Entering Week 3 of the 2023 NFL season, there have been some surprises at the running back position. We see names at the top of the leaderboard that we weren’t expecting this year and some names that fall a little further down the list.
Going into the year, many had New England Patriots running back Rhamondre Stevenson as one of their top young running backs. But would you expect Stevenson to be 10 positions lower in fantasy football scoring after Week 2 than Miami Dolphins running back Raheem Mostert?
Will Mostert continue to have a strong 2023 season? Will Stevenson be able to turn things around and get back into the top 10? Let’s dig in and find out which of these running backs you should be starting in Week 3!
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Raheem Mostert’s Fantasy Outlook This Week
Mostert and the Dolphins are off to a great start in the 2023 season. While Mostert was only able to amass 50 total yards from scrimmage in Week 1, he broke out in Week 2 with 121 yards on the ground on 18 carries. He added two touchdowns to that, scoring more for his fantasy managers.
With a solid Week 2 that has put Mostert into the top five in scoring this year for fantasy running backs, he feels like an easy start in Week 3. But you have to be aware that Mostert hasn’t had a lot of competition in Miami this year.
Running back Jeff Wilson Jr. is out for the first four weeks on IR. De’Von Achane returned from injury last week for his NFL debut and is just starting to get involved in the Dolphins offense.
With this in mind, is Mostert going to continue this type of year? The running back will have a tougher challenge in Week 3 with the Denver Broncos coming into town. The Broncos have only surrendered 183 yards on the ground through two weeks, giving up an average of 3.5 yards per carry.
With a tougher matchup and more competition in the backfield for Mostert now, I wouldn’t expect the big output that we saw in Week 2 against the New England Patriots.
Mostert, even though he is in the top five in scoring among running backs, feels more like a Flex play than a player I would have in a pure running back slot. He is likely still a start this week due to the success he has had on the field thus far, but I am skeptical that this can continue.
Rhamondre Stevenson’s Fantasy Outlook This Week
The start of the 2023 season has not been everything that Rhamondre Stevenson and the Patriots were hoping for. The team is 0-2, and Stevenson has only amassed 75 yards on the ground so far this year.
The running back has added 74 yards in the air, making him a more relevant fantasy running back for managers, but he is far from being a top ten running back that some were projecting him to be in 2023.
The Patriots travel to New Jersey this weekend to take on the rival New York Jets. Stevenson will need to face a defense that is in the bottom half of the league in rushing yards surrendered. While the Jets secondary has been stout, yards have been given up on the ground.
While this may seem to be an advantage for Stevenson, he has been racking up almost as many yards through the air as he has on the ground. Ezekiel Elliott has had a fair share of carries this year.
If Stevenson continues splitting carries with Zeke, it isn’t a guarantee that Stephenson will have a strong rushing total.
The biggest hurdle in this matchup for the Pats is that the Jets smother passing games for opposing teams. But this could play into the hands of Stevenson as wide receivers will be blanketed all afternoon. Patriots quarterback Mac Jones may need to look at dumping off passes to Stevenson throughout the game.
If you are a manager in a league with half-point or full-point PPR, Stevenson may be able to help you with catches alone. Yards always help, but Stephenson may be able to rack up a good number of catches on Sunday to boost his total.
Which of These RBs Should You Start?
If I was stuck having to decide between these two running backs, I think I would lean toward starting Stevenson over Mostert. Mostert has been more successful to start the year, but Stevenson is the more talented running back.
The major advantage between these two is Stevenson’s involvement in the passing game.
I fully expect the Patriots to have to dump off passes to Stevenson throughout this game. The Jets defense will be able to cover a pretty lackluster group of Patriots wide receivers, and Stevenson will get his fair share of catches.
Mostert, on the other hand, will struggle to get big production with a tougher defensive matchup. His involvement in the passing game is also much lower than Stevenson’s. With all of this in mind, I am going with Stevenson in Week 3.