Week 9 is approaching and we are officially on the back end of the 2014 fantasy football season. Are you tired of your team yet? Have you officially labeled yourself a degenerate gambler after spending your kids college funds on a weekly fantasy football site? Well if that's the case, then that's dedication right there. I salute you.
Over the past week, there's been a few developments at the running back position. One is the injury to Bengals RB Giovani Bernard, and the other is the injury to Ravens RB Justin Forsett. Both injuries aren't severe, but could impact the starting matchups for Week 9. Jeremy Hill is a must start with A.J. Green back in the lineup keeping safeties more honest than George Washington. Forsett, on the other hand, may end up playing. So without further ado, here are your boom and bust RBs.
Start of the week
Arian Foster vs. Philadelphia — #2 in weekly rankings
Foster has turned into a fantasy monster once again after an injury-plagued 2013 left his value sandwiched between an RB2 at worst and RB1 when at best. He was an RB2 more often than not though.
This season, Foster is averaging 5.2 yards per carry, a scary good number when you consider he's averaging around 22 carries per game. He's rushed for more than 100 yards in all but one contest, and has strung together back-to-back four reception games. In short, Foster's value has skyrocketed just like we all thought when Bill O'Brien took over as offensive coordinator.
This week against Philly, Foster will deal with a rushing defense that ranks 21st in the league and is giving up more than 115 yards per game to running backs. Jadaveon Clowney is out, so Eagles quarterback Nick Foles should get a slight break with the pass rush. Philadelphia will likely keep moving the ball down the field as they've done all season and while that may impact Foster's rushing numbers slightly, the second best RB in fantasy should get some receptions if Houston has to throw their way back into the game.
Some under the rader potential booms
Lorenzo Taliaferro vs. Pittsburgh — #16 in weekly rankings
With Justin Forsett listed as probable, it's probably wise to only use Taliaferro as a flex guy in a deep league, but there's still lots of potential here. The Steelers have given up seven touchdowns to running backs this season (20th worst in the league) and are coming off one of their worst defensive efforts of the year despite defeating the Indianapolis Colts in Week 8.
Forsett will likely be the starter, but Taliaferro could easily snag a goal line touchdown or two if Forsett comes out a bit slow. Taliaferro is averaging a solid 4.4 yards per carry and the Ravens defeated the Steelers handily 26-6 earlier in the season.
isaiah Crowell vs. Tampa Bay — Unranked
Yes, we didn't rank Crowell and opted to list Ben Tate way too high, which deserves a 'come on man.' To make it up to you, we'll talk about Tate's struggles. He's only averaging 3.6 yards per carry in a run-based offense with a coaching staff that considers him a bellcow. He's also coming off a game where he averaged a measly 1.7 yards per carry against a bad Oakland run defense. He's got only one 100-yard game so far this season and aside from a two-touchdown effort against Pittsburgh, hasn't been much of a factor on the goal line.
Enter Crowell. There's been talks around the Cleveland locker room that Crowell could be in line for more carries this week against the Buccaneers. The rookie out of Alabama State already has one more touchdown (4) than Tate and is slowly starting to create a buzz in the backfield. Tampa Bay ranks 23rd in the league in rushing defense so even if Tate plays well, expect Crowell to see some of the workload and hopefully grab a touchdown in the event of a blowout.
Andre Williams vs. Indianapolis — Unranked
With starting RB Rashad Jennings still sidelined and the Colts' defense surrendering a ton of yardage to Pittsburgh last week, it may be tempting to think Williams is in line for a big day. But that's not the case this week. The Colts are expected to have cornerback Vontae Davis back for an entire game. Davis' physical play has been a nuisance to nearly every receiver he's covered and more importantly, has allowed the Colts to blitz more which causes all sorts of problems for the offense. Expect the Colts' defense in Week 9 to resemble the defense of Week 7 that shut down Giovani Bernard and the Cincinnati Bengals.
As for Williams, he hasn't shown much since taking over for Jennings in Week 4. He's a plodding back who needs to get running down hill before in order to plow over defenders. While that style has been effective at times, Williams hasn't rattled off a carry longer than 23 yards and is averaging a mediocre 3.1 yards per carry. He's likely to be shut down on Monday night.
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