RBBC: Joique leads the way in Motown

BY John Halpin • December 9, 2014

Each week during the 2014 season, we're going to take a look at running-back-by-committee (RBBC) situations that you should keep a close eye on. Some will have big questions, while others might be noted due to their circumstances becoming clearer. Finally, we're going to focus more on the week ahead than look down the road.

And now, in alphabetical order ...

Arizona Cardinals

Kerwynn who? In the Cardinals' first full game without Andre Ellington, the previously anonymous Kerwynn Williams ran 19 times for 100 yards against the Chiefs, while Stepfan Taylor had just seven touches and Marion Grice three. On Sunday after the game, head coach Bruce Arians said:

 "I knew Kerwynn was going to play well. That's why we made the move. He has been the only guy on our practice field the last three weeks that made our players go, 'Wow.' Making people miss, working our defense. He was Jamaal Charles until Thursday, and then I had to take him out of that role because I knew I was going to start him and play him a bunch."

However, Arians said Monday that Stepfan Taylor is still the starter, and that the Cardinals will go with a committee moving forward. It's hard to like ANY Cardinal backs Thursday night at St. Louis, but Williams is the only one you can consider to be in flex range.

Cincinnati Bengals

Eleven touches for Jeremy Hill and nine for Gio Bernard against the Steelers, and neither back was very effective. This is still close to an even timeshare, but with Bernard getting 16 carries and four receptions over the last two games, he's better off on your bench unless your options are shaky.

Cleveland Browns

Isaiah Crowell (14 carries) and Terrance West (15) each gained 54 yards against the Colts, so are we back to a split workload here? The bet here is that Crowell is still the lead back, and the Browns limited him somewhat due to a hip injury that carried a questionable designation into the game. Crowell is still a fantasy RB2 against the Bengals' 27th-ranked run defense, while West remains mildly flex-able.

Detroit Lions

Jim Caldwell said last week that Reggie Bush would start when active, but Bush had just eight carries and four receptions (34 yards from scrimmage) against the Bucs, while Joique Bell ran 18 times for 83 yards and a score, and added five catches for 50 yards and a lucky TD (pass was tipped, fell into Bell's hands).

Bell looks to be a strong RB2 against the Vikings' 23rd-ranked run defense this week, while Bush can't be trusted in 12-team leagues.

Indianapolis Colts

Andrew Luck threw 53 passes against the Browns, which didn't leave a lot of touches for Dan Herron (eight carries, 26 yards; four receptions, 45 yards) or Trent Richardson (seven carries, 30 yards). Richardson has had less than 10 touches in four of his last five games, so there's no way you can start him any more. Herron is better in PPR than in standard formats, but he's still a low-end RB2 wherever you need him.

New York Jets

The Jets have apparently decided to turn back the clock to the 1960s, as Chris Johnson (34) and Chris Ivory (33) have run a combined 67 times over the last two games. Both are on the RB2/flex cusp, and while Ivory is a better runner, I'd rather start Johnson because he's likely to catch a few passes. The Titans have allowed 141.5 yards per game on the ground, so you can consider both Jet backs.

BONUS

Jonathan Stewart ran for 155 yards on Sunday, but Riverboat Ron Rivera said Monday that DeAngelo Williams (hand) will be part of the mix when he returns. Be careful, Stewart owners ... Even if Rashad Jennings (ankle) is close to full strength for Week 15, won't Andre Williams (24 carries, 131 yards, TD @ TEN) still be in line for a timeshare against the Redskins? Jennings would be the preferred option, but Williams can still be considered as a flex type ... Five carries each for Bucs' backs Doug Martin and Charles Sims against the Lions. Ugh. ... Toby Gerhart played on 22 snaps to Denard Robinson's 41 against the Texans; that was Gerhart's highest total since Week 3, and he had seven touches to Robinson's 10. Keep an eye on this situation, as the Jags are scheduled host the porous Titans' run defense in Week 16.


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