White ranks just inside the Top 20 for fantasy points per game among running backs, but most of that production was because of his 103-yard, one-touchdown performance in Week 2 against a vulnerable Chicago Bears defense.

This week, the Buccaneers will meet a Philadelphia Eagles defense that allowed a league-low 82 rushing yards to running backs through two games. They also have yet to allow a score to the position.


Look for the Buccaneers to trail in this matchup and focus mostly on their passing game as they play from behind.

White is my No. 28 option. He needs to score a touchdown to provide value for fantasy teams.

Cleveland Browns running back Nick Chubb looks to the sidelines while in pain after he was injured against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday at Acrisure Stadium in Pittsburgh. Photo by Archie Carpenter/UPI

Week 3 fantasy football running back rankings

1. Derrick Henry, Tennessee Titans at CLE

2. Tony Pollard, Dallas Cowboys at ARI

3. Bijan Robinson, Atlanta Falcons at DET

4. Travis Etienne, Jacksonville Jaguars vs. HOU

5. Kenneth Walker, Seattle Seahawks vs. CAR

6. Miles Sanders, Carolina Panther at SEA

7. D'Andre Swift, Philadelphia Eagles at TB

8. Kyren Williams, Los Angeles Rams at CIN

9. Josh Jacobs, Las Vegas Raiders vs. PIT

10. Rhamondre Stevenson, New England Patriots at NYJ

11. Javonte Williams, Denver Broncos at MIA

12. Joe Mixon, Cincinnati Bengals vs. LAR

13. Raheem Mostert, Miami Dolphins vs. DEN

14. Brian Robinson Jr., Washington Commanders vs. BUF

15. Gus Edwards, Baltimore Ravens vs. IND


16. A.J. Dillon, Green Bay Packers vs. NO

17. Joshua Kelley, Los Angeles Chargers at MIN

18. Zack Moss, Indianapolis Colts at BAL

19. Alexander Mattison, Minnesota Vikings vs. LAC

20. Breece Hall, New York Jets vs. NE

21. Isiah Pacheco, Kansas City Chiefs vs. CHI

22. Najee Harris, Pittsburgh Steelers at LV

23. Kendre Miller, New Orleans Saints at GB

24. James Conner, Arizona Cardinals vs. DAL

25. Dameon Pierce, Houston Texans at JAX

26. James Cook, Buffalo Bills at WAS

27. Jerome Ford, Cleveland Browns vs. TEN

28. Rachaad White, Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. PHI

29. Jaylen Warren, Pittsburgh Steelers at LV

30. Samaje Perine, Denver Broncos at MIA

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers' defense prevails against Cleveland Browns

Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker T.J. Watt celebrates with fans after his fumble recovery and 16-yard run for a touchdown in the fourth quarter at Acrisure Stadium in Pittsburgh on September 18, 2023. The Steelers defeated the Browns 26-22. Photo by Archie Carpenter/UPI | License Photo

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