Running Back Rundown: Who To Buy, Who To Sell & More After Week 6 (Damien Williams, Adrian Peterson, Miles Sanders & 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:

Kansas City Chiefs

After dominating the carries a week ago, Damien Williams was a complete afterthought in Week 6:

  • LeSean McCoy – 8 carries for 44 yards; 2 receptions for 0 yards
  • Damien Williams – 1 carry for 6 yards; 1 reception for 14 yards & 1 TD
  • Darrel Williams – 1 reception for 52 yards

Damien Williams has continued to struggle this season, with a meager 32 carries for 63 yards overall. Given the “production” it’s impossible to anticipate him leading the backfield, and instead we can expect a complete committee approach. McCoy appears to be the favored option, but with the risk involved in the number of touches he’ll get he’s nothing more than a RB2/FLEX option.

Los Angeles Rams

With Todd Gurley sidelined the expectation was that Malcolm Brown would carry the load. He got the chance, but failed to deliver against a tough San Francisco defense:

  • Malcolm Brown – 11 carries for 40 yards (3.6 YPC)
  • Darrell Henderson – 6 carries for 39 yards; 1 catch for 9 yards

Brown had failed to break a run of more than 6 yards over the previous three games, and given the matchup it shouldn’t be surprising that he struggled once again. It will be interesting to see what happens if Gurley isn’t able to return in Week 7, though the Falcons will represent another difficult matchup. Don’t be surprised if Henderson sees an even bigger role, and he could be the better FLEX option if Gurley is sidelined.

Miami Dolphins

This seemed like a get right spot for Kenyan Drake, but he was outshined by the new “number two”:

  • Kenyan Drake – 10 carries for 40 yards (4.0 YPC)
  • Mark Walton – 6 carries for 32 yards (5.3 YPC); 5 receptions for 43 yards
  • Kalen Ballage – 3 carries for 7 yards (2.3 YPC) and 1 TD

It will be interesting to see where they go from here, but after jumping Ballage on the depth chart could Walton push Drake? It wouldn’t be shocking, considering the lackluster start to the season for the “lead” runner. Walton should be a popular waiver wire stash for those looking towards a possible second half breakout.

New Orleans Saints

While he was on the field, it was obvious that the ankle injury suffered by Alvin Kamara this week had an impact on his performance:

  • Rushing – 11 carries for 31 yards (2.8 YPC)
  • Receiving – 7 receptions for 35 yards

The workload was there, but Latavius Murray was the more productive player (8 carries for 44 yards, 3 receptions for 35 yards). The Saints clearly weren’t concerned about the injury, and while limited practice time is likely this week for now we’d expect him to be on the field again next Sunday. Will he be healthy and productive, however? That’s a different question, and one that’s too early to answer.

Philadelphia Eagles

While Miles Sanders was out-carried by a wide margin, he made a significant impact in the passing game:

  • Jordan Howard – 13 carries for 49 yards
  • Miles Sanders – 3 carries for 6 yards; 3 receptions for 86 yards and 1 TD

Sanders has struggled to run the football, but he’s had value for those in PPR formats (7 receptions for 135 yards and 1 TD over the past two weeks). His role could further expand with Darren Sproles sidelined, and he has FLEX value in PPR formats.

San Francisco 49ers

The 49ers are a run heavy offense, and it’s showing that there are enough touches for both Tevin Coleman and Matt Breida to be viable options on a weekly basis:

  • Tevin Coleman – 18 carries for 45 yards & 1 TD; 2 receptions for 16 yards
  • Matt Breida – 13 carries for 36 yards; 4 receptions for 27 yards

While Breida didn’t do much with his opportunities, it was just a week ago that he scored 2 TD while rushing for 114 yards. As for Coleman, he’s averaged 17 carries a game since returning to the field while adding a TD in each game. At this point they are both viable RB2 each week.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

After a week or two when we thought we had found clarity, the backfield is again a bit of a mess. Part of the problem lies with Jameis Winston, who put the team in a hole by committing six turnovers (5 INT, 1 lost fumble), but even when given opportunities neither running back shined:

  • Peyton Barber – 8 carries for 28 yards (3.5 YPC)
  • Ronald Jones – 4 carries for 10 yards & 1 TD (2.5 YPC)

Neither runner was targeted in the passing game (Dare Ogunbowale turned 5 targets into 3 catches and 22 yards). After appearing to breakout in Weeks 2 & 3, Jones has now combined for 13 carries and 45 yards over the past two weeks and has averaged more than 3.9 YPC in a game just once this season. At this point neither running back can be trusted as anything more than a desperation FLEX (at least for now), with Jones remaining the “favorite”.

Washington Redskins

Sure it came against the Dolphins, but it’s hard to ignore the performance of Adrian Peterson. In the first game after the firing of Jay Gruden, Peterson had his best game of the season:

  • Rushing – 23 carries for 118 yards
  • Receiving – 2 receptions for 18 yards

While he is unlikely to match the output, the touches is the real key. The carries represent a season high, and there’s a good chance the team continues to feature the run more moving forward. Consider Peterson a viable RB2 most weeks, especially if the matchup is favorable.

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Make sure to check out all of our Week 7 rankings:

Quarterbacks
Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Kickers
Defenses

15 COMMENTS

    • I would say Sanders has the higher upside, but he’s far less likely to take over as his team’s RB1. So if I had to pick one to breakout in the second half, I’d lean Singletary

  1. Full point PPR 10 man. Thinking about selling DJ Chark as I have a plethora of WR’s. Who are some RB’s you would target for a trade like that?

    Thanks as always!

    • Shoot high. While you aren’t likely to get a RB1, you may be able to snake a solid RB2 given Chark’s production thus far

      • Might keep Chark. Do you think Devante Adams for Marlon Mack and Juju is a good trade or am I just better off sitting on Devante?

        • That’s not crazy depending on the rest of your WR options. IT’s a downgrade there, but not a monster one and Mack is a viable RB1 on a weekly basis

    • Yuck, I guess I’d lean Anderson because I have a tough time trusting Gordon and the Patriots. That’s not a ringing endorsement for him, though

  2. Hi, Prof. Is Damien Williams trustable anymore? Or should I start Frank Gore vs. Miami this week? I’m in a 0.5 PPR league (14 teams). I’m also trying to get Edmonds or Walton off waivers this week. What are your views? Thanks.

    • Love Walton as a stash, as he could emerge as the team’s lead back in short order.

      As for the RB, I also have a tough time trusting Gore but I’d have to lean him over Williams. At least we know he’s going to get touches and he has a highly favorable matchup, as compared to Williams who could play second fiddle.

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