Hold ‘Em or Fold ‘Em: How To Proceed With Some Disappointing Running Backs

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

It’s easy to cut bait on a slumping player, and those struggles get magnified when they come at the beginning of the season and the statistics are so apparent.  Knee jerk reactions could ultimately cost you, though, so you want to be careful with your quick trigger finger.  With that in mind, let’s take a look at a few slow starters and try to determine if we should be cutting bait and holding out hope:


Bilal Powell – New York Jets – Running Back
The expectation was that Powell would be the centerpiece of the Jets’ offense, considering the lack of talent overall.  However that simply hasn’t been the case, and this tweet from Brian Costello speaks volumes:

Jets RB snaps:
Forte 27 out of 56 (48 percent)
Powell 18 (32)
McGuire 11 (20)#nyj

— Brian Costello (@BrianCoz) September 18, 2017

It’s hard to be a big part of the offense when you are barely getting the second most snaps among the running backs.  Forget about Forte out-snapping him (which seems odd to begin with), who would’ve expected Elijah McGuire to be nipping at his heels?

Through two weeks Powell has 13 carries for 35 yards, as well as 5 receptions for 17 yards.  It’s clearly been a frustrating start, but considering the state of the franchise can we really expect things not to change?  The one caveat would be if the team really feels strongly about McGuire, a sixth round draft pick, and his potential to emerge.  He was seen more as a developmental talent prior to the draft though and not someone who would make immediate noise, but it’s something to watch closely.

For now Powell remains a must hold, because the Jets have no reason not to give him opportunities.  Then again this is the Jets we are talking about…

Verdict – Hold ‘Em


LeGarrette Blount – Philadelphia Eagles – Running Back
In Week 1 Blount had 14 carries, but he disappointed with 46 yards (3.3 YPC) and 0 TD.  In Week 2 he was virtually invisible, picking up 1 catch for 0 yards and not receiving a carry.  Instead it was Darren Sproles who had 10 carries, though for whatever reason the game plan was pass heavy (Carson Wentz threw the ball 46 times) instead of utilizing the run (Sproles and Wendell Smallwood combined for 13 carries).  It’s hard to imagine that not changing moving forward, and when the team does opt to try and pound the football you would think Blount is going to get another opportunity.

This could be a week-to-week decision, which is extremely frustrating for fantasy owners.  That doesn’t mean that he should be dropped, because he easily could be a good source of TD and emerge as a low-end RB2/FLEX option.  It makes him worth stashing on your bench, to see how things play out, but he certainly can’t be trusted for now.

Verdict – Hold ‘Em

Source – ESPN

Quick Hit: Why Seattle's Backfield Remains Undefined (aka Tap The Breaks On Carson)
Three Week 2 Deep League Sleepers (Marlon Mack & More)


  1. MikeinMacon says:

    Although unrelated to the article specifically, I have Theo Riddick as my RB5 but Chris Thompson (Wash RB) is available and I’m #2 on the waiver list. Should I use my waiver on him and drop Riddick? Or am I fine? Devonta Freeman, Carlos Hyde, Jacquizz Rodgers and Derrick Henry are RBs 1-4. Should I just save the waiver?

  2. Matty says:

    I have Bilal, other Backs are Hunt, McCaff, Montgomery, CJ and Caraon. I have Kyle Rudolph, and Doyle is available, so is Henry – would you drop Bilal for a Jack Doyle or Hunter Henry? I have Luck too, and Doyle has been getting more targets, and will be a top end when Luck starts. Thanks!

  3. Tony says:

    Hi Professor Roto,

    Any thoughts on chatter coming from NYG about Darkwa getting more carries? Is this the case where coach-talk is intended to inspire Perkins, or do you think Darkwa will be used as a feature back to see how he does?

    Thanks very much


    • I don’t think it’s just coach talk, I think Darkwa’s role is going to grow. I’m not sure he’s going to be a leadback role, but instead of a timeshare type

      • Tony says:

        Thanks for taking the time to answer my question.

        Last week, I had second thoughts and lost the chance to grab Carson off waivers, so wondered about dropping Rawls for Darkwa this week, though I think you’re right about the RB situation in Seattle (your ‘not so cut and dry’ article). You are probably right as well about a timeshare for Darkwa and Perkins, and then this could also become the case in Seattle for Rawls and Carson (50/50 split as one outcome you suggested).

        Anyway, split carries not optimal, but Seattle has the better QB, so might be better for me to keep Rawls than drop him for Darkwa, then maybe Rawls could become the ‘hot hand’ for the long run, but wishful thinking. Just won’t know until the next game to see if Rawls gets more carries, then some rhythmn….Carson started out slow as well, but with more carries, he got better.

        Thanks again….your articles and assessments are excellent, certainly one of the best in FF circles; I’ve been playing FF for 20 years, so always look forward to visiting your website for your perspectives, and you take the time to reply to many who write to you for feedback.



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