by Ray Kuhn
Right from the start there are some owners fighting an uphill battle. Ezekiel Elliot will be enjoying his bye week along with LeSean McCoy and Joe Mixon, and we don’t have the stress of trying to figure out the Seattle backfield. That doesn’t mean we are without options, but speaking to how appealing those options is a totally different story. We are caught between looking at skills and match-ups, while also taking roles into account (both actual and projected). Keeping that in mind let’s take a look at how are options rank:
- Kareem Hunt – Kansas City Chiefs – vs. Pittsburgh
- Le’Veon Bell – Pittsburgh Steelers – at Kansas City
- Devonta Freeman – Atlanta Falcons – vs. Miami
- Leonard Fournette – Jacksonville Jaguars – vs. LA Rams
- Melvin Gordon – Los Angeles Chargers – at Oakland
- C.J. Anderson – Denver Broncos – vs. New York Giants
- Todd Gurley – Los Angeles Rams – at Jacksonville
- Doug Martin – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – at Arizona
- Jordan Howard – Chicago Bears – at Baltimore
- DeMarco Murray – Tennessee Titans – vs. Indianapolis
- Jay Ajayi – Miami Dolphins – at Atlanta
- Christian McCaffrey – Carolina Panthers – vs. Philadelphia
- Duke Johnson – Cleveland Browns – at Houston
- Ameer Abdullah – Detroit Lions – at New Orleans
- Lamar Miller – Houston Texans – vs. Cleveland
- Aaron Jones – Green Bay Packers – at Minnesota
- Jerick McKinnon – Minnesota Vikings – vs. Green Bay
- Buck Allen – Baltimore Ravens – vs. Chicago
- Andre Ellington – Arizona Cardinals – vs. Tampa Bay
- Elijah McGuire – New York Jets – vs. New England
- Mark Ingram – New Orleans Saints – vs. Detroit
- Marshawn Lynch – Oakland Raiders – vs. LA Chargers
- LeGarrette Blount – Philadelphia Eagles – at Carolina
- Carlos Hyde – San Francisco 49ers – at Washington
- James White – New England Patriots – at New York Jets
- Alvin Kamara – New Orleans Saints – vs. Detroit
- Chris Thompson – Washington Redskins – vs. San Francisco
- Tevin Coleman – Atlanta Falcons – vs. Miami
- Mike Gillislee – New England Patriots – at New York Jets
- Tarik Cohen – Chicago Bears – at Baltimore
- Wayne Gallman – New York Giants – at Denver
- Isaiah Crowell – Cleveland Browns – at Houston
- Frank Gore – Indianapolis Colts – at Tennessee
- Theo Riddick – Detroit Lions – at New Orleans
- Shane Vereen – New York Giants – at Denver
- Alex Collins – Baltimore Ravens – vs. Chicago
- Robert Kelley – Washington Redskins – vs. San Francisco
- Matt Breida – San Francisco 49ers – at Washington
- Marlon Mack – Indianapolis Colts – at Tennessee
- Jonathan Stewart – Carolina Panthers – vs. Philadelphia
- Last week we took a look at Green Bay’s backfield, and after their victory in Dallas the situation has both increased in clarity and confusion. Jamaal Williams can be eliminated from consideration after he had 1 carry for 5 yards while only being on the field for two plays. Aaron Jones, on the other hand, capitalized on Ty Montgomery being inactive as he was on the field for 53 of Green Bay’s 60 offensive snaps. The rookie impressed in his NFL debut as he gained 125 yards on 19 carries while scoring a touchdown. Jones was consistently part of the Packers’ offensive game plan all afternoon, and he earned praise from head coach Mike McCarthy. At this point in the week Montgomery’s status for this coming week is unclear, but what we know is that the Packers will likely not ride him into the ground as they previously have done. Jones will continue to be a factor, and if Montgomery is healthy Jones is likely limited to a FLEX role at best. The problem for Montgomery owners though, is that presence of Jones knocks him down a few pegs as well. My assumption for this week is that Montgomery will be limited at best, if not sidelined once again.
- Finally,it happened. Week 5 wasn’t exactly the coming out party for Marlon Mack, but it was pretty close to it. After missing the last two weeks with a shoulder injury he returned and found the end zone. On nine carries he gained 91 yards and earned the praise his head coach. After the game Chuck Pagano noted that he would like to see the rookie more involved, but Frank Gore is still part of the Colts’ backfield. The good thing for Mack owners is that Gore hasn’t made much of an impact. Last week he did get 14 carries and gained only 48 yards. What is interesting is that Gore continues to be a factor in the passing game, and he caught three passes for another 38 yards. We still likely have another week or two of Gore out touching Mack.
- Flying under the radar as far as rookie running backs go, I would look for Alvin Kamara to begin making a consistent fantasy impact. The early season bye week likely will help, and he has positive momentum after his last game. Facing the Dolphins Kamara caught all 10 of his targets for 71 yards and a touchdown while gaining 25 yards on five carries. In this situation Mark Ingram is still the clear leader in the Saints’ backfield, but Kamara will be a factor as he was from the start of the game two weeks ago. The trade of Adrian Peterson and his 27 carries will help as well, just keep your expectations in check.
- With Matt Forte already nursing both knee and toe injuries and Bilal Powell leaving last week’s game with a calf injury, Elijah McGuire might be the last man standing in New York’s running game. For the second straight week he was a clear factor in the game plan, but the results left a lot to be desired. With an allowance for facing a tough Cleveland run defense, McGuire gained just 20 yards on 11 carries while catching two passes for 10 yards. That came after a 93 yard effort and his Week 6 match-up against a weak Patriots’ run defense looks to be favorable for the rookie.
- Last week didn’t play out the way Carlos Hyde owners planned, and unfortunately this is something to monitor moving forward. Hyde ha been dealing with a hip injury, but he does have a 100 yard game under his belt while averaging 4.5 yards per carry. However, against the Colts, he couldn’t get going and managed 11 yards on eight carries. In fact Matt Breida was on the field for 49% of the snaps last week, which was two more than Hyde. The rookie was also more successful than the veteran as he gained 49 yards on 11 carries while catching three passes for 22 yards. Hyde is still the back to own, but Breida needs to be monitored.
- After the injury to Dalvin Cook, Latavius Murray was the popular waiver claim,\ but Jerrick McKinnon looks to be the back to own. Murray got the first five carries of the game for Minnesota, but McKinnon ultimately out touched him 22 to 14 while dominating the snap count 47 to 22. Murray will likely remain as the early down back, but McKinnon is the big play threat (he had a 58 yard touchdown) as he gained 95 yards on 16 carries while catching six passes for 51 yards. The passing game will be McKinnon’s domain, and this trend will continue each week as Murray managed just 31 yards on 12 carries while catching two passes for 12 yards.
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Make sure to check out all of our Week 6 rankings: