No DeAngelo Williams or Mark Ingram in Week 11, so which fantasy running back do you want to start and which should you consider leaving on your bench? Before I address that, here’s a quick look at some good and not-so-good calls in Week 10.
Start DeMarco Murray (17.9 fantasy points, PPR league) – Murray is a key cog in the Eagles’ passing game, which makes him a must start in PPR leagues
Sit Doug Martin (10.3 FP) – Martin’s averaging barely over 3 yards per carry in his last three games
Sit Jeremy Hill (2.0 FP) – Ugh. Leave Hill on your bench for the rest of the season
Start Mark Ingram (9.8 FP) – Ingram only got five carries because the Saints’ defense is so bad that the offense was forced to play from (way) behind the entire game last week against the Redskins.
Start Justin Forsett (6.4 FP) – Forsett failed to either total 100 yards from scrimmage or score a touchdown for the first time since Week 3.
Sit Lamar Miller (15.3 FP) – Miller keeps catching balls out of the backfield and running a few of them into the end zone.
Teams on bye: Cleveland, New Orleans, New York Giants, Pittsburgh
START THESE RBs...
Darren McFadden, DAL (vs. MIA)
Since taking over the No. 1 role for the Cowboys, McFadden has been a fantasy gem and anyone who was smart enough to draft him or pick him up has been pleasantly surprised. Prior to last week where he only scored 5.8 fantasy points (32 yards rushing on 17 carries), McFadden had scored 10 or more fantasy points in each of the previous three games, including a season-high 22.2 fantasy points in Week 7. Two things are really going in McFadden’s favor this week. First off, Tony Romo is back, which means the Dolphins’ defense can’t just focus on stopping the run. Second, only one team has given up more fantasy points to opposing RBs than the Dolphins thus far. Put those two things together and you have a game where McFadden should easily gain more than 100 yards rushing with at least one touchdown and that’s not even taking into account the numbers that he’ll put up in the passing game.
Marshawn Lynch, SEA (vs. SF)
It wasn’t too long ago when Lynch was an absolute must-start and would never be considered as someone that you might sit based on a matchup. Well, the way that Lynch has played this year, you’ve been better off leaving him on your bench for most of the year. Lynch has been banged up a lot and looks like his career is trending downwards. He only has 417 rushing yards and three touchdowns on the season. But don’t fret, he still has gas left in the tank. The last time Lynch played the 49ers he had his best game of the year, scoring 18.2 fantasy points thanks to 122 rushing yards and one touchdown. This week the 49ers (6th in terms of most fantasy points allowed to RBs) come to pay a visit to the Seahawks. Even though the Seahawks’ offensive line is terrible, you can expect Lynch to reach the century mark with at least one touchdown on the day. He might even score more than 20 fantasy points.
Charcandrick West, KC (at SD)
It appears that Andy Reid has realized that if the Chiefs have any shot at winning and staying in the wild card race, they need to make sure that West gets the ball early and often. In his last three games, West has scored 18.9, 18.2 and 28.1 fantast points, helping the Chiefs win all three of those games. This week the Chiefs travel to San Diego to play a Chargers defense that is allowing the most fantasy points to opposing running backs on the season. Not only is West the best running back on the Chiefs’ roster, he might be their best receiver as well because quarterback Alex Smith loves throwing him the ball in the flat and in the open field. Look for West to have another monster game and come close to scoring another 20 fantasy points.
MIGHT BE WORTH THE RISK...
Jeremy Langford, CHI (vs. DEN)
This is 100 percent dependent on whether or not Matt Forte plays. If Forte does play Langford will no doubt still have a role in the Bears’ offense, especially the way he’s been playing, but you know Forte would see his share of touches. If Forte doesn’t play, Langford should be in for a decent day against a Broncos defense that has really gotten beaten up lately and might be on the field a lot with Brock Osweiler as the starting quarterback this week. Langford is a key contributor both on the ground and in the passing game and it’s that volume that makes him an interesting play. Even though the Broncos have been pretty stingy to fantasy running backs, Langford’s versatility should allow him to once again score north of 15 fantasy points and a heck of a lot more in PPR leagues.
SIT THESE RBs...
Justin Forsett, BAL (vs. STL)
The term fantasy bust gets thrown out a lot, but you can definitely call Forsett that this season. While he wasn’t a sleeper or a breakout candidate, he was a guy who was coming off his best season as a pro, rushing for 1,266 yards and eight touchdowns. Forsett was expected to at least duplicate those numbers and see an increase in production in the passing game. So far Forsett hasn’t done much of anything. He’s had seven games this season already where he’s scored 10 or fewer fantasy points. He only scored 6.4 fantasy points last week against the lowly Jacksonville Jaguars. This week the St. Louis Rams come to town, a defense that has arguably one of the best front fours in the NFL and is currently allowing the 11th-fewest fantasy points to RBs on the season. Hopefully you have been able to play it smart on the waiver wire and have another RB you can plug in place of Forsett this week.
Chris Johnson, ARI (vs. CIN)
Don’t look now but Johnson’s fantasy magic might be wearing off. In his last two games he’s scored 6.9 and 5.8 fantasy points respectively, despite getting over 25 carries in each game. Last week against the Seahawks it was Andre Ellington who led to way helping the Cardinals knock off the Seahawks in Seattle. This week the Cardinals play host to the Bengals and it should be a decent matchup, as they are middle of the pack (17th) in terms of fantasy points allowed to running backs. The problem if you have Johnson on your team is that Ellington’s touches have been going up with each passing game. Johnson needs all the opportunities he can get to maintain his fantasy relevance.
Doug Martin, TB (at PHI)
From Weeks 4 to 7 Martin looked like the best fantasy running back in the game today. He scored 20.3, 33.8 and 17.1 fantasy points in that span (three games). There’s no doubt he helped many fantasy owners to victory during this stretch. Those of you who have been trotting Martin out there in your lineups ever since however have surely been disappointed. He’s scored about 20 total fantasy points in his last three games and now it appears he’s in a time share with Charles Sims. It also doesn’t help that this week Martin and the Buccaneers travel to the City of Brotherly Love to take on the Eagles. Philadelphia’s defense has done a fine job against running backs, allowing the fourth-fewest fantasy points on the season. Martin is an easy must-sit this week.
YOU’VE BEEN WARNED...
LeSean McCoy, BUF (vs. NE, Mon.)
McCoy has looked like his old self again since the Bills had their bye week. In his last two games, McCoy has scored 17.9 and 15.9 fantasy points, going over 100 yards rushing in each game. It appears that McCoy might not be the fantasy bust so many thought he was destined to be. But unlike past years, McCoy is not matchup-proof and this week the Bills travel to New England, a place where Buffalo usually struggles. It doesn’t help matters that the Patriots play some defense. New England has given up the fifth-fewest fantasy points to opposing RBs thus far. This looks like a game where McCoy will be splitting carries with Karlos Williams and both should probably be left on your bench if you can stomach it.
— 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.