Would you believe me if I told you during the preseason that James Conner, Javorius Allen, Austin Ekeler, TJ Yeldon, Nyheim Hines, and Latavius Murray would be top 25 running backs in PPR leagues heading in to week 9? No, and I would love to see an expert that had any ranked that high. The overall state of the running back position in fantasy is one for its own article. Unless you went RB heavy during your draft, we should change our expectations for RB 2’s and flex RBs.
With the amount of teams deploying an RBBC (running back by committee) the value for the backup running back exceeds more than just a ‘handcuff.’ You will hear that rostering your handcuff is not worth it but the names above would say otherwise. Even though some of the players below are not sexy acquisitions don’t let that prevent you from insuring your team for the championship run. Keep this in mind as you question if you should roster a Giovani Bernard or Nyheim Hines. There is value in owning your handcuff even if they are the clear #2.
Here we go, the Bad Boyz of week 9.
- Carlos Hyde and TJ Yeldon- I can sympathize with Carlos Hyde owners, I am one of them. My original thought on the Jaguars acquiring Hyde was a concern around Leonard Fournette’s ability to return this year. Everything, for now, points to Fournette returning week 10. Yeldon is not worth owning and Hyde can be dropped in leagues 12 teams and smaller, unless in dire need. Hyde was averaging less than 4.0 yards per carry in Cleveland. This is weird for me to type but, for fantasy purposes the Jags offense might be in a worse state than Cleveland. We have visited this backfield a lot this year and I’m ready to release them. If Fournette ends up re-injuring his hammy then Hyde is the handcuff to own. This horse is dead, let’s move on.
- Devontae Booker- Did Booker show to the coaching staff the he deserves more touches? Booker was on the field for 44% of the snaps compared to 56% for Phillip Lindsay. 101 total yards on 13 touches (4 catches) is enough to get the coaching staffs attention, in my opinion. Royce Freeman missed practiced Wednesday and was a non-participant Thursday, he is trending towards the bench for Sunday. We will keep Booker in handcuffs this weekend. I would feel comfortable starting Booker as a flex or even RB2 if Freeman sits out, given the amount of teams on bye this weekend and his usage last weekend.
- Elijah McGuire- Isaiah Crowell was trade bait a couple of weeks ago, hopefully you did not bite. If you remove the two outliers from Crowell’s resume, he has never exceeded 40 yards in a game this season. Powell was out-touching Crowell consistently throughout the season and the Jets are dying for someone to supplement his usage. McGuire is the dark horse in the stable. I’m okay with passing on Trenton Cannon and stashing McGuire to see how things shake out with him over the next couple of weeks. Sleeper DFS play if he is a full go this weekend.
- Mike Davis- Yes, Chris Carson exploded for 124 totals yards, 1TD on 27 touches. Mike Davis still received 10 touches and is the handcuff to own in this backfield, Rashaad Penny is struggling to find the field. Carson was limited in practice this week with the same hip injury from earlier this season. I am not ready to release Davis given Carsons injury history and Seattles run first offense. Seattle is 2nd in the league in rushing attempts this season.
- Nyheim Hines- The Colts offense is warming up with Andrew Luck and Frank Reich starting to gel. Frank is committed to finding ways to get Hines involved in the game plan. Marlon Mack carried a ‘questionable’ injury designation heading in to last weeks game with an ankle injury but was still able to play. Hines was dropped in a number of leagues this week with the Colts on bye. Now is the time to add Hines as your handcuff if you have the room on your roster.
- Quick Hits: We have at least one more week to use Latavius Murray as a lead dog. Dalvin Cook is returning to practice but is not expected to suit up until after their bye. Hang on to Murray even when Cook returns. Check you waivers for Austin Ekeler. He has been dropped in a number of leagues during his bye and after his recent drop in production. Melvin Gordons hamstring is reported to be minor and he will be a full go Sunday. Gordon owners, I am keeping Ekeler on my bench after the last minute inactive scare in week 7. Usage is the name of the game for Doug Martin and Jalen Richard. An offense that is one to avoid, these two backs in Oakland are desperations starts for bye week fill-ins. Alfred Blue still received 15 touches to Lamar Millers 18. Miller owners should handcuff Blue. Raheem Mostert looked like he broke his arm in the Thursday Night football game. I guess we are putting Alfred Morris back in handcuffs. Gio Bernard is expected to be back soon and should return to his complimentary role in this offense. Get ahead of the Gio Bernard train in PPR leagues.
- Josh Adams- Corey Clement has been ineffective so far and maybe he is still dealing with an underlying lower body injury that has plagued him since pre season. Adams tied Wendell Smallwood in touches last week with 10 and was more productive with his carries. Averaging 6.8ypc to Smallwoods 3.0ypc. Yes, Smallwood did catch a 36 yard screen pass for a touchdown. Smallwood is worth a bench spot but clement is safe to drop. The Eagles are still a team that leans on a dreadful RBBC and I am not expecting a massive explosion from Adams down the stretch but he is a speculative add for now.
- Jamaal Williams- #FreeAaronJones. Hopefully you have held on to your Aaron Jones stock because now is the time for him to be an end of season savior. Ty Montgomery was shipped out before the trade deadline to Baltimore. Jamaal Williams is not an exciting play but with Ty out Jamaal should continue to assume 3rd down and change of pace duties. Williams value comes from passing situations and his usage at the goal line. Williams scored from the 1-yard line last week. In an offense lead by Aaron Rodgers we expect multiple scoring opportunities. A bench stash for now, let’s see how his role plays out against the Patriots this weekend.
- Ty Montgomery- Ty Montgomery puts a dent in Alex Collins and Javorius ‘Buck’ Allens value. Alex Collins missed practice on Thursday after putting in a limited session Wednesday with a foot injury, not good. Foot injuries can be tricky and with the Ravens on bye in week 10 there is a possibility they rest Collins if the injury is serious. This would be a huge boost to Buck Allen for this weekend and Ty as he integrates in to the offense, if Collins were to miss more than one week. Keep an eye on Fridays practice report.
Before I wrap this up, I want to bring light to the Trade Analyzer that Razzball offers. Right now is the time to leverage trades as you prepare your roster for the playoffs. The trade tool compares rest of season stats for the player(s) that you are looking to move and acquire. This allows you to make an educated decision and to avoid getting taken advantage of by your league mates. I’ve used this tool multiple times this season to make win-win deals and you should to.
A light week for us, which is a good thing. Our starting backs produced and remained fairly unscathed. Let us hope for the same after week 9. Comment and tweet me your questions. Good luck this weekend!