Everyone likes a redemption story, and this season has been particularly enjoyable for fans of specific players or teams. The Vikings are a great one, for example. After losing Teddy Bridgewater and Adrian Peterson, it seemed like a lost season for the Vikes and their fans. Now, they’re 5-0 and boast the best defense in the NFL. In terms of resurgent players, how about DeMarco Murray and LeSean McCoy? Both players were jettisoned from the Eagles (one year apart) and both had somewhat disappointing 2015 seasons, Murray in Philly, McCoy in Buffalo in his first season. So far this year, Murray and McCoy are second and third, respectively, in yards from scrimmage. They are enjoying renaissance-like seasons through the first third, and it would be something to see both finish in the Top-5 for the entire 2016 campaign.
Who looked good in Week 6, and who might be sinking quick? Let’s take a look.
LeSean McCoy – As mentioned, Shady is having a tremendous start to his season after a somewhat slow start for him and for the team. Since abandoning Greg Roman as Offensive Coordinator, the team has gone 4-0 with some impressive wins, and McCoy’s play has been a huge reason. Without Sammy Watkins, the Bills have relied heavily on McCoy, and he has responded with three 110-plus yard efforts in the last four games and six touchdowns in the same timeframe. With 684 yards from scrimmage, and a 5.6 YPC average through six games, Shady is on the short list for MVP consideration thus far. Thank your lucky stars if you were able to get a bona fide top-shelf RB1 in the third round of your draft about eight weeks ago.
Bobby Rainey – Rainey is coming off a down week against the Ravens but seems to have clearly earned his role as Shane Vereen’s stand-in for the Giants in passing situations. Rainey was almost exclusively on the field during the team’s hurry-up offense. Rainey is an interesting player to hold in PPR formats. Don’t expect him to break out this year, but if Rashad Jennings struggles or has to deal with a nagging injury, Rainey could see a solid uptick in touches and could push for RB2 relevance.
Terrance West – Since West took over the feature back role, the Ravens have struggled a bit with three straight losses. However, those losses have not been because of West. Since the team said goodbye to Justin Forsett, West has amassed 295 rushing yards, three scores, and averaged 5.4 YPC. He has earned his starter tag and is a clear-cut RB2 going forward. He’ll have to keep an eye on the rearview mirror to see what Kenneth Dixon is doing, but right now, it appears this is West’s backfield and he can be started with confidence each week.
Ryan Mathews – Mathews played on just 21 percent of the Eagles’ snaps in Week 6 against Washington, their division rivals. This is compounded by the fact that he hasn’t reached the painted area for paydirt since Week 3, and has received just 22 total carries over the last three weeks. Yikes. He has four touchdowns on the year, but only one in the last three games, and it came on a reception. With Darren Sproles, Wendell Smallwood, and Kenjon Barner all seeing time, the Eagles’ backfield should be avoided if at all possible.
CJ Anderson – After coming out like gangbusters in Week 1 (and the first game of the season) with 139 yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns, it’s been rough goings for Anderson since. He is averaging 3.5 YPC on the season, and if one were to peel away that first game, it would be closer to 3.0. His carries per game have gone down from 19 to 11 to 10 in the last three games, and he’s found the end zone once in that time. Rookie Devontae Booker seems to be getting some buzz, and the feeling is the coaches might start heading toward a split of the work load, which could begin against the Texans this Monday night. Houston has the 29th-ranked run defense, and was shredded by Frank Gore on Monday. Booker is worth a speculative add if available, but Anderson remains the starter and the back to own even as he heads more toward becoming a borderline RB2/3.
Todd Gurley – R.I.P., Todd Gurley’s season. I’m afraid that it might be a lost season for the second-year player, which is a real shame. Gurley nearly cracked 100 yards from scrimmage against the Lions this past week, and if he had, it would’ve been only the second time this year he’s done so. The big-play Gurley is averaging just 2.9 YPC on the year, and has a long run of 16 yards. He is in no jeopardy of being replaced by Benny Cunningham due to ineffectiveness; the issue is the offense, the blocking, the lack of receiving threats, etc. As the Rams struggle to ascend beyond mediocrity, it appears Gurley is a firm RB2 for the foreseeable future. I hope he turns it on sooner than later once the Rams figure out what they need to do, but I won’t be holding my breath.