I’ve never seen a more competitive and well balanced group of teams in the NFL than this year. 2015 is going to be the year every team goes 8-8 and all the playoff tiebreakers are tied. You heard it here first. The only teams that may want to be one of Jigsaw’s subjects are the Raiders, Bucs, Jaguars and Browns. It makes each game that much more important and fun to watch. Also, because I’m narcissistic and like talking about my own teams, I have Julian Edelman and Jarvis Landry on all my PPR leagues and I know I’m going to grow a semi-chub every time I look at their weekly targets. Lastly, I’m going to be taking a quick look at the past episode of The Max Factor then move on to more current and pressing news.
The Cowboys’ first game gave us some cute hints as to what to expect, but were no more than 60% revealing about the backfield situation. Looking at the running game, Joseph Randle got the start and the most carries but didn’t impress much with his carries. Darren McFadden got the 2nd look, had one nice run but was also shut down overall. Lance Dunbar and Christine Michael did not carry the ball once. Interestingly though, Dunbar had 8 catches as the 3rd down back and receiving RB of the team as they were playing from behind. WHAT’S THIS ALL MEAN? With Dez Bryant out, the run game should get more run right? Any rational man would believe that but the Cowboys are not rational and I just expect another 40+ throws from Romo with more looks coming the RB’s way. Dunbar should get a bump, especially in PPR leagues and Joseph will probably have more value over DMC. I still wouldn’t want to own anyone here, but you should be real relieved you didn’t waste any high picks on these guys because you read my articles right? RIGHT?
Now to the new stuff. We are looking at one of the Cowboys rivals today. We have similar situation in the Philadelphia Eagles backfield with les 3 joueurs: DeMarco Murray, Ryan Mathews and Darren Sproles. This is another situation where passing reigns supreme, especially in a Chip Kelly run offense. We saw 8, 3, and 5 carries respectively for these underused gentleman. They all have value, especially in PPR.
Ryan Mathews is definitely my least favorite of the bunch. He is injury prone, an average runner and not too powerful. I was surprised he was used at the goal line in the first game over Murray. He might be used occasionally in the passing game but Murray and Sproles are both much better in that situation. If you own Murray or Sproles already however, I would definitely want to handcuff them with Matthews. I see him as a slightly better Gio Bernard. The touches just aren’t not there for him, he’s a RB4-5 at this point. I don’t see more than 7-8 touches per game.
Darren Sproles is someone I’m excited to watch the rest of the season. Real sad I don’t own any shares of Sproles. I foresee at least 7 targets a game and likely around 12-15 touches on average plus the potential return TD here and there. He runs extremely well, he’s hard to tackle, real shifty and an experienced vet you can rely. He reminds me of that really fast kid in elementary school that was impossible get when you were playing tag. Watch his film, the dude is hard to get to and tackle. Another benefit is that he is tough for defensive players, due to his size, to locate and tackle. In the open field 1 on 1 versus a linebacker, game over.
DeMarco Murray is a different beast. The most capable horse the Eagles have. He was given a large contract and I doubt they will leave all those $$$$ on the bench. He has the most ability of any of their RB’s, the highest ceiling and the first shot at being their guy. Eight carries is an anomaly; they were down and were forced to catch up via the passing game. I could see them being ahead in a game and just pounding the ball constantly with Murray. 15-18 touches a game for Murray would be my guestimate. He definitely won’t be the workhorse he was on the Cowboys but he’s a good bet to be an RB2 this year. Don’t forget he still had 2 TD’s this past Monday. I would note that last year Murray had an insane 447 touches during the season and another 48 touches in the playoffs. Don’t be surprised if the Eagles ease him back into his role and are light on his carries at the beginning of the season.
Going forward, I like Murray and Sproles a bunch and would not own Matthews except as a handcuff. Sproles, especially in a PPR league, is a great flex play. Let’s say 15-5-5 (Murray-Sproles-Matthews) in terms of carries and about 4-7-2 targets looking ahead. If you can buy low on Murray, I’d be all for it. Remember though that you are not getting the same guy that was rushing leader last year.
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