By: Justin Lynch
Your weekly reminder that you are not the only one struggling in fantasy.
Clay was mediocre in his first two games as a Bill, but since then he’s become acclimated to the offense and is thriving in his new AFC East role. Clay put up 5-82-1 last week and followed that up with 9-111-0 this week. He even had a late-game touchdown called back due to chop blocking, that would have put his stat line at 10 catches for 150+ yards and a score. Taylor is leaning on Clay, especially in the absence of Sammy Watkins. Even when Watkins returns, Clay should continue to produce at a solid level due to his rapport with his new QB.
I’ve held out on Marshall long enough. He’s been a PPR monster through the first quarter of the season, putting up three games of at least seven catches for 100+ yards. Marshall has always been one of the most talented receivers in the league, but now that his quarterback situation seems to be under control, he should continue to produce at rates he did with his two former employers.
Martin has shown flashes all year, but it took him until week 4 to prove why many saw him returning to form this season. In his first 100 yard game of 2015, Martin averaged 5.3 yards/carry, scored a touchdown, and even hauled in five catches (37 yards receiving). Martin won’t be the stud number one back he was his rookie year, but he looked good on Sunday and could be a RB2 or high-end flex option going forward.
Those who were willing be patient with Gurley got their wish. Gurley burst onto the scene against a stout Cardinals defense. The rookie back put up 146 yards on just 19 carries in his second NFL game. Tre Mason was a non-factor, carrying it two times for negative yards. Gurley cemented himself as the starter with his his performance and should be able to thrive the remainder of the season.
Miller out carried both Damien Williams and Jonas Gray in the Dolphins week 4 loss in London, but his measly seven carries for 26 yards are just continuing the drought Miller has been in all season. Many saw Miller to improve on his quasi-breakout campaign in 2014, but Miller has been nothing less than a major disappointment. He’s topped 50 rushing yards just once and hasn’t cracked double-digit scoring yet (even in PPR leagues). With Williams and Gray breathing down his neck, it’s tough to see Miller turning it around.
Smith was featured in the above section in this column last week, but new information has surfaced about his back. Smith has what John Harbaugh calls “small microfractures” in his back. Yes, he essentially broke more than one bone in his back. He’s 36 years old and won’t be the same when he comes back, as microfractures tend to be more overuse and stress than impact-related injuries. Smith will still the number one guy, and worthy of a roster spot, but you cannot expect 100 yards outings week in and week out from the aged Smith.
McCoy is out indefinitely with a hamstring injury. I’m really not sure I need to say more, but I will anyway. Karlos Williams is proving more than serviceable in his absence, and the offense doesn’t need McCoy to keep churning. I’d be very concerned if I spent an early pick on McCoy.
2 Things to think about
As mentioned above, Steve Smith has a tough injury to deal with and Kamar Aiken seems like the obvious replacement. Aiken went 5-77-1 on Thursday night football, and was the go-to-guy for Joe Flacco. The problem is that Smith will be back and, I guess, Breshad Perriman will be back at some point (maybe, I’m not sure). Either way Aiken will definitely be solid with Smith is out, but whether or not he can keep it up when Smith is back is the question. I’m worried about his output when Smith returns, but he may be the second wideout the Ravens so desperately need.
I think Gore is done, but for fantasy purposes he’s something to ponder over. Gore has started to make fumbling before scoring a habit, but one that I doubt he keeps. After fumbling two straight weeks on plays he would have likely scored on, Gore’s slow start begins to look a little better. He avenged his brutal first two weeks by scoring 32 points over the last two weeks, and becoming at least a minor threat in the receiving game in the process. However, Gore is averaging a low yards/carry and only got 53 yards on his 17 attempts against Jacksonville this week. Maybe that had something to do with Jacksonville stacking the box on Matt Hasselbeck, but it’s still Jacksonville. I wouldn’t write off Gore yet, but he’s definitely someone to think about.
1 Concluding Thought
Top RB’s faltering
Unless you spent your top pick on Peterson, Bell, or Charles, your first top running back is looking very shaky right now. McCoy’s hamstring, as we talked about earlier, is a major concern. Murray is complaining about not getting the ball enough. C.J. Anderson forgot how to play football. Eddie Lacy isn’t even his consistent self, with only one game with 12+ plus points in a PPR (only one double-digit game in standard). Marshawn Lynch is missing MNF due to a hamstring as well, and I am starting to think he’s too old to be Beast Mode for an entire season. Jeremy Hill is splitting carries, and Justin Forsett is struggling. Matt Forte is somewhat of a saving grace, but even he has taken major steps back. These guys will more than likely figure it out, but it goes to show how hard RB’s are to predict in a running-back-by-committee NFL that we all live in.