Bell Cow or Bust for Running Back Scoring
For many Fantasy owners, the mindset has always been that running backs are what carry you to a title. With the philosophy change in the NFL over the last few years, the number of high volume backs are becoming few and far between. This ideology of splitting workloads between two or three runners, commonly referred to as a running back by committee, is a constant headache from the draft right through to setting your lineup each week. Prior to 2006, there was an average of 10-plus backs with 300-plus carries. But since 2007, that number has hovered around five, with a low of two in 2011. You can attribute it to the wear and tear of the position, or maybe to just how replaceable these players have become. One thing is for certain, this current trend in the NFL of high-octane, pass-heavy systems has made finding a runner that gets you 20-plus carries per game all the more valuable.
Week 6 saw eight RBs carry the ball 20-plus times, all with mixed results. Only two of the eight backs actually finished with more than 100 yards rushing, but because of the volume most of the other RBs finished with very productive days. Players like Mark Ingram and Jonathan Stewart, both of whom carried the ball 20 times on Sunday, finished with very mediocre yardage totals but their days were salvaged with rushing touchdowns. Whereas a back like Le’Veon Bell touched the ball the ball 24 times for 88 yards, he could not find the end zone, and more surprisingly was held without a catch, leading to a frustrating day for some owners.
[caption id="attachment_86675" align="alignright" width="384"] Can Chris Ivory stay on the field and maintain his RB1 production? Photo Credit: Drew Tassel[/caption]
Chris Ivory shredded what was thought to be a tough Redskins rush defense coming in, going for 146 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries. Ivory continuing to look like a true RB1 this week, showing the speed and power that we have seen glimpses of over the years. He is the centerpiece of a surprisingly well-balanced Jets offense, which is helping to open the running lanes as defenders have had to respect Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker on the outside. With 312 yards rushing in his last two games, this hot streak doesn’t seem to be cooling off anytime soon.
Congratulations to those of you that decided to snag Ivory as your second or third running back during drafts, as now you should be looking at starting two top running backs each week, which puts you ahead of the curve. Currently, Ivory is a commodity that you just cannot trade, unless someone is looking to give you the farm, which is unlikely. So hold onto him and ride the wave.
Week 7 will have the Jets heading to New England for a divisional matchup with the Patriots. I don’t see why Ivory can’t keep it going against a defense that let Frank Gore rip off several nice runs on Sunday night. The Jets will undoubtedly be looking to keep Tom Brady off the field, with Ivory seeing a heavy workload to accomplish this. Another 100 yard performance is certainly a reasonable expectation for this game.
Poor Carlos Hyde. He is a guy that has a ton of talent, but is stuck on an abysmal team. Week 6 saw yet another subpar performance in a matchup that he could have taken advantage of against the Baltimore Ravens defense. Hyde plodded his way to just 55 yards on 21 carries, and to make matters worse he suffered a foot injury during the game. Even with Colin Kaepernick having a decent day throwing the ball, the defense was heavily focused on Hyde, and it showed in so many short gains. Another troubling fact was just how slow Hyde looked during the game, which also helped contribute to his low yardage output. A lingering foot injury will only make matters worse moving forward.
Hyde is an intriguing prospect in a potential trade market. He consistently gets the touches you look for in a back, but on the other hand he doesn’t deliver much. He’s not a player I am currently targeting in deals, as I don’t foresee any upside for Hyde for the remainder of the season. He is certainly a headache you should leave for another owner to handle.
Week 7 puts the 49ers on a short week and in a tough matchup against the hated Seahawks on Thursday night. With Hyde’s ankle issue, and the issues on the offense in general, there is not much to get excited about with this matchup. This particular game is always hard-hitting and low-scoring, so temper expectations on Hyde this week. For Hyde to exceed double-digit fantasy points would be a stretch.
As a Peterson owner, his performance against the Chiefs on Sunday was tough to watch. Of his 26 carries, it seems like 20 of those went for negative yardage. The Chiefs were constantly in the Minnesota backfield, disrupting play after play. You have to commend the Vikings for wanting to get the ball into Peterson’s hand, but he just could not find a rhythm in this game. The 60 yards did not garner you much in terms of production on the scoresheet, but the volume is definitely something to take away from this one. Peterson is that sure-fire running back that will be able to break off a 75 yard touchdown in the middle of a dud of a game to bring you out of a hole instantly.
There is no question that if you drafted Peterson, you will be sticking with him long term. Although you never say never when it comes to Fantasy, it’s hard to imagine an offer in which you could receive what you would want in return. I am personally holding onto him through the rest of the season.
Up next, the Vikings go to Detroit to play a Lions team that Peterson has traditionally performed well against. Coming off a horrible game, “All-Day” will be looking to get himself involved early and often to begin softening up the defense that held Matt Forte in check in Week 6. He is one of the few players that you can always plug into your lineup with full confidence regardless of the matchup. Peterson should finish with a solid game, and find the end-zone at least once.
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