Running Backs to Bank On Instead of Jamaal Charles
Remember when Jamaal Charles was a consensus first rounder in Fantasy drafts?
Remember when he was putting up 1,000-yard rushing seasons, scoring nearly a touchdown a week, and was leading your squad to victory each and every week?
I sure do, since I owned Charles in both 2013 and 2014. In those seasons, the Chiefs’ running back put up nearly 2,000 yards and 19 TDs and more than 1,300 yards and 14 TDs, respectively. Sadly, those days are long behind him.
Now, the former Fantasy stud is sitting behind Spencer Ware, picking up scraps while Ware keeps racking up points.
While Ware is an obvious choice, there are other lesser-owned running backs that will outscore Charles over the final 10 weeks of the Fantasy season.
Keep on Winning With Ware
The news that Charles experienced knee swelling on Friday, and is now listed as questionable to play the Saints this weekend, is great news for Ware owners. But this also further backs up the fact that Charles is more of a name than anything in Fantasy circles at this point.
Ware out-touched Charles 26 to 11 coming out of the Chiefs’ Week 5 bye, and in the process also set career highs in rush attempts (24) and rushing yards (131). Ware also added two catches for 32 yards and a rushing touchdown to generate 20-plus Fantasy points in Week 6.
Ware is now a clear-cut RB1 this weekend, when the Chiefs face a Saints defense that is allowing the most Fantasy points per game to opposing backfields, but his value should last far beyond that. Regardless of whether or when Charles suits up again, Ware remains a better every-week Fantasy option until proven otherwise.
Tons of Touches Make Ingram Buy-Low Candidate
If someone were to ask you who leads the Saints in rushing touchdowns this season, I bet most people would say Mark Ingram.
Ingram is tied for second on the team with one, the same number of rushing touchdowns as tight end Coby Fleener. Yes, you read that right. And the player who leads New Orleans in rushing touchdowns is fullback John Kuhn and his 14 total yards.
It seems as if Coach Sean Payton is looking for a new way each week to keep Ingram out of the end zone, rather than simply feeding his 215-pound back the rock. The coach has, however, made sure Ingram has 18 or more touches in each of the past three games which is what continues to keep him at an RB2 at a minimum.
As long as Ingram continues to see the touches -- and he will -- then I expect those to pay big dividends as the season progresses. Instead of being a sure fire RB1, he’s now more of a touchdown dependent RB2, but he should still outplay Charles and most other running back options in the coming weeks.
Turn to This Touchdown Vulture
Matt Asiata gets the goal line carries for the Vikings and goal line carries equal points. While Jerick McKinnon still out-touched Asiata 20 to 14 this past week, the goal-line vulture was far more effective, garnering his second TD in as many games.
Asiata turned those 17 touches (14 carries, three receptions) into 101 total yards and the touchdown. The last time Adrian Peterson missed extended time, it was Asiata and not McKinnon who reaped the benefits. The timeshare looks to be again trending in that direction again, meaning that Asiata should be a nice play for Fantasy owners and the would-be often-leading Vikings.
Future Success for Broncos’ Booker
You want a guy with his arrow pointing up? Well, look no further than Devontae Booker of the Denver Broncos.
The running back got a vote of confidence from head coach Gary Kubiak, who said Booker “deserves some more opportunities to touch the football.” This means the rookie will clearly see an expanded role moving forward, and for good reason. The fourth-rounder out of Utah is averaging 4.7 YPC to C.J. Anderson’s 3.5 and with more carries headed his way, Booker just became more than just a high upside stash.
While Booker started the season light years behind Anderson, he has closed the gap more and more each week. And the more involved the rookie gets the better as the Broncos have a very favorable schedule down the stretch. I’d bank on Booker to be better than both Anderson and Charles once the Broncos give their backs closer to an even timeshare.
Bengals Back Has Up-Hill Battle
Jeremy Hill scored 20 rushing touchdowns over the past two seasons along with an additional three through the first six games of 2016. It’s those touchdowns that give Hill his value and a lingering chest injury has shifted the short-yardage work to Giovani Bernard in recent weeks.
That change has dropped Hill’s ownership about 10 percent, but I look at this as an opportunity to snag a back at his low point on the Fantasy roller coaster. While Hill is playing behind Bernard right now, the bigger back ended up with just five fewer touches last week against the Pats mainly due to the Bengals trailing much of the contest.
Yes, Hill has become touchdown dependent, but the Bengals should be ahead in lots of games over the final 10 weeks, giving the back an opportunity for additional touches down the stretch. Plus, a matchup against the lowly Browns defense this weekend should be a nice start to Hill’s bounce back. If he was dropped in your league, make a speculative add as it can only go up from here.
These running back options could all finish the season on an upswing and will outscore Charles, and many others, moving forward.
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