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The Ultimate 2014 RB Buy and Sell Cliff Notes

It’s been pretty comical trying to set a lineup and already having issues at RB2, or even RB1. But what’s done is done — it’s time to keep our eyes on the prize and walk through our RB buy and sell options for the remainder of the year.

If you told me you went RB heavy this draft season, I’d say you’re about as trustworthy as Eddie Haskel after he brings your daughter home one hour late from the dance.

Of course the above comment will induce an onslaught of backlash from drafters that are better than me and tell me how successful they were in drafting all the right RBs in rounds one through three.1 I appreciate a balanced attack and approach to drafting–the premise of overloading on a scarce position in order to combat the volatility of said position just strikes me as an unnecessary uphill battle.

The reality is that not a single first-round RB has been worth his draft day sticker price unless you were one to reach on DeMarco Murray or Giovani Bernard. Everyone else has been scrambling to make ends meet via the waiver wire each week.  Now that a quarter of the fantasy season is over, it’s time to draw a line in the sand on some guys and make some bad decisions.

Buy

Running Back Buy and Sell

Matt Forte – Forte had to run through a few bad matchups behind an offensive line that is only paving the way for 3.26 Adjusted Line Yards per run play. The line is also letting Forte get stuffed behind the line of scrimmage a 30th-ranked 27 percent of the time.2 Forte is only averaging a 21st-best second-level yards, so he actually might be more of a rhythm runner than we think. The good news is the upcoming schedule is soft with exception of Weeks 8 and 13 against the Lions and Patriots.

Jeremy Hill – Obviously the better play in Cincinnati is Giovani Bernard, but you’re likely not prying away Neo Gio.  Hill hasn’t received a lot of run yet, so you can potentially pry him away from his owner for a player in the WR3 range. Now’s a good time to put an offer out there for a player that hasn’t put up points due to the bye. Only Weeks 8, 14, and 16 bring tough matchups,  and Hill’s usage should increase throughout the year in order to help preserve little Wee Man for the playoffs.  A.J. Green will get healthier, Marvin Jones should return soon, and Tyler Eifert may also return and add value to help open up the run game even more.

Eddie Lacy – Lacy has looked like a big bag of burning shit on a doorstep, even against the Chicago Bears in Week 4.  The media3 often tends to grasp onto the negative narrative without a bit of pragmatism. Lacy ran against three of the best run defenses in the NFL, although he left much to be desired against the Bears.  Lacy could potentially be another Trent Richardson, but I’m giving him somewhat of a mulligan here considering he’s entering a very friendly portion of the schedule and his prive tag can’t be any lower. Lacy should earn some good production through his Week 9 bye based on both the matchups and the return of the Green Bay attack.

Lance DunbarDeMarco Murray is getting the rock 25 times a game. I won’t even talk about whether or not I think he can hold up at that pace all season.  The bottom line for me is that as the season progresses, the Cowboys’ should continue to involve their secondary options more, and we saw a glimpse of this against the Saints.  At a certain point, it won’t behoove the Cowboys to keep trotting Murray out there at such a high rate.  Murray is still the man, but as early as Week 12/ 13, the secondary options will become more involved behind a very solid run-blocking line.

Joique Bell/ Reggie Bush – In Week 1 it looked like Joique Bell and Reggie Bush might both be provide fantasy value each week, but that sure seems like a long time ago, doesn’t it?  At the current rate, only Bush would have warranted his draft day price tag.  With the Jets in the rear view mirror, only the Cardinals and Bills really make me think twice about going back to the well with either of these guys.  Trading for Bush will cost more and likely give you more production in return, but Bell should be a relatively cheap and safe investment since his volume will ensure his floor isn’t too low.

 

Sell

Running Back Buy and Sell

Zac Stacy – Stacy is averaging 0.72 fantasy points/touch. Based on his current touch rate, 12 fantasy points a game will have you returning to the waiver wire blue light special each week.  We all saw Trey Watts coming, right?4 Stacy is still getting two-thirds of the rush attempt market share, but Watts further proved that this backfield is a mess. It’s still entirely possible that Tre Mason gets some run this year at some point as well.  It’s alarming that his production to date has been against Minnesota, Tampa Bay, and Dallas. The Rams still have six divisional games plus matchups against Denver, Washington, and New York. Sometimes the play is to sell low — get the hell out of Dodge.

Bobby Rainey/ Doug Martin – the Buccaneers’ defense has been bad and has limited the snap count on offense. Martin came back and ran for less than 3 yards per carry against a pretty bad Steelers run defense in Week 4, and yet Lovie Smith gave Rainey the rock a whopping 5 times.  Martin and Rainey are likely to cannibalize one another going forward.  The game script will limit the upside of these guys going forward, and it will be a problem trying to figure out which guy will get the carries.  The middle portion of the schedule is pretty bad for them, so you’re better off looking elsewhere.

Knowshon Moreno*Lamar Miller averaged over 5 yards a carry once again, scored a couple times, and still only received 12 carries. He should continue to have some success through the next three weeks5 as long as the pass game doesn’t implode again. If you’re a Miller owner, you have to hang onto the production because you won’t get fair trade value with Moreno’s return coming soon.  If you’re the Moreno owner and looking forward to his return, I hope you’ve looked at the schedule, which consists of the Chargers, Lions, Bills, Broncos, Jets, and Ravens. Moreno should likely be the 1A in maybe half of the remaining schedule. The other half of those games, the Dolphins should be playing from behind, and we learned early this year that the Dolphins want to use Miller as the passing down back.

  1. It also confirms my status as a 30-something year old guy not ashamed of embedding a “Leave It To Beaver” clip in an article.  (back)
  2. Stats per FootballOutsiders.com  (back)
  3. And the larger fantasy community for the most part  (back)
  4. You are rotten, Mr. Finch  (back)
  5. Packers, Bears, Jaguars  (back)

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