The Ditch List: Is It To Cut These Three Struggling Running Backs

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Not every cut is created equal, and it’s going to depend on your league size/format in many cases.  That said there have been some obviously disappointing starts to the season and in the right circumstance three weeks is enough information to formulate a decision, cut bait and move on.  Let’s take a look at a few candidates that you should consider dropping:


Isaiah Crowell – Cleveland Browns – Running Back
Outright dropping him is going to be a tough sell, but using him is nearly impossible at this point.  A week after the Jets’ were torched by Leonard Fournette for 145 yards and 1 TD, Crowell managed just 67 yards on 18 touches.  Even more concerning is the fact that five games into the season this performance was his best.  The 18 touches were the most he’s had since Week 1 and at this point anticipating something in the 10-14 touch range is realistic.

The Browns don’t seem inclined to give Duke Johnson many inside runs so Crowell will remain a consistent factor, but it’s simply not going to be enough touches for him to make a regular impact (it will be interesting to see if Matt Dayes gets a look at some point soon).  Averaging 3.1 yards/carry (194 yards on 62 carries), stash Crowell on your bench just in case but he’s more of a desperation FLEX play for now.

Verdict – Stash him on your bench, but don’t start him


Frank Gore – Indianapolis Colts – Running Back
He’s been consistently underwhelming, with his 14 carries for 48 yards (3.4 yards/carry) yesterday being the latest.  His lines have been saved by strong receiving days the past two weeks (6 catches for 72 yards), and being able to find the end zone the two weeks prior to that.  Things should quickly change, though, as Marlon Mack returned from injury and quickly showed that he is the far more explosive runner (9 carries for 91 yards and 1 TD).

The question now is where does Indianapolis go from here?  Will there be an even split?  Do they trust Mack to emerge as the lead runner?  We’ll have to wait and see, but we’d expect a nearly 50/50 split initially with the potential for it to shift further quickly.  Gore is worth hanging onto, at least for now, but his time could quickly run out.

Verdict – Stash him just in case, but the risk outweighs the reward


Paul Perkins – New York Giants – Running Back
Perkins has been a bitter disappointment this season, averaging a meager 1.9 yards/carry on the season.  In his absence both Orleans Darkwa and Wayne Gallman saw a heavy workload (though Darkwa, like many New York Giants, didn’t escape unscathed) and produced impressive lines:

  • Orelans Darkwa – 8 carries for 69 yards and 1 TD
  • Wayne Gallman – 11 carries for 57 yards

It’s impossible to think that, when healthy, Perkins will return to a starting role and depending on health could be slotted in third on the depth chart.  If you need the roster spot, move on.

Verdict – Drop ‘Em


Sources – ESPN,

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  1. Jesse says:

    Who would you drop in a full point ppr league (need a tightens for bye week): Wendell Smallwood or Thomas Rawls?

  2. haggy says:

    McFadden or Morris to handcuff Elliott. And at what point do you think Elliott is safe for the year. I have both Morris and McFadden but really need space. Would you keep both and wait and see..for a couple weeks.

    • I’d lean towards McFadden if I had to pick one, but it’s tough to say. As for when he’s safe, it’s impossible to answer. You’d think it’s getting to that point, but who knows exactly how the legal stuff will play out

  3. Haggy says:

    How long would you hold S.Perine at this point. Still waiting for him to show me what he did in college.

  4. Beans says:

    What’s up Professor? I have Ben Watson as my TE in a ppr league. I have been offered McCaffery for my Palmer(I also have Dak). If I counter with Palmer for Witten or Evin Engrim would that be a fair deal. The best TE avail are Kittle, Ed Dickson Njoku and Doyle.

  5. Marion says:

    Should I trade Elliott/D Jackson for Ajayi/Hopkins?

  6. Andrew says:

    ROS someone dropped Wentz in my 10 teamer. Us he a upgrade over Carr or rivers?

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