We are now more than two-thirds and less than three-quarters of the way through the NFL season (#math), which means your league should be right at its trading deadline as you try to shore up those running back slots for a playoff run. Making matters more interesting the last couple weeks were a bunch of injuries that should clear up some playing time for running backs who were either riding the bench or snoozing on the waiver wire. Like Samaje Perine, for example.
I liked Perine coming into the season for a number of reasons. The biggest was that I think Rob Kelley stinks, so I figured Perine would take over that job and keep it at some point. Kelley has been injured off an on for most of the season, and Perine has gotten some chances and not done much with them. But those were week-to-week situations, with Kelley lingering in the background as he got healthy, so you knew that Perine would have to get hot in order to keep the job. And even if he did, Kelley would probably still be there to vulture and eat into the share of touches.
But Kelley is gone now and was placed on injured reserve. Making matters more interesting, Chris Thompson, who was averaging roughly a gazillion fantasy points per game earlier this season by taking swing passes to the house, joined him on injured reserve on Tuesday. That leaves Samaje Perine all by his lonesome with all those touches. His backup, Byron Marshall, was on the Eagles practice squad last week and is nothing more than a third-down running back/wide receiver hybrid and return man.
The time has come for you to consider a Perine implant. In his first game as the dude, Perine put up 126 total yards and a touchdown. More importantly, he got 24 touches (23 carries and one reception) on Sunday, while Thompson seeing five before leaving with a fractured fibula. If you need a running back and can find that kind of volume on the waiver wire or in a trade that shouldn’t be very expensive (don’t overpay, but check in on his price), you have to pull the trigger.
If you have a solid team but are maybe one running back short of a real run, Perine could be your guy. Maybe you’re like me and have been alternating one spot between Bilal Powell, Matt Forte, Marlon Mack, and someone from the Seahawks all year. Perine can be our savior, guys.
Now, to the charts!
Mike Maher’s Week Twelve NFL Handcuff 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.
- Not that you should ever stare at the running back situation in Baltimore for too long, but Danny Woodhead returned for the Ravens over the weekend. That turned Terrance West into a healthy scratch and Javorius Allen into a guy who sat on the bench watching Woodhead play. Alex Collins is still the lead back, though he averaged less than 2 1/2 yards per carry on Sunday, while Woodhead slots back in as the pass catcher. It is probably too early to start Woodhead anywhere, but if you are desperate in a PPR league he is worth a gamble.
- The good news is that Joe Mixon, like Perine above, is the dude in Cincinnati these days. The bad news is, well, have a look:
Worst yards per carry by a team’s running backs going back through 2001:
2017 Seahawks are tenth at 3.23.
— Bill Barnwell (@billbarnwell) November 21, 2017
- It was a tough week for injuries, and D’Onta Foreman could not escape unscathed after rushing for two touchdowns on Sunday. He is headed to injured reserve, leaving Lamar Miller ahead of the newly-acquired Andre Ellington on the depth chart. I shouldn’t have to tell you this, but do not start Ellington.
- The running back situation in Philadelphia is starting to get a very Patriots-y feel to it. LeGarrette Blount is still getting the main share of the touches, but he is sharing with Jay Ajayi, Corey Clement, and Kenjon Barner. Everyone assumes Ajayi will be the guy and has had success immediately, but it was Clement and Barner who scored touchdowns this week. Barner actually played just two offensive snaps, but he turned them into a 22-yard catch and a touchdown run.
- Over in Minnesota, it is only a two-headed monster but is nearly as difficult to predict. This week, it was Latavius Murray scoring two touchdowns and rushing for 95 yards on 15 carries. Next week, maybe McKinnon catches 13 passes and scores a touchdown of his own. Who knows! The difference here is that both McKinnon and Murray are ownable, whereas the situation in Philly is not very reliable.
- Orleans Darkwa has a hamstring injury, but early indications are that he will be OK. I’m not sure why, but I watched this entire game on Sunday. While Darkwa was impressive, or at least more impressive than Paul Perkins has ever been in his life (I will never understand him starting), that was one of the ugliest games of football I have ever seen. Sheesh. Anyway, Darkwa scored a touchdown and should, I think, be OK to start this week.
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!