Damn these Broncos keep me busy. It seems they’re in a 5 alarm Running Back crisis every three weeks. I’m of course talking about Ronnie Hillman‘s recent foot injury that will likely keep him out for the next two to three weeks. Over the last four games, Hillman had been a savior for Montee Ball owners, like myself. He’s actually been the 9th best Running Back in RCL’s over that time, and that includes last week’s 6 carry game. If we removed week 10 and replaced it with week 6 it would be even higher. Unfortunately it was short lived due to the aforementioned injury.
We now turn to C.J. Anderson and begrudgingly Ball in some cases. Anderson blew up last week gaining 163 total yards and a TD on 17 total touches. He’s also been touted as the team’s “Best Running Back” by Mike Klis of the Denver Post. Outside of one game against the Raiders and the endorsement of a beat writer, there’s not a lot to draw from. He’s had just over 20 career carries and gets mentioned on deep league watch lists from time to time. Will Anderson stick as the starter in what’s been called a “Hot Hand Situation” by coach John Fox? That’s a question I can’t answer. But I do know this, Monte Ball’s never had hot hands, ever. In fact I’m pretty sure even wearing fleece mittens in a sauna he still has chilly paws. Doesn’t mean he won’t find a way to suck value away from Anderson though. Ball has a way of ruining everything, in fact I heard he gave Hillman a hug only moments before his injury last Sunday. Starting to make sense now, right? Yes, Ball is a nuisance and we’d all be better off without him for a long time. Then again, maybe this is his shot for redemption. His chance to provide weeks of value going into the playoffs. Maybe winning over the hearts and minds of the Fantasy Football Collective. Wow, the Fantasy Football Collective sounds like a non-profit organization aimed at saving under maintained fantasy teams. They would all wear button up knit sweaters, and have dumpy bodies, with awkwardly groomed facial hair. Then again these fearless guys and gals are doing the lord’s work, so maybe I should cut them some slack. Oh sorry about my A.D.D there, back to Ball, so maybe this is his shot at redemption, and maybe I shouldn’t be so quick to dismiss him for flavor of the week Anderson. This is a former 1st round pick from 2013, which is only a year ago. One that was highly decorated in college, being voted an All-American in back to back years at Wisconsin. His career YPC isn’t horrible either at 4.2, though that’s heavily supported by last year’s 4.7. He’s got a real shot to do something if Anderson slips up. So the question remain the same with Ball, “will he finally step up and take the job he’s been handed so many times?” I guess the next few weeks will tell us.
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Alfred Blue – Our boy Blue is “Potentially” back for an encore to his week 3 start against the New York Giants. Whether this comes to fruition or not, is dependent upon the status of Arian Foster. The report that broke hours ago is, that Foster will be inactive for Sunday’s game. If this is indeed the case then Blue should be owned and started universally. I’d expect him to see 20+ touches against a pretty bad Browns run defense. As colleague Sky just mentioned on Twitter, the Browns run defense is 2nd worst in YPAA (4.7) and 5th worst in YPGA (134.2). So the matchup is tasty. Blue is definitely a stash to hang onto going forward, because you never know what could happen with Foster from week to week.
Cleveland Running Backs – Last week gave us even less clarity as to who the HBIC (thanks Jen) is. I’m going to throw my endorsement behind Terrance West going forward. He seems to be the best of the bunch, plus he has the momentum of the last few weeks. Isiah Crowell doesn’t look far behind, and I love the way he attacks the line as if he was shot out of a cannon. That obviously leaves Ben Tate as my least favorite, but as I said last week who knows with this group. I could totally see Tate coming in and having the biggest game of the three, then again I could make the same statement about Crowell or West. So it doesn’t mean a lot. There and lies the problem with this committee.
Theo Riddick – The time maybe here for Riddick again this week. As Reggie Bush looks to be more than likely sidelined for week 11. He didn’t do much last week against Miami’s solid run defense, and it gets no better this week against the Cardinals elite group. We’re looking for some PPR value and maybe a TD out of Riddick this week, I wouldn’t expect a C.J.Anderson type explosion from him.
Returning Starters – It looks like there’s a few temporary starters who will move back into the handcuff role this week, in Andre Williams and Branden Oliver. Each have been useful in small doses, but that mostly describes Oliver. Williams has not been nearly the coup I thought he’d be when Jennings went down. The early reports are that Rashad Jennings will be handling a significant workload once again in week 11. Based on that wording I’m not sure where this leaves Williams. Oliver on the other hand should maintain some value in PPR formats as I could see him sliding into the Danny Woodhead type role with Ryan Mathews back this week. Mathews is also a constant injury concern. So if you’re depending on the Chargers back going into the playoffs, it’s best to keep Oliver stashed on your bench.
These guys are fun, fun, fun! Not for everyday use but good to own, and a blast when they’re in the mix. We may wish for a bit more run but have to accept that they’re splitting time and getting the most of their opportunities. Most of these handsome devils could probably be studs if given the chance.
|Team||Starter (carries/targets/rec)||Handcuff(s) (carries/targets/rec)||Depth Backs|
|Indianapolis Colts||Trent Richardson (Bye)||Ahmad Bradshaw (Bye)||Dan Herron|
|Cincinnati Bengals||Giovani Bernard (DNP)||Jeremy Hill (12/2/1)||Cedric Peerman|
|Detroit Lions||Joique Bell (10/3/2)||Reggie Bush (4/1/1)||Theo Riddick (3/3/2), George Winn|
|New England Patriots||Shane Vereen (Bye)||Jonas Gray (Bye)||Brandon Bolden, James White|
|San Diego Chargers||Ryan Matthews (DNP)||Branden Oliver (Bye)||Donald Brown, Ronnie Brown, Shaun Draughn|
|Denver Broncos||Ronnie Hillman (6/5/2)||C.J. Anderson (13/7/4), Montee Ball (DNP)||Juwan Thompson,|
|Kansas City Cheifs||Jamaal Charles (18/4/3)||Knile Davis (1/1/1)||De’Anthony Thomas, Cyrus Gray|
Standard Issue Police
Whether you’re in the back of a squad car or sitting on the corner while the Po-Po search your whip, you’re going nowhere. Do you know why? Because those things are locked on your wrists with a death grip. Much like those cuffs, these running backs are firmly locked into their positions. Not for a lack of ability, but because the starters are firmly entrenched in their roles. These backs could have value on any given week but more than likely you’ll need an injury to make these guys startable.
|Team||Starter (carries/targets/rec)||Handcuff(s) (carries/targets/rec)||Cuffs to the Cuffs|
|Cleveland Browns||Terrance West (26/0/0)||Ben Tate (10/2/2), Isaiah Crowell (12/0/0)|
|Tampa Bay Bucs||Doug Martin (DNP)||Bobby Rainey (6/5/4), Charles Sims (8/2/2)||Mike James|
|Carolina Panthers||Jonathan Stewart (11/4/4)||DeAngelo Williams (13/3/3)||Chris Ogbonnaya, Fozzy Whitiker (Injury)|
|New Orleans Saints||Mark Ingram (27/5/3)||Khiry Robinson (DNP) OUT, Pierre Thomas (DNP) OUT||Travaris Cadet (2/5/3)|
|Baltimore Ravens||Justin Forsett (20/1/0)||Lorenzo Taliaferro (3/0/0)||Bernard Pierce (8/0/0)|
|Houston Texans||Arian Foster (Bye)||Alfred Blue (Bye)||Jonathan Grimes|
|San Francisco 49ers||Frank Gore (23/1/1)||Carlos Hyde (4/0/0)|
|New York Jets||Chris Ivory (8/0/0)||Chris Johnson (11/3/2)||Bilal Powell|
|Philadelphia Eagles||LeSean McCoy (12/3/1)||Darren Sproles (1/2/1)||Chris Polk|
|St. Louis Rams||Tre Mason (14/6/4)||Benny Cunningham (4/4/2)||Zac Stacy|
|New York Giants||Rashad Jennings (DNP)||Andre Williams (13/5/2)||Peyton Hillis (1/2/1)|
|Buffalo Bills||Fred Jackson (3/5/4))||Anthony Dixon (9/0/0), Bryce Brown (7/7/6)||C.J. Spiller|
Duct Tape Cuffs
These are of the homemade variety, you’ll use them in a pinch (i.e the starting stud goes down) but they’re always in your drawer (wavier wire) ready to step in and do their job. It may be to the bare minimum degree but they can buy you some time.
|Team||Starter (carries/targets/rec)||Handcuff(s) (carries/targets/rec)||Handcuff to the Handcuff|
|Pittsburgh Steelers||Le’Veon Bell (11/10/8)||LeGarrette Blount (5/0/0)||Dri Archer|
|Green Bay Packers||Eddie Lacy (18/6/3)||James Starks (5/1/0)||John Kuhn, DuJuan Harris|
|Jacksonville Jaguars||Denard Robinson (15/3/2)||Toby Gerhart (4/0/0)||Storm Johnson, Jordan Todman|
|Minnesota Vikings||Jerick McKinnon (Bye)||Matt Asiata (Bye)|
|Atlanta Falcons||Steven Jackson (16/2/2)||Antone Smith (4/0/0), Davonte Freeman (3/1/1)||Jazquizz Rodgers|
|Washington Redskins||Alfred Morris (Bye)||Roy Helu (Bye)||Silas Reed|
|Tennessee Titans||Bishop Sankey (17/3/3)||Shonn Greene (3/0/0)||Dexter McCluster, Leon Washington|
|Oakland Raiders||Darren McFadden (7/7/4)||Maurice Jones-Drew (3/1/1)||Latavius Murray, Marcel Reese, Jamize Olawale|
|Dallas Cowboys||DeMarco Murray (19/7/6)||Joseph Randle (7/0/0)||Lance Dunbar|
|Miami Dolphins||Lamar Miller (4/2/1)||Damien Williams (7/3/3)||Daniel Thomas, LaMichael James|
|Seattle Seahawks||Marshawn Lynch (21/1/1)||Robert Turbin (6/0/0)||Christine Michael|
|Chicago Bears||Matt Forte (17/7/3)||Ka’Deem Carey (2/1/1)||Senorise Perry|
|Arizona Cardinals||Andre Ellington (18/5/5)||Stepfan Taylor (DNP)||Robert Hughes|
Thanks for reading and Happy Handcuffing!
Don’t forget to send me all your Running Back Questions on twitter @ralphlifshitzbb.