As we enter Week 10 things get a little easier for fantasy owners. There were, at least for now, no major injuries this past week and only four teams are on bye. Of course there are still questions to be answered, and the health statuses of Carlos Hyde and Spencer Ware still require further investigation. Let’s take a look at how the running backs rank:
David Johnson – Arizona Cardinals – vs. San Francisco
Ezekiel Elliot – Dallas Cowboys – at Pittsburgh
Melvin Gordon – San Diego Chargers – vs. Miami
Jay Ajayi – Miami Dolphins – at San Diego
Le’Veon Bell – Pittsburgh Steelers – vs. Dallas
Lamar Miller – Houston Texans – at Jacksonville
DeMarco Murray – Tennessee Titans – vs. Green Bay
Devonta Freeman – Atlanta Falcons – at Philadelphia
Matt Forte – New York Jets – vs. Los Angeles
Jordan Howard – Chicago Bears – at Tampa Bay
Mark Ingram – New Orleans Saints – vs. Denver
Todd Gurley – St. Louis Rams – at New York Jets
Jonathan Stewart – Carolina Panthers – vs. Kansas City
Giovani Bernard – Cincinnati Bengals – at New York Giants
Darren Sproles – Philadelphia Eagles – vs. Atlanta
Terrance West – Baltimore Ravens – vs. Cleveland
Spencer Ware – Kansas City Chiefs – at Carolina
LeGarrette Blount – New England Patriots – vs. Seattle
Isaiah Crowell – Cleveland Browns – at Baltimore
Devontae Booker – Denver Broncos – at New Orleans
Carlos Hyde – San Francisco 49ers – at Arizona
Christine Michael – Seattle Seahawks – at New England
Chris Ivory – Jacksonville Jaguars – vs. Houston
Ty Montgomery – Green Bay Packers – at Tennessee
Robert Kelley – Washington Redskins – vs. Minnesota
Peyton Barber – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – vs. Chicago
Duke Johnson – Cleveland Browns – at Baltimore
James White – New England Patriots – vs. Seattle
Chris Thompson – Washington Redskins – vs. Minnesota
Jeremy Hill – Cincinnati Bengals – at New York Giants
Matt Asiata – Minnesota Vikings – at Washington
Tim Hightower – New Orleans Saints – vs. Denver
Kapri Bibbs – Denver Broncos – at New Orleans
Paul Perkins – New York Giants – vs. Cincinnati
C.J. Prosise – Seattle Seahawks – at New England
T.J. Yeldon – Jacksonville Jaguars – vs. Houston
Rashad Jennings – New York Giants – vs. Cincinnati
Jerick McKinnon – Minnesota Vikings – at Washington
Ryan Mathews – Philadelphia Eagles – vs. Atlanta
James Starks – Green Bay Packers – at Tennessee
It is not a secret that Todd Gurley has been a major disappointment this season. In fact, you could make the argument (given he was a first round pick) that he has been the biggest disappointment. However the season is still not over as there are four weeks left in the fantasy regular season to turn things around, and talking about Gurley’s performance through the first eight games of the season is a moot point. He has carried the ball 146 times, which is a solid 18.25 per game, but the second year back has only averaged 3.1 yards per carry, has found the end zone just three times and has yet to eclipse the 100 yard mark in a game. Last week he carried the ball just 12 times and Jeff Fisher admitted it was a problem and that he had to get his star running back more involved. Even with that being the case the Rams have yet to establish the running game, but perhaps it’s a good sign Fisher has acknowledged the problem (although how could he have missed it). This week Gurley has to deal with the Jets who have allowed just two running backs to go over 100 yards; including Jay Ajayi last week. With the Jets reeling, and Fisher seemingly committed to the run, perhaps this will be the week Gurley gets it together.
From the start of the season some thought it was inevitable that Derrick Henry would supplant, or at least eat into, DeMarco Murray’s workload. Instead Murray has seemed to be re-energized after his lost season in Philadelphia. There was a slight scare two weeks ago against Jacksonville, but Murray’s toe seems to be just fine. Against San Diego last week Murray didn’t have his usual success running the ball (14 carries for 51 yards), but he did score a touchdown and was also active in the passing game (seven receptions for 29 yards). Murray is averaging 89.7 yards per game on the ground and he has already found the end zone nine times. With Henry sidelined for the next few weeks workload should continue to not be a problem and it will make up his match-up with Green Bay. There are other directions you go in from a DFS standpoint, but in seasonal leagues Murray is a legit RB1.
Devontae Booker we hardly knew you. After holding onto Booker as a handcuff since the start of the season he got his chance when C.J Anderson was placed on Injured Reserve, but so far he has failed to capitalize. To be honest Booker looked a great deal better when he was playing behind Anderson than when he got the starting role. However, since he became the starter he has gained just 76 yards on 29 carries. Last week against Oakland the rookie running back was on the field for 46 of Denver’s 56 snaps, and he touched the ball 11 times (gaining 30 yards). On the heels of the Broncos’ loss, there are rumblings coming out of Denver that Kapri Bibbs could be poised for a larger role this week against the Saints. Bibbs is coming off an 80 yard performance in Oakland, which included a 69 yard touchdown reception. On the season he has carried the ball eight times for 36 yards and has two receptions for 75 yards. There isn’t enough there to rank Bibbs ahead of Booker, at least early in the week, but it wouldn’t surprise me to see him end the week there.
Between inconsistency, fumbling and health issues, it’s possible Matt Jones has temporarily lost his starting job. Prior to missing a week with a knee injury, Jones wasn’t terrible but he also wasn’t a measure of consistency either. The second year back was averaging 4.6 yards per carry on 99 carries, but that is largely helped by two games in which he gained 252 of his 460 yards over seven games. He has had some ball security issues yet again (two fumbles lost after five in his rookie season), and when he returns this week he will be behind Rob Kelley on the depth chart. Washington has already stated that Kelley will get the bulk of the carries on the heels of an 87 yard, 21 carry outing two weeks that saw him score a touchdown. Chris Thompson will continue to be a factor in a limited workload, and he holds value especially in PPR leagues, but Kelley will be the back carrying the load on early downs and at the goal line. Minnesota will be a tough match-up, but at the very least Kelley will benefit from 15-20 touches.
If only Carlos Hyde was ready to return and take contact things would be a lot easier. Hyde owners missed out on a big week last week against the Saints, unless they grabbed DuJuan Harris to replace him, and this week will require some monitoring and a fall back plan. The assumption here is that Hyde will return, but things will be tough for him against the Cardinals. Harris, at the very least, will be a factor once again. It is clear, he out-snapped Mike Davis 53 to 8 on Sunday and out-touched him 15 to three, that Harris is the handcuff to own. He carried the ball 10 times on on Sunday for 59 yards while also catching five passes for 83 yards and a touchdown, but he will be hard pressed to repeat that this week even if Hyde sits.
I’m going to breakdown this week and include Ty Montgomery with the running backs. Some sites, ESPN and Fan Duel among them, have made him eligible at RB and his flexibility does come in handy for fantasy owners. It is clear that Dom Jackson doesn’t provide a threat, but it is possible James Starks returns this week. If he does there will be fantasy value to be had based on the workload, but Starks is averaging just 1.8 yards per carry this season. Despite the fact that he was on a snap count last week Montgomery still gained 91 yards and he figures to be a large part of Green Bay’s game plan once again.
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Make sure to check out all of our Week 10 rankings: