When it comes to fantasy football deciding who to sit and who to start can be a very difficult task. It may even decide the outcome of your weekly matchup. Other than the obvious, here are the players we believe are must starts this week:
Obvious RB picks: Demarco Murray, Matt Forte, Jamaal Charles, Andre Ellington, Le’Veon Bell, Lesean McCoy, Marshawn Lynch
START EM RB’S
1. Steven Jackson @ Tampa Bay: Prior to this moment I didn’t believe Jackson would ever make our players to start list. We however forecast a solid game from the aging veteran back, maybe one of his last solid games. In week 8 the Atlanta Falcons suffered an embarrassing loss in London to the Detroit Lions but Jackson rushed for 60 yards on 18 carries and a touchdown (3.3 YPC against a top five defense in Detroit). They’ve had two weeks to prepare for a struggling Tampa Bay Buccaneers team that ranks 14th in rush defense allowing 110 yards per game to opposing backs.The Falcons should come out angry, not only is this a division game but the struggling Falcons actually still have a shot at the playoffs in a struggling NFC South. Look for Jackson to be a force and get the running game going early for the Falcons. Our Prediction: 98 yards and 2 touchdowns
2. Justin Forsett vs. Tennessee: Forsett has been the biggest “positive” running back surprise of 2014, he leads the NFL in yards per carry, averaging 5.4 yards per attempt (113 attempts for 609 yards). Forsett has been in the league six seasons (backup to Marshawn Lynch in Seattle) but has finally gotten a chance in his 7th season by a stroke of good fortune and preparation meeting opportunity as we would like to call it. In week 10 the Ravens face a Tennnessee Titans team that ranks 19th in rush defense, allowing 112 yards per game to opposing backs. Forsett has been a model for consistency, scoring double digit fantasy points in six straight weeks. Keep in mind that he has only scored two touchdowns during those performances as the Ravens feature heavier set running backs, Lorenzo Taliaferro and Bernard Pierce in goal line situations. The Ravens usually give Forsett one or two goal line carries per game but we believe they’ll reward their workhorse for his heavy lifting and he’ll find pay dirt against the Titans this weekend. Our Prediction: 110 yards and a touchdown.
3. Jeremy Hill vs. Cleveland: Hill was on our list of running backs to start in week 9 and he overachieved for fantasy owners, rushing for 154 yards on 24 carries and two touchdowns (6.4 YPC). We had predicted two touchdowns but only 108 yards rushing. Giovani Bernard is doubtful for the game tonight so that means Jeremy Hill will once again be the starter against the Cleveland Browns at home. The Browns rank 17th in rush defense allowing an average of 111 yards per game, middle of the pact. We don’t expect Hill to rush for anywhere near 154 yards but he should break the century mark, especially on prime time at home. Wide receivers have generally struggled on Thursdays as of recent but that trend shouldn’t continue with players like A.J. Green and Mohamed Sanu. That being said the Bengals will most likely feature Hill early and often. Our Prediction: 94 yards and a touchdown.
4. Bobby Rainey vs. Atlanta: Last week Rainey was featured on our players to start list and even though he didn’t score a touchdown he proved his worth (19 carries and he rushed for 87 yards/4.5 YPC AVG). Rookie Charles Sims is questionable as of now and former starter Doug Martin (ankle) hasn’t practiced all week. So as of now Rainey is the clear starter against an Atlanta rush defense ranks 2nd to last in the league and gives up on average 135 yards per game to opposing backs. Keep in mind though that Sims may play more snaps then expected but we believe he will only be a threat to Rainey in the passing game, seeing the majority of screen looks if he plays but that shouldn’t really affect Rainey. The Buccaneers will look to get him going early and he will run hard, sort of like he did against the leagues second worst rushing defense the St. Louis Rams in week 2 when he totaled 144 yards on 22 attempts. Rainey is a safe start, especially if you have a running back problem or are facing a bye-week or in general because he is starting against the leagues 2nd worst rush defense. Our Prediction: 117 yards and a touchdown.
5. Denard Robinson vs. Dallas: Robinson has found his groove in the NFL and it’s not at quarterback, the position he played in college. The sophomore sensation got going on his NFL journey in week 6 against the Cleveland Browns, he rushed for 127 yards and a touch on 22 carries. Since week 6 Robinson has rushed for 202 yards on 35 attempts (5.7 YPC). He will look to keep it going at home against a recently struggling Dallas Cowboy team that ranks 26th in the NFL in rush defense. The Cowboys on average allow 128 yards on the ground and simply judging by Robinson’s recent play one could easily infer that the trend of coming close to or breaking the century mark or coming close to will continue. His fantasy production has stayed consistent in the last few weeks so we have no reason not to believe in Robinson. Our Prediction: 104 yards and one touchdown.
Bye-week Running Back of the Week: Chris Ivory vs. Pittsburgh (Projected 12 PTS) * The Steelers rank 20th in the league allowing 115 yards on average to running backs.
Is Frank Gore a must Start? Well his fantasy numbers would tell you otherwise. Is Gore done being the featured back? The San Francisco 49ers seem to be rushing Carlos Hyde into the picture, maybe before Gore should be forced out. Either way with a timeshare to Hyde, Gore should not be trusted, even against a Saint team that is ranked 18th in rush defense. Earlier this season against the St. Louis Rams coach Harbaugh gave Hyde four straight carries on the goal line, all which were stopped ending in a goal line stand. Why would they not give their veteran at least one of those carries? We are not exactly sure but its the same reason you shouldn’t trust Gore until his role changes. The 49ers are 4-0 this year when giving Gore 15 or more carries.
Running Back Sleepers: Terrance West, Charles Sims, Lorenzo Taliaferro, Anthony Dixon, Darren Mcfadden
Running Backs to watch for: Roy Helu, Joseph Randle, Juwan Thompson, Jonas Gray, Andre Williams
Lamar Miller @ Detroit: Miller has been very productive this season and on our players to start list several times, the problem with Miller is he suffered a sprain to his AC joint in week 9 and faces the Detroit Lions in week 10. The Lions are ranked in the top five while defending the run and a hurt Miller shouldn’t be too productive. Depending on how the game plays out will determine how much Miller plays but we wouldn’t be surprised if the Dolphins don’t just shut Miller down early to help heal his injury and preserve him for a playoff run. Sit him this weekend unless he’s the best option you’ve got.
Peyton Hillis @ Seattle: Don’t let his production in week 9 and in the absence of Rashad Jennings fool you. He may have just earned a timeshare with rookie Andre Williams but that doesn’t equate to much if you’re looking for guaranteed value. Sit Hillis and don’t mess around with fools good.
Ben Tate @ Cincinatti: The situation in Cleveland for running backs is murky and as far as fantasy value goes, any team with a committee shouldn’t be trusted. Even if the Browns go ahead and feature Tate tonight his value for his next week is still unclear as the Browns will go with the back who is most effective during that game. Not really a formula for success and with the uncertainty comes a spot on the bench for Tate until the picture becomes clearer.
Darren Sproles vs. Carolina: Even prior to his recent injury Sproles had seen a decline in production. Sproles still hasn’t seen enough work to be considered anywhere near a RB2 as far as fantasy is concerned and he barely can be considered a flex option pending his matchup. Sproles cannot be trusted and should be on the bench until Chip Kelly starts giving him more opportunities.
Tre Mason @ Arizona: Another mess of a backfield, but this one was much more expected. After Sam Bradford went down in preseason many believed we’d see the Rams look more their running backs but newcomer Austin Davis has proved he can put up numbers in the passing game. Coach Jeff Fisher claimed that “Stacy is our guy,” and that he would see “70% of the workload” but we all know that isn’t true Mason has been the featured back for the past few weeks and done pretty well. Fisher is quick to jump the gun and the last two years have proven that as six games into the season the Rams are in more of a running back committee than anything. Don’t trust any of the St. Louis backs, sit until further notice.
Our Week 10 Projections:
|1. Demarco Murray 21 PTS||9. Mark Ingram 15 PTS|
|2. Matt Forte 20 PTS||10. Denard Robinson 14 PTS|
|3. Le’veon Bell 19 PTS||11. Bobby Rainey 13 PTS|
|4. Jeremy Hill 18 PTS||12. Stevan Jackson 13 PTS|
|5. Jamaal Charles 18 PTS||13. Frank Gore 12 PTS|
|6. Andre Ellington 17 PTS||14. Eddie Lacy 12 PTS|
|7. Marshawn Lynch 17 PTS||15. Ronnie Hillman 12 PTS|
|8. Lesean McCoy 16 PTS|