Week 15: Running Back Round Up
Every week, I examine the most turbulent backfields to determine whether a backup is due for a bigger role and how any possible changes will affect Fantasy relevant stars. This week I start with the mess Minnesota.
Matt Asiata – Ben Tate – Joe Banyard
After missing two weeks due to a back injury, the Vikings officially placed RB Jerrick McKinnon on the IR. Selected in the third round of the 2014 draft, McKinnon had shown promise this season, out touching and out playing the plodding Asiata by a considerable margin. Since the rookie has been sidelined, however, the Vikes have entrusted the aforementioned Asiata with the starting gig. A thick bodied back, Asiata is better at blocking than squeezing through holes. Not exactly elusive or fast, the 27 year-old RB has been wholly “meh,” averaging just 3.25 YPC in his last two outings. It makes sense then that head coach Mike Zimmer would want to get the recently claimed Ben Tate more involved in the offense. A vet in his fifth season and on his third team, Tate has the experience and skills to potentially kick-start Minnesota’s ground game. This Sunday he’ll draw a tough matchup against the Lions who boast the league’s top rated run defense. Plus, with second year RB Banyard also working in there just aren’t going to be enough touches to go around. It’s additionally worth noting that Asiata has been the only Minnesota RB to hit pay dirt all season, which means he’s probably going to get the goal line work. Of course Tate could surprise, but I fear this is a case of too little too late.
Steven Jackson – Jacquizz Rodgers – Devonta Freeman
Doing his best 2013 Frank Gore impression, Jackson appears to have plenty left in the tank. The 31 year-old vet has put up double digit fantasy points in five of his past six games…