The top two running backs in fantasy football last week were Alvin Kamara and Corey Clement. Read that again. One was a dart throw pick late in fantasy drafts, and the other is still available more than 90 percent of all Yahoo! fantasy leagues.
What does this mean? This is what fantasy football is all about. Of course you’re going to start your studs every week, but it’s about finding those diamonds in the rough, whether it be increased playing time or just the right matchup, that can help propel you to victory any given week.
With that in mind, here are some running backs you should feel good about in Week 10 and some that you may want to think twice about before putting in your starting lineup.
Good Calls for Week 9...
Start Alvin Kamara (25.2 fantasy points) – Kamara might be the Saints’ best offensive weapon, and that includes Michael Thomas and Mark Ingram.
Sit Devonta Freeman (6.4 FP) – Of course no one sat Freeman, he was a likely first-round fantasy draft pick and there were six teams on a bye. But you should have sat him like I said.
Bad Calls for Week 9...
Sit Adrian Peterson (14.7 FP) – Every time I say sit Peterson, he has a good game. I should have known better.
Start Doug Martin (0.7 FP) – In a matchup where Martin should have had his best game of the season, he and the whole Buccaneers offense looked disinterested against the Saints.
Teams on bye: Baltimore, Kansas City, Oakland, Philadelphia
START THESE RBs...
Carlos Hyde, SF (vs. NYG)
The main beneficiary of Pierre Garcon’s move to the IR, Hyde saw 11 targets on top of his 12 rushing attempts. CJ Beathard needs someone reliable to dump off to, and it seems like that person is Hyde, who turned his 11 targets into nine catches for 84 yards. The Giants should allow this type of production to continue, and he also gained some love from the coaching staff even after getting ejected last Sunday.
Lamar Miller, HOU (at LAR)
With Deshaun Watson out, the running game just got really important for the Texans. That’s good news for Miller going up against the Rams who, despite playing from ahead a lot, give up 21.8 fantasy points per game to running backs. That is the second worst mark in the league. Houston might fall behind, but still needs to run to keep Los Angeles’ offense off the field and to help out Tom Savage.
Orleans Darkwa, NYG (at SF)
The same defense that let Adrian Peterson run for 159 faces the New York Giants this week in a game being played for job security. Darkwa was off to a good start against the Rams last week before the game situation caused the Giants to go to Shane Vereen and the passing game early. Against the 49ers, the Giants should keep it close enough to keep the running game a factor throughout. That should translate to Darkwa’s second 100-yard effort of the season.
MIGHT BE WORTH THE RISK...
Isaiah Crowell, CLE (at DET)
The Detroit Lions are in the bottom 10 in rushing defense and even with Duke Johnson clearing concussion protocol, Crowell’s expected volume is reason enough to put him in your flex spot. He’s performed as a solid RB2/3 over the last month, and could wind up in the end zone against the Lions. Of course, this could get out of hand and his role will disappear as the Browns look to pass to catch up, but Crowell has seen at least six targets over the last two games.
SIT THESE RBs...
C.J. Anderson, DEN (vs. NE)
After a decent start to the season, Anderson has been a pretty big disappointment for fantasy owners. Since the Broncos’ Week 5 bye, Anderson is averaging only 4.4 fantasy points per game in standard leagues and has a total of two receptions over that four-game stretch. On paper, Anderson has a good matchup this week as Denver faces the Patriots, who currently give up the fifth-most fantasy points to RBs on the season. However, the combination of the dumpster fire at QB, Anderson’s own poor performances as of late and an apparent ankle injury, make him a good bench candidate for this week.
Ameer Abdullah, DET (vs. CLE)
Do you know the one thing the Browns are good at? Stopping the run. So far this year opposing running backs are averaging just 2.7 yards per carry and 74.3 yards per game, which is the fifth fewest in the league. Don’t forget he also fumbled twice last week and is probably in head coach Jim Caldwell’s doghouse.
Kenyan Drake, MIA (at CAR, Mon.)
Drake saw an uptick in usage after Jay Ajayi was traded, but he is going to share the work with Damien Williams. Plus, head coach Adam Gase does not run the football often when his team is tied or trailing, and with the Dolphins nine-point underdogs on the road, they aren’t expected to be very competitive in this game, leaving fewer rushing attempts to go around.
YOU’VE BEEN WARNED...
Doug Martin, TB (vs. NYJ)
Tampa is in terrible, terrible trouble. With Jameis Winston out with a shoulder injury, the Buccaneers will lean more heavily on Martin, which isn’t a good thing. Since coming off his suspension, Martin has looked average at best and is coming off a game where he ran for eight yards on seven carries. The Jets just held LeSean McCoy to 25 yards on 12 carries, and Martin might not get that many.
— Written by Michael Horvath, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Horvath is a Canadian who also happens to be a fantasy football (not to be confused with CFL) and fitness nut. Follow him on Twitter @realmikehorvath.