Start of the Week –
Derrick Henry vs Denver Broncos
I haven’t been high on Derrick Henry a lot in the past two years. The Titans have never been a team I have been high on in general. However, he faces a huge ceiling matchup against the Denver Broncos who are virtually awful against the run. Mariota will likely lean on him to get the job done this week with his passing maybe in question after last week’s performance.
Mark Ingram vs Cincinnati Bengals
Mark Ingram has done very well as the lead running back for the Baltimore Ravens this year. This week he gets a very good matchup against a piss poor Cincinnati Bengals rushing defense that is one of worst this year. There is no doubt that Jackson gets his licks in, but expect Mark Ingram to have a very productive day against the Bengals this week.
Phillip Lindsay vs Tennessee Titans
I had Lindsay as a sit last week and he must have heard about that because he went off and surprised me against the Chargers. This week he gets a decent matchup against the Titans who are normally pretty good against the run, but I personally believe the Titans have a better pass defense than a run defense so I expect Flacco and the Broncos to lean on Lindsay a lot in this contest as the Broncos have found hope in their run game once again.
Austin Ekeler vs Pittsburgh Steelers
I had Ekeler as a start last week despite Melvin Gordon coming back and while he did little in the run game he excelled as a receiver for Philip Rivers. He was the leading receiver on the day with fifteen catches for 86 yards. I see this trend continuing against the Steelers who even with a buffed up defense have given up at least 6-7 catches a game to opposing running backs.
Adrian Peterson vs Miami Dolphins
It is unusual to see Peterson this high on my list with starts, but it is hard to argue with the matchup that he has scheduled against the Miami Dolphins, who give a tremendous amount of yards against opposing running backs. It also helps that with Jay Gruden gone, the interim coach has a knack for running the ball a lot. In this toilet bowl of a game, I expect Peterson to do quite well.
Carlos Hyde vs Kansas City Chiefs
Kenyan Drake vs Washington Redskins
Matt Breida vs Los Angeles Rams
Sit of the Week –
Todd Gurley vs San Francisco 49ers
Look I get it. You are probably thinking “Austin what in the hell are you talking about? You don’t sit Todd Gurley”. Look at it this way though. One, the 49ers defense is incredible. Two, Gurley’s usage has been declining in recent weeks. Three, Gurley’s thigh has now come into play with him being listed as day to day. You gotta think with this being said, why would the Rams take a chance on injuring their franchise player. It is unusual I know, but if you have to start him, start him with extreme caution.
Melvin Gordon vs Pittsburgh Steelers
We saw last week that Melvin Gordon might need a little bit more time before he gets back into the good graces of the Chargers. He only registered 31 yards on 12 carries last week against the Broncos. This being said I know the Pittsburgh Steelers aren’t the greatest against the run, but I have a feeling Austin Ekeler will be a bigger factor in the offense than Gordon this week.
Devonta Freeman vs Arizona Cardinals
Sitting Devonta Freeman against a very good matchup against the Cardinals might seem a little foolish, but hear me out. Ito Smith got a decent amount of work in as well last week and even though he didn’t rush as well as Freeman, I personally believe he was better. Freeman only ran for thirty yards on 11 carries against Houston and even though the Cardinals are terrible against the run I picture Freeman and Smith splitting the carries here.
Jordan Howard vs Minnesota Vikings
Howard’s production and points have been great the last two weeks, but now we run into the situation where he faces a really good rushing defense in the Minnesota Vikings. The Vikings defense has done a great job at holding respective backs to bad games. As good as Howard has been I strongly advise sitting him this week which can be hard with four teams on bye.
Joe Mixon vs Baltimore Ravens
Joe Mixon had a decent contest last week against the Cardinals, but I wouldn’t give him too much credit here as the Cardinals do not do well against the run. He only had 93 yards on 19 carries and this week he has the Ravens, who aren’t the greatest against the run. I believe the Bengals will take more of a passing approach using receivers Boyd and Tate as their main weapons of choice.