by Ray Kuhn
One. Entering play on Monday night, we had just one running back last week who eclipsed 100 yards. And that running back, Adrian Peterson, was likely floating around your waiver wire a few weeks ago as he was struggling to find a role on the Saints. Instead, we saw him gain 159 yards against San Francisco on Sunday; although Peterson did fail to find the end zone. In fact, the third most rushing yards last week came from a quarterback; Cam Newton.
Things do get a little better this week with Jordan Howard, Melvin Gordon, Le’Veon Bell, and others returning from bye this week. This week, we have four teams on bye, and that means we will be without Kareem Hunt and Jay Ajayi, among others. Let’s take a look at how our options rank:
- Le’Veon Bell – Pittsburgh Steelers – at Indianapolis
- Todd Gurley – Los Angeles Rams – vs. Houston
- Ezekiel Elliot – Dallas Cowboys – at Atlanta
- LeSean McCoy – Buffalo Bills – vs. New Orleans
- Leonard Fournette – Jacksonville Jaguars – vs. LA Chargers
- Melvin Gordon – Los Angeles Chargers – at Jacksonville
- Carlos Hyde – San Francisco 49ers – vs. New York Giants
- Jordan Howard – Chicago Bears – vs. Green Bay
- Alvin Kamara – New Orleans Saints – at Buffalo
- Christian McCaffrey – Carolina Panthers – vs. Miami
- Devonta Freeman – Atlanta Falcons – vs. Dallas
- Mark Ingram – New Orleans Saints – at Buffalo
- Jerick McKinnon – Minnesota Vikings – at Washington
- Matt Forte – New York Jets – at Tampa Bay
- Lamar Miller – Houston Texans – at LA Rams
- Adrian Peterson – Arizona Cardinals – vs. Seattle
- Joe Mixon – Cincinnati Bengals – at Tennessee
- Chris Thompson – Washington Redskins – vs. Minnesota
- DeMarco Murray – Tennessee Titans – vs. Cincinnati
- Doug Martin – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – vs. New York Jets
- Kenyan Drake – Miami Dolphins – at Carolina
- Duke Johnson – Cleveland Browns – at Detroit
- James White – New England Patriots – at Denver
- Ameer Abdullah – Detroit Lions – vs. Cleveland
- Orleans Darkwa – New York Giants – at San Francisco
- Aaron Jones – Green Bay Packers – at Chicago
- Tevin Coleman – Atlanta Falcons – vs. Dallas
- Bilal Powell – New York Jets – at Tampa Bay
- Isaiah Crowell – Cleveland Browns – at Detroit
- Theo Riddick – Detroit Lions – vs. Cleveland
- Frank Gore – Indianapolis Colts – vs. Pittsburgh
- Derrick Henry – Tennessee Titans – vs. Cincinanti
- Damien Williams – Miami Dolphins – at Carolina
- Tarik Cohen – Chicago Bears – vs. Green Bay
- Ty Montgomery – Green Bay Packers – at Chicago
- Devonate Booker – Denver Broncos – vs. New England
- Marlon Mack – Indianapolis Colts – vs. Pittsburgh
- Robert Kelley – Washington Redskins – vs. Minnesota
- Latavius Murray – Minnesota Vikings – at Washington
- CJ Anderson – Denver Broncos – vs. New England
- Leonard Fournette and the Jacksonville Jaguars left fantasy owners scrambling last week as his suspension was announced less than two hours prior to kickoff. The rookie was coming off two straight 100-plus yard games before he missed a game with an ankle injury heading into Jacksonville’s bye. Instead, we now have to wait one more week for Fournette to return. I wouldn’t be concerned about the rookie’s absence as he appears to be 100% healthy, and with the suspension behind him, Fournette is primed to have a big week at home against the Chargers. So far this season, he is averaging 4.6 yards per carry while scoring six touchdowns to go along with 9.2 yards per catch on 15 receptions. It is clear that Fournette’s value is as a runner, and there is more than enough here to lock him as a top option this week. There aren’t many true bell-cow backs left, but Fournette is one of them.
- Perhaps one of these weeks, the 49ers will actually win a game. Their struggles on the field have also translated to fantasy circles, but we shouldn’t give up on Carlos Hyde all together. Yes, Hyde has just 100 yard game so far this season, and he is averaging 4.0 yards per carry, but with 494 yards under his belt so far, he is a solid bet for a 1,000 yard season. Game flow has hindered Hyde’s performance so far this season, but he is involved in San Francisco’s offense; however poor it may be. What we should note though, is that Hyde has been fully involved in the 49ers’ passing game. The veteran has been targeted 57 times while catching 40 passes for 268 yards. Last week was the perfect example of that as despite Hyde carrying the ball just 12 times for 41 yards, he caught 11 passes for 84 yards. This week, Hyde gets to take advantage of the Giants defense who is missing both linebackers and members of their secondary.
- Another struggling offense, now with Deshaun Watson sidelined, is Houston. As much as we would like to discount Lamar Miller, it is quite simply just not possible. This is even after Miller failed to reach the end zone last week despite facing the Colts who have allowed a league high 10 rushing touchdowns so far this season. Game flow did come into play here, but Miller was efficient, as he gained 57 yards on 10 carries. So far this season, Miller has yet to gain more than 75 yards in a game, and he has just two touchdowns. Despite having the starting role, the veteran is only averaging just under three catches per game, but he is still the leader in Houston’s backfield. And that means we have to start him each week, even if he isn’t a running back to target.
- One of the most frustrating situations in football, is New England’s backfield. After their bye last week, the Patriots are back in action with their over abundance of options. In other years, we would say this is strictly for PPR leagues, but it’s hard to ignore the fact that James White has FLEX appeal across all types of leagues. And this is despite the fact that White has just 28 carries so far this season, with 10 of those coming in Week 1. White has gained just 128 yards on the ground so far this season, but he is a factor each week in the passing game. The Patriots have targeted White 53 times so far this season, and he has caught 43 passes for 365 yards. Despite the volume, White has just one touchdown so far this season, so this isn’t an investment I would make in DFS leagues, but otherwise he is worth a look. Just don’t invest too heavily.
- Who says a team can’t have two Top-15 or Top-20 running backs? Well, the Saints are certainly proving that is correct. Having two running backs is keeping Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara fresh, and they both are having success. Between the two of the last week, they carried the ball 26 times; Ingram 16 times for 77 yards and Kamara 10 times for 68 yards. In his last four games, Ingram is averaging 93 yards on the ground, and he has 541 yards and four touchdowns so far this season. Even with Kamara emerging, Ingram will continue to have a legitimate role in New Orleans’ backfield, but it is the rookie who possesses the higher ceiling. Kamara found the end zone twice on Sunday, once on the ground and once in the air, and he did his share of damage as a receiver; 84 yards on seven catches. While I wouldn’t expect him to have that good of a receiving day each week, we can’t underestimate his role in New Orleans’ passing game, and their offense in general.
- With the trade of Jay Ajayi, there is opportunity in Miami’s backfield, and we can expect both Kenyon Drake and Damien Williams to take advantage of that. Drake had two more carries than Williams, nine to seven, but he was substantially more effective; 69 yards compared to 14. Each back caught six passes, Drake for 35 yards while Williams gained 47, and going forward Drake is the running back I’d target. At this point, there are questions about whether he can sustain a full workload, but he is the more talented option. If Drake is still available in your league, he is worth a look, but don’t overpay in the trade market.
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Make sure to check out all of our Week 10 Rankings: