Running Back Rundown: Who To Buy, Who To Sell & More After A Wild Week 1 (Todd Gurley, Devin Singletary, Devonta Freeman & More)

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With many teams heading towards a running back by committee, fantasy owners constantly need to be analyzing the situations and determining who has value and is worth utilizing.  Let’s take a look at some of the key situations from yesterday and try to determine who should be used and who should be ignored:

Atlanta Falcons

Everyone expected this to be Devonta Freeman’s backfield, but that was hardly the case:

  • Devonta Freeman – 8 carries for 19 yards
  • Ito Smith – 6 carries for 31 yards

Sure Freeman was a bigger factor in the passing game, though that yielded just 3 catches for 12 yards.  It would be easy to point towards the inability of Atlanta’s offensive line in this one, but that’s a trend that could continue to be an issue.  While Freeman remains the favored running back, could his lost fumble loom large and cause the outlook to change? View this as a committee for now and there’s the potential that Smith ultimately emerges (making him a must grab).

Buffalo Bills

The team seemed like they wanted this to be a timeshare, but ultimately the cream rose and it became clear who the best option was.  Just look at the numbers against the Jets:

  • Frank Gore – 11 carries for 20 yards (1.8 YPC)
  • Devin Singletary – 4 carries for 70 yards (17.5 YPC), 5 receptions for 28 yards

Singletary didn’t receive a carry until the second half, but when given a chance he ripped off runs of 20, 23, 12 and 15 yards.  It’s clear that his role should only grow from here, leaving Gore as nothing more than a handcuff.  Singletary is going to be a solid option and a potential RB2 each week.

Los Angeles Rams

We all knew the Rams running back situation was one to watch, as all indications were that Todd Gurley would see his workload limited in an effort to keep him healthy.  Seeing the split of touches shouldn’t be shocking then, though the name who finished second might be:

  • Todd Gurley – 15 (14 carries, 1 reception)
  • Malcolm Brown – 11 (11 carries)
  • Darrell Henderson – 1 (1 carry)

Many thought Henderson would prove to be the handcuff to own, after he was selected in the third round of the ’19 draft.  Instead he was given 1 carry, which went for 0 yards, while Brown broke free for 53 yards and 2 TD.  At this point it’s Brown who is the man to own if you are protecting yourself as a Gurley owner, though Henderson remains worth stashing in deeper formats.  In fact, as long as Gurley is being handled cautiously Brown could carry FLEX appeal on his own.

Philadelphia Eagles

The talk was that this would be a committee, and that’s exactly what we got:

  • Darren Sproles – 9 carries for 47 yards (5.2 YPC)
  • Jordan Howard – 6 carries for 44 yards (7.3 YPC)
  • Miles Sanders – 11 carries for 25 yards (2.3 YPC)

It’s interesting that Sanders ultimately was the least productive of the trio, and while that doesn’t change the outlook it could influence the time frame for him getting there.  At this point consider this a pure committee, with no one worth trusting above a RB3/FLEX option.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

We knew this was going to be a committee, but the usage is a bit interesting:

  • Ronald Jones – 13 carries for 75 yards; 1 reception for 18 yards
  • Peyton Barber – 8 carries for 33 yards; 2 receptions for 12 yards
  • Dare Ogunbowale – 4 receptions for 33 yards

Jones was the best back the team had and the favorite for early down work, while Ogunbowale was the pass catcher (he received 5 targets).  Is that’s how it’s going to remain?  Time will tell, but for now view Ogunbowale as a potential PPR option to stash while Jones is the “best” option (though he’s more of a FLEX play still due to the risk/uncertainty).

Washington Redskins

After Adrian Peterson was a healthy scratch it became clear that this was Derrius Guice’s team in the backfield, though his performance may have played himself out of that role.  In his first game after missing all of 2018 with a knee injury, Guice managed just 18 yards on 10 carries with 5 yards being his longest run.  It was a tough matchup but it’s still the type of performance that brings his future role and upside into question.  If you are a Peterson owner don’t be so quick to pull the trigger and move on from him as it wouldn’t be surprising to see him have a significant role in Week 2.

Sources – ESPN, NFL.com

6 COMMENTS

  1. Hi, Prof. I have Guice. But he’s hurt and maybe out multiple weeks. Which RB do I lock from among Adrian Peterson (WAS), Gio Bernard (CIN), and Malcolm Brown (Rams)? Thanks.

    • In the short-term i’d go Peterson. He should operate as the early down back, at least until Guice is deemed healthy. Long-term Brown is an intriguing stash, but he’s not going to be “the man” and will instead be a timeshare unless Gurley goes down

  2. Had a rough week 1 and thinking of shaking up my roster by offering Barkley in return for Zeke. I’m worried about Barkley suffering by being on a poor team. Good move or am I jumping the gun?

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