The Rise of the Rookie Running Backs
Week 4 of the NFL season was notable for the backup running backs who were difference-makers on the scoreboard for several teams. Let’s begin with the early morning London game in which the New Orleans Saints defense rendered the Miami Dolphins offense completely impotent. While that’s a big story in and of itself, the biggest surprise was the contributions of Alvin Kamara on offense.
Kamara rushed five times for 25 yards but it was in the passing game that he really shined. Kamara was targeted 10 times by Drew Brees, more than any other receiver not named Michael Thomas (11 targets). He caught all 10 passes for 71 yards and a touchdown with five minutes left to play. All told, Kamara has received 28 targets and caught 20 of them for a total of 147 yards over four games. His Fantasy value has increased greatly in PPR formats as he is been integrated into the Saints’ offense as a favorite target of Brees’. He’s worth targeting in a trade if you need help at RB.
The Jets’ plans to tank the season may not work out if they keep winning games. They ran roughshod over the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday, piling up 256 rushing yards. Rookie Elijah McGuire accounted for 93 of those yards, 69 of which came on a touchdown run. Just five minutes into the second half, McGuire ran right up the middle of the Jags’ defense and was untouched all the way to the end zone. McGuire is only owned in 10 percent of CBSSports.com leagues. While Matt Forte is sidelined with a toe injury, McGuire will likely continue to get 10-15 touches per game in relief of Bilal Powell.
The Giants haven’t been able to get anything going on the ground through four games this season. Sunday’s loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers was no different but they may have found the man who could change that. Wayne Gallman saw his first regular season action for the Giants and carried the ball 11 times for 42 yards (3.8 ypc). He also caught two passes for eight yards and a touchdown. At the very least, Gallman earned another shot at becoming the Giants’ starting running back. He’s owned in just three percent of CBSSports.com leagues and is worth picking up if you’re desperate at RB.
Last, but far from least, is Seattle Seahawks RB J.D. McKissic, who also saw his first regular season game action in the Sunday night tilt against the Indianapolis Colts. McKissic carried the ball four times for 38 yards, including an electric scamper of 30 yards in the third quarter to put the Seahawks ahead to stay. He also caught a 27-yard touchdown pass with seven minutes left to play to add a footnote to what was a terrific team effort. McKissic made the most of his limited touches and should continue to play while C.J. Prosise is sidelined with an injury. However, Chris Carson was merely serviceable in this game and he suffered a fracture that will end his season. That could open the door for McKissic to get significant playing time. McKissic is owned in just three percent of CBSSports.com leagues and is worth adding if you own Carson or as a speculative RB pick.
Raiders in Trouble Again at Quarterback
LA Raiders quarterback Derek Carr suffered a back injury during Sunday’s game against the Denver Broncos. He was kneed in the back while he was spinning to avoid a tackle and immediately grabbed his mid-back in pain. He was able to walk off the field on his own power but did not return to the game. If Carr misses time with this injury, the Raiders will be stuck with EJ Manuel as their starting quarterback. Manuel couldn’t gain any momentum during his time on the field. He completed 11 of 17 pass attempts for 106 yards and one interception. It was the Oakland defense that kept the team in the hunt, as they stifled the Broncos to just two third quarter field goals in the second half.
While Manuel is almost certainly an upgrade from Matt McGloin, who took over for Carr last season after he broke his leg at the end of the regular season, he’s far from a dynamic QB and the Raiders’ season could suffer for it. After the game, coach Jack Del Rio described Carr’s injury as being back spasms. Given the tricky nature of back injuries, which can linger and resurface if not completely healed, Carr could miss significant time depending on the exact nature of the injury. If you own Carr you’ll need to have a backup plan ready. Just don’t make the mistake of picking up Manuel.
The Patriots’ defense continues to play poorly. This week they allowed Cam Newton to look like he did in 2015 when he led the Panthers to the Super Bowl. Until further notice, it’s a great idea to start all your offensive players against the Patriots, who can’t stop the run or the pass. That includes Jameis Winston who will try to become the fifth QB to throw for more than 300 yards against the Pats this Thursday…RB Dalvin Cook’s season is probably over after he suffered what is thought to be a torn ACL in Sunday’s game. That means Latavius Murray and Jerick McKinnon will likely share the touches for the Vikings going forward. Cook was second among all running backs in rushing yardage entering Sunday’s game…Joe Mixon managed just 29 yards on 17 carries against the Cleveland Browns. Wow, is he looking like a complete bust or what?…Jared Goff is looking like the real deal now. He picked apart the Dallas secondary for 255 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He looks nothing like the lost soul of last year. Todd Gurley is also playing like we thought he would last year. Think the change at coach has anything to do with it?
FNTSY Sports Radio Network/DKMS Winner
This week’s winning lineup in the FNTSY/DKMS Super Bowl Qualifier is below. For your chance to play Fantasy Football on Fantasy Draft and help the FNTSY Sports Network and DKMS fight against blood cancer, be sure to check out all the details here. Congratulations to this week’s winner and good luck to all.