Running back is the single most important position in fantasy football. Having a good core of running backs can easily carry a team on a weekly basis, but four weeks into the season some fantasy owners are already sweating over the status of their starting running backs.

Can Wayne Gallman pick up where Saquon Barkley left off? I was hesitant at first considering Gallman was the backup to one of the best receiving running backs in the league with a rookie quarterback, but Gallman in one game in the starting spot has fit nicely into the hole in the Giants offense left by Barkley.

Gallman should be considered a starting running back going forward until Barkley is healthy and back in action.

What is the outlook for Austin Ekeler? Last week, the Chargers announced Ekeler would become the backup behind Melvin Gordon who is returning from a contract holdout. This will most likely mean a severe drop in production for Ekeler. However, Ekeler will still be a viable flex option as the Chargers still love Ekeler as a receiver and he could even see some red zone targets.

How effective is Sony Michel for fantasy purposes? The Patriots are currently a revolving door at the running back position, shuffling between Michel, Rex Burkhead and James White. It’s been effective for their offense as a whole, but it makes predicting for fantasy tough. While Michel normally gets the starting nod, Burkhead has been effective in the redzone and White has been a “go to” receiver for Tom Brady.

My advice would be to pray and hope the guy on your team has an effective game.

PLAYERS TO START

Leonard Fournette, Jaguars: Last week, Fournette put up a monstrous 265 yards on the ground against Denver. Things are looking up for Fournette as Carolina is 24th against the run and Fournette is due for a touchdown or two considering he has not scored once this season.

Tyler Eifert, Bengals: I know, Eifert has been a non-factor all season, but the Arizona Cardinals have given up huge games to tight Ends in the past four weeks (27 receptions, 375 yards, 5 TDs overall). If you are weak at Tight End, Eifert might be a good one week, no guarantees fix.

Adam Theilen, Vikings: Against Chicago last week, the Vikings passing game was non-existent. Kirk Cousins even apologized to Theilen last week for overthrowing him on several occasions. It was painful to watch. But, that was against what I think is the best defense in fantasy and is much more a challenge than a 25th ranked Giants defense that will more than likely roll over if Minnesota can get Dalvin Cook going. Expect a huge rebound from him this week.

PLAYERS TO SIT

Austin Hooper, Falcons: Hooper has a top five tight end this season as one of Matt Ryan’s favorite targets. However, the Falcons are facing a Houston team this week that is only allowing 4.3 points to opposing tight ends. If there is any week for Hooper to have a bad week receiving, this week is it.

Jaylen Samuels, Steelers: Samuels had a bright 23.54 (PPR) performance in an otherwise boring Monday Night Football game. However, this was against a Cincinnati team that has been struggling and James Conner is still the starting running back.. Do not expect him to repeat this kind of performance against a team that as solid as the Ravens.

Gardner Minshew, Jaguars: I am all for Minshew Mania, however, everyone’s favorite Uncle Rico knock off has been dealing with knee issues this week at practice and will most likely affect his performance this week against a Carolina team that is tied with Chicago for the league lead in sacks this season at 18.

Parker Ward is a copy editor/page designer for the Longview News-Journal. Email: pward@news-journal.com