Lorenzo Taliaferro Leads Backup RB Charge
Week Three featured big games from multiple backup running backs, including second stringers Knile Davis, Lamar Miller, and Lorenzo Taliaferro. Each made their presence known in across the fantasy landscape. Davis, starting in the place of the injured Jamaal Charles, scored 17 fantasy points, good enough to tie him for 4th among running backs this week. Miller racked up 108 yards on just 15 touches (7.2 YPC) and Taliaferro ran all over the Browns, plowing his way to 91 yards and a short one-yard touchdown run.
Looking forward, what can we expect from these guys?
Out of these three players, Miller looks to be the one who will maintain his value into Week Four. With his success running the ball, it was a little puzzling to see OC Bill Lazor allow QB Ryan Tannehill to throw the ball 42 times. I expect Lazor to rectify this and feed Miller the ball more as the Dolphins go to London to take on the Oakland Raiders.
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As far as Davis goes, it’s hard to see him having much value as a starter with Charles healthy. Charles, who was very close to starting this week, will resume a full workload when healthy, relegating Davis back to the Chiefs’ and fantasy owners’ benches. Owners should think twice though about dropping him however, as his 32 carries are just evidence of how valuable of a fantasy handcuff he is.
Taliaferro is a tough one to figure out because of the murkiness of the backfield in Baltimore. It was speculated Sunday night that Bernard Pierce would resume his regular duties when healthy. The last time Pierce started, Taliaferro didn’t see a single snap. That could change however with Pierce and Forsett’s struggles at the goal line, so I’d put a small waiver bid and stash him to see what winds up happening.
Stream Everyone vs. the Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jaguars “defense” was lit up Sunday afternoon by Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts. Luck threw four touchdowns to go along with 370 passing yards. Each Colt positional player had a solid game as well, with four different players getting a touchdown, and even the defense jumped in on the fun totaling 17 fantasy points with four sacks, two interceptions (including one returned for a touchdown) and a fumble recovery.
Thus far in three games, the Jags have allowed at least 34 points in each of the games, and while it may be less enticing to stream defenses consistently against them with Blake Bortles poised to take over the offense, there should be no reason to sit any significant positional player against them.
With upcoming games against the San Diego Chargers, Pittsburgh Steelers, and the Tennessee Titans coming up over the next three weeks, plan ahead and figure out which byes you’re going to need covered, and plug in whomever is playing the Jaguars until further notice…
Eddie Lacy, other 1st Round RBs Continue to Struggle
It’s been a rough start of the year for running backs hasn’t it? Adrian Peterson has played just one game due to his greatly publicized legal troubles. The aforementioned Charles has already missed a game due to injury. Lacy continued his early season struggles, picking up just 36 yards on 11 carries while losing a fumble. He’s sporting a paltry 3.1 YPC through his first three games, a full yard below what he averaged last year. Even LeSean McCoy got bottled up for just 22 yards on 20 rushes and one reception for zero yards.
While there’s no telling when (if ever) AP will return to action, but his value when he is in uniform is too great to drop him in any but the shallowest of leagues. Charles was almost able to toughen it out and play Sunday, but thankfully for fantasy owners, he allowed himself a full week of rest and looks to be close to 100% in Week Four.
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Lacy is one of the league’s best buy-low options, as he has faced three of the toughest run defenses in the NFL this year in Seattle, New York and Detroit. Lastly, if you’re lucky enough to find a panicked McCoy owner, make an all out effort to acquire him. I’m chalking up his 1.1 YPC to a fluky week. Owners should just be happy that 1. he was able to avoid a concussion and 2. that he had 20 carries compared to Darren Sproles’ two.
Aaron Rodgers, Matthew Stafford Struggle in Divisional Matchup
Most of us expected Sunday’s game featuring the Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions to be a high scoring affair, with a lot of points being scored through the air. Alas, we were left with just two offensive touchdowns, with the Lions scoring one on the ground and Rodgers recording the other with a pass to Andrew Quarless.
The Lions played suffocating defense, which explains Rodgers’ struggles. They were stout up front, able to bottle up the run game (see above: Lacy) by dominating the trenches, and played the long ball beautifully, allowing zero deep completions (passes of 20 yards or longer). On the flip side, Stafford had three turnovers which put a real dent in his fantasy output. It’s been two straight weeks of subpar fantasy (and real life) performances for Stafford who seemed poised for a big season after a 29-point Week One.
Give Rodgers’ success against the Chicago Bears, whom the Packers will visit next week, I think it’s too early to panic on him. The Packers have been extremely inefficient running the ball, but a trip to Chicago should at least balance that aspect out. With a more balanced attack, look for things to open up for Rodgers and for him to return to posting elite QB1 numbers.
As for Stafford, if owners have a better option available, it’s time to sit him. His mechanics have looked wonky the last two weeks as well as his decision-making. While the Jets did just get lit up by Rodgers in Week Two, they play a fast, aggressive defense that forces quarterbacks into making risky decisions, something that Stafford has not had much luck with. Looking ahead at Week Four matchups, I’d start both Philip Rivers and Kirk Cousins over him at this point…