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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

FANTASY FOOTBALL RUNNING BACK HOT ZONE: CHRIS IVORY MOVING FIRMLY AHEAD OF CJ2K

Tuesday as always is fantasy football Hot Zone day.  Let's check in on all the latest running back news from around the league.

LEVEL 4

Chris Ivory-Chris Johnson:  Even before New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan confirmed as much Tuesday, it was obvious that Chris Ivory had vastly outplayed more celebrated Chris Johnson the first three weeks of the season.  The difference between the duo was even more stark in the team's Monday night loss as Ivory upped his season per carry average to a stellar 5.7 compared to an ugly 3.5 for the aging Johnson.  Johnson has lacked the burst that made him famous and it now firmly appears as though all the wear and tear over the years is taking its toll.  Ivory has been terrific, using his power running to bowl over defenders and pick up huge chunks of yardage.  In addition, Ivory is the clear goal-line back which makes him especially valuable in standard formats.  The Jets are one of the most run-heavy outfits in the NFL which means there will be plentiful opportunities for Ivory to build on his nice start. There is an expiration clock on Ivory though as his tendency to get hurt due to his heavy running will rear its ugly head again.  That is a concern for another day however.  Those who own Johnson can feel safe to pretty much cut him loose in most formats (maybe keeping him around another week in PPR) as the numbers and performances have not been good to say the least.

Jonathan Stewart-Mike Tolbert-DeAngelo Williams:  You could make an episode of Grey's Anatomy with all of the various injuries afflicting the Carolina Panthers running backs.  While DeAngelo Williams sat out Week 3 with a bum hamstring, oft-injured Stewart suffered a knee sprain that will cost him a month of games.  In addition, third-back Mike Tolbert suffered a break in his leg which forced him to be placed on IR with a designation to return.  Williams is expected back for Week 4 but he looks like the last man standing as even Fozzy Whitaker is out with a quad problem.  With lots of teams on a bye this week, Williams is actually worth a look due to the workload he will get.

Knile Davis-Jamaal Charles:  All Knile Davis owners were hoping that Jamaal Charles would take it easy for another week or two but they won't get their wish as fantasy football's number 1 overall player is due back for Week 4.  Charles of course sat with a bruised ankle and it was not a high sprain like some speculated on.  Davis has rushed for 79 and 132 yards with three scores on the ground the last two weeks and even contributed in the passing game by catching 6 balls during that span.  Charles will play however which puts Davis back to at the very best a bench role and more likely a waiver guy. 

Donald Brown-Danny Woodhead-Ryan Matthews:  With veteran Ryan Matthews still slated to miss the next month with a knee injury, third down pass catching dynamo Danny Woodhead made matters worse in the San Diego backfield by suffering a season-ending broken fibula.  Brown got a crazy 31 carries as the last man standing in Week 3 but averaged only 2.0 yards per carry.  He did chip in a surprising 5 receptions but that is not Brown's game.  For now though Brown is a rock solid RB 2 given his workhorse status and newfound receiving ability.

LEVEL 3

Arian Foster-Alfred Blue-Ronnie Brown:  Foster shocked all of his fantasy football owners and not in a positive way when he was a late scratch last Sunday with a hamstring injury.  Reports on Tuesday indicated that Foster's hamstring injury goes back a month before the season even began which makes one wonder why on earth the Houston Texans gave him so many carries the first two weeks of the year.  Alfred Blue made his starting debut against the New York Giants and did a pretty nice standard league job with 78 yards on 13 carries.  Ronnie Brown is the third-down receiving back and has almost zero value.  Foster is currently being called "day-to-day" which doesn't exactly give you confident he will be able to go Sunday.  His loss once again would be a monstrous one if he sits.

Toby Gerhart-Denard Robinson:  Things have gotten so bad for Toby Gerhart (only 32 yards on 9 carries Sunday) that former Michigan QB Denard Robinson was called on by the Jaguars to pick up the rushing slack.  The speedy Robinson rushed for 33 yards on 9 carries which was just as poor as Gerhart but the latter has been absolutely horrific through three games.  The Jaguars signed Gerhart to a rich free-agent deal but he already looks like a bust.  While Robinson is nothing but a speculative grab right now, he has speed that at least Gerhart doesn't have and he should be watched.

LEVEL 2

Ahmad Bradshaw-Trent Richardson:  Quietly Ahmad Bradshaw has been terrific for the Colts this season with three receiving scores and a very solid rushing average.  Each work Bradshaw is getting more work over Trent Richardson, with the latter continuing with his lackluster rushing averages.  Last Sunday in a lopsided win over the Jaguars, Bradshaw picked up 65 yards on only 9 carries while Richardson went for only 57 on 14.  With Bradshaw once again proving to be a very good receiving back, he has graduated into low-end RB 2 status in PPR formats. 

Terrance West-Ben Tate:  It already looks like Terrance West is here to stay as the Cleveland Browns starting running back as word from team headquarters is that Ben Tate may not get his old job back if he does return from his knee injury.  West has been solid but unspectacular through his two starts which at least counts for something over the injury-plagued veteran Tate.  Hold West in all formats and get ready to drop Tate if this does become official.





 

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