Erik Smith’s RB Rankings
- Rhamondre Stevenson took 90% of the snaps for the Patriots last week as his teammate, Damien Harris, suffered a hamstring injury, and the second-year back made it count. Stevenson rushed for 161 yards on 25 carries against a putrid Lions defense and draws another excellent matchup this week as Harris looks set for a multi-week absence. New England faces a Browns defense that was simply unable to stop the run in each of the previous two weeks, first against the Falcons and then last week against a Chargers running game that was struggling with efficiency. The Browns have given up 5.9 yards per attempt on the ground and are the fifth-best matchup for a running back in PPR scoring, making Stevenson my RB9 on the week as bye weeks begin. Start him with utmost confidence.
- I was very impressed with Travis Etienne Jr. as I covered the Jaguars for What We Saw last week, and he makes a good player to seek in a trade if you need a spark at the position. There will likely be peaks and valleys to come, and Etienne hasn’t scored a touchdown yet on the year, but he undoubtedly brings an explosiveness that the Jaguars’ offense needs. And while the Colts defense has done an excellent job at limiting opposing rushing games, they have allowed the fourth-most receiving yards on the year to running backs. Etienne feels like a poor man’s Breece Hall at this stage in the season, and hopefully he can follow a similar path to production.
- J.D. McKissic surprisingly popped up with the ninth-best OPPO score last week even with Brian Robinson Jr. returning to form a three-way committee with McKissic and Antonio Gibson. The snaps were split up 42% McKissic, 32% Gibson, and 29% Robinson, making Gibson a clear avoid this week. And while I would expect Robinson to overtake Gibson in short time, he should remain on your benches as well. McKissic, however, makes an interesting desperation flex play in PPR leagues, as his 15% target share gives him some appeal if injuries or by weeks have taken their toll.
- J.K. Dobbins showed some burst last week against a stout Bengals defense, although he played on just 40% of the snaps in the Ravens’ win. He’s trending in the right direction, however, and his backfield competition still consists of Kenyan Drake and Mike Davis. Dobbins is generally a boom-bust option due to his dependence on touchdowns, and I would still rather see him riding my bench for another week if possible. But If you need him this week against the Giants he is a solid play, as I would expect the Ravens to be able to produce points on the Giants’ defense.
Green=Strong Starter, Yellow=Solid Starter, Red=Look for Better Options