Start ‘Em or Sit ‘Em (2018): Running Back Edition: Week 15: Derrick Henry, Josh Adams & More

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:

 

Doug Martin – Oakland Raiders
at Cincinnati

Martin has scored in three straight games, but he also hasn’t surpassed 72 yards all season long (and he only reached that mark once, back on October 28 against the Colts).  So why would he even be considered this week, especially since it’s hard to bank on a TD (or is it)?  It’s all about the matchup, as the Bengals have allowed the most points per week to opposing running backs.

Just look at the pure rushing numbers over the past few weeks:

  • Week 10 – 220 yards, 2 TD
  • Week 11 – 140 yards, 2 TD
  • Week 12 – 100 yards, 1 TD
  • Week 13 – 209 yards, 2 TD
  • Week 14 – 78 yards, 1 TD

In fact they’ve allowed at least 1 rushing TD in each of their past 8 games (the last time they kept a running back out of the end zone on the ground was Week 5 (and they did allow a receiving TD in that game).  Couple that with Martin’s continued usage (10+ carries in each of the past seven games, and is averaging 17 carries over the past two weeks) and Martin suddenly carries a lot of value as a RB2 with upside.

Verdict – Start ‘Em (as a viable RB2)

 

Derrick Henry – Tennessee Titans
at New York Giants

To call Henry’s Week 14 performance a “monster showing” may be an understatement, as he racked up 238 yards and 4 TD.  Of course you take that one game out and the overall numbers have been fairly pedestrian:

128 carries, 474 yards (3.7 YPC), 5 TD

Over the past four weeks the Giants have allowed the 11th most points per week to opposing running backs, though a lot of that damage has come from those who can catch the football (229 yards, third most in the league).  That would put more emphasis on Dion Lewis, and it’s impossible to expect Henry to come even close to his previous performance.  One big game doesn’t make Henry a must use option, and don’t make the mistake to view him as such.

Verdict – Sit ‘Em (only usable as a FLEX)

 

Josh Adams – Philadelphia Eagles
at Los Angeles Rams

Remember when Adams was all the rage?  It’s amazing how quickly the perception changes a week after he was given just 7 carries, though it’s important to keep in mind that he was the lone running back to get more than 1 carry in the contest.  It also was a matchup with the Cowboys, who are among the better run defenses in the league.  That narrative changes this week against the Rams, who allowed the Chicago Bears to rush for 171 yards against them in Week 14.

You also have to expect more opportunities, after Adams had averaged 21 carries per game over the previous two weeks.  You also know that he should continue to dominate the carries, with Corey Clement recently being sent to IR.  He’s going to yield some touches to Darren Sproles and Wendell Smallwood, but Adams should get the bulk of the chances and in this matchup that makes him a strong option.

Verdict – Start ‘Em (viable RB2)

 

James White – New England Patriots
at Pittsburgh

We all know that he’s not likely to get many carries, but seeing White get just 2 receptions and 15 yards against the Dolphins was a big surprise.  The “problem” is that the Patriots are getting healthy, giving Tom Brady multiple alternatives (most important is the return to health of Rob Gronkowski).  White now has 2 catches or fewer in two of his past three games, which alone is a read flag.  Throw in a matchup with the Steelers, who have allowed the second fewest receiving yards to opposing running backs (only 20 more than the Tennessee Titans at 354) and White becomes a questionable option at best.

Verdict – Sit ‘Em (outside of as a risky FLEX in PPR formats)

Sources – ESPN, NFL.com

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Make sure to check out all of our Week 15 rankings:

Quarterbacks
Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Kickers
Defenses
Sunday Morning Start ‘Em or Sit ‘Em: Jaylen Samuels, T.Y. Hilton, Matt Breida & More
Thursday Night Start 'Em or Sit 'Em: Week 15 (2018): Spencer Ware, Justin Jackson & More

17 comments

  1. Matt says:

    Looking for some playoff advice!
    Boyd or DJ Moore (.5 PPR)?
    Carr or Josh Allen?
    White or Drake?
    Thanks!!

  2. Carlito says:

    Professor so for my flex… bad matchups… who would you start? Mack (Colts) or McQuire (Jets)

  3. OtisP says:

    PPR league pick two of three: Josh Adams, J Samuels, L Miller.

  4. Stan Gable says:

    No OBJ and baldwin dinged up.

    Currently I’m playing 3wr nonppr of dj moore, Humphries, and Sutton.

    Switch baldwin for any or grab robby Anderson or foster to play instead?

  5. Krysta says:

    Assuming Big Ben over Baker Maxfield?

    WR 1/2 Michael Thomas and Juju. RB 1/2 Nick Chubb and Josh Adams. Cameron Brate as TE. Who would you flex of Jarvis Landry, Elijah McGuire or Adam Humphries?

  6. otisP says:

    PPR league, one decision to make for my flex. Lamar Miller or Corey Davis? Miller seems to have the higher floor and Davis is clearly the riskier play (but higher potential). My opponent is the #1 seed so I don’t think I can play it too safe. I also Have DeAndre Hopkins so have some concern about too much invested in Houston. Thoughts?

  7. promillo says:

    Hi prof,

    first week of playoffs and basicly my team is falling apart with Conner, Ware, K. Johnson, Beckham out, Keenan making null!

    last spots, pick 3 out of: D. Thomas, C. Godwin, C. Brate, R. Shepard

    Also on waier Dae Hamilton, R. Foster.

  8. reggie says:

    Hi Professor

    Im sitting here flipping coins

    standard scoring

    need to pick 2 RB’s from

    J Samueals, Gus Edwards, Josh Adams , Marlon Mack (have TY at WR)

    thanks you as always for your great work!

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