Welcome to the season’s third edition of our weekly look at fantasy running back committees. Is it time to buy low or sell high on some people? You betcha.
In this space, we’ll attempt to read the backfield tea leaves to help you with lineup decisions. We’ll post this article each Tuesday, and offer updates in our fantasy coverage throughout the week, including in the Friday morning edition of the FOX Sports Fantasy Buzz Blog!
As usual, this series will focus mainly on the more volatile and/or 50-50 situations, but there will be some non-committee and injury notes as well. If you have any questions, the FOXSports.com fantasy staff is always happy to help. The best ways to reach me are via Facebook or Twitter.
Finally, start/sit recommendations for the players below always depend on the rest of your roster. For specific RB rankings, click here. Rankings will be available at around noon ET each Wednesday.
Thursday game: Chiefs at Eagles
Rashard Mendenhall ran 15 times for 66 yards and a score against the Lions, and caught a couple of passes for 28 yards. Cool, right? Rookie Andre Ellington Carried four times for 20 yards, and scored on a 36-yard reception. Nothing to see here, right?
Well, on Monday, the Cardinals’ website reported that head coach Bruce Arians sees Ellington as a “back who can carry the load” instead of just as a third-down back. That doesn’t necessarily mean you should run out and grab Ellington, but he might be an interesting option if the injury-prone Mendenhall goes down, and is worth a stash in deeper leagues.
NFL.com reported Tuesday that Steven Jackson might miss 2-4 weeks with his thigh injury. After Jackson’s exit in Week 2, Jacquizz Rodgers (owned in 45.4 percent of FOXSports.com leagues) carried 11 times for 17 yards and caught four passes for 28, while Jason Snelling (0.3 percent owned) had two carries for 19 yards and four receptions for 41 yards. We’ll probably see a timeshare here, with Snelling getting the goal-line work.
Early indications are that Ray Rice will play in Week 3 despite a hip injury. If Rice plays, Bernard Pierce probably returns to the 10-touch range. If Rice doesn’t play, Pierce will be a high-end RB2 versus the Texans.
So, Fred Jackson had 16 more touches (for 53 yards and a score) against the Panthers. If the C.J. Spiller owners aren’t happy with his 103-yard rushing day, they’re seeing the glass as half-empty. He’ll score some touchdowns – I promise..
OMG GIO BERNARD IS AWESOME HE GOT TWO TOUCHDOWNS ON MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL GET THAT LARD-ASS GREEN-ELLIS OUTTA THERE!!!.
Not so fast, people. Green-Ellis had 22 carries for 75 yards in Monday’s win over the Steelers, while Bernard touched the ball nine times. Bernard is pretty good and might earn his way into fantasy flex status soon, but don’t look for him to take the lead role just yet. The Bengals will be very happy if things keep working out the way they did last night, and that’s not great for Bernard’s fantasy owners. Again, nine touches.
For the time being, Knowshon Moreno appears to be the Broncos’ lead back, with Montee Ball possibly rotating in and getting some goal-line work. Knowshon is a no-doubt starter in Week 3 versus the Raiders, while Ball should be benched in most formats. Also, good luck to Ronnie Hillman, wherever he is. I hear the Federal Witness Protection Program does some great work.
Reggie Bush’s status for Week 3 is up in the air due to a knee injury. If Bush can’t go, Joique Bell will carry most of the load, though he could cede short-yardage (or more) to Mikel Leshoure. Note to Bell owners: I know you like him, and I like him too, but he’s NOT Reggie Bush.
Green Bay Packers
Eddie Lacy’s concussion status is unknown, but some speculation suggests that he’ll sit this week and return in Week 5 after the Pack’s bye. Starks might be a decent free-agent pickup for the tough Week 3 matchup at Cincinnati, but remember that his mediocrity is what prompted the Packers to draft Lacy to begin with.
Nineteen carries and 79 yards for Arian Foster, nine carries and 93 yards for Tate. That workload distribution sounds about right, and it shouldn’t make you excited if you’re a Tate owner.
You really thought the Colts would give Donald Brown (seven carries, 30 yards) a lot of work after Vick Ballard went down? While Ahmad Bradshaw is healthy, he’s the unquestioned lead dog here, but a shaky start in Week 3 at San Francisco.
It’s too early to tell if Maurice Jones-Drew’s ankle injury will keep him out for Week 3. If you want to make a speculative pickup of Jordan Todman or Justin Forsett to start them on the road against the Seahawks, you might have a screw loose. I might not even start an active but slowed MJD in Seattle.
Lamar Miller ran 14 times for 69 yards and a score against the Colts, almost doubling Daniel Thomas workload and output. Do you think that, at some point during the game, the Dolphins coaches turned to each other and said, “Oh, that’s right. Miller is WAAAAAAAAAAAY better than Thomas!” Start Miller with confidence against the Falcons in Week 3.
New Orleans Saints
More of the same. Darren Sproles is great in PPR, and OK in standard formats. Mark Ingram and Pierre Thomas share the rest of the rushing load on this pass-happy team, with Ingram looking especially mediocre this season. I’m going to use the exact same copy in this section for the rest of the season, and see if anyone notices.
New York Giants
Thank goodness the Giants are making David Wilson carry the ball like he’s holding a newborn baby. He might run half as fast and gain two yards per carry, but at least he’ll never fumble again.
Seriously, the Giants have to know that they need a big-play Wilson for their offense to produce, and I’d still start him in some fantasy situations against the Panthers. In related news, I can be very stubborn.
As for Brandon Jacobs and Da’Rel Scott … come on. Does anyone remember when the 264-pound Jacobs used to get replaced as the Giants’ goal-line back by much smaller teammates Tiki Barber and Ahmad Bradshaw? NFL Network analyst Warren Sapp once called Jacobs the “Tiptoe Burglar” because of his, um, non-aggressive running style. Was Jacobs really a better option than Willis McGahee last week?
New York Jets
Through two games, Bilal Powell has 25 carries to Chris Ivory’s 22, with Powell adding six catches and a score. This is pretty much a down-the-middle split, and both backs are flex-worthy against the Bills in Week 3.
THREE carries for Bryce Brown? You’re killing me, Chip Kelly. Bench Brown until my oft-predicted fantasy relevance actually occurs, but don’t cut him or anything.
Isaac Redman got hurt on Monday’s opening kickoff, and carried just three times after his return. Felix Jones was the lead back, running 10 times for 37 yards. Watching this team try to run is painful, and we shouldn’t expect much from them Sunday night against the Bears. It’s nice to think things will be better when rookie Le’Veon Bell returns, but you can run through holes that don’t exist.
San Diego Chargers
Sixteen carries and 73 yards for Ryan Mathews against the Eagles. Is he sucking you back in yet? I hope not. According to the folks at Pro Football Focus, Danny Woodhead (nine carries, 27 yards; eight receptions, 37 yards) was on the field for 41 snaps, compared to Mathews’ 28 and Ronnie Brown’s 15. You can return Woodhead to lineup consideration in PPR leagues.
If you have questions on any RBBC situations or think other teams should be added to the mix next week, contact me via Facebook or Twitter. Thanks!