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START/BENCH: Week 3

RUNNING BACK

STUDS

Le’Veon Bell *suspended the first 3 games
DeAngelo Williams
Matt Forte
C.J. Anderson
Melvin Gordon
David Johnson
Ezekiel Elliott
Lamar Miller
LeSean McCoy

Join the Club

Matt ForteThrough two weeks, Forte has been the workhorse RB for the Jets with 59 touches while Bilal Powell has seen only eight. It’s time for a trip to the ‘Stud’ list for Forte after a 30-carry, 100 rushing yards and three-score performance. As long as his body holds up, Forte is the man in New York’s backfield and we ride him.

C.J. AndersonNow this is the Anderson we thought we’d see in 2015. He’s averaging 116 total yards per game and has scored a pair of rushing touchdowns. Anderson is also involved in the passing game having hauled in seven passes for 66 yards and a score. We like that!

Melvin GordonWith the injury to Danny Woodhead, Gordon is basically the only game in town (sorry Dexter McCluster) and was actually used in the passing game last week hauling in three passes. He’ll continue to see an uptick in targets adding to his fantasy value. Through two games, Gordon is averaging 4.2 yards per carry and has hit pay dirt three times. Welcome to the ‘Stud’ list young man.

 

Time to Take a Seat

Devonta Freeman, ATLANTA- Freeman had a nice Week 2 performance with 93 rushing yards on 17 carries (5.4 YPC) but is losing touches to Telvin Coleman in what is a true RBBC. Through two weeks, Freeman has 32 touches and Coleman has 27. It’s tough to be a ‘Stud’ sharing the ball at that rate, so Freeman is off the list.

Adrian PetersonPeterson suffered a torn meniscus Sunday night which isn’t as bad as it could have been. Peterson will likely miss a few games but it’s not like he was lighting things up this year before the injury. Peterson had carried the ball 31 times for 50 yards which some quick math tells us is 1.6 yards per carry. Until he shows that he’s back and healthy there is no way to consider Peterson a ‘Stud’ moving forward.

Todd GurleyIt may seem early to drop Gurley unceremoniously from ‘Stud’ status, but the kid has no QB play in Los Angeles and defenses are bottling him up. Through two weeks, he’s averaging only 2.7 yards per carry and has not scored. Unless the Rams figure out a way to get some type of quality QB play, Gurley is in for a long season.

Mark IngramAfter a red hot start to the 2015 season, Ingram has stumbled out of the gate in 2016. He’s averaging only 10 carries per game and there is no way to put up ‘Stud’ numbers without an increase in touches. For now, he’s off the list and we’ll take a wait and see approach until he’s more involved in the offense.

Doug MartinLike the aforementioned Adrian Peterson, Martin had been struggling before suffering a hamstring injury. Martin is considered day-to-day but was averaging only 3.4 yards per carry and resembling the Martin of 2013-2014 rather than the ‘Stud’ he was last season. Like Peterson, we need to see a healthy, contributing Martin before considering starting him let alone returning him to ‘Stud’ status.

 

START

LeGarrette Blount, NEW ENGLAND vs. Houston- With a rookie QB starting in a short week we can expect a heavy, heavy dose of Mr. Blount Thursday night. Last week, he saw 29 carries finishing with 123 rushing yards and a score. The Texans have only allowed one rushing TD but are allowing 5.2 yards per carry to opposing RBs. Blount will have a big week due to the quantity of touches he’ll have and I expect a stat line very similar to what he put up last week.

 

Eddie Lacy, GREEN BAY vs. Detroit- The Lions defense comes limping into town this week with DE Ziggy Ansah (high ankle sprain) and DeAndre Levy (quad) iffy to play. The LB corps in general is in disarray due to injuries and this defense is allowing 157 total yards per game to RBs through two weeks. This is a get healthy week for the Packers offense after struggling against a tough Minnesota defense last week. Lacy is going to see huge running lanes as Aaron Rodgers picks apart a beat-up back end of the defense. Lacy is averaging 4.3 yards per carry and Detroit is allowing 5.1 yards so we love us some Lacy this week.

 

Devonta Freeman, ATLANTA at New Orleans- While he may no longer be a ‘Stud,’ this matchup is too juicy to not give Freeman a start. The Saints have allowed 310 total yards to RBs through two weeks as well as three rushing scores. Freeman put up 93 rushing yards on 17 carries last week but it was Tevin Coleman that punched in a 13-yard TD. I see Freeman reaching the end zone this week as he amassed 255 total yards and three touchdowns in the two meetings with the Saints last season.

 

DeMarco Murray, TENNESSEE vs. Oakland- DeMarco is flirting with ‘Stud’ status after posting 222 total yards and a pair of receiving touchdowns through the first two games. Murray is losing some carries to rookie Derrick Henry but has become a force in the receiving game leading the team with 12 receptions. The Raiders defense has been a sieve in general having given up an average of 34 points per game out of the gate. They’ve allowed both a rushing and receiving score, so DeMarco should easily see the end zone in Week 3.

 

BENCH

Carlos Hyde, SAN FRANCISCO at Seattle- After steamrolling a surprisingly disinterested Rams defense for a pair of TDs and 88 rushing yards in Week 1, Hyde came back to earth last week. Against the Panthers he managed only 52 total yards on 17 touches. Things do not get easier this week as he travels to Seattle to face a defense that has not allowed a RB to reach the end zone and is holding them to 2.8 yards per carry. Time to take a seat Mr. Hyde.

 

Latavius Murray, OAKLAND at Tennessee- There are multiple factors working against Murray heading into this matchup against the Titans. Tennessee has held RBs out of the end zone through the first two weeks allowing only 93 total yards per game to the position. The next factor limiting our love for Murray is the carries total for Raiders running backs from week two. Murray had eight carries, DeAndre Washington had seven and Jalen Richard had six. Ouch. Head coach Jack Del Rio has stated the team will continue to use a RB rotation and that caps Murray’s value for now. Sit him.

 

Jerick McKinnon, MINNESOTA at Carolina- With Adrian Peterson likely out for a few weeks with a torn meniscus, folks may want to try and roll out his handcuff. Don’t do it. At least not this week against this defense on the road. As mentioned above, the Panthers just held Carlos Hyde to 52 total yards last week at home. There is also the Matt Asiata factor as he had six carries and a reception last week. Back in 2014 when Peterson was out, Asiata saw 164 carries and will retain a big role in the offense. Sit McKinnon until we see how the rotation shakes out this season.

 

Christine Michael, SEATTLE vs. San Francisco- Michael took over the bulk of the work once Thomas Rawls left the game with a leg contusion (why can’t we just say bruise?) and averaged 6.0 yards per carry. The problem is twofold for Michael this week as it appears that Rawls will be available and the 49ers are actually playing solid defense against the RB position. Through the first two weeks, San Francisco has held running backs to an average of only 3.8 yards per rush while not allowing a score to the position. It’s too risky to roll out Michael this week.

About Wally Spurlin

Wally Spurlin is a Fantasy Football Staff Writer at Fantasy Sharks and a member of the Fantasy Sports Writer Association (FSWA). Spurlin’s work has appeared in print publications, including the FSWA award winning 2014 USA Today Fantasy Football magazine as well as the 2015 edition. Wally is also a weekly co-host on the Fantasy Football Feeding Frenzy pod cast on Fantasy Sharks Radio at Blog Talk Radio.Follow him on Twitter @WaltonSpurlin