Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Em: Week 10 running backs

Philadelphia’s Corey Clement scored three touchdowns in the Eagles’ big win over the Broncos. Is it enough to make us start ‘em in Week 10?

Rookie Alvin Kamara took the lead in New Orleans’ running duet this week and topped the FL fantasy running backs leaderboard with 25.20 points. He was joined by fellow rookie, Corey Clement, who picked up three touchdowns while sharing carries with LeGarrette Blount and Jay Ajayi. The Eagles are on a bye this week, so we won’t get too deep into the fantasy future of Clement except to say sharing the ball with two established stars is less indicative of future gains than sharing with one. Play Kamara and his backfield partner, Mark Ingram, every week. 

Here are some other folks we’ll start and sit in Week 10:

Start this guy: Lamar Miller, HOU vs LAR

There are a few reasons to feel good about Lamar Miller this week. First, he is a premier runner enjoying some good weeks this season. Second, his quarterback situation turned into a pumpkin after being a fairy tale for eight weeks. The running game just got really important in Texas. Third, despite playing from ahead a lot, the Rams defense gives up 21.8 NFL fantasy points per game to running backs. That is the second-worst in the league. Houston might fall behind, but they still need to run to keep the Rams offense off the field and to help out Tom Savage. 

D’Onta Foreman is getting a lot of press as a waiver pickup and sleeper since Deshaun Watson’s injury. If Foreman sees more carries in the weeks ahead, it will not come primarily at the expense of Miller Time. More likely, it will be at the expense of the passing game. Houston must be a run-first team without a professional passer behind center. Don’t be scared off of Miller by the prospect of Foreman’s growing role. 

Sit this guy: Adrian Peterson, AZ vs SEA

Math professors will tell us it is too early to discern a pattern, but here is my thought on Adrian Peterson’s fantasy potential. Peterson is little-used in New Orleans and shows up well-rested in Arizona. He explodes for a big game in his desert debut. Then he flies to London to play his second game, and he looks like he is running in sand. Then he enjoys a bye week. He comes back well-rested and puts up 159 yards on 37 carries against San Francisco, the worst fantasy defense against rushers. In Week 10, he has a short week and faces the sixth-best fantasy run defense on Thursday Night Football. Sand Man returns against Seattle. Ten days off will make him worth a shot in Week 11, but you have to bench him this week. 

Start this guy: Orleans Darkwa, NYG at SF

The same defense that let Peterson run for 159 faces the New York Giants this week in a game being played for job security. Darkwa was off to a good start against the LA Rams last week before the game situation caused the Giants to go to Shane Vereen and the passing game early. Against the 49ers, the Giants should keep it close enough to keep the running game going for the whole game. That should translate to Darkwa’s second 100-yard effort of the season in Week 10. 

Sit this guy: Doug Martin, TB vs NYJ

Doug Martin gained seven yards on eight carries last week and saw no targets in the passing game. Peyton Barber took the majority of the snaps and touches in the second half as New Orleans had the game in hand. There is talk that the Buccaneers are done for the season. There was a fight instigated by an injured quarterback from the sideline and questions about effort. Times are tough in Tampa.

The good news is there is something to inspire their quarterback to lead the offense out of its funk this week. The bad news is that it will be the backup quarterback, Ryan Fitzpatrick, trying to rally the troops against his former team in a revenge game. The worse news is that the Jets just held LeSean McCoy to 25 yards last week. The worst news for Martin is that the way to beat the Jets is through the air. Expect negligible fantasy value from Doug Martin in Week 10. PPR players might consider Barber in what should be a pass-heavy attack. 

Start this guy: CJ Anderson, DEN vs NE

What? Don’t I read my own articles? Aren’t I aware of the new running back committee being used in Denver? Didn’t I pick up New England as my streaming defense? Yes, to all of that, but I am also starting CJ Anderson this week against the Patriots for several reasons. 

Anderson has a week or two every year where he flat-out stinks. Then everyone questions if it is time to replace him with one of the never-ending talented backups perpetually threatening Anderson’s starter status. Then they get a home game, often against a good opponent, and Anderson goes off for ten yards a carry and scores a pair of touchdowns. Anderson will get the start this week and explode out of the gait. Vance Joseph’s committee plan will be altered to let the hot hand carry the team in the second half. Anderson bounces back with 125 total yards and two scores this week.

Sit this guy: The Patriots… all of them. 

Conversely, the Denver defense will play mad after last week’s beatdown at the hands of the Eagles. If that isn’t enough, Anderson’s hard running will further inspire the defensive front to stifle Dion Lewis, Mike Gillislee, and Rex Burkhead. If you feel you must play a Patriots running back, go with James White who could sneak out on a draw and will catch a few passes. 

Tom Brady could be the leading rusher as he has already decided New England will not lose another game this year. But he has to do it the hard way this week in a surprisingly low-scoring affair in Denver.

Week 10 flash in the pan prediction: 

An inspired Giants defense holds Carlos Hyde to 22 total yards on the day, but Matt Breida burns the G-men with a 40-yard touchdown off a screen pass and covers 60 more yards on the ground as San Francisco’s first victory of 2017 sparks a rare mid-season appearance by Giants owners trying to calm their fans.

About last week: In a 67% rut 

Two of three sit ‘ems and start ‘ems made the grade last week, including predicting Kamara as the choice over Ingram in New Orleans and sitting Devonta Freeman and CJ Anderson. This week will be even better.

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Pat Opperman


Pat recently retired from real life to watch sports and write. Look for references to games and events from ancient times as memories of an earlier Age of Sport tend to pop into his head.