Last week I did a rundown of the backfield situations for lots of NFL teams. I’m doing the same thing this week. Let’s get at it.
I know he’s supposed to be great, but maybe Trent Richardson isn’t that good. Maybe he’s just a bigger-bodied Mark Ingram-esque talent on a team with no other RBs. That’s really what he was last year, despite his top-10 positional finish. You can’t bench T-Rich, but doesn’t he look like Norv Turner’s new Ryan Mathews? Maybe things will get better with the return of Josh Gordon.
For the second straight week, Richardson received every RB carry. Eventually another RB will get some carries (right?), and that guy may be Bobby Rainey. As of yet, Rainey isn’t the T-Rich handcuff of the future, but the second-year nQBDR stud is a good player. Maybe he could see some action as a receiver. As I said last week, the Browns need some help all over the place.
Both Chris Ivory and Bilal Powell looked better in Week 2. For most of the game Ivory seemed like the superior runner, but Powell scored the TD. I don’t like Powell as a runner, but I acknowledge that he’s on a team with other inconsistent options and he had adequate production in college. If he finishes the year higher than Ivory and as a low-end RB3, I won’t be surprised. He’s a desperation play for now, but you could do worse.
Stevan Ridley was less than stellar for the second straight week, Shane Vereen is on the short-term IR, LeGarrette Blount is still himself, and Leon Washington is basically a lesser Kevin Faulk. In other words, if Brandon Bolden can find the field, I think he has an opportunity—and he’s got talent. He’s a guy to monitor. If active, he’s perhaps 1 Ridley fumble away from a major opportunity.
Daryl Richardson was partially responsible for a Sam Bradford INT, but Week 2 (re)confirmed that he’s the St. Louis workhorse. He’s a lock for about 15 touches per game. He may have an insignificant small-school background and uncertain athleticism, but he’s the starter in Jeff Fisher’s backfield, and that’s worth something, especially given that D-Rich may be a better athlete than we previously thought. Barring injury, D-Rich will finish 2013 as a low-end RB2-caliber player. Sit him against Seattle and San Francisco, but ride him otherwise.
When I wrote this, I forgot that Steven Jackson is old. And when I wrote this, I forgot that Jacquizz Rodgers is, well, not Jason Snelling. If S-Jax misses games due to his thigh injury, I prefer Snelling to Rodgers as a fill-in player, and depending on the matchup Snelling could be better than just a desperation play. We’ve seen him score lots of points of before. Watch the S-Jax injury situation.
Unlike Week 1, Week 2 didn’t provide Adrian Peterson with any TDs—and without those TDs he’s not likely to win your week for you. I’m not saying AD is bad, and you’re not going to bench, but he’s getting older and his market and intrinsic values are likely to decrease the older he gets. In dynasty leagues, the time to trade AD might be here. And if you decide to keep him (a justifiable choice), then you should monitor this guy very closely (he’s underrated). You have to start AD, but prepare for the LT-esque decline. You never know when it’s going to start.
That was painful. Eddie Lacy’s the starter and should be when he returns. He has top-10 potential. And we’ve all known that James Starks is the handcuff—he saw action in Week 1 when Lacy was temporarily benched for his fumble. But Starks’s Week 2 outburst was unexpected. A big-bodied runner who’s teased before, Starks could be a competent injury replacement for Lacy. If you are rostering Lacy or simply needing another RB, Starks should be a waiver wire target.
Lamar Miller, Daniel Thomas, and Charles Clay all have exactly 1 rushing TD in 2013. Bizarrely, of all these guys who (sometimes) lineup in the backfield, the big-bodied H-back has been the best. Clay is really just a TE, but you get my point. This backfield is unsettled. Still, the guy to roster is Lamar Miller, a potential breakout candidate. He’s a dicey flex start possessing high-RB2 upside in the right matchup. He plays against the Falcons and Saints in Weeks 3-4. Those seem like the right matchups.
Last year, both Vick Ballard and Ahmad Bradshaw were top-30 RBs. That won’t be the case this year. Ballard’s injury clarified this backfield in a hurry. Bradshaw didn’t look great in Week 2, but he was good enough as the workhorse. If you have him, he should probably be in your lineup.
Week 2 wasn’t nearly as run-heavy as Week 1, but Sunday’s performance just highlighted how important the RB position is to Chip Kelly’s offense. In other words, Bryce Brown is the most important man not in lots of fantasy lineups. Get him on your team. Get him on your team. Get him on your team. And think about adding Chris Polk if either McCoy or Brown suffers an injury. If he had to start, he could get the job done.
Rashard Mendenhall was in Week 2 exactly what he was in Week 1 and probably what you drafted him to be: An RB3. If he’s on your roster, you should probably start him as long as he’s healthy and not playing against Seattle or San Francisco. Andre Ellington, congratulations on your first NFL TD. Now sit down.
When I wrote this, this, this, and this—I must’ve forgotten this. Hopefully Reggie Bush’s injury isn’t serious and he returns to action quickly. But until then, feel safe rolling with Joique Bell, a bona fide nQBDR stud (we told you to target him; we told you a couple of times). I said this last week: “Bell is not only the Bush handcuff to roster—and he should be rostered in all leagues!—but he’s likely to be a very productive player on his own. A low-end RB2 seasonal finish is a distinct possibility.” What I said becomes especially true if Bush misses time, in which case Bell would go from a flex to an RB2 with upside. The Bush injury situation should be monitored closely.
Week 2 is Week 1 is 2012 is 2011. Mark Ingram is still Mark Ingram. In dynasty leagues, trade him immediately. I don’t care what you get. Use your judgment. It can’t be any worse than Ingram, can it?
Maurice Jones-Drew is injured, and Jordan Todman was his backup in Week 2. He didn’t look great, and the Jags play in Seattle in Week 3, so even in MJD misses next week’s game you’re not starting Todman—but I continue to think that the third-year RB could be a breakout star at some point. He has an elite nQBDR. He really could be the next Darren Sproles. Monitor MJD’s injury situation. I think Todman should now be owned in all leagues.
Last week, I said this: “Despite channeling the spirit of Indy Edgerrin James, Knowshon Moreno is probably good enough only to ruin everything for Ronnie Hillman and Montee Ball without substantially helping himself. He might be the best fantasy option in this backfield, but you don’t want to depend on him.” Well, after Moreno’s Week 2 performance, I think you can depend on him now. Ball fumbled, and Hillman played just 2 snaps. Moreno’s a flex with substantial upside. Unreal.
Each of the last 2 weeks Da’Rel Scott has been the best fantasy RB on the Giants, which means I still expect my man crush, Michael Cox—the next late-round Giants stud RB and a potential 2013 Wire Waiver Wonder—somehow to get an opportunity at some point. When a host of RBs plays this bad, eventually the one at the bottom of the depth chart gets a shot. In the meantime, I don’t think any of these guys RB on the Giants is startable until one of them asserts himself as the workhorse.
Never start an RB playing against Seattle. Especially in Seattle. Ever.
Christine Michael was inactive, and Spencer Ware got a few carries in garbage time. More than a few reasons exist why you should feel comfortable saying, “Yeah, I can trade Christine Michael.” He’s a talented rookie, but he’s not going to see the field unless Seattle’s RB situation becomes radically unsettled.
Ryan Mathews, Ronnie Brown, Donnie Woodhead, yeah yeah, whatever. Let’s talk about the SD runner I really like: Philip Rivers. For at least Weeks 1 and 2, I was right.