by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
We all want to hoard running backs, because productive options are often hard to find on the waiver wire. That said, there comes a point where keeping a guy stashed is more of a wasted roster spot than anything. Here are three players that, depending on your situation and league, you can likely move on from at this point:
Maurice Jones-Drew – Oakland Raiders
He returned to the active roster, but didn’t step back into a starting role. In fact he had just 2 carries for 1 yard, as well as 2 receptions for 2 yards in Week 4. While Darren McFadden was hardly impressive (72 total yards), he was the clear leader in the backfield. At the same time, we continue to wait and see when Latavius Murray is finally going to get an opportunity (or should we say if he’s going to get an opportunity).
Could the injury to Derek Carr mean a bigger dependence on the running game? Perhaps, though they also could continue to fall behind and be forced to throw the football in an effort to play catchup.
If Jones-Drew had shown us anything thus far maybe he wouldn’t be on our cut list. However he has 11 carries for 12 yards on the season, coming a year after he averaged 3.4 yards per carry. Now a shell of his former self, he seemingly doesn’t have the talent to be a productive back. In a lost season it’s just a matter of when the Raiders opt to see what they have in younger options, and a potential coaching change could be all the impetus the team needs.
Bernard Pierce – Baltimore Ravens
After missing Week 3 due to injury, Pierce was active for the Ravens Week 4 victory over the Panthers but never saw the ball. It appears quite likely that he’s simply fallen to third on the depth chart. Just look at what the other two have done without him in the mix:
- Lorenzo Taliaferro – 33 carries, 149 yards, 2 TD
- Justin Forsett – 25 carries, 129 yards, 1 TD
Given Pierce’s lack of real production, outside of one game, since 2012 it’s easy to imagine him falling to third. Obviously in deeper formats you can hold out hope, but in shallower leagues if you need his roster spot he’s likely expendable.
Devonta Freeman – Atlanta Falcons
He was supposed to rise to the top of the Falcons backfield, but it just doesn’t appear to be in the cards for this season. Instead he’s going to be part of a four man committee and, at least thus far, the least productive of the group:
- Steven Jackson – 50/201/1
- Antone Smith – 10/119/2
- Jacquizz Rodgers – 17/65/1
- Devonta Freeman – 15/35/0
Throw in a lost fumble and it just seems like too big of a hole to climb out of. There are simply not enough carries to go around and, while Jackson’s role may be reduced it’s unlikely Freeman becomes the beneficiary.
Sources – ESPN, NFL.com