Perhaps a banged up defensive front can
aid the stuggling Joe Mixon and Bengals running game.
Grab a Helmet
Mixon vs CLE: Mixon must see Bengals jerseys in his
nightmares, because for most of the season thatís all he sees
when he runs the ball. Constantly hit at or behind the line of
scrimmage, Mixon has struggled to a Jeremy Hill-like 2.9 yards
per carry average. So it doesnít seem to make sense that Mixon
is worth a start this week against a Cleveland defense that had
been stout against the run. Well it just so happens that the Browns
lost two of their best run stuffing defensive lineman last week,
so itís no coincidence that Leonard Fournette was able to break
through for the first 100-yard rushing day against the Browns.
Game script should favor Cleveland, allowing Mixon plenty of chances.
Heís flashed game breaking ability, and Iím staying true to this
columnís title and calling a shot (big play) for Mixon this week.
His 22 touches last week are workhorse numbers, so stay patient,
as this could be the week low end RB1 numbers arrive.
Morris vs LAC (Thu): Lost in the black hole that has
become the Cowboys season is the play of Alfred Morris in the
last two games. Morris has carried the ball 28 times for 144 yards
in the last two replacing Ezekiel Elliott. Those numbers might
pale in comparison to his teammate, but they are solid numbers
considering Dallas got blown out in those contests. It looks like
Tyron Smith could be back Thursday night, and I look for Dallas
to lean on the run game to slow down the Charger pass rush and
keep their explosive offense off the field. The Chargers have
also been gashed in the run game several times this year. While
Morris gives you nothing in the pass game making him largely touchdown
dependent, I think he cashes in for a score and 80+ yards, giving
him strong RB2 numbers.
Murray @ DET (Thu): After an uninspiring six-game start
to the season, Murray has earned his significant free agent cash,
as heís scored 12+ fantasy points in three of the last four games.
The Vikings leaned heavily on him last week in a win against the
Rams and it payed off, as Murray easily had his best game of the
season. Finally looking fully healthy after missing all of the
off-season, Murray should be able to exploit a Detroit run defense
that has been incredibly leaky the last two weeks. Minnesota has
a defense that will keep games close, and a conservative offense
able to sustain long drives, so Murray should be a lock for 15+
touches this week. I think he returns RB2 value with upside for
Grab Some Pine
Williams @ PIT: I was really high on the potential
of Williams in this offense when I did the offseason outlook for
the Packers. Admittedly that was well before Rodgers went down,
the offensive line imploded, and Brett Hundley looked more like
Todd Hundley (props to you if you get the reference to the former
Mets catcher!). On the bright side, Williams has been fed the
ball to the tune of 43 touches in his last two starts, but with
the near return of Ty Montgomery and the poor match-up against
the Steelers-D, Iím not exactly rushing out to start the former
Peterson vs JAX: In his last seven starts with at least
10 carries, Peterson has averaged less than 2.0 yards-per-carry
in five of them. In his five games with the Cardinals, Peterson
has either been exceedingly good, or downright dreadful. With
such swings of inconsistency itís incredibly hard to trust the
future Hall of Famer down the stretch of the fantasy season. Heís
still not catching passes, heís playing with a journeyman quarterback
behind a poor offensive line, and simply doesnít have the gas
left in the tank to create big plays on his own. Iím sure heíll
go for 150 yards and two touchdowns this week just to spite me,
but Iíd have to be in a desperate situation to trust Peterson
as anything more than a desperate FLEX this week.
Martin @ ATL: Despite being the king of offseason fluff
pieces, Martin has been a huge disappointment this season. Although
he’s been fed the ball 39 times in his last two games, he’s
turned those chances into only 89 listless yards. The Tampa offense
has gone off the rails, and Martin’s terrible ground numbers
(3.1 YPC) are compounded by the fact he’s a near zero in
the pass game. Game script could get out of hand quickly in this
one for Tampa, and if the Bucs have to go into comeback mode early,
Martin could be looking at a repeat of the New Orleans game where
he finished with a total of 7 yards.