Running Back Roundup: Week 7 (2019 Fantasy Football)
Each and every week, we’ve seen some crazy performances from the league’s running backs, and Week 6 was no exception. Two of the top-five rushing leaders were Adrian Peterson and Carlos Hyde, in a surprising twist. The Packers pulled out a win on Monday Night Football thanks to the huge play of Jamaal Williams, and not the breakout Aaron Jones. David Johnson continued to get it done as a back and a receiver, while Joe Mixon underwhelmed once more behind a makeshift offensive line in Cincinnati. Let’s take a look at some notable news and performances from around the NFL in this week’s running back roundup.
Week 6 Rushing Leaders:
Week 6 Scrimmage Yards Leaders
Week 6 Fantasy Leaders (PPR)
Week 6 Biggest Busts
Sony Michel: 22 carries, 86 rushing yards, 2 receptions, 27 receiving yards
Brandon Bolden: 3 carries, 23 rushing yards, 2 receptions, 22 receiving yards, rushing TD
James White: 2 carries, -1 rushing yards, 9 receptions, 46 receiving yards
Despite his inefficiencies, Michel continues to get the bulk of the carries for the Patriots. I feel like a broken record writing about the second-year back every week, but he’s mostly an unexciting, high-risk play when he doesn’t score. He was surprisingly involved in the passing game with two receptions, but he has a 5/59 receiving line thus far. James White is an every-week flex play thanks to his strong receiving skills, and he had a would-be touchdown called down at the one-yard line this week. Bolden shouldn’t be rostered outside of deep leagues, especially with Rex Burkhead’s (foot) return imminent.
The Buccaneers trailed big early on in this game, and the tandem of Barber and Jones only combined for 12 carries. Barber led the backfield in carries for the second week in a row, and at this point, the workload distribution in Tampa Bay is clear as mud. It was a disappointing performance for Ronald Jones, but he did score a short touchdown to save an otherwise awful outing. Keep rolling with Jones as the preferred play, but keep in mind the risk that comes with him.
Cook and Mattison had a tough time finding running lanes against a stout Eagles front, but the Vikings still ran the ball 30 times between the pair. Minnesota is committed to establishing the run, and Cook is an elite RB1, even in tough matchups. Mattison is the top running back handcuff to own, and he has some low-end flex value even as the second option.
As promised by the new coaching staff, Washington featured the run game, and Adrian Peterson saw season highs in carries and rushing yards. His volume alone makes him an intriguing flex play moving forward, though a tough matchup with San Francisco lies ahead in Week 7. Chris Thompson is reportedly dealing with a toe injury that could sideline him for Week 7 and possibly beyond. He can be stashed in PPR formats in the event his absence is brief, though Peterson should see a boost in usage while the former is out.
Kenyan Drake: 10 carries, 40 rushing yards, 6 receptions, 30 receiving yards
Mark Walton: 6 carries, 32 rushing yards, 5 receptions, 43 receiving yards
Kalen Ballage: 3 carries, 7 rushing yards, rushing TD
Walton, the former third-stringer, led the backfield in scrimmage yards after his role was promised to increase ahead of Sunday’s game. Kenyan Drake saw the most touches, and Kalen Ballage vultured a short touchdown, but Walton needs to be picked up as a potential flex play moving forward. Miami is still in full tank mode at 0-5, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see the team move in a new direction at running back.
Coleman had another big game in his second week back, and he split work fairly evenly with Matt Breida. Coleman should be considered a weekly RB2, with the Niners taking a run-heavy approach on offense. Breida is a shaky flex play, but his explosive speed and athleticism give him big-play upside every time he’s on the field. Raheem Mostert, we hardly knew ye, and he’s off the fantasy radar indefinitely.
Los Angeles Rams
Todd Gurley (quad) surprisingly missed Sunday’s contest, and the duo of Henderson and Brown combined for 18 touches. Brown led the backfield in carries by a nearly 2-1 margin, though it was the rookie who did more with his opportunities. If Gurley is forced to miss more time, an RBBC is likely to form, muddling the fantasy prospects of both backs. Henderson has the higher upside of the pair.
Los Angeles Chargers
Sunday’s loss was brutal for the Chargers’ running backs, as the team fell into a big hole quickly and abandoned the run game. Gordon and Ekeler combined for only 13 carries, and each caught three passes. There’s no doubt Gordon is the starter, but Ekeler should stay involved moving forward. Both backs can be deployed confidently on a weekly basis, though Gordon isn’t likely to be the shoo-in RB1 many anticipated.