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
Just when it appeared like Tarik Cohen had emerged as the go to running back for fantasy owners, Howard returned to relevance in Week 9:
- Jordan Howard – 14 touches for 47 yards and 2 TD
- Tarik Cohen – 7 touches for 13 yards
Of course we can’t ignore game flow, with the Chicago defense scoring on their own and there being no need to go with a pass heavy approach. That led to a bigger role for Howard, who may have scored 2 TD but wasn’t particularly impressive against the Bills (3.4 yards/carry). He has scored in three straight games and has 36 carries over the past two weeks, but is that enough?
There’s no question that Howard is going to get his 12-15 carries, but he’s averaging 3.5 yards/carry on the season and against the Lions there’s a good chance that Mitchell Trubisky and company are the center of the offense. Without a role in the passing game and taking on a Detroit defense that’s allowed 6 rushing TD (and has recently added Damon Harrison), he’s going to be a tougher sell.
Verdict – Sit ‘Em (TD dependent, low-end RB2/FLEX)
Kenyan Drake – Miami Dolphins
at Green Bay
How much longer will Frank Gore be the “featured” runner for Miami? His longest run over the past three weeks is 9 yards and in only one game in his past eight has he broken a run of more than 14 yards. In other words, while he’s averaging 4.2 yards/carry on the season it’s skewed by a few bigger games. Then you have the likelihood that the Dolphins are playing from behind, which would lead to a more pass heavy approach.
Drake has been the far more explosive runner, including 3 runs of at least 20 yards (despite only 73 carries). He also is the passing down back, with 4+ receptions in four of his past five games. In this matchup he again should play a big role, and as a RB2 he’s worth utilizing.
Verdict – Start ‘Em (solid RB2)
Dion Lewis – Tennessee Titans
vs. New England
Over the past two weeks it’s become obvious that Lewis has emerged as the Titans’ lead running back. Just look at the performances:
- Dion Lewis – 42 touches, 277 yards, 1 TD
- Derrick Henry – 22 touches, 97 yards, 2 TD
While Henry may be a TD vulture, Lewis is obviously the preferred fantasy target. There’s also a good chance that the Titans need to take a pass heavy approach to keep up with Lewis’ former team, and the Patriots have been highly susceptible to running backs who can catch the football (550 yards, second most in the league, and 3 TD). Lewis has 10 catches for 124 yards and 1 TD over the past two weeks and again should post an impressive stat line.
Verdict – Start ‘Em
Isaiah Crowell – New York Jets
While Crowell’s numbers don’t look bad, things are a bit skewed by a few big runs and a monster game against the Broncos (219 yards). Over the subsequent four games he’s virtually disappeared:
- vs. Indianapolis – 13 carries for 40 yards
- vs. Minnesota – 11 carries for 29 yards
- at Chicago – 13 carries for 25 yards
- at Miami – 13 carries for 49 yards
The return of Elijah McGuire, who looked far more dynamic in Week 9, will also eat into Crowell’s opportunities. McGuire had 10 touches for 67 yards last week and should see his role expand as New York tries to determine how he fits into their long-term plans.
Verdict – Sit ‘Em
Sources – ESPN, NFL.com
Make sure to check out all of our Week 10 rankings: