Week 11 Running Back Sleeper Report

Leonard looking forward to a big game against the Falcons

Leonard looking forward to a big game against the Falcons

Three weeks left. Let it be known. May your dreams come true and may your nightmares avoid becoming reality.

Since there is precious little time left in the fantasy regular season, I’ll try and make this grand exposition brief and instead give you three potential sleepers at the running back position that can help you out.

There are sleepers that really aren’t sleepers anymore because of how much they are getting the ball, but injuries and coaching will always play a factor from week-to-week. Here are some choices that could help you out down the stretch.

Rashard Mendenhall (ARI)

First of all, if Mendenhall was getting half the carries he is now, I’d still disagree with Bruce Arians. Andre Ellington is clearly their best option at running back, averaging over 7 yards per carry, while Mendenhall manages a paltry 3.1. With that being said, Arians flat out refuses to acknowledge the truth that Ellington and Mendenhall are both being misused for different reasons.

Throw in the Cardinals’ opponent this week, Jacksonville, and you may have something with Mendenhall. The Jaguars won last week against Tennessee, but that doesn’t mean they figured it out, and it probably says more about the Titans. Look for Arizona to potentially give Mendenhall some goal-line carries that should go to Ellington, but won’t.

Brian Leonard (TB)

Call this a super-deep sleeper and call me crazy, but there are a few things Leonard has going for him. First, apparently the Bucs feel good about themselves now that they’ve won a single game after losing eight straight. Second, Tampa Bay’s competition, Atlanta, has completely gone off the rails. Their season is toast and they know.

That performance against Seattle tells you all you need to know about where their heads are at. Last, and the furthest from the least, who are the Bucs supposed to give the ball to? Mike James did a nice job filling in for Doug Martin, but he’s done after a broken ankle suffered against the Dolphins last Monday night.

Greg Schiano is one of those military drill sergeants who will offend most of his players, but run the ball in the process. And, for what it’s worth, Leonard played for Schiano at Rutgers so there is likely a level of trust between them.

James Starks (GB)

Clearly, Eddie Lacy is the man in Green Bay, but now that Aaron Rodgers is out of the lineup, Green Bay has morphed into a run-first and ask questions later kind of offense. That leaves room at the table for Lacy’s backup, James Stark.

The Packers have brought in Matt Flynn to try and save the day. Even if Flynn is eventually worthy of doing so, it won’t be this week as 3rd stringer Scott Tolzien takes the field as their starting quarterback. Mike McCarthy will want to give him all the help he can get as the Packers desperately seek a win. Starks will get his normal backup load at running back and could surprise fantasy owners with a decent game.



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