Last week Ezekiel Elliot showed us why fantasy football owners will miss him for the majority of the remaining fantasy schedule IF he is suspended. He showed his ability to run the football, catch the football and tip-toe down the sidelines.
And at least for one more game, those fantasy owners who gambled on Elliot in fantasy drafts will have him at their disposal. He’s a guaranteed start obviously. For the remaining questions marks, and there are many with six teams on bye, here are those running backs you should start and a few you might want to leave on your bench.
Good Calls for Week 7...
Start Mark Ingram (17 fantasy points) – Even though Ingram and Alvin Kamara are splitting touches, the fantasy value for each is through the roof right now.
I warned you about starting Ty Montgomery (1.5 FP) as his days of getting on the field for just about all of the offensive snaps appear to be over thanks to Aaron Jones.
Bad Calls for Week 7...
Start Carlos Hyde (8.8 FP) – With rookie C.J. Beathard at QB, the 49ers’ offense could only spin its wheels against the Cowboys.
Start Jerick McKinnon (5.7 FP) – It appears that Latavius Murray is still going to get carries and McKinnon’s PPR value drops when the Vikings are leading.
Teams on bye: Arizona, Green Bay, Jacksonville, Los Angeles Rams, New York Giants, Tennessee
START THESE RBs...
Joe Mixon, CIN (vs. IND)
Mixon could be in line for a breakout performance for a couple of reasons. One: The Colts’ defense is bad, and Mixon could find some running room and get in the open field where he thrives. Two: The Colts’ offense won't score many points, meaning that the Bengals don't have to play from behind and air it out, allowing Mixon the opportunity to get more carries than usual, utilizing a ground-and-pound approach. He hasn't been able to eclipse the 62-yard mark all season, but things could change rapidly against a defense that is ranked 31st in yards allowed per game (425.4) and last in points (31.7).
Jay Ajayi, MIA (at BAL, Thurs.)
Believe it or not, Ajayi has yet to find the end zone, but he's rushed more than 100 yards twice. The Ravens are the only team that has already given up more than 1,000 yards on the ground, and even if Ajayi doesn’t get a touchdown, he should at least eclipse 100 yards again.
Alvin Kamara, NO (vs. CHI)
The Bears surprisingly have been pretty solid at stopping the run this season, but the Saints’ rushing attack without Adrian Peterson, with its complementary threats in the air, makes Kamara a solid start this week. Not to mention, they're even better at home.
MIGHT BE WORTH THE RISK...
Tevin Coleman, ATL (at NYJ)
The Jets have faced five teams who feature a secondary tailback heavily into their offense. Four of those five scored more than 10 fantasy points. Expect Coleman (above, right), who was averaging nearly 10 FPPG before the meltdown in New England, to do the same.
SIT THESE RBs...
Frank Gore, IND (at CIN)
Marlon Mack finally out-snapped Gore against Jacksonville. Maybe that was due to the game being out of hand, but where do these Colts go from here? They might as well see what they have in the young Mack. Gore is a legend and a Hall of Famer, but he doesn’t do much for the team at this point.
Isaiah Crowell, CLE (vs. MIN, London)
Crowell continues to see the majority of carries, tying a season-high 17 last week. Still, he mustered up only 35 yards. Crowell has zero rushing TDs so far, and the Vikings have only given up one rushing TD all year. Crowell is a flex play at best.
Thomas Rawls and Eddie Lacy (vs. HOU)
Desperate fantasy owners in need of a flex starter this week could decide to roll the dice on Rawls or Lacy, but neither is a worthwhile option. These two backs have split touches right down the middle over the last two weeks, and neither has produced in the stat sheets. The Texans have been tough on opposing running backs, giving up the third-fewest fantasy points to the position so far.
YOU’VE BEEN WARNED...
Doug Martin, TB (vs. CAR)
Doug Martin has been solid through his first three games this season, putting up 14, 14, and 8 points in standard leagues. However, Martin has yet to eclipse 85 total yards on the year and as expected, has only totaled four receptions. Martin draws a tough matchup this week against a Panthers team that has only given up one double-digit-point game to an RB this season. While it’s tough to bench Martin on a week with six teams on bye, I would definitely lower expectations.
— 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.
(Top photo courtesy of www.bengals.com)