Erik Smith’s RB Rankings
- Is this a week where we can finally get some fantasy production from Michael Carter? Since the Breece Hall injury, Carter has played in 56%, 52%, and 50% of the offensive snaps, a mildly disappointing but stable number. Carter was able to top 10 PPR points in his first two games, before cratering to just 3 fantasy points last week as the wheels fell off this Zach Wilson-led offense. There is some reason for optimism for Carter and this offense as a whole, however. Those last three games have seen Carter go up against a gauntlet of opposing defenses, facing fantasy football’s toughest defense for a running back twice (New England), as well as a Bills defense that ranks as the tenth-worst matchup for a running back. A home matchup against a Bears defense allowing 4.7 yards per carry and the sixth-most points to opposing running backs may be the cure, so look for the Jets to play defense and run the ball first, potentially leading to a favorable game script for Carter in a bounce-back spot.
- This is me throwing my hands up with rankings Rams’ running backs. Seriously, I’ve had enough. Darrell Henderson Jr. drew the start last week but played just four snaps after he “felt a little something in his knee” before kickoff Sunday. He’s now been released because, I’m not sure why actually. That led to Kyren Williams taking 55% of the snaps and Cam Akers showing up with 39%, but seriously, does any of this even matter? An individual Rams running back has scored over 10 PPR points just five times all season (Henderson 4, Akers 1), with the season-high score coming from Henderson in Week 6 with a whopping 13 fantasy points. With Matthew Stafford and Cooper Kupp nursing injuries, you could make a case that none of these rushing options even need to be rostered, let alone started.
- I’ve lowered Saquon Barkley in my rankings after watching the Lions vs Giants game last week for What We Saw. Barkley is still a locked-in RB1, don’t get me wrong, but this Giants offense appears to be slowing down, and the Lions really sold out to stop Barkley in the running game last week. The read-option shotgun run game came to a halt as Detroit let Daniel Jones rush with the ball while focusing on Barkley, and Barkley’s passing game work has started to dry up as the season progresses. Barkley has only topped 20 receiving yards in one of his last five games, has a 15% or higher target share in just three games this year, and hasn’t topped a 20% target share since Week 5. He’s still a strong start with upside, and maybe they will scheme him the ball more with Wan’Dale Robinson now out for the year. But Barkley’s upside feels a little lower now in tough matchups until we see the Giants’ offense make an adjustment.
- So the Broncos released Melvin Gordon III, Chase Edmonds appears to have a high-ankle sprain, Mike Boone is on IR for at least another week, and Javonte Williams is sadly recovering from an ACL injury. That leaves Latavius Murray as the lead horse for the Broncos, with a backup plan that involves Marlon Mack and Devine Ozigbo. Thrilling stuff. This offense is going nowhere until Russell Wilson and Nathaniel Hackett fix the passing game, so Murray is just a volume option needing a touchdown to pay off. He’s my RB31 with some upside against a dysfunctional Panthers team, but we are reaching the point where we truly need to ask ourselves; how many teams are more dysfunctional than this Broncos team? It’s hard to count on a positive game script in any matchup for this Denver offense.
Green=Strong Starter, Yellow=Solid Starter, Red=Look for Better Options