He is evolving right before our eyes. Russell Wilson averaged 23.9 regular season pass attempts per game in 2013. Only San Francisco attempted fewer pass attempts than Seattle. Wilson still managed to finish 8th in overall scoring at the position in standard league scoring. The key to his success was his legs; he racked up 539 yards and a touchdown to add to his 3,357 passing yards and 26 touchdowns.
This week against St. Louis, Wilson posted a career afternoon, throwing for 313 yards and two touchdowns while rushing for another 106 yards and a score. This was just his third career 300 yard day. It was also third career 100 yard rushing performance. He is the epitome of a dual threat that officially is going to display much more this season.
Last season, Seattle’s defense allowed an opposing offense to score more than twenty points only twice. This year, three of their six opponents have done so. Opposing teams have actually averaged 23.5 points-per game against them. This means we see more Wilson. It’s a great thing for his Fantasy owners.
Wilson is currently averaging 29.2 pass attempts per game, a total of 5.3 more per game so far this year. He is also averaging 6.3 rush attempts for game, up from the 5.6 per game he had last year. On average, he is making six more plays per game, and as we can see from the results he is fully capable of putting together some impressive performances. The needle is pointing up folks; there is no reason to doubt this kid.
Through seven games, Jason Witten has received 35 targets from Tony Romo. He has caught 23 of them for 266 yards and a touchdown. Heading into this season, Witten’s career low for targets (since they starting keeping the stat in ’06) was 92. This year, he is on pace for a career low 85. With Dallas concentrating on dominating opponents with DeMarco Murray and the rushing game, Witten really is starting to look like an afterthought in this offense. He hasn’t caught more than five passes, seen more than seven targets or gained more than 61 yards in a game. Last year, he exceeded 61 yards in a game six times. His time as a set it and forget it option in your lineup are over. In fact, his time as a roster worthy option is over as well. He should be put out to pasture on waiver wires.
Sunday wasn’t kind to Buffalo Bills running backs. First, Fred Jackson was carted off the field in the second quarter with a groin injury. It looked serious and he has already been ruled out for next week. C.J. Spiller ripped off a 51-yarder shortly thereafter and injured his shoulder after going down awkwardly. Early reports are that he broke his collarbone, an injury that should keep him out at least six weeks. This officially opens the door for Bryce Brown, the man who hasn’t been active for a game this year. The same man they traded a fourth round pick to the Eagles for this offseason. Spiller is a free agent following the season. Jackson will be 34 years old to start next season. Brown is going to get an extended look in the featured role for the Bills. He has averaged 4.6 yards-per-carry over 190 career carries. The talent is there to run away with the job while these guys are sidelined. His downhill running style is required to succeed in this offense and he will be an immediate factor as a FLEX option next week against the Jets.
A few weeks back, when Montee Ball went down to a groin injury, I stated his owners should be worried about his ability to come back to a starting job. Since that point, Ronnie Hillman has racked up 238 yards and two touchdowns on 56 carries and added in seven catches for another 45 yards. In his first three games prior to going down with his injury, Ball’s best effort in terms of total yardage was 89 yards. In his first two starts this season, Hillman has gained at least 105 yards. He is quick, can make people miss and hits holes hard. My eyes tell me Hillman looks like the superior option. If he can continue to limit the fumbles (he has fumbled on five of his 225 career touches) Broncos coach John Fox is going to have no choice but to roll with Hillman as the starter. The proof is in the pudding, and the production comparison isn’t close right now.
The Jacksonville Jaguars best performance by a running back heading into this week was by Toby Gerhart. In Week 1, he rushed for 42 yards on 18 carries and added another 15 yards on two receptions. Through six games, Denard Robinson has just 37 touches and has yet to be mentioned in the running back pecking order as a starter. It looks like that has changed after he rushed for 127 yards on 22 carries while adding a touchdown against the Browns. The converted quarterback out-touched Storm Johnson (6) and Jordan Todman (1) with Toby Gerhart on the shelf with a bum foot. This performance should be enough to earn him 14-plus touches a game moving forward. He should be viewed as a high priority addition off waiver wires. He can be used as a matchup based FLEX option until proven otherwise. However, start him against Miami’s strong rush defense at your own risk.
Trent Richardson is averaging 4.4 yards per touch on the season. The overall sentiment of the Fantasy community is that this guy is nothing more than a FLEX option because he struggles to make opposing defenders miss. Eddie Lacy entered this season as a RB1 but is now viewed as a RB2. He is averaging 4.3 yards per touch. We all knew he was underperforming, but when you put him in the same category as Richardson it kind of makes it hit home. If you have Richardson and start him you don’t have a good feeling about it. Lacy should give you those same feelings. Lacy hasn’t received more than 18 touches in a game this year. In fact, he has received more than 15 touches just twice in seven games. James Starks has been equally mediocre but continues to see 10 touches a game when healthy. It’s hard not to wonder when Fantasy owners officially turn their backs on Lacy. Perhaps if they took into account that he averaged 4.5 yards per touch last season they would.
Zac Stacy entered Week 7 atop the Rams depth chart at running back. He saw the field for one play yesterday and didn’t receive a touch. It took exactly six touches in his NFL debut last week for Tre Mason to steal his job. Facing Seattle, Mason got 18 carries for 85 yards and a score. He was not involved in the passing game, though. Benny Cunningham handled that work. Mason has big play written all over him. Andre Ellington immediately came to mind as a comparison. He can’t reach that potential until he starts seeing work in the passing game. That won’t happen until he proves he can pass block. Considering he wasn’t used much in college in the pass game it may take some time. Mason should be viewed as a RB2 immediately with room to grow. If by chance he wasn’t gobbled up off your waiver wire last week, he needs to be your top priority.