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“Stromme the Way,” Week 9 Running Back Round-Up

What a terrible week for bad on-field NFL news…

Le’Veon Bell: Done for the season.

Keenan Allen: Done for the season.

Cameron Wake: Done for the season.

Steve Smith Sr.: Done for the season, and most likely his career.

Reggie Bush: Done for the season after blowing out his knee on on one of the most embarrassing punt returns I’ve ever seen that didn’t result in a safety or turnover.

Joesph Randle: Cut from the Cowboys after losing first-team reps to Darren McFadden.

Colin Kaepernick: Benched for Blaine Gabbert… Yeah, that Blaine Gabbert.

Matt Forte: Out “at least two weeks” according to ESPN’s Chris Mortensen with a knee injury.

It just didn’t stop! If your team wasn’t affected by at least one of these injuries, consider yourself lucky. Personally, I lost Smith in a few leagues, Le’Veon Bell in another and right after I snag Cameron Wake off the wire in my IDP league, he leaves me. Man… Oh well, chalk this week up to “S*** happens” I guess.

 

Alright, enough of the bad news. Here’s some news that more than likely made a few of you happy this week:

Man, I love it when I’m right.

Todd Gurley becomes first NFL running back to rush for 566 yards in his first four starts. Despite sitting out the first two weeks and putting up a 6/9/0 line in his NFL debut, Todd Gurley is fifth in the NFL in rushing. The rookie is AVERAGING just over 139 yards/game in his last four games and is (no pun intended) running away with the offensive rookie of the year award. The kid is 21, and IS the St. Louis offense. He’s been putting up Adrian Peterson

Todd Gurley has been a beast the last few weeks (Image from profootballtalk.nbcsports.com)

Todd Gurley has been a beast the last few weeks (Image from profootballtalk.nbcsports.com)

circa 2012-type numbers recently and as a Rams fan and as someone who has Gurley on all three of my fantasy teams, it’s been a blast to watch so far.

Speaking of Peterson, Gurley only trails the man he was compared to coming out of college by 58 rushing yards. That’s right, the rookie is a mere 58 rushing yards behind a running back that many (myself included) have deemed the best of this generation. It seems only fitting that the Rams and Vikings square-off this Sunday.

Latavius Murray had a performance against a vaunted Jets run defense that many people didn’t see coming. He put up 20/113/0 against a New York run defense that gives up a mere 78.1 rushing yards/game. Murray is providing a nice profit for those who took a chance on him on draft day, he has 115/534/3 on the season and is a vital part of a young and explosive Oakland Raider offense (it still feels very weird to say, but less and less weird each week).

Oh, look at that. Another running back gashed the Cleveland Browns run defense. Chris Johnson continued his career resurgence with 30/109/0 against that not-so-vaunted Cleveland run defense. Johnson clearly is the guy going forward for the Cardinals, he trails only Devonta Freeman in rushing yards. He’s not going away anytime soon.

Few have followed the “next man up” mantra better than Charcandrick West in 2015. Since he assumed the starting role following the loss of Jamaal Charles, West has averaged 4.7 yards per carry. Over his last two games, West has averaged a rushing line of 20.5/103.5/1. He also has a relatively favorable schedule following the bye week with two games against the Chargers, and tilts with the Browns and Ravens. He should propel quite a few teams into the playoffs this fantasy season.

Hey everyone! A C.J. Anderson sighting! Anderson and the Denver offense looked scary-good against the Packers

Finally! (Image from beforeitsnews.com)

Finally! (Image from beforeitsnews.com)

last Sunday night. Despite seeing five fewer carries than Ronnie Hillman, Anderson still managed to steal the show among Denver running backs, finishing the night with 14/101/1. The Broncos already have the league’s best defense, if that offense can produce like it once did, this team will be real scary down the stretch. Suddenly that Nov. 30 Patriots-Broncos Monday Night Football tilt got much more interesting.

 

 

Fantasy PSAs

In addition to the slew of injuries last week, there is also a total of six teams on bye weeks in Week 9. The Lions, Chiefs, Cardinals, Seahawks, Ravens and Texans are all off next week.

My advice, hit the waiver wire early and often. It’s gunna look like The Mall of America on Black Friday, don’t be shy with the FAAB budget this week.

 

Start ‘Em:

Jeremy Hill, Cincinnati Bengals:

Now, given the roster scarcity due to the amount of injuries and players on bye weeks, odds are that you’re probably starting Hill no matter what. Which is fortunate, because he has out-carried Gio Bernard 31-9 over the past two weeks and has been bestowed the gift of playing that porous Cleveland run defense on Thursday Night Football.

Expect big things out of Jeremy Hill Thursday night (Image from sportsworldnews.com)

Expect big things out of Jeremy Hill Thursday night (Image from sportsworldnews.com)

The Cleveland run defense has given up 100+ yards to Chris Johnson, Todd Gurley, Ronnie Hillman, Justin Forsett, Latavius Murray and Chris Ivory tore them for 20/91/2 in Week 1. I fully expect Hill to do the same tomorrow night.

It’s also worth noting that Bengals’ OC Hue Jackson told Paul Dehner of the Cincinnati Inquirer that “the arrow was going up” on Jeremy Hill. Take that for what it’s worth, but I think it could explain the uptick in carries.

C.J. Anderson, Denver Broncos:

I very well could get burned on this one. Call me crazy, but I think the bye week has rejuvenated this Bronco offense. I’m not sure what happened to the Broncos over their bye week, but they look legit. I hate to overreact to one week, but I’m really encouraged with what I saw Sunday night. C.J. Anderson ran with authority, he looked like the power back that launched many fantasy teams into championships last season. He and the Broncos get the Colts on Sunday, the same Colts team that perpetually struggles against the power run. Anderson could have a second consecutive outburst, ride the streak.

Jonathan Stewart, Carolina Panthers:

Speaking of riding streaks, hop on the J-Stew train as well. Stewart has had 20+ three weeks in a row, has averaged 4.45 yards per carry, and scored three times over that span. The concerns I had about Stewart going into the season were his health and lack of red zone opportunities due to Cam and Tolbert vulturing touchdowns, both issues aren’t there. He’s the primary option for the Panthers in the red zone as he leads the team with 21 red zone carries (Cam has 14, Tolbert 9) and is running the ball with authority. His Panthers host the Packers this Sunday, the same Packers that gave up 160 on the ground to the Broncos last week and give up an average of 124.4 yards per game on the ground.

Jeremy Langford, Chicago Bears:

Now, this one is for either if you’re desperate, or want a cheap running back in DFS. Either way, Langford is worth the gamble. He may only have 80 career rushing yards to his name, but he appears to be the starter with Forte out and the likes of Antone Smith and Ka’Deem Carey behind him on the depth chart, he’s the Bears’ only real running option at running back.

The Bears get the Chargers on Monday Night Football this week, only Indianapolis, Detroit and Cleveland have yielded more yards on the ground this season. Hey man, if you’re hurting at running back, you could do worse than Langford.

 

Sit ‘Em:

Eddie Lacy, Green Bay Packers:

Now you could blame Lacy’s underwhelming performance against the Broncos on game flow, or to the fact that he was playing the Broncos. But either way, he stunk up the joint with his 3.5 yards per carry, only to bail out his fantasy owners with a touchdown late in the first half. The touchdown was only his second of the season and the 3.5 yards per carry is only an uptick worse than his season-long average of 3.8 yards per carry. Now, the Packers go into Charlotte to face a Carolina front-seven that is down-right nasty. Good luck, Lacy owners.

Frank Gore, Indianapolis Colts:

The only running backs to have any real success against the Bronco run defense were Adrian Peterson (16/81/1) and Jamaal Charles (21/125/1). Guess what? Frank Gore is neither Adrian Peterson or Jamaal Charles. I fully expect Gore to struggle mightily against this vaunted Denver run defense. You’re only hope for Gore is that he maybe he reaches the end zone, because I just don’t see him topping 50 yards this week.

 

Waiver Wire Mining:

If this week’s waiver wire is Christmas Eve, 2000 then DeAngelo Williams is the Play Station 2 that flies off the

DeAngelo Williams is a must-add this week (Image from stillcurtain.com)

DeAngelo Williams is a must-add this week (Image from stillcurtain.com)

shelves. He was one of the leading rushers in the NFL while he filled in for Le’Veon Bell earlier in the year. The Steelers have already gone on-record to say that this guy will be the feature back effective immediately. Run, don’t walk to the waiver wire to grab him, he could be the one that saves your season, or puts your team over the top.

As previously mentioned, Jeremy Langford  will be subbing in for the injured Matt Forte this week and goes up against the Chargers’ bottom-feeder run defense. He’s well worth an add this week.

Stay away from that dumpster fire that is the San Francisco 49ers patchwork crew of running back. The Sacramento Bee reports that Carlos Hyde could miss multiple weeks with his foot injury. And with Reggie Bush done for the year and Mike Davis doubtful with a broken hand, this leaves Shawn Draughn the last man standing. The 29 year-old journeyman running back has averaged 3.47 yards per rushing attempt throughout his career, just say no.

 

Alright, that does it for me for this week. Best of luck to all, maneuvering around the bye week hell that is Week 9 won’t be easy.

Mike Stromme

@stromme_93 on twitter.

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