Saturday, 08 November 2014 00:00

Week 10 bullet points for RBs

You ever play that video game that was popular in the early 2000s called 'Crazy Taxi? It was featured on the now-defunct Sega Dreamcast. The object of the game was to transfer pedestrians to a certain location in a extremely fast amount of time while dodging countless obstacles.You took people everywhere, from KFC to FILA to the beach. If you transported your guy to his/her destination before they expected to get there, you received a cash bonus.

Well, consider this bullet point article like a crazy taxi, a guide that helps glide you to your destination of a successful week in fantasy football while helping you avoid the obstacles that are this week's busts.

Chances are, if you're still in the hunt for a playoff spot in your fantasy league, or better yet, you're currently sitting pretty amongst the best teams in your league, then you probably didn't get there by accident. You weathered the storm of injuries, bye weeks and annoying 'should I start this guy or this guy' conundrums that cost you much sleep at night. Well, here are some more guys to think about for Week 10, in the running back position.

Start of the week

Matt Forte @ Green Bay — #1 in weekly rankings

There are some seriously tasty matchups for running backs this week. We could've easily placed DeMarco Murray against the Jags, LeSean McCoy against the struggling Panthers, Ronnie Hillman against lowly Oakland or Andre Ellington against St. Louis as our top starts of the week. But we chose to go with Forte because frankly, the guy is among the most consistently good running backs in both PPR and standard leagues this season. Plus, he's got a fruitful matchup against the Green Bay Packers. a team that's giving up a league-worst 153.5 rushing yards per game. 

Forte ranks third among all fantasy RBs in points with 135 and trails only Arian Foster (154) and DeMarco Murray (162) and he has played one less game than both of those guys. Forte has scored at least 20 fantasy points (20,27,22,24) in his last four games and is also averaging about seven receptions per game over that same span. Forte ran up and down on the Green Bay defense in the teams' first matchup of the season back in September. He also recorded 122 rushing yards to go along with five catches for 49 yards in that game.This column isn't meant to say anything controversial about Forte — you're definitely starting him. It's just nice to gush about a guy who's playing so great sometimes.

Sleeper options

Theo Riddick vs. Miami — #22 in weekly rankings

It's tough to move a guy who's given a lot to the Detroit backfield like Joique Bell has, but Riddick has proven to be the more versatile fantasy option this season. With back to back games of over 70 receiving yards to go along with two touchdowns, Riddick has begun to creep into the discussion as the Lions primary receiving option out of the backfield.

While Bell is still seeing more snaps (61 percent compared to Riddick's 41 in Week 9) and Riddick's averaging just 2.8 yards per carry this season, Riddick still has PPR value.

The one big problem for Riddick owners though is the matchup, though. The Miami Dolphins are coming off their best game of the season, a game where their defense swallowed up Branden Oliver and a talented San Diego offense. The Dolphins' confidence will be high and the Lions have consistently been one of the worst run teams in the league.

This isn't an ideal matchup but if the Lions get down early and throw the ball a lot, then Riddick could put up numbers. Keep in mind, Calvin Johnson is finally slated to come back which could open up the run game more as well.

I'd start Theo Riddick over: Tre Mason, Bishop Sankey, Bryce Brown, Joique Bell

Travaris Cadet vs. San Francisco — #25 in weekly rankings

I know, starting this guy sounds crazy considering he's been only marginally effective in the Saints' backfield, but he's got a few things going for him. With both Pierre Thomas and Khiry Robinson out, only Mark Ingram lies between a decent workload for Cadet. Either way, the Saints will likely still utilize Cadet in the passing game as Ingram remains an effective receiver.

Cadet was only involved in 29 percent of offensive snaps in Week 9 against Carolina, but did see five targets and caught three passes for 29 yards. While Riddick will have to battle both Bell and Reggie Bush for touches, Cadet will likely see more work because of the Saints' depleted backfield. If the New Orleans Saints find themselves getting stuffed against the run, then they'll be more likely to throw the ball and that plays into Cadet's favor. He's still a real long shot, and should not be starting unless your bye week has completely crippled your roster and you're in a deep league.

I'd start Travaris Cadet over the following players: Antone Smith, Darren McFadden, Andre Williams

 Likely busts

Jamaal Charles @ Buffalo — # 9 in weekly rankings

You're definitely starting Charles, but owners should be concerned about this matchup for a few reasons. One, Charles' workload continues to fluctuate. He's had 18, 15, 22, 14 and 20 attempts in his last five outings and has yet to rush for over 100 yards in a game. His 17 receptions for 109 yards have helped mitigate his lackluster rushing numbers, but his role within the Chiefs' offense remains a bit of a mystery from week to week.

Buffalo's run defense ranks among the best in the league as their giving up just 92 yards per game to running backs (8th best). Just a week earlier, Charles was held largely in check by another tough run defense in the New York Jets. Charles averaged just 3.9 yards per carry in that game, which was his lowest YPC since Week 2 against Denver when he got hurt. There's a good chance Charles gets held to under 100 yards again and unless he manages a touchdown around the goal line, he could be due for a weak 5-6 point outing.

I'd start the following players over Jamaal Charles: Eddie Lacy, Le'Veon Bell, Justin Forsett, Denard Robinson

View John Martinez's flickr page here.



Published in Fantasy Coverage
Sunday, 02 November 2014 00:00

Week 9 boom or bust RBs

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.

Owners beware

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.

 View Keith Allison's Flickr page here.


Published in Fantasy Coverage
Sunday, 26 October 2014 00:00

Week 8 bullet points for RBs

Editor's note: This article is to further explain our weekly running back rankings, which you can find here.

Published in Fantasy Coverage
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