Week 8 was not a kind one injury wise to fantasy running backs. But how wise was start/sit advice you ask? Let’s take a look.
Start Mark Ingram (11.9 fantasy points) – He’s even better in PPR and now he’s now the goal-line back for the Saints.
Sit Chris Ivory (4.1 FP) – The Raiders’ defensive line is pretty good and made sure Ivory knew it.
Sit Darren McFadden (11.3 FP) – The Cowboys’ offense is terrible without Tony Romo, so they will keep giving McFadden the ball all the time.
Sit Latavius Murray (11.9 FP) – Murray gashed the Jets’ formerly top-ranked rushing defense for big gains all game.
Teams on bye: Arizona, Baltimore, Detroit, Houston, Kansas City, Seattle
START THESE RBs...
Doug Martin, TB (vs. NYG)
Martin’s streak of consecutive 100-yard rushing games ended at three last week, as he was only able to gain 71 yards on 23 carries against the Falcons. But on the year Martin is averaging 4.6 yards per carry, and believe it or not, he’s on pace for 1,400 yards on the ground. It looks like the Muscle Hamster, I mean Dougernaut, is back. This week the New York Giants come to town, the team that just allowed Drew Brees to throw for more than 500 yards and seven touchdowns. But Jameis Winston isn’t Brees and the Bucs won’t allow Winston to throw the ball more than 30 times a game. That means plenty of opportunities for Martin to start a new 100-yard game streak and this week he could score two touchdowns to boot.
Mark Ingram, NO (vs. TEN)
On paper this week’s matchup against the Tennessee Titans appears to be a tough one for Ingram. The Titans’ rushing defense isn’t half bad, as they are giving up the eighth-fewest fantasy points to running backs so far this season. However it’s the Titans’ pass defense that’s been letting them down and Drew Brees is at home coming off a monster game. So what does all this mean for Ingram? Well, first off, Khiry Robinson is out for the rest of the season, so Ingram is now going to get all the goal-line work and secondly the Saints might be leading by three scores at halftime, so the second half will be all about Ingram.
DeMarco Murray, PHI (at DAL)
Picking an Eagles running back is like picking which Bill Belichick running back to start, you never know who is going to have a good game until it’s over. The reason to go with Murray this week over Ryan Mathews is simple, the Eagles are 2-0 when Murray gets 20 or more carries. In those two games Murray has scored 18 and 18.6 fantasy points and a touchdown in each game. The Eagles are coming off their bye and the way that Sam Bradford has been playing, they would be smart to lean on Murray, who plays his first game in Dallas as a visitor. It also helps that the Cowboys are currently giving up the third-most fantasy points to running backs on the year, so Murray should be in for another 20-plus carries with well over 100 yards and at least one score.
MIGHT BE WORTH THE RISK...
Jeremy Hill, CIN (vs. CLE, Thurs.)
Hill ran hard downhill and just looked more like the 2014 version against the Steelers last week. More importantly, the Bengals showed a willingness to lean on him more than they had at any point this year. This was by the 16 carries Hill got while Giovani Bernard only had three. This week Hill gets a primetime Thursday matchup against a Cleveland Browns defense that is giving up a league-worst 147 rushing yards per game along with the most fantasy points to running backs on the year. This is the game that Hill breaks out of his prolonged slump with 150 yards and two touchdowns.
SIT THESE RBs...
Latavius Murray, OAK (at PIT)
On the year Murray has only two 100-yard games and in his other five he’s looked so-so. He also was benched in back-to-back games earlier in the year before the Raiders’ Week 6 bye. But Murray is coming off a 113-yard game against the New York Jets’ vaunted defense. So would the real Murray please stand up? He won’t stand up this week, as the Raiders travel east to play the Steelers and their surprising defense that is currently giving up the third-fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs. This game has the makings of an all-out shootout where Murray might not have much involvement anyways.
T.J. Yeldon, JAC (at NYJ)
Most people probably forgot, but Yeldon had the best game of his career back in Week 7, when he ran for 115 yards and added a touchdown for a total of 18.4 fantasy points. Now coming off the bye Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley is saying that Yeldon could start seeing goal-line work starting this week, which would add even more value since the rookie really doesn’t have any competition for touches to begin with. The problem with Yeldon is his matchup this week. The Jaguars are traveling to the Big Apple to face the New York Jets and their vaunted run defense. Granted Latavius Murray went for 113 yards rushing last week, but the Jets are still allowing the fewest fantasy points to running backs this season. That trend will continue this week against Yeldon.
Melvin Gordon, SD (vs. CHI, Mon.)
It appears that Gordon is slowly playing his way out of the doghouse in San Diego, as he led the Chargers in backfield touches last week. Still, even though he’s playing against the Chicago Bears, it’s really hard to trust Gordon on a week-to-week basis. Even with Branden Oliver now on injured reserve, Gordon will still split carries in some fashion with Danny Woodhead. Plus, believe it or not the Bears are actually half decent against the run, it’s the pass where they struggle and Philip Rivers is on fire right now so look for the Chargers to air it out in this game, leaving Gordon as a risk-reward flex option at best.
YOU’VE BEEN WARNED...
DeAngelo Williams, PIT (vs. OAK)
You probably just blew your entire FAAB budget to get Williams so come hell or high water, you are going to start him, which is fair. Williams was the No. 1 fantasy running back for the first two weeks of the season with Le’Veon Bell suspended. But keep in mind that this week Williams is going up against a stout Raiders run defense that just last week held Chris Ivory to 17 yards on 15 carries. To make things worse, the game script looks more like a Big Ben to Antonio Brown, Martavis Bryant and Heath Miller game than a hand the ball off to the 32-year-old running back. There’s no doubt that Williams will have some good games over the remainder of the season, just not this week.
— 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.