If you played your cards right, 2016 may have been one of the best seasons ever to roll with a zero RB strategy in your draft. Not only have there been a litany of running back committees utilized across the league, but legitimate RB1s and RB2s have been emerging all year. Take a look at this list: Jordan Howard, Devontae Booker, Spencer Ware, C.J. Prosise, Robert Kelley. Those guys were all either not drafted at all or were taken later in drafts as a handcuff or dice roll option (I actually drafted Booker in one league but dropped him after a few weeks because I need the roster spot. D’oh!).
Look at Jay Ajayi. He was taken in most deeper leagues, but most of us did not ever envision what he is doing right now. Matt Asiata, Jerick McKinnon, Jacquizz Rodgers all provided some waiver wire value, too. You could even include the few weeks we got out of Ty Montgomery on that list if you wanted to. Now, it looks like James Starks may even provide some value, now that he is healthy.
The important one for us right now is C.J. Prosise. Christine Michael has officially fallen out of favor in Seattle, and Prosise has been flourishing. At first glance, his 17 carries for 66 yards is just meh (unless you look at the volume as a positive). But when you look at his total stat line, you’ll see he caught seven passes for another 87 yards. Read: 153 total yards and seven catches. That’s more than 20 points in PPR. That’s gold, Jerry.
It sounds like Thomas Rawls might be back this week, and Seattle beat writer Sheil Kapadia thinks the Seahawks might try to deploy a thunder and lightning attack with Rawls and Prosise, but I think Prosise will still get the majority of the snaps and touches. He’s too valuable to them in the passing game right now for them to put him on the bench very often.
And as I am writing this, Adam Schefter just dropped this bomb on Twitter:
Seattle waived – waived! – RB Christine Michael.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) November 15, 2016
And now, to the report…
NOTE: In the tables below, I’ve removed running backs who have been placed on Injured Reserve. If the running back is injured but is not on IR, then he has a + next to his name.
Reports of LeGarrette Blount’s demise once Tom Brady returned from suspension were greatly exaggerated. In fact, Week 4 (the last week of Brady’s suspension) is the only week this season that Blount didn’t score a touchdown. Even though the Patriots lost to the Seahawks on Sunday night, Blount added three more. He now has 12 rushing touchdowns on the season, and the Patriots are still giving him the rock in order to keep their offense balanced. Dion Lewis was activated from the PUP list but was inactive for this week’s game. Even when he is active, look for Blount to still get his.
If the trend continues, look for DeMarco Murray to be awful in 2017. I’m joking (kind of). In 2014, the Cowboys pretty much ran Murray into the ground. In 2015, he was so awful with the Philadelphia Eagles that he was essentially benched toward the end of the year. Was he worn out by what the Cowboys did to him? Or were the Eagles and Chip Kelly’s running game really that bad? It’s definitely the latter, but what if it’s both? The Titans are riding Murray as much as possible, and he was once again on the field for more than 75% of their offensive snaps. He is doing it all for the Titans and for fantasy owners right now, as he even threw for a touchdown this week. He is one of the most reliable RB1s in the league right now, so keep on riding him to the playoffs. As for his workload, that is a problem for next year.
Terrance West is still the main jawn in Baltimore, but for how long? Kenneth Dixon, as we have mentioned the past few weeks, is finally healthy and is starting to play more. More importantly, West was ineffective this week while Dixon had some success and generated more total yards than West on half the touches. West rushed 21 times for 65 yards (3.1 YPC), while Dixon rushed six times for 38 yards (6.3 YPC). Dixon also added five catches for 42 yards, and he was clearly the guy they wanted in the game on passing downs. West had just a single catch for 12 yards. Keep an eye on this backfield going forward, especially in PPR.
Coming into this week, we had finally put a fork in Ryan Mathews. He had a combined nine carries the last two weeks (though he did punch in two red zone touchdowns), hadn’t posted a double-digit performance since Week 5, and Doug Pederson (you sly dog, Doug!) finally admitted that he considered Darren Sproles to be his lead back. Then, Sunday happened. Mathews dropped 19 carries, 109 yards, and two touchdowns while sitting on the bench for most of us. While he only received two carries on the day, Sproles did catch eight passes for 57 yards, so all was not lost. This is messy going forward, but I still like Sproles ROS, especially in PPR.
After weeks of Jacquizz Rodgers, Antone Smith, and Peyton Barber, Doug Martin returned for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this past week. Martin was eased into action and was on a snap count, but he is officially back. He didn’t have much success, with an ugly 2.1 YPC on the day, but he did punch in a touchdown. With Martin back, you can expect him to take over as the bell cow in Tampa. He’s should be in every lineup going forward unless he suffers some kind of health setback. Rodgers is still out and does not look to be close to returning, so Barber is the handcuff for now.
Jordan Howard might be hurt, or he might be fine:
#Bears RB Jordan Howard on whether he suffered an ankle/Achilles injury as John Fox said: "Nah, I ain’t suffer nothing.”
— Adam Jahns (@adamjahns) November 13, 2016
As a fantasy football player and writer and as a Jordan Howard fanboy, I NEED TO KNOW. As of this writing, it isn’t entirely clear. It sounds like he is fine, as Howard himself said. Maybe. Howard only carried the ball twice in the second half and was seen riding the bike near the trainer’s table. Howard admitted to feeling tight but not to suffering an injury, and he did enter the game late, so those are two positives for now.
Additional Thoughts, Observations, and Injuries. . .
- Damien Williams was your vulture of the week, scoring twice to help the Miami Dolphins beat the San Diego Chargers, though he didn’t help Miami win as much as Philip Rivers did… (Sorry, Jay).
- The Seattle Seahawks shocked everyone on Tuesday night by waiving Christine Michael. Everyone could see that he was headed to the bench, but waiving him? Yikes.
- The return of James Starks was not great news for Ty Montgomery. Montgomery received only five touches. Many are already dropping Montgomery. I’m waiting at least another week, but it doesn’t look good.
- Not to mention another fantasy site on here, but Rotoworld dropped a hilarious take on Case Keenum on us.
- This guy has the @HandcuffReport handle on Twitter, and it has nothing to do with fantasy sports. He just seems to retweet the Intel Policy account all the time. Wtf, dude.
- Matt Jones was a healthy scratch this week, so Robert Kelley and Chris Thompson saw all of the touches. This is a hard fall for Jones, but at least he wasn’t waived?
If you want to talk fantasy football or have players you want Mike to feature, hit him up on Twitter at @mikeMaher or post a comment below!