Is Todd Gurley really worth starting anymore?
With last of the big bye weeks in the rear-view mirror and some other guys coming back from injury, the running back pool is deeper than it has been in several weeks for fantasy owners to dip into. But you still have to decide which RBs to start and which ones to either leave on your bench or possibly the waiver wire.
Before we dive into Week 10, let’s see how my start/sit advice fared in Week 9.
I warned you about starting Todd Gurley (7.4 fantasy points) and he only got consecutive carries once all game against the
Sit Latavius Murray (30.7 FP) – The Broncos’ run defense really isn’t any good as Murray was able to rack up more than 100 yards three TDs.
Sit Frank Gore (19.1 FP) – In a game that was supposed to be Luck vs. Rodgers, Gore managed to score two touchdowns.
Start Charcandrick West (7.4 FP) – It boggles my mind how West could have been so ineffective last week against the Jaguars.
Teams on bye: Buffalo, Detroit, Indianapolis, Oakland
START THESE RBs...
Jordan Howard, CHI (at TB)
This is a tricky situation, as the Bears' backfield could turn into a three-way timeshare at any point. But that also was a concern in the last game with both Jeremy Langford and Ka'Deem Carey active, and Howard ended up playing 82 percent of the snaps and turned 30 touches (26 carries, four receptions) into 202 yards (153 rushing, 49 receiving) and a touchdown against the stout Vikings defense. Howard has been by far the team's most productive back, averaging 5.1 yards per carry and leading the NFL in missed tackles forced per touch, and he should again be the focal point of the offensive game plan coming out of the bye week.
Jonathan Stewart, CAR (vs. KC)
Stewart is churning out just 3.8 yards per carry in three games since returning from a hamstring injury, but he also has averaged 20 touches per contest with four total touchdowns over that span. Now, he gets a home matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs, who were just gashed by Chris Ivory and T.J. Yeldon for 172 total yards (140 rushing, 32 receiving) and a touchdown on 31 touches (25 carries, six receptions) and are 30th in the NFL in yards per carry allowed (4.8), better than only the Redskins and 49ers.
Jay Ajayi, MIA (at SD)
Ajayi has become a fantasy star, scoring a combined 79.3 points (529 rush yards) in his last three contests. He should keep rolling this week in San Diego, as the Chargers allowed 25.9 fantasy points to Tennessee's RBs a week ago. Miami also has seen its offensive line thrive in recent weeks, so Ajayi makes for a solid choice.
MIGHT BE WORTH THE RISK...
Devontae Booker, DEN (at NO)
Booker was a bust as last week's top start, scoring just three fantasy points despite a great matchup in Oakland. I will keep the faith, however, as Booker has another tremendous matchup against New Orleans. The Saints, who allowed 18.2 fantasy points to DuJuan Harris in Week 9, have given up more than 25 points a game to RBs in 2016.
SIT THESE RBs...
LeGarrette Blount, NE (vs. SEA)
In four games since Tom Brady's return, Blount is averaging 3.5 yards per carry and has rushed for more than 50 yards just once. He's been useful in fantasy leagues thanks to five touchdowns over that span, and in most weeks, his role as the goal-line back in such a potent offense makes him a must-start option. That's not the case, however, when the opponent is the Seahawks, who are third in the NFL in yards per carry allowed and have given up just two touchdowns to running backs all season – both of which were to Carlos Hyde in garbage time.
All Seattle RBs (at NE)
Thomas Rawls might be back this week, which makes the whole Christine Michael/C.J. Prosise thing that’s not really happening all the muddier. The Seahawks only ran the ball nine times Monday night in a close game against the Bills. They were making big plays down the field, but four of those nine rushes were by Tyler Lockett and Russell Wilson. This is a passing team until further notice. We’ve given these guys enough chances.
All Minnesota RBs (at WAS)
Maybe one day this mess can be figured out, but for now, stash Ronnie Hillman and get the heck out of the way. There was a pretty even split among the three ball carriers this past Sunday, with Hillman getting 8 touches (1 catch), Asiata 11 (2 catches) and McKinnon seven carries. This offense is now dinking and dunking and that’s all we know.
YOU’VE BEEN WARNED...
Todd Gurley, STL (at NYJ)
Gurley ran 12 times for 48 yards last week, which actually improved his yards per carry to 3.1. Yuck. That kind of inefficiency can be saved by either volume or touchdowns, but the second-year back isn't getting either lately. In his last three games, he's averaging just 13.7 carries and has yet to find the end zone. His increased work in the passing game (5.2 targets and 4.4 receptions over the last five) makes him a better option in PPR leagues, but Gurley simply can't be trusted in standard formats, especially on the road against a Jets defense that is fifth in the NFL in yards per carry allowed.
— 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.