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“Stromme the Way,” Week 10 Running Back Round Up

Week 10 already? Man, where does the time go? It’s already the fantasy stretch drive. Time to put up or shut up, it’s go time.

Those who won the DeAngelo Williams sweepstakes last week were thoroughly rewarded with 27/170/2 rushing and 2/55/0 in a shootout against the Raiders. He was hands-down the league’s most productive running back last week, and is picking up where he left off when he went off for 41/204/3 filling in for LeVeon Bell earlier this season.

In three starts this season, Williams is averaging 22.7/124.7/1.7. Those numbers are astounding! Kudos to those who hung onto him when LeVeon Bell came back and a congratulations to those who had the number one waiver claim or broke their FAAB budgets last week, you grab yourself a winner.

Jeremy Langford impressed in his first NFL start (image from foxsports.com)

Jeremy Langford impressed in his first NFL start (image from foxsports.com)

For those who grabbed last week’s waiver wire consolation prize, Jeremy Langford, you didn’t make out too shabby either. The rookie out of Michigan State went 18/72/1 rushing with 3/70/0 on four targets in the receiving game. As long as Matt Forte is on the sidelines, Langford will put up Forte-esque numbers. If for whatever reason, he is still on your waiver wire, grab him! If not, then that’s the way she goes.

That ugly Miami run defense that was around earlier in the year made it’s return last Sunday. After holding the Patriots, Texans and Titans all to under 3.7 yards per carry, they fell back into bad habits. Both LeSean McCoy and Karlos Williams gashed the Dolphins for a collective 25/222/3. McCoy should get the bulk of the carries for the Bills, but it appears that Williams will get his fill as well; much of which will come around the goal line. If Williams is still kicking around your waiver wire,grab him.He’s a must-add this week.

It was “A LeGarrette Blount day” at Foxborough on Sunday. With Dion Lewis leaving the game with what would later be diagnosed as a torn ACL, Blount took over the lion’s share of the carries in a decisive 27-10 Patriot victory. Blount has seen the majority of his work in games in which the Patriots win rather convincingly. The two games in which Blount has not had 70+ yards while being active (not suspended) were Week 2 at Buffalo and Week 7 against the Jets; both of which were back and forth divisional games. The games where Blount has been a significant contributor (vs Jax, @ Dal, @ Ind, vs Mia and vs Wsh), the Patriots were double-digit favorites in many Las Vegas sports books heading into all but the Miami game (they closed as an eight-point favorite by kickoff). Point being, in games where the Patriots are expected to roll their opponent, expect at least 70 rushing yards out of LeGarrette Blount.

As for a Dion Lewis replacement, look at Brandon Bolden. He may not have done much by means of rushing (1/12/0), but he was targeted four times for 3/27/1. He’s clearly ahead of James White in Belichick’s eyes, White was inactive last week. Don’t let the lack of rushing attempts fool you, the game was well in-hand by the time Bolden came into the game. Leaving LeGarrette Blount to grab the clock-churning, drive sustaining carries at the end of the game.

Titans Interim Head Coach Mike Mularkey lived up to his promise of making Antonio Andrews his workhorse. For the first time all season, a Tennessee Titan running back has had more than 18 carries in a game. Andrews finished with 19/88/0, a modest 4.6 yards per carry. I do think the carries will be there for Andrews going forward. However, preseason darling David Cobb is back on the team’s 53 man roster. If there’s any hint of mediocrity from Andrews, look for Cobb to get his shot.

Mark Week 9 as the week Todd Gurley came back down to Earth… kinda. No, he didn’t rush for 125+ yards like he had the previous four weeks, but fantasy owners are more than willing to take the 24/89/1 he put up against the Vikings. Look for him to “bounce back” next week, the Rams host the Bears next Sunday.

James Starks finished with 10/39/0 rushing with 6/83/1 receiving on eight targets in relief of Eddie Lacy against the Panthers. Lacy left the game with what Coach Mike McCarthy is calling as “just a pull” of his groin; he was a full participant in practice on Tuesday.

Man, fewer running back situations are messier than this one. I really wish I could give an opinion on this backfield, but I just can’t. My best advice, look elsewhere… while stashing James Starks on your bench. Take a wait-and-see approach to this whole situation. Yes, Starks has more carries than Lacy over the past three games. However, Lacy left two of those games with a rather mysterious injury (vs SD and @ Car). Really pay attention to this one, the Lions rank 30th in rushing yards per game allowed. The back who leads the team in carries in this one will probably be the main back heading forward. In my opinion, both backs are nothing more than flex plays this week, even with the sexy matchup. There’s just too much unknown.

 

Fantasy PSAs

Three offenses that tend to score a bunch (and the 49ers) are on bye weeks this week. The Falcons, Chargers, Colts and the aforementioned 49ers are taking the week off this week.

LeSean McCoy was limited in practice on Tuesday with a shoulder injury. Coach Rex Ryan expects Shady to be active Thursday night against the Jets. However, he did tell Mike Rodak of ESPN  “How significant his role will be? I’m not real sure right now.” Just keep an eye on his status come game time.

 

Start ‘Em:

Doug Martin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers:

Yes, I am fully aware that Martin was benched for a significant portion of the game last Sunday against the Giants.

It's the return of the Douggernaught!

It’s the return of the Douggernaught!

And yes, I am aware that he finished Week 9 with a 11/31/0 rushing line. And yeah, Charlie Sims rushed for 8/78/0 in his absence. But, who leads the Bucs in goal-line carries? That’s right, it’s the Dougernaught. Only the Falcons and Lions have allowed more rushing touchdowns than the Dallas Cowboys, who travel to Tampa for an encounter with the aforementioned Dougernaught. Look for Martin to get back on track in this one.

DeAngelo Williams, Pittsburgh Steelers:

The man has averaged just under 125 yards rushing per start. The Cleveland Browns give up an average of 147.6 rushing yards per game; they’ve been the worst run defense since the beginning of 2014. Do I have to spell it out for you? Should be a no-brainer.

Mark Ingram, New Orleans Saints:

The New Orleans Saints have put up 80 points in two games. In those two games, Mark Ingram has seen 38 carries, none of which have resulted in touchdowns. To me, that looks like a statistical anomaly; water is bound to find it’s level at some point. That point could be this Sunday in Landover, MD when the Saints take on the Redskins and their rather porous run defense (132.5 yards per game allowed). Much like the other previous two Saint games, this one should see quite a few points scored, Ingram should be the reason some of them occur.

 

Sit ‘Em:

Charcandrick West, Kansas City Chiefs:

The last running back to gash the Denver defense for more than 100 yards was Jamaal Charles. As much as we would all like to think that Charcandrick West is Jamaal’s replacement, he isn’t. He may put up some Jamaal-esque numbers from time to time, but he simply isn’t a Jamaal Charles clone. The members of that Denver defensive front know this, they will eat him alive this Sunday.

Chris Johnson, Arizona Cardinals:

This is the week the Seattle defense really kicks it into gear. Coming off a bye, they face a divisional rival who is two games ahead of them at home on Sunday Night Football. They hear the doubters, many of which were the same

Look for the Seahawks to return to form. (image from insidethepylon.com)

Look for the Seahawks to return to form. (image from insidethepylon.com)

pundits writing them off last year after their slow start. I firmly believe the Seahawks show up in full-force for this one, make the NFC West race interesting again. All of this is bad news for one CJ2K. If the Legion of Boom shows up like I think it will, it will be a long day for Mr. Johnson. Yes, the L.O.B is famous for its pass defense, but in case you forgot, their run defense was pretty stingy too during the past two seasons (3.4 yards per attempt in 2014, 3.9 in 2013). This might just be a gut feeling, but I believe this is the week the Seahawks right the ship.

 

Rashad Jennings, New York Giants:

Not only do the Patriots own a prolific offense, their defense isn’t half bad either. They rank third in average rushing yards per game allowed and opposing offenses have only ran the ball into the end zone four times against New England all year. That, and this game will be another classic. A shootout. I just don’t see the Giants running the ball too much in this one.

 

Waiver Wire Mining:

If you’re looking to replace Dion Lewis, Brandon Bolden is your best bet for all the reasons I mentioned earlier.

If Matt Jones (or Alfred Morris, for that matter) are available, now is the time to buy. Coach Jay Gruden has expressed a desire to commit more to the run, telling ESPN that both backs will play “a lot” in the coming weeks. The game flow did not allow for the ‘Skins to get the run game going last week, they fell behind early and never recovered. However, they get the Saints this week; a team that struggles against the run. It’s tough to know which guy will get the bulk of the carries, in addition to Chris Thompson getting passing down work, but if either are floating around on the waiver wire, they’re both worth a speculative add.

With Shady a little banged-up, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that him and Karlos Williams split carries Thursday night. At the very least, you’ll get goal-line carries out of the rookie from Florida State. He has five touchdowns in his first five games.

 

Alright ladies and gents, see ya next week!

Mike Stromme

@stromme_93

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