Week 9: RB Roundup
Andre Ellington; Stepfan Taylor; Rashard Mendenhall
Current scenario: Arizona's backfield has become a bit of a mess. Last week starting back Rashard Mendenhall missed the game with an injured toe. This left running duties to Stepfan Taylor and the rookie Andre Ellington. Taylor carried the ball 14 times for 38 yards while Ellington ran for 154 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries. Even if you take away Ellington's 80 yard run he still almost doubles Taylor's yards on the same number of carries. It's obvious the better back right now is Ellington; he just needs to see 15 touches a week.
Future scenario: When Rashard Mendenhall is healthy enough to play again head coach Bruce Arians is going to have a tough decision to make. With Mendenhall averaging just 3.1 yards per carry while Ellington averages 7.7 yards per carry Coach Arians will need to find a way to get the rookie more involved in the offense. If Ellington continues to outperform Mendenhall then we could see Rashard relegated to backup duties.
San Francisco 49ers
Frank Gore; Kendall Hunter; Anthony Dixon; LaMichael James
Current scenario: The 49ers' backfield belongs to Frank Gore with backup Kendall hunter getting a few touches a game and some garbage time in blow out games. At the mid point in the season Gore has rushed for 618 yards and scored 7 touchdowns, putting him on pace for over 1,200 yards and 14 touchdowns. There is no reason for fantasy owners to sit Gore and in fact they should consider acquiring Hunter if possible. If something happens to Gore causing him to miss playing time, Kedall Hunter would become the primary back.
Future scenario: San Francisco has a bye Week 9 followed by a home game against the Carolina Panthers and their second ranked run defense. Following their week 10 game, San Francisco faces four run defenses ranked 20th or worse in their final seven games. One question we would all like the answer to is: how long will Gore remain a starter? The good news is that Seattle and San Francisco will likely be fighting it out till the end for home field advantage, so every game will count. The only way Gore sits is if San Francisco has home field throughout the playoffs.
Marshawn Lynch; Robert Turbin; Christine Michael
Current scenario: Seattle's run game is a one man show, which is great news for fantasy owners. Marshawn 'The Beast' Lynch is on pace for over 1,300 yards rushing with 12 trips to the house. Lynch gets six carries to every one backup Robert Turbin sees, making him a must start week in and week out. At this point in the season Turbin has little value to anyone other than Lynch owners.
Future scenario: Seattle has been running the ball very well this year no matter the opponent. This won't change as we head into the second half of the season. Against Arizona's eighth ranked run defense, Marchawn Lynch ran for 91 yards and a touchdown. Solid performances like this make Lynch a must start every week.
St. Louis Rams
Zac Stacy; Daryl Richardson
Current scenario: With the loss of starting quarterback Sam Bradford, many believed St. Louis' already struggling run game would suffer even more. With Seattle's seventh ranked run defense up next, everyone assumed Stacy and Richardson wouldn't be worth starting. Then on Monday night we saw Stacy carry the ball 26 times for 134 yards and Richardson carry the ball eight times for 39 yards. It would appear with Bradford out of the lineup, the Rams' run game may be even better.
Future scenario: If Stacy is available in your league he would be a nice addition for fantasy owners to use as a flex starter. The Rams have yet to score a rushing touchdown this season and 100 yard games for Stacy will not come every week. However, his performance against a tough Seahawks defense shows just how well he can run the ball.