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All right. With all of the bizarre things that have gone on with the Jaguars this season, the recent drama with James Robinson has to be the worst. At least for those of us with Robinson on our teams. I mean, a lot of us didn’t survive the last two weeks because of what was happening. And I’m secretly hoping for some Bud Kilmer-like meltdown this week that results in Trevor Lawrence just calling his own plays and giving the ball to Robinson like 30 times. But I’m still banking (hoping) for a course-correct with the talented running back this week. It’s clearly a risk. And I don’t blame you for wanting to stay away. I’m diving in, though. I hope I don’t regret this.
Gibby was game-scripted out of the Cowboys game on Sunday. And if I’m being honest here, the Eagles have been really tough on running backs in recent weeks, having allowed the fifth-fewest fantasy points to the position over the last month. Which might make you wonder why I would advocate starting Gibson this week. I’m looking for volume again here. The Football Team needs to try to run the ball. And unless you have a lot of great options at your disposal this week, I’m finding it hard to justify keeping him on the bench.
The Titans just recorded their third straight game with 100 rushing yards and have averaged 158.3 rushing yards per game since Week 11, fourth in the NFL in that time span. And they did this without Derrick Henry. Foreman recorded his first rushing touchdown against Jacksonville since Week 11 and is averaging 87 scrimmage yards per game over his last two. Great matchup against the Steelers who have allowed the most fantasy points to running backs over the last four games.
Freeman is still leading the Ravens in touches, as he carried the ball 13 times and had five catches in the loss to the Browns on Sunday. The matchup against the Packers is middle-of-the-pack. Oh, no pun intended! I swear, I didn’t mean that. I would tell you if I did. I’m just looking at the volume play for a guy who plays on a run-first offense. It’s annoying when Latavius Murray steals the goal-line work. But vultures are going to vulture. I’m in for this matchup this week, especially if Lamar is working through his ankle injury and needs to depend on running backs around him. Though I’d still go with Freeman even if Tyler Huntley is the quarterback.
I know, it’s spicy considering you probably just picked him up off the waiver wire. But the Rams are typically good against running backs. Maybe not on Monday night when James Conner had a pair of scores. But those are two of the three touchdowns the Rams had allowed in the last month, so they are still pretty good against the run. In fact, the Rams have surrendered just 171 rushing yards in that span, an average of 57 rushing yards per game. And Conner had a lot of production as a receiver on Monday night. Penny has two targets on the season. Two.
The Bills have been one of the most generous teams to opposing running backs over the past four weeks. But I can’t look at that Panthers offense at the moment and start him with any confidence. Hubbard got into the end zone last week and still managed to finish in single digits. And the Buffalo temps are expected to be in single digits this weekend, too. (In Celcius, mind you. Be cool, they are Toronto’s team as well.)
I mean, it’s a good matchup. I get that. And Rex wasn’t so bad last week against the Seahawks. But it was Royce Freeman who was the more effective back with two more receptions and more yards. It’s one of those instances where I would love to fire up one of these players if I knew he was going to be the solo back and get all of the work in a plus matchup. But we really don’t have a definitive answer as to who will be the guy. And while it’s find to speculate in daily lineups, it’s tougher in season-long formats.
The Ravens have been one of the best against opposing running backs this season. I’m comfortable starting Aaron Jones in this matchup because he’s a good receiver out of the backfield and always finds a way to score (or maybe that’s just against the Bears). But Dillon, while I like him in the following weeks, probably needs to ride the pine because of the matchup against the Ravens, who have allowed the fewest fantasy points to running backs over the last four weeks.