Suffice it to say, this year hasn’t been smooth sailing for most fantasy owners and their running back situation. Many teams might be regretting using their first round pick on the likes of CJ Spiller and Ray Rice as they also wonder how they can mix and match enough viable options each week to come out with a victory.
Perhaps Adrian Peterson and LeSean McCoy owners are laughing their way toward the playoffs at this point, but it has otherwise been an unpredictable and frustrating time concerning running backs.
In any case, a shrewd owner will look to tweak their lineup from week-to-week, without overreacting and making a rash decision. That is to say, don’t bail on player because they had one bad game. However, if you have one player who has yet to produce, you may want to try another option.
Here are some options for this week that may pay dividends down the line.
Montee Ball (DEN)
Coming into the season, Ball was being groomed as the new workhorse in Denver. However, all those expectations have fallen short and he’s been nothing more than the third option in a three-man rotation. He has rushed 40 times for 124 yards on the entire year while also coughing up the ball at the most critical junctures.
However, Ball is in a prime position to scoop up garbage time yards and more importantly touchdowns (don’t forget that at Wisconsin he set the all-time Division I FBS record for TD’s). The Broncos offense is operating at an historic clip and Ball still remains the future in John Elway’s eyes.
He’ll want to see what he’s got in his second-round pick from the most recent draft and that analysis will start this week when Denver takes on the lowly Jacksonville Jaguars. The Jaguars have been abysmal in all facets of playing the game of football, but no more so than against the run: they rank last in rushing defense and are giving up a healthy 4.9 yards per carry.
Andre Ellington (AZ)
It’s one of the great mysteries of football how the Arizona Cardinals are 3-2 after five games. Going into Week 6, Carson Palmer has thrown 9 picks which ties him for second in the league behind only Eli Manning. Furthermore, Rashard Mendenhall is averaging just over 3 yards per carry, demonstrating why the Steelers slowly lost faith in him after his knee injury.
Enter Andre Ellington, an exciting rookie from Clemson. Ellington’s stock in the draft slid after he ran a slower 40-time than expected, but he’s impressed so far in Arizona. His touches have been limited, but he’s putting up 6.7 yards per carry and has also been a legitimate target for Palmer out of the backfield with 13 catches. He’s yet to score a touchdown, but if he continues to outplay Mendenhall, he should see an increased workload going forward.
Arizona is playing San Francisco this week which hasn’t been as stingy against the run as the past two seasons. Ellington could be a slight risk as a starter against the 49ers, but should be added in most leagues given the volatility of the position across the board.