If you’re reading this, you’re probably worried about your fantasy football running backs right now.
That’s not a psychic prophecy but rather a safe assumption given the position’s mess this year. Four rushers (Adrian Peterson, Jamaal Charles, Giovani Bernard and Matt Jones) compiled more than 100 yards on the ground in Week 2, and two of them entered the weekend second on the depth chart. DeAngelo Williams, the position’s top scorer under ESPN.com standard scoring, will step back with Le’Veon Bell returning.
Meanwhile, several perceived stars are giving owners panic attacks. DeMarco Murray can’t pass the line of scrimmage, Jeremy Hill can’t hold on to the football, and Marshawn Lynch looks terrifyingly mortal. It’s hard to decipher the cream of the crop heading into Week 3.
As a result, the flex rankings feature more wide receivers every week. Let’s see how the upcoming point-per-reception (PPR) ranks stack up against the standard format’s ordering.
Murray has 11 rushing yards through two games. The guy who started 2014 with eight straight 100-yard games ran for two yards on 13 carries against his old team. Even the calmest owner needs to start freaking out.
Fantasy managers struggle to look beyond the individual player accumulating stats, but the new Philadelphia Eagles back can’t take all the blame for his drastic downturn. After receiving incredible blocking from the Dallas Cowboys offensive line last year, he’s getting no help from his new teammates, per ESPN Stats & Info:
“I have to do a better job of running that ball. I’m the first one to look in the mirror and say I’ve got to do better,” Murray said. “Individually, we’ve got to get better. Collectively, we’ve got to get better and just got to look in the mirror and take it upon ourselves to really get things going.”
For now, he remains in the “too good to sit” category. He appeased fantasy players with two short touchdowns in Week 2 and provided five catches for 53 yards as a consolation prize last weekend. As long as the Eagles get their act together, he hasn’t hurt fantasy owners—particularly PPR investors—too much with his early slumber.
Lamar Miller‘s owners find themselves in a similar predicament. The Miami Dolphins running back has received 23 carries this season, gaining 14 yards on 10 handoffs against the Jacksonville Jaguars. During the surprising loss, Miami ran the ball 16 times while Ryan Tannehill fired 44 passes.
Miller left the game with an injured ankle, but he downplayed its severity to Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald:
Only Dallas has allowed fewer rushing yards (106) than the Buffalo Bills (120) this season. A tough matchup under normal circumstances feels much bleaker for a banged-up player not getting enough chances.
At the same time, plenty of squads won’t roster a better alternative. He remains a great talent who averaged 5.1 yards per run last year. Dion Lewis churned out a strong outing against the Bills, so an active Miller preserves starting status as a low-end No. 2 back or flex option.
Many frustrated gamers are saying, “Wait. I thought Mike Evans was supposed to play in Week 2.” The Tampa Bay Buccaneers wideout suited up, but he didn’t record his first catch of the season. Returning from an injured hamstring, he mostly served as a decoy, receiving three targets.
According to Pro Football Focus, the 22-year-old receiver lined up for 41 of Tampa Bay’s 66 offensive snaps. In what was supposed to be a shootout against the New Orleans Saints, the Buccaneers instead built a lead and ran 35 times.
So what gives? Can anyone start someone who hasn’t gained a yard yet? He’ll have another week to build closer to 100 percent, and don’t count on Tampa Bay jumping out to another lead over the Houston Texans.
Anyone who benches Evans risks missing a monster game. While his lavish draft-day price tag will prove too much for a boom-or-bust talent, he’s a No. 2 wideout capable of carrying fake squads to victory.
Risk-averse players can look elsewhere if they have a suitable alternative holstered, but the safe route could lead to heartbreak.
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