Todd Gurley Takes Command for Rams
You’re going to want to sit down. We are a quarter of the way through the Fantasy Football season now, and it’s going to be hard to hear it, but it’s time to move on from some players. I probably talk tougher than I actually am because I can’t quit on my guys yet (Why, C.J., why?!?), but maybe I should move on, and maybe you should, too. Whose time is up? Let’s take a look.
Move on from Tre Mason. Todd Gurley had the first of what the Rams hope will be many 150-yard (or more) games against a stout Cardinals defense. His carries are only going to keep coming, while Mason’s look to be a thing of the past. Move on from Andre Ellington, too. In that same game, against a very competent Rams run defense, Chris Johnson – who I and many other writers felt was little more than a warm body – has looked rejuvenated, and like a vintage CJ lately. Ellington may be little more than a change of pace back now, splitting time with rookie David Johnson, who has looked good when given the chance. Bruce Arians talks like an old school coach who wants to give his running back 25 carries per game, and while that’s not likely sustainable, Chris Johnson is probably looking at no less than 15 per game at this point in the season.
[caption id="attachment_98938" align="alignright" width="367"] The Todd Gurley era has begun for the Rams. Photo Credit: Natu Myers[/caption]
Is it time to move on from big names like DeMarco Murray, LeSean McCoy, and the aforementioned heartbreaker, C.J. Anderson? What about Lamar Miller, Frank Gore, and Jonathan Stewart? I’m not advocating cutting them, necessarily, because there has to be something better and with more upside on the waiver wire to justify that. But for many of these names, I think you can park them on the bench until we actually see some production. It’s a tough call to make, but it may be the right one to make right now. Carry on, dear reader, the RBBC Report awaits!
Chris Ivory (29 carries, 166 yards 1 TD): Well, I can’t say I saw this coming in this week’s Breakfast Bowl. A week after he dressed but didn’t see the field, Chris Ivory, who up until Thursday was still being tagged as iffy, totaled 29 carries and 166 yards in a bruising performance that ultimately cost Joe Philbin his job. If he’s healthy, he’s a borderline RB1. He’s got 314 yards and three touchdowns through three games, sporting a healthy yards-per-carry of 5.0, and most importantly, the Jets are 3-0 in those games. TRENDING UP
Devonta Freeman (14 carries, 68 yards, 3 TDs; 5 rec. 81 yards): Tevin Coleman will still have a role in this offense, and he was drafted to play and all that. But, how could you possibly even consider moving away from Freeman if you’re Dan Quinn? He sat the fourth quarter in this one, and still managed to post his fourth, fifth, and sixth touchdowns over the last two weeks. This was a guy who was basically written off after missing all of the preseason contests with a nagging hamstring injury, and a putting up a rookie season that didn’t really show fans much because of lack of usage. But since Coleman went down in the Week 2 tilt with the Giants, Freeman has taken the reins and won’t be letting them go. The 4-0 Falcons have the ‘Skins, Saints, Titans, and Bucs over their next four, which is a mostly friendly schedule for Freeman. I doubt anyone is trying to move him, but if someone in your league is selling, you’re buying. TRENDING UP
Lamar Miller (7 carries, 26 yards; 1 rec. 10 yards): Perhaps he was lost in the London fog, but it was another disappointing day for Miller in their loss to the Jets that cost their coach his job. Miller has yet to top double-digit points this season in most leagues, and simply isn’t getting the carries or the looks to justify his role as a RB2. The Dolphins enter their Week 5 bye with a new coach (Dan Campbell) who wants to get tougher, so perhaps there is hope that Miller is given more opportunities to establish himself like he did last season by getting 12-15 carries per game. If it weren’t for the coaching change, I’d downgrade him more, but let’s see what the Week 6 matchup against the Titans brings for the Dolphins offense, and their primary back. HOLD
C.J. Anderson (11 carries, 43 yards; 1 rec. 27 yards): This is it, folks. This is the end. Ronnie Hillman also received 11 carries, and while his 101 rushing yards were aided greatly by his 72-yard scamper in the second quarter, the fact remains that Ronnie Hillman still received the same number of carries as Anderson. It’s over folks. C.J. Anderson is a bust, his usage doesn’t look to be changing, he’s sluggish and hasn’t been nearly the asset in the passing game many thought he’d be. You know this is personal because of the introduction, but it goes beyond that. I simply don’t believe he’ll suddenly revert to 2014 form barring an injury to Hillman, thus taking him out of the picture. This is the end, my friend. This is the end. TRENDING DOWN
Duke Johnson (8 carries, 31 yards; 9 rec. 85 yards, 1 TD): Finally! The Browns figured out how to use their electric rookie! Johnson is a lightning quick back with great hands who has the instincts in the passing game of a Danny Woodhead or Darren Sproles. He’s excellent at creating space, and proved it for most of the afternoon against the Chargers. Johnson had 17 touches in this one, and has 15 receptions in the last two weeks. He’s an every week FLEX option in PPR leagues, and definitely worth hanging onto in standard scoring leagues. Plus, he was in as the back in a goal line set late in the game, which could be a premonition of things to come. Isaiah Crowell is still the lead back, but Johnson is hoping to change that as he becomes Josh McCown’s best friend. TRENDING UP
Jonathan Stewart (10 carries, 50 yards): Stewart continues to be a letdown for his owners who expected RB2 production as a result of the Panthers losing their top play-making WR (Kelvin Benjamin) early in the pre-season. Instead, Stewart hasn’t cleared more than 62 yards in any game this year, hasn’t scored a touchdown yet, and only received ten carries on Sunday. Entering their Week 5 bye, the Panthers are 4-0, and there’s no sign of a change in the plans for Stewart, who is on pace for less than 900 yards on the season. He’s closer to a RB3 than RB2 at this point, and because of his advanced age and injury history, that doesn’t seem to be changing. TRENDING DOWN
Todd Gurley (19 carries, 146 yards; 2 rec. 15 yards): The day started slowly for Gurley, whose first five carries of the first-quarter resulted in negative yardage. But it was a tale of two halves both for Gurley and the Rams, as they earned a very tough victory against the division-leading Cardinals. Gurley took over the game as the Rams’ most potent weapon and consistently broke off big gains to move the chains, and keep the Cardinals’ offense off the field. The future is now for Gurley and the Rams. There’s no going back. He’s clearly the most talented back on the team and should see his carries hover right around the 15-18 range as a floor, with the ceiling being closer to 20-22. The Rams won’t overwork the kid coming back from major leg injuries, but expect a healthy dose against the Packers in Week 5. TRENDING UP
DeMarco Murray (8 carries, 36 yards; TRENDING DOWN) thinks he needs the ball more, and while I wouldn’t disagree, I’m not sure that’s Chip Kelly’s plan at this juncture. Murray has gained just 53 yards this season on 36 carries, 30 of which came on one single run this past weekend. I’m not alone in thinking it’s because he’s made to be a bell cow back who requires feeding, and he is not able to get into a rhythm in the Eagles’ offense, which changes personnel so frequently it’s dizzying, We’ll see if the 1-3 Eagles adjust or if Kelly stubbornly stays the course given his history of total inflexibility, but Murray is little more than a RB3 at this point, and there’s no sign of that changing in the immediate future. … LeSean McCoy (DNP – Injured; TRENDING DOWN) sat out the Bills’ Week 4 loss to the Giants, and it was reported that he’s dealing with a new tear in his hammie, which could put him on the shelf another 3-4 weeks. He has vowed to heal himself, and won’t be back until he’s 100 percent, which means that Karlos Williams (21 touches, 70 total yards, 1 TD; TRENDING UP) is locked in as the Bills’ lead back, and a clear RB1, through their Week 8 Bye. … Jeremy Hill (9 carries, 40 yards, 3 TDs plus a 2-point conversion; HOLD) played 30 offensive snaps to Gio Bernard’s 23, though lost the touches battle 13-9 to his smaller battery mate. Hill is a touchdown-dependent RB2 on a very good Bengals team, which makes him worthy of a hold, of course, but I’d like to see him averaging closer to 14-15 carries per game to live up to his first-round price tag. … Joseph Randle (11 carries, 26 yards, 1 TD; HOLD) was effectively asked to sit after nearly fumbling away a touchdown after jumping over a pile at the goal line in the second-quarter against the Saints. His back-up, Darren McFadden, took all 10 of his carries in the second-half, out-touching Randle 10-4 during the time. Randle should continue as the leader, especially with Lance Dunbar done for the season, but if he goes against his coaches’ wishes again, he could be in for a timeshare until Dez Bryant and Tony Romo return. Watch for Christine Michael to increase his workload as well, as the Cowboys scramble to fill the pass-catcher role Dunbar was enjoying. … Ameer Abdullah (15 touches, 44 yards; HOLD) didn’t do much in a tough match-up on Monday night. The Detroit Lions continue to be a very frustrating offensive team to peg, and it may get even muddier once Joique Bell is back. Abdullah is clearly the more talented player, and is deserving of opportunity, but it’s hard to trust just about anyone on the 0-4 Lions.
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