by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
There are several running back situations that were sent into a state of flux over the past few days, with the Washington Redskins being the biggest “issue” to sort through. They aren’t alone, though, with some surprising performances dominating the news on Sunday. Who are the running backs we should be buying? Who should we be ignoring? Let’s take a look:
Samaje Perine – Washington Redskins
It’s almost like he’s the last man standing, with Chris Thompson lost for the season and Rob Kelley also sidelined. Perine took advantage of the opportunity in Week 11, turning 23 carries into 117 yards and 1 TD. He also doesn’t have a daunting schedule, with the Giants, Cowboys and Chargers set for the next three weeks. Perine isn’t going to be a factor in the passing game and had struggled prior to this “breakout” performance, but finding a 15+ touch running back is never an easy task. Consider him a must grab option.Verdict – Buy ‘Em
Byron Marshall – Washington Redskins
He was just signed off the Eagles practice squad, though he suddenly finds himself in position to make an impact behind Perine. That said it wouldn’t be surprising to see Washington add a pass catching veteran to the mix, to at least add some stability (the recently released Andre Ellington perhaps). With that in mind Marshall is going to be a risky addition and since he won’t be the lead back he’s easily ignored.
Verdict – Deny ‘Em
Devontae Booker – Denver Broncos
The Broncos are a sinking ship, so we’ve been waiting for Booker to get his opportunity. It finally came in Week 11, as he produced both running and catching the football:
- Rushing – 14 carries for 44 yards
- Receiving – 5 receptions for 54 yards
A matchup with Oakland in Week 12 should give him an opportunity to build on this success, and you would think that the opportunity will be there (though a change in offensive coordinator could change that). He’s well worth the addition.
Verdict – Buy ‘Em
Corey Clement – Philadelphia Eagles
He posted his third straight 50+ yard rushing game and scored a TD (he now has 3 TD over the past two games), so it’s safe to assume that he’s a must own option, right? Don’t be so quick, as he was given just 6 carries yesterday and is going to be sharing the backfield with Jay Ajayi and LeGarrette Blount, with Kenjon Barner also looming. In other words the touches are hardly guaranteed and he’s going to be tough to trust.
Verdict – Deny’ Em
Damien Williams – Miami Dolphins
On the surface Williams numbers looked good in Week 11, but they are skewed by one huge run. He finished with 10 carries for 78 yards, but if you take out a 69 yard scamper the day was a complete bust. Considering he had been struggling entering the day (16 carries for 33 yards the previous two games) and what easily could’ve been another disastrous day, how are you ever going to trust him? If you want to keep him stashed on your bench we can buy it, but he’s not going to be a player that you can start for now.
Verdict – Buy ‘Em as a bench option and nothing more
Austin Ekeler – San Diego Chargers
Ekeler had a second straight strong day, taking 6 carries for 40 yards and 1 TD. Of course the TD came on a 21-yard run in the fourth quarter of a blowout, and it’s hard to imagine him overtaking Melvin Gordon for lead back duties. Maybe he gets 6-10 touches per week and is worth grabbing as a handcuff, but expecting him to be a weekly play would be a mistake.
Verdict – Buy ‘Em as a handcuff and nothing more
Sources – ESPN, NFL.com
Make sure to check out all of our Week 12 rankings: