Week 9 featured some big fantasy performances from unexpected running backs (like Jeremy Langford), as well as some of the usual suspects (Adrian Peterson, Todd Gurley). So how good was my RB start/sit advice last week?
Start DeMarco Murray (22.1 fantasy points) – He had 161 total yards and a TD. Not too shabby.
Start Mark Ingram (9.6 FP) – He should have had a better game as he had opportunities but his fantasy points were satisfactory.
Start Doug Martin (2.3 FP) – It might be time to get off the “Doug Martin is back” hype train
Sit T.J. Yeldon (10.2 FP) – If you did sit him, it probably didn’t hurt you much… unless you lost by three points or fewer.
And yes, I did warn you against starting DeAngelo Williams. However, I did not tell you to sit him, which hopefully means you were able to reap the benefits of his 36.5 fantasy points. Williams might be the best fantasy running back moving forward.
Teams on bye: Atlanta, Indianapolis, San Diego, San Francisco
START THESE RBs...
Mark Ingram, NO (at WAS)
Ingram struggled last week in his first game as the true, unquestioned No. 1 RB in the Saints’ offense with Khiry Robinson out. Ingram managed only 54 yards on 22 carries, failed to convert both of his goal-line carries and watched as Drew Brees vultured a touchdown away on a one-yard dive. Never fear though, as Ingram will be a true RB1 this week against the Washington Redskins. The Redskins have actually given up the 12th-fewest fantasy points to running backs on the year, but that’s because in the first four weeks of the season they were actually a great run defense. That’s not been the case over the last couple of weeks. Such as was the case last week when LeGarrette Blount ran all over them for 129 yards and a touchdown. Ingram should easily be able to match Blount’s number from last week.
Justin Forsett, BAL (vs. JAC)
Forsett is another player who has pretty much been a fantasy bust so far this season. He’s only scored two touchdowns and has just two 100-yard rushing games. In his last game in Week 8, Forsett was supposed to have an awesome game against the absolutely terrible San Diego defense and he didn’t do anything. He managed 69 rushing yards on 17 carries. Now Forsett is coming off his bye and should be as healthy as he’s been all year and ready to rip apart the Jacksonville Jaguars’ defense. The Jags are giving up the eighth-most fantasy points to running backs, surrendering 94.3 yards rushing and a touchdown per game. Look for Forsett to crack the century mark with at least one touchdown in this one.
DeMarco Murray, PHI (vs. MIA)
So by now everyone who drafted Murray expecting his to replicate the outstanding numbers he had in 2014 as a Dallas Cowboy should realize that isn’t going to happen in Philadelphia with Chip Kelly calling the plays. In fact, Murray is only a borderline RB1 when the matchup is in his favor. Luckily, that’s the case this week as the Miami Dolphins are coming to town. The Dolphins’ run defense ranks 31st in the NFL with 142.1 yards and 0.9 touchdowns per game. That means they are among the top 10 most generous defenses in terms of fantasy points allowed to running backs. Murray has been playing really well as of late. He’s averaging 119.3 total yards and 0.8 touchdowns per game over his last four. He should be good for another 100-plus total yards and at least one touchdown this week.
MIGHT BE WORTH THE RISK...
LeGarrette Blount, NE (at NYG)
By now you should probably know that change-of-pace jitterbug Dion Lewis is out for the year with a torn ACL. You probably
did, or at least tried to, pick up either Brandon Bolden or James White. All of that is fine and dandy, but it’s apparent that neither White nor Bolden are going to come close to getting as many carries as Blount. Even when Lewis was tearing it up (no pun intended), he never really got that many carries. It’s been Blount carrying the load all season. Last week Blount ran it 29 times for 129 yards and a touchdown. As long as Blount doesn’t fumble, he’s going to see 20-plus carries each game moving forward. This week the Patriots are on the road to face a Giants defense that has really struggled as of late and is currently giving up the 12th-most fantasy points to running backs. If the Patriots can get out to a big lead, look for Blount to take over the game.
SIT THESE RBs...
Lamar Miller, MIA (at PHI)
While it’s true that Miller has scored a touchdown in each of his last four games, and is coming of a 26.1-point effort against the Buffalo Bills, it’s important to keep in mind that he’s only rushed for 59 total yards in his last two games. Touchdowns are fickle and you can’t expect Miller to score every game, especially with rookie running back Jay Ajayi seeing more playing time. Throw in the fact that this week’s matchup is terrible for Miller. The Dolphins travel to Philadelphia to play an Eagles team that is among the stingiest (fourth) thus far in fantasy points allowed to running backs. It’s best to rest Miller this week.
Jeremy Hill, CIN (vs. HOU, Mon.)
Here’s Hill’s fantasy points over his last four games – 2.5, 12.9, 6.8 and 5.2. Those are terrible numbers for a player that was taken quite early in the majority of fantasy football drafts. Hill looks nothing like the big, bruising back he was last year. He’s averaging a measly 3.3 yards per carry, hasn’t scored a touchdown since Week 4 and has been severely outplayed by Giovani Bernard. Moving forward if the Bengals are smart they will make sure that Bernard gets more touches not Hill. This week the Bengals play in Houston on Monday night against a Texans defense that has given up the 11th-most fantasy points to running backs. Most of those points will go to Bernard this week.
Doug Martin, TB (at DAL)
From a fantasy perspective, Martin’s season has been quote the roller-coaster ride. He was terrible to start the season and probably found himself on the waiver wire in a lot of leagues by the end of Week 3. Then from Weeks 4 to 7 (had a bye in Week 6), Martin exploded with three consecutive 100-yard games and three touchdowns. Now in his last two games, Martin has once again been a dud. Last week was by far his worst game of the season as he gained only 31 yards on 11 carries and was benched after he lost a fumble. Moving forward it’s hard to imagine Martin getting more than 15 carries a game because he has played himself into a 50/50 split with Charles Sims. This week the Bucs host the Cowboys, who are giving up the seventh-most fantasy points to running backs on the year, but my guess is that it will be Sims getting most of those points this week.
YOU’VE BEEN WARNED...
Charcandrick West, KC (at DEN)
Before his bye week West was on fire, scoring 18.9 fantasy points in Week 7 and following that up with another 18.2 fantasy points. So far he’s been worth every dollar of your FAAB budget that you spent on him. Keep in mind that those two big games were against the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Detroit Lions – not exactly defensive juggernauts. This week the Chiefs travel to Denver to play the best defense in the league and one that is coming off its first loss of the season. Alex Smith can’t pass the ball on the best of days, so he won’t do anything against the Broncos. That does mean lots of opportunities for West and he might have value in PPR leagues, but he’ll be running into a box stacked with defenders that are still smarting from last week’s loss in Indianapolis.
— 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 Getty Images)