Fantasy Football Believe It or Not: Nick Chubb top-15? Trusting Lamar Miller?
Halfway through the Fantasy regular season, just what should you believe from Week 7?
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There was much debate before the season about whether zero-RB as a strategy was dead. This week's Believe It or Not should tell you all you need to know about that. In fact, the Fantasy leaders page should as well. Six of the top-13 running backs in Fantasy in non-PPR were drafted outside of the first six rounds in most drafts.
Now the key becomes deciding which of these backs will keep it up. Let's start with one of the best from Week 7.
Nick Chubb is a top-15 running back moving forward.
Chubb saw a heavy workload in his first game without Carlos Hyde and delivered for those of you who had been patient. Against a Tampa Bay defense that had stifled running backs this season, Chubb ran for 80 yards and a touchdown despite a negative game script and a slow start. With no one blocking his path to a workhorse role and a favorable second-half schedule, Chubb is a borderline No. 1 running back from this point forward.
Verdict: Believe it.
Remember when the Browns said Duke Johnson was the "starter"? Ha! Johnson had one carry in the game and only saw four targets. Chubb inherited Hyde's workhorse role, which is one of the most lucrative in the league in terms of rush attempts. The lead back for the Browns has now averaged 18.8 attempts per game and has only been below 16 once this year.
This is a very talented back in a feature role, getting everything you'd want from a back except for passing work. That will put him in the top-15 in PPR and the top-10 in non-PPR.
The Lions receivers won't have the volume to be must-start.
Remember the high-flying Lions' offenses of the past? It's been nowhere to be found the past month. Matthew Stafford has attempted 30 passes or fewer in each of his last three games and hasn't topped 36 attempts since Week 2 against the 49ers. The Lions have committed to the run, and maybe more importantly, they're committing to Kerryon Johnson.
The problem? They also have Golden Tate, Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones. If there was one true alpha receiver in this offense, they may be able to get away low pass volume. But with three talented assets in the passing game, it's going to be tough to know which one to trust on a given week. All three Lions are bench pieces that you start if you have to, but not must-start options.
Verdict: Don't believe it.
The Lions are having more success on the ground, but I wouldn't expect their defense to keep this up. After a Week 8 matchup with the Seahawks, Detroit has a five-game stretch against the Vikings, Bears (twice), Panthers and Rams. That will likely lead to more negative game scripts, which will lead to more Stafford passes.
The more interesting information is in the target share. Tate is still seeing 26 percent of the team's targets, which is outstanding. Golladay is only at 19.6 percent, but you can live with that from a guy who averages 16 yards per catch and has a high catch rate. Jones? He's at 16.8 percent and he's only seen eight targets combined in his past two games.
Hold (and start) Tate and Golladay but I could see dropping Jones in a 10-team league, maybe even deeper.
Raheem Mostert is a must-add running back.
I understand if you have 49er running back fatigue, but it sure looks like there's another worth our consideration. Mostert led the team with 59 rushing yards on Sunday and caught another four passes for 19 yards. It was the second week in a row he's led the team in rushing, but he's still less than 20 percent owned. You should fix that this week.
Verdict: Believe it.
Matt Breida suffered let another injury on Sunday. While I'd fully expect Breida to recover quicker than anyone expects and be ready for Week 8, it's become increasingly clear Breida cannot handle a full workload at running back. While Alfred Morris did get back in the mix on Sunday, four of his nine carries came with the team down 37-10. Mostert, on the other hand, only had one carry in the final 19 minutes of the blowout.
If Breida misses time, this will still be a timeshare, but Mostert looks like he'll lead it. In fact, he may be the best running back (for Fantasy) on this team.
Boy, we didn't see this coming, huh? Williams caught another bomb from Philip Rivers on Sunday and now has 236 receiving yards and three touchdowns in his last two games. He's a top-24 receiver in non-PPR scoring and has more points in the format than any other Chargers receiver.
Rivers' reliance on Melvin Gordon and Austin Ekeler in the passing game has cut into Keenan Allen's short targets and opened up the deep ball for Williams, who is still just 41 percent owned. Even with the Chargers heading into their bye, you need to make sure that number goes up when waivers run this week.
Verdict: Don't believe it.
First off, Allen is still the best receiver on the team. For Fantasy or otherwise. But also, I wouldn't get too aggressive adding Williams heading into their bye. He has 11 targets in his past three games combined. He does not have a game over five targets on the season. Williams is a phenomenal deep threat and he's helped save Rivers' Fantasy day more than once, but this is the type of boom-or-bust guy you use as a bye-week replacement. He's not someone you can legitimately count on.
You can trust Lamar Miller again.
Just when you thought you were out, he pulls you back in. Miller had his best outing of the year on Sunday, against his most difficult matchup. He set season highs in rush attempts (22), rush yards (100) and Fantasy points (17) while also scoring his first rushing touchdown. If he can do this against the Jacksonville Jaguars, he can do it against anyone.
Verdict: Don't believe it.
Most of the things we were worried about before Week 7 still exist. Miller is still going to lose a chunk of touches each week to Alfred Blue and he could lose a bigger chunk if D'Onta Foreman ever gets back. Plus, Miller has to stay healthy and effective.
You can use Miller, you can even start Miller, but you can't trust Miller. If someone else thinks they can, you should sell Miller.
So who should you sit and start? And what shocking QB could win you Week 8? Visit SportsLine now to get Fantasy football rankings for every single position, and see which shocking QB finishes in the top 5 this week, all from the model that out-performed experts big time last season.
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