There has been a lot of changes to the running back situations around the league. Here are a few that fantasy owners need to be aware of as they plan their lineups moving forward:
New England Patriots
Situation – Stevan Ridley struggles with ball control
According to Tom E. Curran of CSN New England (click here for the article):
“Ridley’s late fumble when the Patriots were trying to eat clock added some unnecessary drama to the Patriots 31-21 win. It also soiled a 28-carry, 151-yard performance by the second-year back. Last season, Ridley was put in mothballs after fumbling twice (one lost) late in the year. Asked how he would handle Ridley’s playing time going forward this season, Belichick said, “There’s nothing more important than possession of the ball. We can’t afford to lose it, it’s as simple as that.”
While Ridley has been running well, the Patriots just aren’t going to tolerate the fumbles. Don’t be surprised if Brandon Bolden, who has rushed for 191 yards over the past two games, and Danny Woodhead play a bigger role this week. Ridley’s status as a RB2 could be in serious jeopardy for the time being.
Green Bay Packers
Situation – Cedric Benson out due to injury
With Benson out, this situation is likely headed to a complete time share. As I said recently, I don’t see the Packers turning to Alex Green as a lead back. Also, if they had faith in James Starks, would he have been a healthy scratch in recent weeks? I would expect the two to share carries, with John Kuhn being given short yardage duties and an occasional carry. In reality, though, this offense will likely just put the ball in Aaron Rodgers’ hands eve more that hey already do. This is a situation fantasy owners will likely want to avoid.
Situation – Ryan Williams out for the season
Options – LaRod Stephens-Howling, Alfonso Smith, William Powell
Williams has been lost for the second straight season he as lost to injury and Beanie Wells is still a few weeks away from being eligible to return. In other words, the Cardinals have a complete mess on thee hands.
According to Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic (click here for the article):
“It’s hoped that Stephens-Howling will be able to play on Sunday against the Bills. But even when he’s healthy, Stephens-Howling is not viewed as an every-down back. The Cardinals think he tends to wear down during the season, and with his small size (5-7, 185), he’s not built to carry the ball 15 times a game.”
The Cardinals rushing attack has been lackluster overall, but William Powell could prove to be a real sleeper for those in deeper formats. He showed tremendous potential in the preseason, averaging nearly 6 yards per carry (249 yards on 42 carries). He hasn’t been given much of a chance yet, but does have 5 receptions in two games and has the size to handle early down duties (207 lbs.).
New York Jets
Situation – Shonn Greene continues to struggle
The fact is, the Jets need to make changes. Sure they played the Texans closer than most imagined, but they simply aren’t a good offense right now. Leading the way is Shonn Greene, who has 123 yards on 42 rushes over the past four games (2.5 yards per carry). Since the Jets have proven that they don’t trust Joe McKnight as a running back, Bilal Powell should see increased opportunities (and quickly).
While Powell hasn’t been impressive himself, at least he has averaged 4.0 yards per carry over the same span (107 yards on 27 carries). Chances are Powell is still sitting on waivers, so he definitely is worth the speculative add.
Situation – Javon Ringer injured
For as bad as Chris Johnson has been, there appears to be no risk in him losing any touches. According to Terry McCormick (via Twitter):
“Javon Ringet will miss 4-6 weeks with MCL and won’t need surgery “
Look for Jamie Harper to backup Johnson, but there is little value outside of being a pure handcuff.
San Diego Chargers
Situation – Ryan Mathews prepared to carry a bigger workload
Ryan Schuler of chargers.com recently posted the following quote from Chargers head coach Norv Turner (click here for the article):
“You can’t ask for more than he gave tonight,” Turner said. “I told him the Wednesday we met after the Atlanta game, I expect him to be one of the league’s leading rushers.”
While I wouldn’t drop Jackie Battle quite yet, owners who drafted Mathews may finally get what they expected. Return him to RB1 status heading into Week 6.
Make sure to check out all of our Week 6 rankings: