This one of the more frustrating weeks for Fantasy running back owners, as many of the so-called stud RBs put up dud performances during Week 6. Not only that, but most of the running backs that did score the Fantasy points in Week 6 are practically useless in Fantasy play. Of course, not every stud running back faltered this week, and some of you were quite pleased with the outcomes. For instance, Devonta Freeman’s owners were again treated to a big game from him, with 100 rushing yards and a TD, plus eight receptions for 56 yards and a TD catch. Lamar Miller finally busted out with a big game, putting together a 113 yard effort with a TD against the Titans. And what about the surprisingly good game that NY Jets RB Chris Ivory put together against the Redskins? He rushed for 146 yards and a TD, and contributed three receptions for another 50 yards.
Unfortunately, after that you’d be hard pressed to find any other “stud” RBs with outstanding performances. Eddie Lacy, a Top 5 preseason draft pick in most Fantasy leagues, disappeared after totaling just 20 yards from scrimmage on six touches and giving way to James Starks, who ran for 112 yards and a TD, and caught a five yard pass for another score. This game was to be Lacy’s big breakout matchup due to what was perceived as a soft opponent against the run in the Chargers. Instead, Lacy’s disappearance raised more questions about whether he is a viable Fantasy starter going forward. And that’s just the beginning of the RB questions.
On a day when the Detroit Lions were without Joique Bell, it made sense that either Ameer Abdullah or Zach Zenner would step forward to seize the starting RB role, especially since Bell had done nothing to distinguish himself thus far this season. Abdullah fumbled again (!?) and gained just 48 yards on 14 carries. Zenner did even less with his three carries. The best looking runner was Theo Riddick (4.0 YPC), and since the game was so hotly contested, he was the running back we ended up seeing on the field most often when it counted. Abdullah may have worn out his welcome for good. He just can’t seem to protect the ball, and that’s not going to endear him to anyone.
Melvin Gordon also fumbled his way to the bench in the Chargers’ tilt against the Packers. Gordon had seven carries for 29 yards, but one of his carries was for 25 yards. After Gordon’s second fumble (he lost one), he didn’t see the field again. Unfortunately, that didn’t mean extra work for Danny Woodhead. So those of you that own him can stop licking your chops. Instead, the Chargers trotted out Branden Oliver. You remember him, right? He had two games of over 100 yards rushing last season, then pretty much disappeared. Now we’ll have a similar situation this season in that we won’t know whether Gordon, Oliver or Woodhead will get the bulk of the carries from one week to the next.
The Jacksonville Jaguars were without the services of running back T.J. Yeldon for their game against the Houston Texans. However, in a stroke of good fortune for both the Jags and Fantasy owners, running back Denard Robinson was returning from an injury. Many Fantasy owners scrambled to the waiver wire to add Robinson hoping that he would get the bulk of the carries against Houston, who gave up 110 net rushing yards to the Colts in Week 5. It just didn’t work out that way, though. Instead, the Jaguars decided that Toby Gerhart would be the starting RB. Robinson still got 10 touches for a total of 38 yards, but that’s not anywhere near what Yeldon’s owners were hoping for when they grabbed Robinson as an injury substitute.
Then there’s the plight of the poor Jamaal Charles Fantasy owners out there. This past week saw a feeding frenzy in many leagues, as a king’s ransom in FAAB bids were placed for Charcandrick West and in some cases Knile Davis. Their matchup against the Minnesota Vikings was considered quite favorable, and both were expected to be heavily involved in the offense in this game. Davis received a total of six touches for 25 yards, and West had 10 touches for 39 yards. Needless to say, the dude in your league who spent a ridiculous percentage of his dollars of FAAB to get 39 yards out of West is kicking himself quite hard right now. This is probably a great time to make him a low-ball offer. Just make sure he doesn’t have anything in his hands to throw at you when you see him.
Some of the other notable “stud duds” this week include: Matt Forte, who ran 24 times for a whole 69 yards, which works out to 2.9 yards per carry. At least he scored a touchdown. Carlos Hyde gained 55 yards on 21 carries, which works out to 2.6 yards per carry. Do you remember back in Week 1 when it looked like he might be a big surprise this season? Yeah, me neither. Alfred Morris earned 1.9 yards per carry when he toted the rock for 21 yards on 11 carries against the Jets this week. And finally, in what might be the worst of the “stud duds” this week, we have Adrian Peterson, who rushed 26 times for 60 yards, an average of just 2.3 yards per carry. That’s what a first round running back pick gets you these days.
The odd thing about most of these running backs is that nearly all of them are not worth chasing on the waiver wire. In the case of Starks, we have heard nothing about an injury to Lacy. Yes, he hasn’t played well, and has generally gotten off to a slow start. However, he started off in similar fashion last season. Starks is nothing special, and he’s certainly not worthy of a roster spot until we hear that Lacy is out as the primary back, which would be quite unusual indeed. For Abdullah, it’s probably time to toss in the towel and let him go. It just doesn’t look as though he’s ever going to get over his ball control issue long enough to seize the job. At least, not this season. As for Zenner, who was nicknamed ZZ Non-Stop by our own Jayson Braddock; I think a better nickname would be ZZ Flop. For Gordon and Oliver, you really want no part of that mess no matter what. You have to hold Gordon and hope the Chargers are stubborn about keeping him in there. Don’t waste your time, FAAB or a roster spot on Oliver. He’ll disappear soon enough.
Once Yeldon is healthy, we won’t be worrying too much about Denard Robinson, who will likely continue to get about 10 touches per game anyway. I doubt he’ll hurt Yeldon’s value. If anything, he might help the Jaguars overall value a bit. Unfortunately, I don’t see Robinson helping Fantasy owners very much, if at all. He just won’t see enough action unless Yeldon hits injured reserve with a season ending injury. Speaking of which, as goes Charles, so goes the Chiefs’ offense. West and/or Davis, whichever of them emerges with the most touches per game, may end up being a decent match play in some leagues. However, given that this may have been their best matchup for a while, I’m thinking they may not be much help in Fantasy either. If you own either of them, but especially West, you have to hang onto them and see what happens. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to start either one for a while.
Of course, Peterson and Forte will have their ups and downs. Forte should see a bit of an upswing now that the Bears’ receiver corps is mostly healthy. I’m a bit more concerned about Peterson, who just can’t carry the Vikings on his back like he used to. I’m a big Teddy Bridgewater fan, and I believe he will continue to improve. The only question is whether Peterson will still be around when it happens. In the meantime, don’t expect many huge games from AP. He’ll put up a few good ones, but he’s mostly going to look human, like he did this week. All of which leaves us with Hyde. Do you believe? Nope. Neither do I. Get rid of him while you can.