Week #9: A Holler from the Cheap Seats
John Holler - 10/31/2017
We’ve reached the midpoint of the 2017 and, thanks to an infusion of young running backs, the death of the Stud Running Back has been delayed. A lot of teams have been forced to go the RBBC route by design or injury, but the numbers actually seem to be growing with teams leaning on one running back to carry the mail.
Is the Stud Running Back dead and gone? Not so fast, my friends. Consider the following:
Arizona – Since arriving two games ago to the Cardinals, Adrian Peterson has 37 carries. Nobody else has rushed more than three times. The same sort of split can likely be expected when David Johnson returns.
Atlanta – Devonta Freeman has spent the last couple of season effectively doubling up Tevin Coleman. This year is no exception – Freeman has 103 carries while Coleman has just 58 and he has five rushing touchdowns to Coleman’s one.
Buffalo – Shady McCoy has been the dominant back in Buffalo despite getting a little longer in the tooth. But, don’t tell him that. He has 137 carries. Second on the team is Mike Tolbert with 44 – more than a 3:1 ratio.
Carolina – Despite the high draft choice used on Christian McCaffrey, Jonathan Stewart has 110 carries, more than double the rushes McCaffrey has.
Chicago – Early on in the season, it looked like Jordan Howard would be in more of a time split with Tarik Cohen than Howard owners hoped. Eight games in, Howard has 162 carries – exactly three times as many as Cohen.
Cincinnati – It appeared the first couple of weeks that it was going to be a three-man committee. But, in the last five games, Joe Mixon has 68 carries, as opposed to just 25 for Jeremy Hill and 13 for Giovani Bernard. It’s still a time share, but it’s getting much more lopsided.
Cleveland – Isaiah Crowell has 102 carries, exactly three times as many carries as Duke Johnson. It hasn’t translated into touchdowns – Crowell has just one and trails both Johnson (2) and DeShone Kizer (3), but his workload is that of a featured back.
Dallas – Ezekiel Elliott is the main man like few others. He’s going to be on the suspended list, but in the first seven games, he had 164 carries. Second among Dallas RBs is Alfred Morris with 13 – giving Elliott a massive 13:1 rush ratio edge.
Denver – They have a classic two-man backfield, C.J. Anderson has more than double the carries (107) as Jamaal Charles (50).
Detroit – Ameer Abdullah has almost five times as many carries (101) and No. 2 rusher Theo Riddick (22) and the disparity is growing.
Green Bay – Aaron Jones and Ty Montgomery have almost identical rushing totals (62-60), but in the two games since Montgomery returned from a rib injury, Jones has 30 carries to just 14 for Montgomery.
Houston – Lamar Miller has more than twice as many carries (119) that No. 2 D’Onta Foreman (50).
Indianapolis – It was thought that Marlon Mack would replace Frank Gore, but midway through the season Gore has almost three times as many rushes (110) than Mack (43).
Jacksonville – Rookie Leonard Fournette has missed a game, but still has more than twice as many carries (130) and Chris Ivory (57).
Kansas City – Even more pronounced than Elliott in Dallas, Kareem Hunt has 146 carries. Second among running backs is Charcandrick West with five – an unfathomable 29:1 ratio.
Los Angeles Chargers – Melvin Gordon has 131 carries, 6½ time more than No. 2 RB Branden Oliver – this despite battling several different ailments this season.
Los Angeles Rams – Todd Gurley has 145 carries, almost seven times the carries No.2 RB Malcolm Brown has.
Miami – The Dolphins traded Jay Ajayi, who was the whole damned show in their backfield. He had 138 carries in seven games. Next up is Damien Williams, who has just 12.
New Orleans – In the three games since the Saints jettisoned Adrian Peterson and his death stare, Mark Ingram has rushed 65 times, while Alvin Kamara has just 27 carries, but both represent their three most productive rushing games of the season.
Philadelphia – The trade for Jay Ajayi may throw the running game into chaos, but LaGarrette Blount has almost three times as many carries (100) as either Wendell Smallwood (38) or Corey Clement (36) and is averaging almost a yard a carry more than either of them.
Pittsburgh – Le’Veon Bell has 194 carries, almost 11 times more than John Connor and is on pace to rush the ball almost 400 times.
San Francisco – Carlos Hyde’s 112 carries and almost three times more than rookie Michael Breida (42).
While the running back has been viewed as a dying breed in fantasy circles for some time, it would appear we may be enjoying a Renaissance of the Stud RB and, with guys like Dalvin Cook and David Johnson not factored in, the list could get even more impressive.
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