Week 2 was a rough one for running backs, both from a fantasy perspective and health-wise. So how did my start or sit advice fare in hindsight?
Start LeGarrette Blount (18.3 fantasy points) – The Patriots relied heavily on their ground game against the Dolphins.
Sit Jeremy Hill (5.9 FP) – Hill was non-existent against the Steelers and hasn’t looked very good to start the year.
I warned you against starting Todd Gurley and all he did was manage seven fantasy points.
Start Rashad Jennings (4 FP) – It’s a RBBC approach in the Giants’ backfield and Shane Vereen is looking like the better option.
I also said it might be worth the risk to start Jeremy Langford (7.4 FP) Monday night against the Eagles but the Bears got behind fast and are still searching for consistency in the running game.
START THESE RBs...
Melvin Gordon, SD (at IND)
There’s no question that Gordon is the man now in San Diego and so far, this year, he’s looked the part of a first-round running back. Last week after Danny Woodhead went down with a knee injury, Gordon carried the rock 24 times for 102 yards and a touchdown against Jacksonville. He’s an easy start this week against the Colts, which have given up more fantasy points to running backs (34.5 PPG) than any other team in the league.
Matt Forte, NYJ (at KC)
You know what makes for great fantasy football stats? Volume, volume and more volume. And that is exactly what Forte is getting. For whatever reason, the Jets don’t want Bilal Powell to touch the ball. Powell had one carry for one yard and a single reception for one yard against Buffalo. Forte had 30 carries for 100 yards and three touchdowns, adding two catches for nine yards. That’s a 16-to-1 touch ratio in favor of Forte in case you didn’t want to do the math. Forte’s YPC might not be very good, but he’s the red zone back and getting plenty of work in a pretty sweet offense. Ride this wave for as long as you can, because it has to end at some point.
DeMarco Murray, TEN (vs. OAK)
Murray is proving that his excellent preseason wasn’t a fluke, as he has been one of the top fantasy RBs through the first two games. And most of his production has come as a receiver out of the backfield (21.1 points), which you’ve got to love in PPR leagues. Fantasy owners should deploy him against the Raiders, which have surrendered an average of 20 fantasy points per game to opposing RBs thus far.
MIGHT BE WORTH THE RISK...
Theo Riddick, DET (at GB)
If the game script goes the way it should, the Lions should be throwing a lot in this matchup while playing from behind, which obviously benefits Riddick. His role should be expanded now with Ameer Abdullah on injured reserve, and he's already had 18 carries this season after just 43 all of last year. Dwayne Washington will likely serve as the short-yardage and goal-line back in Abdullah’s absence, but Riddick is a must-start in all PPR leagues. He has nine catches for 91 yards and a touchdown on 10 targets for the season, and he has 13 catches for 86 yards and a touchdown in his past three meetings with the Packers.
SIT THESE RBs...
Eddie Lacy, GB (vs. DET)
It’s time to stop pretending Fat Eddie/Skinny Eddie/Young Eddie/Jordy Nelson Eddie/Dairy-Free Eddie is going to be 2013 Eddie. Lacy is going to average a little more than 13 carries per game (he’ll have big games here and there), gain a little more than four yards per attempt, catch a couple of passes at best, and maybe score here and there. But he’s just not going to be someone you can depend on as a top-24 or even top-30 fantasy RB at this point. He has 111 yards, a catch, and no touchdowns through two games. His matchup against the Lions is enticing this week, but you really probably have a better starting option like Christine Michael or Charles Sims.
Carlos Hyde, SF (at SEA)
After a huge game in Week 1 against the Rams (23.3 fantasy points), Hyde was a major disappointment last week in Carolina, and the schedule doesn’t ease up with a visit to Seattle on tap for Sunday. Most No. 1 RBs have not fared well in the Pacific Northwest dating back to the start of last season, as just three have scored a rushing touchdown in that span. So far this season the Seahawks have given up the third-fewest fantasy points to running backs, so this is a good week to keep Hyde on the bench.
Jeremy Hill, CIN (vs. DEN)
Hopefully you didn’t draft Hill too early this year hoping that he would return to his 2014 rookie form because it looks like, at least for now, he’s going to be a regular member of the sit ‘em club. Over his first two games Hill has only 53 rushing yards and last week in Pittsburgh, Giovani Bernard got more snaps (47) than Hill (29) and appeared to be the better back. Next on the schedule is a difficult home game against the Broncos, which means it will be more of a Bernard game than a Hill game.
YOU’VE BEEN WARNED...
Jerick McKinnon, MIN (at CAR)
This one might be hard because everyone will want to play their shiny new toy, especially if you paid a hefty chunk of your FAAB budget to get McKinnon. But while McKinnon is uber-talented, he will still share the workload with Matt Asiata in some fashion. At minimum, Asiata will serve as the goal-line back, which limits McKinnon’s scoring potential and possibly his touches in the red zone. To make matters worse, the Vikings are in Carolina this week, which usually means tough sledding for the visiting team.
— 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.