by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
Trying to decide who you should start or sit this week? Let’s take a look at a few potential decisions owners have and try to sort through them:
Marlon Mack – Indianapolis Colts – vs. Buffalo
Injuries have plagued Mack all season, and while he’s not a factor in the passing game he showed he can be explosive running the football. Getting 12 carries against the Jets last week he went for 89 yards (7.4 yards/carry). The question is if he can deliver similar production against Buffalo, especially when the offense has been geared towards a pass heavy approach?
Just keep this in mind, over the past two weeks Buffalo has allowed the third fewest points per week to opposing running backs. Overall they are allowing just 3.8 yards/carry, making them one of nine teams that are allowing fewer than 4.0 yards/carry on the season. That tells us this is going to be a tough matchup, and with the workload hardly a guarantee it makes him nothing more than a dart throw FLEX.
Verdict – Sit ‘Em (Dart throw FLEX)
Jordan Howard – Chicago Bears – vs. New England
It’s easy to argue that over the past two weeks Howard has slowly started to take a backseat to Tarik Cohen. Just look at the numbers:
- Howard – 25 touches, 94 yards, 0 TD
- Cohen – 32 touches, 295 yards, 2 TD
Even more important is that the bulk of Cohen’s touches have come in the passing game, with 14 receptions compared to 0 catches for Howard. In a game that could easily necessitate a pass heavy approach, who do you think the preferred option should be?
The Patriots have allowed the fifth most receiving yards to opposing running backs (349), and only one rushing touchdown on the season. With Howard quickly becoming a TD dependent option, he’s at best a FLEX play (while Cohen should be considered a viable RB2 this week).
Verdict – Start ‘Em (FLEX only)
Corey Clement – Philadelphia Eagles – vs. Carolina
There were high hopes for Clement entering Week 6, with Jay Ajayi out for the season. He didn’t quite dominate the touches, though, as he shared the load with Wendell Smallwood:
- Clement – 14 touches for 69 yards and 1 TD
- Smallwood – 19 touches for 51 yards
Of course Clement had also been coming off an injury and Smallwood was hardly impressive with his carries (2.8 yards/carry, no run of more than 8 yards). Seemingly healthy, it’s a good bet that Clement’s role expands this week. While it’s not necessarily an ideal matchup, there’s enough to consider him a good “gamble” as a RB2 considering the upside and likely touches in the red zone.
Verdict – Start ‘Em (Viable RB2)
Kenyan Drake – Miami Dolphins – vs. Detroit
We all want to believe in Drake, who continues to have the upside in the Miami backfield, but unfortunately he continues to see Frank Gore dominate the carries. Over the past three weeks Gore has averaged nearly 13 carries per game, delivering 205 yards (including 15 carries for 101 yards in Week 6). In other words his role in the offense isn’t going to disappear, and that is going to hurt the outlook for Drake.
Overall the Lions have struggled against opposing running backs, giving up the fourth most points per week. That helps, and Drake does have 11 receptions over the past two games. He also is coming off a day where he had 13 carries, one shy of his season high (which came in Week 1). While it’s not enough to make Drake a locked in RB2, it’s enough to put him on radars and a definite FLEX option.
Verdict – Start ‘Em (Borderline RB2)
Sources – ESPN, NFL.com
Make sure to check out all of our Week 7 rankings: