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Head to Head: Running backs reeling in Week 1

Is Washington Redskins running back Alfred Morris really a viable No. 1 fantasy back? He didn't look like one this week.

Is Washington Redskins running back Alfred Morris really a viable No. 1 fantasy back? He didn’t look like one this week.

Here’s the bad news: A plethora of of top-picked running backs let us down in Week 1 of the NFL regular season.

But there’s good news too. If you took our advice last week and avoided Arian Foster, Alfred Morris, Daryl Richardson, and BenJarvus Green-Ellis, you probably escaped relatively unscathed. You did follow our suggestions, right? Right?

Be sure to check back at last week’s article to see how our counsel would have helped or hurt your fantasy quad. It will help to keep us honest! Well, some shouldn’t have let you down if you read us last week as we warned against Foster and Morris and Dryll Richardson and BJGE.

We have a lot of questions to get to this week.

From the mailbag

Feeling rushed

I have a team with David Wilson and Lamar Miller as my second and third running backs. Felt good about the position headed into Week 1, but not so much now. What hopes do those two have of turning it around? — Jon W

Chris: I wouldn’t get too down. With Andre Brown out, Wilson is the go-to guy despite his fumbling problems. I think as long as he can fix that a little bit and establish himself before Brown comes back his value will remain high the whole season.

Miller should still be a viable Flex option. It’s Week 1. The Browns play some tough defense and I think that the Miami Dolphins will start to get into groove against the Indianapolis Colts this week.

Rob: Miami will have to run. Thomas can’t get the yards, Miller simply didn’t get the yards — that is a key modal difference.

Wilson is a far bigger worry to me. Head coach Tom Coughlin will hold him back for cause. Then, God rest his soul, if he makes another mistake, Coughlin will fall back on a venerable New York tradition and bury him under the field.

Should I play running back Daryl Richardson vs. the Falcons or DeAngelo Williams vs. the Bills? Thanks. – Gamebred619

Rob: You would consider sitting DWill for this Richardson? I wouldn’t. Last week, when Williams ran for 84 yards at 5.1 yards per carry and no touchdowns, that is about the worst result you will see from him as long as he is the No. 1 back with no Jonathan Stewart to share reps with. DWill has always shone when the bell cow.

Chris: DeAngelo Williams. If not for his out-of-the-ordinary fumble, he could’ve had double-digit points against a great defense. The Buffalo Bills just got lit up by New England Patriots running back Shane Vareen, and DWill is every bit as much of a threat as Vareen. Richardson looked unimpressive in his debut. Besides, now that Steven Jackson has departed for Atlanta, the St. Louis Rams offense now revolves around quarterback Sam Bradford. I expect them to test the Falcons’ young cornerbacks this week.

Looking longterm

Should I drop St. Louis Rams wide receiver Chris Givens or Denver Broncos running back Ronnie Hillman and pick up Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Percy Harvin? – ItalyRules22

Rob: Only you if are playing in a keeper league or you are so very strong that you are praying for a playoff wild card player. Givens is the one to drop; I have no issue with your doing that. Don’t give up on Hilly yet.

Chris: Seconded!

Quick Hits

Steve Smith or Cecil Shorts? – mizzoz

Rob: Steve Smith.

Chris: Smitty. Buffalo can’t stop him.

Also, pick two wide receivers and one flex players from the following options:

WR: Dwayne Bowe, Kenbrell Thompkins, Alshon Jeffery, Golden Tate, Shorts
FLEX: Ben Tate, Lamar Miller, Julius Thomas.

Thanks. — mizzoz

Chris: For your wide receivers, go with Bowe and Golden Tate. Take a risk on Ben Tate in the flex.

Rob: Bowe and Tate. And I am going to give Miller a chance at a bounce-back game in a friendly matchup against the Indianapolis Colts.

So I’m thinking about going with three WR’s in Wes Welker, Victor Cruz, and Jordy Nelson and starting Doug Martin at RB1, while either Daryl Richardson or Chris Johnson gets the other RB spot. Or should I go with three RBs and decide between the WR’s and start two?  – James D.

Chris: I’d go with Welker, Cruz, Nelson, Martin, CJ2K. Hands down. Richardson looked unimpressive this week, and that offense revolves around Bradford now that SJax is gone.

Rob: Chris is right. That is the only smart way to go.

I play in a 12-team 0.5 PPR league. Do I play WR Chris Givens @ Atlanta or RB Rashard Mendenhall @ Detroit? – zacharyringer12

Rob: Givens. Mendy is a scrub! Arizona is bad at blocking and Mendenhall has better backs behind him. This is now a passing team. ‘Nuff said.

Chris: Flip a coin. Heads it’s Givens. Tails it’s Mendenhall. Coin flip landed: Heads.

Economics 101

Who are a few players with hot starts that you would try to sell high on? What about guys who started slow that you would try to buy low on? — Jon W.


Sells: QB: Michael Vick, RB: LeSean McCoy, WR: Anquan Boldin, TE: Julius Thomas
Buys: QB: Tony Romo, RB: Stevan Ridley or C.J. Spiller, WR: Dwayne Bowe, TE: Greg Olsen


Sells: QB: Matt Schaub (only because I don’t think anyone will bite on Rivers), RB: Joique Bell, WR: Anquan Boldin.
Buys: QB: Cam Newton,  RB: Lamar Miller, WR: Antonio Brown, and TE: Greg Olsen.

Finish him!

Out of RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis, RB Ahmad Bradshaw, and WR Kenbrell Thompkins (with Danny Amendola out), which one would be a good Flex play? – James D.

Rob: I think we are debating among guys who will get you five points. I am not a BJGE fan, but he will get the most opportunities in a field position game.

Chris: I’m not excited about any of those. Thompkins shows the most upside. Green-Ellis and Bradshaw were both poor in their debuts and I felt that they were both outperformed by the running backs behind them.

I’m being offered RB LeSean (“Shady”) McCoy and WR Roddy White for WR Wes Welker and RB Marshawn Lynch. I’m in a 0.5 points per reception league and have Vincent Jackson and Randall Cobb as my other WR and Maurice Jones-Drew as my other RB. Go or no go? – BucsFan910

Chris: Don’t accept. He is trying to sell high on McCoy and steal your PPR king in Welker. Roddy has a high ankle sprain and it could be weeks before he is back to his normal self.

Rob: Welker is great, but let’s look deeper into this. I think you have a chance to steal this league.

Yeah, this guy is trying to rob you, but he is a dumb criminal. Roddy will return and you can survive the loss. McCoy in this new system is going to score you over 250 points minimum and outpace Lynch by 20 percent. You have the wide receivers  to hold the fort. Welker will only be two or three points better than those guys on average. Lynch is a PPR liability and is already far short of his average with the full slate of NFC West teams in the lurk.

Take the offer and let him realize in a month that he shot himself in the foot.

Your turn

Get your fantasy football questions into us by midnight on September 19th to ensure inclusion in next week’s edition of Head to Head. Simply drop a line to [email protected]. Submissions may be edited for length or clarity.

0125 moderator


Maized and Confused
Maized and Confused

OH GOD! First Take just came on.

I couldn't get to the remote fast enough.

0125 moderator

The Yankees, Mets, Nets, Knicks, Jets, and Giants are all bitches. 

JVince 11
JVince 11

McMillian had a -5.7 grade.... 4 missed tackles..


I got a stat for those stupid Viking fans out there!!! Minnesota hasn't won in Chicago since 2007.. and the last 3 meetings there they have been beating by 20 points or more. 

JVince 11
JVince 11

I was curious as to why we weren't absolutley consumed by PFF grades for the Bears OL.... so i thought I'd go figure out why... and i did....

don't want to show that the gospel of your football humanity and knowledge gave your favorite dick sticks negative grades... Jordan Mills actually got a +3.4 though.


Every east coast team gets preferential treatment.

Mods Suck
Mods Suck

Livefyre is never behind -- nor ahead. It arrives precisely when it means to.

Mods Suck
Mods Suck

How many times has the national media anointed Eli Manning a top-five quarterback? I have seen him called one of the two best QBs in the league on more than one occasion.


@JVince 11 Just a couple of average plays by that guy.. and that might have been enough. Oye. 

Maized and Confused
Maized and Confused

JWoude is using the SDL method of stats:

"They only matter when they back up what I'm saying."


@vanderheap19 You see here's the thing about New York.... it depends on who's doing good that year as to who fans there are fans of. 

0125 moderator

New York has 2 teams in each sport

Mods Suck
Mods Suck

No, when there is a stat contradicts what I think, I start examining my thought and wondering if maybe it's wrong. That is the purpose of statistics.

JVince 11
JVince 11

@Maized and Confused that is the LKP method of conversation then.. "don't believe even what you say.. just piss people off with your confident ignorance"