Sep 12,2014

Back-up RBs to ride in Week 2

understudy-pic-two-442x250Back in the 10th grade I scored a lead my high school’s winter play. When I saw the cast list posted on the theater doors, I screeched with delight and immediately began highlighting my lines. My understudy, on the other hand, threw a gigantic fit and told me to watch my back.

While high school rules don’t always apply to the NFL, a next-man-up philosophy absolutely exists. The below list of running backs were luckier than my understudy (because I killed it and she was relegated to being Townsperson #7). This week should provide them with an extended chance to shine. If one of your lead RBs is sidelined, you’ll want to consider giving one of these backups a starring role on your roster.

MIL373118Lamar Miller
Ok, so technically, Miller is listed as the starting RB on the Dolphins depth chart. However, former Bronco Knowshon Moreno is getting much love for his dominant performance in Week 1 and is believed to be the superior back. While he absolutely looked every bit the polished vet, and ran the ball twice as many times as Miller, it was Miller who received more action in the passing game. Both RBs scored – Moreno on the ground and Miller through the air. In fact, Miller had a second TD that was called back due to a penalty. This week the Dolphins will travel north to Buffalo to take on a Bills team who gave up 87 receiving yards (on top of 82 rushing yards) to Matt Forte last Sunday. Between Miller’s inability to hold on to the ball and Moreno’s impressive rejuvenation, Lamar’s stock has been falling. Don’t be fooled by the noise on Twitter. Miller is the back for the second half of the season. In fact, I recommend buying low on him now before Moreno’s knee goes out. If you’ve already invested and you’re in a PPR league, feel good about starting him as a low-end RB2 or flex against the Bills.

WES395447Terrance West
I had high hopes for Ben Tate. I even drafted him in one of my leagues. I also had the good sense to back him up with rookie Terrance West. Unfortunately for Tate, West received his regular season audition for the starting gig much sooner than anyone could have anticipated. In the Browns’ season opener against the Steelers, Tate sprained his knee and opened the door for West. The Towson product looked sharp, racking up 100 yards on 16 touches. Heading into Week 2 West will start in place of the injured Tate and be backed up by UDFA Isaiah Crowell (who also looked fantastic, but is more of a stash than an immediate play). The Browns will have their work cut out for them as they host an angry Saints team. I imagine they’ll focus on the ground game in an attempt to control the clock and keep the ball out of Drew Brees’s hands. That should translate into quite a few touches for West (and Crowell). A great play in standard leagues, West is a solid RB2.

HYD402541Carlos Hyde
Fantasy experts and analysts have tried to project the decline of Frank Gore for more years than I care to count. It hasn’t happened yet. In an attempt to preserve his Inconvenient Truthfulness, however, the 49ers drafted a big bodied back named Carlos Hyde. After routing the Cowboys last week, Hyde was used to spell Gore and even managed a 4-yard TD in the second quarter. This week San Fran gets the big stage on Sunday night versus my the winless Bears. Despite a revamped d-line and some deep-dish sized optimism, the Bears defense allowed 33-year-old Fred Jackson to stiff arm them right into a loss. I don’t have high hopes that they’ll turn things around – especially given the potency of San Fran’s offense – by Sunday night. Look for a Week 2 deja vu in the Niners backfield with Hyde relieving Gore… and seeing the end zone once again.