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:
Jordan Howard – Chicago Bears
With the rise of Tarik Cohen and the emergence of Mark Trubisky it has become easy to overlook Howard. That said he’s actually rushed for a touchdown in back-to-back games and is coming off a day where he got 22 carries against the Jets. It was all about the game flow, with the Bears breaking out to a lead and then feeding Howard the ball to work on the clock. Would it be surprising to see a similar scenario in Buffalo?
All signs point towards Nathan Peterman getting the start at quarterback, and that alone likely spells disaster for the Bills. A lot of Buffalo’s defensive issues have come against opposing running backs who can catch the football (408 yards and 3 TD) and that’s going to speak to Cohen’s value, but Howard isn’t completely inept catching the football and the usage potential alone will give him value. While he’s not a great play, he’s a viable RB2 in all formats.
Verdict – Start ‘Em (viable RB2 / good FLEX play)
LeSean McCoy – Buffalo Bills
McCoy saved his day in Week 8 by catching 6 passes for 82 yards against the Patriots, but he’s generally struggled to run the football this season (257 rushing yards, 3.4 yards/carry). He hasn’t been a significant pass catching threat overall (167 total yards, so just 85 receiving yards in his other six games) and draws a Chicago defense that’s given up the third fewest points per week to opposing running backs. The key numbers are:
- 0 rushing TD allowed
- 719 total yards allowed
Banking on a TD? Banking on replicating his pass catching numbers? You shouldn’t be.
Verdict – Sit ‘Em (only desperation FLEX play due to the bye weeks)
Aaron Jones – Green Bay Packers
at New England
Jones is coming off a big game against the Rams, turning 12 carries into 86 yards and 1 TD. The problem is that the 12 carries represents his season high, and in a game that could quickly devolve into a shootout it’s highly likely that the offenses are forced to take a pass heavy approach. When it comes to targets, even with Ty Montgomery now in Baltimore look at what’s left for the team:
- Aaron Jones – 8 targets
- Jamaal Williams – 17 targets
Obviously neither number blows you away, but Williams caught 25 passes a year ago compared to 9 for Jones. It’s obvious who will likely absorb more of Montgomery’s opportunities, and in this one that makes Williams a potentially more intriguing “gamble”.
Verdict – Sit ‘Em (low-end FLEX play)
Peyton Barber – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
With Ronald Jones sidelined the only alternative the team has is Jacquizz Rodgers, so there’s little risk of Berber losing his role. Overall the numbers have been fairly pedestrian (3.7 yards/carry), but Barber has rushed for over 80 yards in two of his past three games, has averaged 4.6 yards/carry over this stretch and found the end zone for the first time in Week 8. While a matchup with the Panthers isn’t necessarily ideal, everything is pointing in the right direction from a workload and output perspective. Considering the bye weeks, that’s all we really need.
Verdict – Start ‘Em (viable RB2)
Devontae Booker – Denver Broncos
With Royce Freeman sidelined Booker stepped into the complimentary role to Phillip Lindsay and delivered with 13 touches going for 101 yards. There’s a good chance that workload is replicated against the Texans, and the key here is that they are a defense that’s struggled against running backs who are capable of catching the football having yielded a league high 5 receiving TD. Of course Lindsay is a proven pass catcher as well (18 receptions for 136 yards and 1 TD), so Booker isn’t guaranteed to get more than his typical handful of targets per game.
Verdict – Sit ‘Em (high risk, high reward FLEX play)
Sources – ESPN, NFL.com
Make sure to check out all of our Week 9 rankings: