June 13, 2024

Running Back Stock Watch

6 min read

Running Back Stock Watch

Every week, we see the ups and downs in fantasy football. Some players struggle to find playing time, and we drop them for the next flashy player the following week. Ultimately, fantasy managers chase points; expect the previous week’s output or better the following week. Or, a devastating injury wreaks havoc on our key players, and we are scrambling to find a replacement worthy of a roster spot. Running back is one position that seems more volatile than the others. And this season has provided fantasy managers with plenty of concerns at the running back position. We were starting with the off-season drama that surrounded Josh Jacobs and Saquon Barkley to the season-ending injury to Nick Chubb.

The Running Back Stock Watch is here to keep you ahead of the rest of your league and be ready to fill any roster situation your team encounters during the season. And because the position has more hills than a roller coaster, don’t be surprised when a player’s stock is down one week and up the next. Welcome to the Running Back Stock Watch!

Stock Up

De’Von Achane, Miami Dolphins

In case you are the ONE person that hasn’t heard, the Dolphins offense scored 70 points last week! A big reason they are scoring a ton of points is that the running game of Raheem Mostert and De’Von Achane forces opposing defenses to pick their poison. Only now, most defenses have chosen to limit Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle (that has yet to work). In week three, De’Von Achane (pronounced A-Chan, not A-Chain) ran the ball 18 times for 203 yards and two touchdowns and then added four receptions for 30 yards and two more touchdowns. It was a dominant performance by the rookie from Texas A&M. On ESPN, Achane is owned in 16.5% of leagues; on Yahoo, he is held in 43% of leagues. This week’s matchup against Buffalo will not yield the same results as last week. However, he must be chased this week if you want that explosiveness on your roster. For those leagues that utilize FAAB, he is worth 40%-50% of your budget.

Kendre Miller, New Orleans Saints

If Achane is impossible for your team, this may be the last week to grab Kendre Miller. After getting his first action in the NFL against Green Bay, Miller rushed nine times for 34 yards. Although it wasn’t a tremendous performance, it is enough for me to notice his breakout is soon to come. Alvin Kamara is returning soon, but Miller is the star in the making in New Orleans. Miller is finally healthy and ready to roll as his stock is rising. Some may fear that Tony Jones is still lurking to take those valuable touches away, but I assure you that Miller is the best running back on the roster and should steadily see his snap share rise from this past week’s 34%.

Jerome Ford, Cleveland Browns

After the gruesome injury to Nick Chubb, many in the fantasy world took a bow by correctly predicting Jerome Ford as a pivotal handcuff to draft in the later rounds. In relief of Chubb, Ford ran for 106 yards with a receiving touchdown. In his first week as the starter, Ford grabbed two touchdowns: rushing and receiving. There is still a chance that Kareem Hunt may eat into his volume, but Ford has some solid flex appeal after three weeks and three touchdowns.

D’Andre Swift, Philadelphia Eagles

If you thought Swift’s performance against the Vikings was a byproduct of Kenneth Gainwell’s injury, then last week should have resolved that doubt. In the past two weeks, Swift has 305 rushing yards. Running behind one of the NFL’s best offensive lines, Swift is locked in as the featured back in the Eagles attack, and if he’s still available in your league, swiftly pick him up.

Latavius Murray, Buffalo Bills

Latavius Murray is 2nd on the depth chart in Buffalo behind James Cook. It was thought that Damien Harris would be the “next man up” in this potent offense. Although James Cook is the clear one, Murray is getting enough work to use as a bye-week replacement. Murray is seeing a consistent 25% snap share and has been used in the rushing and passing game plans. Murray has been touchdown-dependent so far this season, but with many key running backs unable to find the end zone, it isn’t bad that Murray has been able to find it twice.

 

Stock Down

D’Onta Foreman, Chicago Bears

For the 2nd straight week, D’Onta Foreman was a healthy scratch for the Bears. With Roschon Johnson starting to emerge as a lead back, Foreman has seen his opportunities blocked by the other runners, Travis Homer and Khalil Herbert. Foreman may benefit from being cut and another team picking him up. For now, as long as he is a Chicago Bear, he will not find enough volume to be a valuable fantasy contributor.

Jeff Wilson, Miami Dolphins

Jeff Wilson has not been active for a Dolphins game with a knee injury this season. However, after seeing the Achane blow up, Wilson has yet to have a clear path to playing time outside an injury from Mostert or Achane. Let another manager wait for Wilson to have a chance. Jeff Wilson’s stock is plummeting.

Cam Akers, Minnesota Vikings

It may seem strange to see Akers on the stock-down list, but after seeing Alexander Mattison get 20 rushes for 93 yards last week against the Chargers, Akers may still be in a timeshare similar to his time as a Ram. If you waited a week before adding him, wait a little longer. Akers and Mattison are similarly skilled players. The Vikings may go with the hot hand weekly, a disaster for fantasy managers.

Derrick Henry, Tennessee Titans

Derrick Henry has been on many analysts’ lists to hit the “wall” with his production. And yet, he has been a consistent Top 5 running back when healthy over the last five years. It appears that Henry may have hit the wall in 2023. In last week’s game against Cleveland, Henry ran the ball eleven times for 20 yards. Game flow took Henry out of the game plan, and in came Tyjae Spears. Henry was more successful than Spears was against the Browns on a per-touch basis. However, Henry’s best days seem to be behind him. Spears was a popular sleeper pick by managers, but if he is available in your league, grab him quickly. Spears instantly becomes a fantasy darling when the wheels officially fall off Henry’s ride.

AJ Dillon, Green Bay Packers

With an injured Aaron Jones not playing, last week’s game should have been Dillon-Time. Instead, Dillon was so ineffective Patrick Taylor (who?) grabbed a 39% snap share against the Saints. Dillon has just looked slow this season. Against the Saints, Dillon ran the ball eleven times for 33 yards. You can dump your Dillon shares now. I was lucky enough to dump Dillon and grab Achane in one of my leagues. Yup, true story!

Jets Running Backs (Breece Hall, Dalvin Cook)

The Jets had such high hopes for this season. After week one’s performance by Breece Hall, many thought they had a league winner they drafted in the 4th round. In the Jets’ game one against Buffalo, Breece Hall went off for 127 yards rushing on ten carries. Since then, he has just 27 yards rushing in two games. During the same span, Dalvin Cook has just 58 yards rushing and 42 yards receiving. I hate to drill a team when they are down, but unless something drastically changes for the Jets, the offense is no longer viable in fantasy.