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NFL Fantasy Week 3: Running Back Sleepers

Odds are a quarterback will pass his way to the top of the Week 3 NFL Fantasy scorers’ chart. But maybe one of these NFL Fantasy sleepers can give them a run for their money.

Opportunity is the key. Our original top sleeper, Latavius Murray, was removed after word came that Dalvin Cook’s hamstring issue that was just cramps is a hamstring issue again. Listed as limited in practice today, that pushes Murray into a predictable situation not conducive to “sleeper” status.

Everyone should play Murray, even if Cook gives it a go come Sunday. These other guys might not be so obvious:

Best Bet: Duke Johnson, Browns vs. Jets

Josh Gordon is gone, and Jarvis Landry is questionable heading into Thursday Night’s tilt against the Jets. If Landry can’t go or is not 100-percent, the next man up to man the slot is running back Duke Johnson.

That would be the same Duke Johnson who inexplicably disappeared from the Browns’ game plan last week and was promised a bigger role this week.

Rashard Higgins and Antonio Calloway will manage the outside routes. If Landry doesn’t play though, we can expect Johnson to see as many targets as anyone else in Cleveland.

Good bet: Frank Gore, Dolphins vs. Raiders

If you’re following my articles all week, you already know I am down on the Raiders traveling cross-country for an early game in 90-degree and humid conditions.

But Oakland won’t be the only team on the field dealing with the humidity. I expect a good day for the Dolphins offense with a heavy dose of rushing. Kenyan Drake could have a big game, but he will need to sit at times to keep from cramping.

Should Miami find themselves nursing a late lead, Gore could take as much advantage of that as Drake.

Not an awful bet: Corey Grant, Jaguars vs. Titans

Corey Grant’s 11 touches in the absence of Leonard Fournette didn’t make anyone believe coach Doug Marrone’s assertion that he wants to get the play-making back more involved in the offense.

With Fournette working his way back, we are left to wonder whether TJ Yeldon or Grant would get the scraps in Week 3. News that Yeldon did not practice Wednesday due to an ankle injury tilts the odds in Grant’s favor.

Even if Yeldon is cleared to play after sitting out Wednesday’s practice, Corey Grant could be the change of pace back behind Fournette. Another day of high heat and humidity in Jacksonville makes a three-way rotation possible, especially if Fournette and Yeldon are less than 100 percent.

Don’t bet on it: Chris Carson OR Rashaad Penny

Head coach Pete Carroll told the world he realizes he abandons the run too early and needs to use his rushers more.

Don’t be surprised to see Russell Wilson lined up alone for the whole game. Nothing Carroll tells the press translates to worthy NFL Fantasy information. This won’t either.

But what do I know? I only guess right on three of my four NFL sleeper running back picks last week. Does that make me an expert? Far from it. But think about the scenarios above. Maybe one of these guys saves your week.