So how did my Week 7 start/sit fantasy running back advice turn out? Let’s take a quick look back.
Start Todd Gurley (28.3 fantasy points) – This one was too easy.
Start Lamar Miller (35.6 FP) – He crushed it. He’s now an easy RB1 each week.
Sit Dion Lewis (0 FP) – Hope you listened because Lewis didn’t even play.
I warned you against starting Christine Michael despite all the hype about him seeing more playing time. He had five carries for 18 yards and watched with everyone else as Darren McFadden had a huge game.
Sit Charcandarick West (18.9 FP) – Boom! West played just like Jamaal Charles would have last week against the Steelers.
Start Frank Gore (7.5 FP) – Gore was a non-factor because the Colts were down 21-0 at halftime.
Teams on bye: Buffalo, Jacksonville, Philadelphia, Washington
START THESE RBs...
Chris Johnson, ARI (at CLE)
Everyone thought that Johnson was done after he was terrible last season in New York. It looked like he was going to be on the outside looking in as the season started, but an injury to Andre Ellington opened the door for him and he has taken the lead back role for the Arizona Cardinals and literally run with it. Johnson is coming off an excellent Monday night game against the Ravens where he ran for 122 yards and one score. Look for that to continue this week as the Cardinals travel to Cleveland to play a Browns defense that is currently ranked third in terms of fantasy points allowed to running backs. Another 100 yards and a score should be in store for Johnson.
Mark Ingram, NO (vs. NYG)
It was an awful sight for Ingram fantasy owners last week as Khiry Robinson stole two early touchdowns in the first half of the Saints’ game against the Indianapolis Colts. Thankfully Ingram responded with 143 rushing yards on only 14 carries and scored a touchdown himself. Imagine what his fantasy numbers would have been like if he just scored one of those touchdowns that Robinson stole? Regardless, the Saints’ offense is really playing well lately and Ingram is playing like a true RB1. This week is a great matchup for Ingram, as the New York Giants come to town. The G-Men are in the top 10 of teams that are giving up the most fantasy points to RBs and have really struggled on the road. It’s true that Khiry Robinson and C.J. Spiller could vulture touches and touchdowns from Ingram, but Ingram will still get the lion’s share of the workload and should easily go over 100 yards rushing.
Doug Martin, TB (at ATL)
The Muscle Hamster or as Martin prefers, Dougernaut, is back! He’s running and playing like he did four years ago as a rookie. It also helps that the Tampa Bay offensive line has really gelled as a unit and is one of the better run-blocking lines in all of football. Martin has rushed for over 100 yards in each of his last three games and scored three touchdowns in that span as well. He’s also catching passes, making him an excellent start in PPR leagues. This week Martin goes up against the Atlanta Falcons and their defense, which has been the second-most generous to opposing RBs. This means that Martin is in for another huge day. Look for Martin to get close to 150 rushing yards and score at least one touchdown.
MIGHT BE WORTH THE RISK...
Jeremy Hill, CIN (at PIT)
There’s no doubt that Hill has been one of the most disappointing fantasy players so far this season. He started the season as the unquestioned No. 1 running back on the Bengals’ depth chart and has played himself into a position where Giovani Bernard is seeing more snaps due to better production. However, the Bengals and offensive coordinator Hue Jackson really prefer a downhill running game and Hill can be that battering ram. Coming off the bye week Hill should be rejuvenated and ready to finally break out of his season-long slump. Look for Hill to get close to 100 rushing yards and at least one score in this one.
SIT THESE RBs...
Chris Ivory, NYJ (at OAK)
Just when it looked like Ivory was finally going to play up to his abilities and be a true RB1 for fantasy owners for the rest of the season, he reminded us just how fragile he really is, as he only played 51 percent of the Jets’ snaps last week thanks to yet another injury, this time “tightness in his quad” according to head coach Todd Bowles. Even if Ivory was healthy, Sunday’s game against Oakland is looking to be a tough matchup. These aren’t the Raiders of old, as their defense has done a good job limiting the damage done by opposing running backs, giving up the 10th-fewest fantasy points per game. Ivory says he’s “ready to go” this week, but you might want to play it safe and keep him on your bench.
Darren McFadden, DAL (vs. SEA)
So Joseph Randle was ineffective and got hurt early in last week’s game against the New York Giants. Most people thought that would mean that Christine Michael would finally get a chance to show what he can do. As it turned out, Michael got to watch as McFadden had his best game in years, rushing for 152 yards and a touchdown. Now everyone is going to jump on the McFadden bandwagon, as he is now the starting running back for the Cowboys, who have one of the best offensive lines in the league. This means great value, right? Perhaps, but not this week with the Seattle Seahawks paying a visit. Despite their disappointing 3-4 record, the Seahawks once again have been tough on the run, ranking near the top (third) in fewest fantasy points allowed to opposing RBs. McFadden may be the flavor of the week, but it’s probably wisest to leave him on your bench.
Latavius Murray, OAK (vs. NYJ)
Murray has had an up-and-down start to the season, his first as a true No. 1 running back in the NFL. Unfortunately for many fantasy owners who gambled early on Murray, he’s had way more down weeks than up. This won’t be an up week for Murray either. He’s got a horrifying matchup against the New York Jets, who have given up the fewest rushing yards and the fewest fantasy points to running backs on the year. The Jets might have the best front four in the league, and those who start Murray hoping that he can at least get a touchdown, keep in mind that the Jets have only allowed one rushing touchdown on the year too.
YOU’VE BEEN WARNED...
Frank Gore, IND (at CAR, Mon.)
It’s becoming more and more apparent as the season progresses that the Colts’ offense is not even close to the productive unit it was last season and Andrew Luck, whether it be injury, poor decision-making or terrible coaching, has regressed. No one this is good news for Gore owners. Because of the Colts’ offensive struggles Gore has only had two double-digit fantasy days this season and he simply isn’t getting the volume needed to produce. That’s not going to change this week as the Colts visit Carolina to play the Panthers. The Panthers are 10th in terms of fantasy points given up to opposing running backs, which should be good news for Gore, but if the Colts are once again forced to play catch up, don’t expect many run plays to be called.
— 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.