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Joseph Hutchins | Archive | Email |
Staff Writer

The Shot Caller's Report - Running Backs
Your Guide To Fantasy Lineups: Week 12
QBs | RBs | WRs

Bye Weeks: Kansas City, Minnesota, Arizona, Los Angeles Chargers

Jaylen Samuels

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Jaylen Samuels @ CIN

Itís not clear at press time whether James Conner will be available this Sunday, but it is pretty clear the Curtain will be without the services of JuJu Smith-Schuster, meaning Samuelsí role should be all but assured. Pittsburghís primary backup hasnít been efficient as a runner this season (just 2.6 YPC, second worst overall if he qualified), but does have a 13-reception game to his credit and is clearly someone who can contribute in multiple ways. Oh, and if Conner does end up being a Week 12 scratch? Samuels would get the chance to improve upon that sorry YPC mark against the absolute worst run defense in the NFL (5 yards/carry and 167/game). I spent the remainder of my FAAB money on him for a playoff run and will plug and play without hesitation should Conner indeed sit...maybe even if he doesnít.

LeíVeon Bell v. OAK

The guy Conner and Samuels replaced in Pittsburgh may be regretting his move to the Big Apple, but heís got 52.5 million reasons to wear a smile, don that Jets jersey, and toil away without complaint every Sunday afternoon. And by all accounts, thatís what Bellís been doing. His numbers are way down in New York (10.6 FPts/G, by far a career low), but some of that can be attributed to uneven quarterback play (Sam Darnold), straight-up unsightly quarterback play (Luke Falk when Darnold was on the shelf with mono), and an underachieving, similarly well-compensated offensive line. His per-tote numbers are still pretty rotten, but Bellís averaged 13.4 FPts/G in his past three and has scored twice. I like his chances of doing that again this coming weekend, either by ground or by air, against the road-weary Raiders. Start Bell Sunday.

Bo Scarbrough @ WAS

Youíre forgiven for not knowing who Scarbrough was prior to last week, despite the fact he hails from the modern-day equivalent of Running Back U, Alabama. He was never the main man in Tuscaloosa, backing up Derrick Henry, Kenyan Drake, Josh Jacobs, and Najee Harris in three seasons. Yet, there he was, a seventh-round draft pick, racking up 55 yards and a score on 14 carries in his first professional action last weekend. Iím typically pretty skeptical of one-hit wonders who lack good fundamentals (no targets and a meh YPC mark), but Scarbrough has little competition for carries, possesses the bulk to handle a larger load (6í1Ē, 232 pounds), and now squares off against a below-average Washington run defense (133.9 YPG and 4.1 YPC). He could be Week 12ís Brian Hill, but Iím betting heíll more closely resemble Week 11ís Bo Scarbrough. Start the rook.

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Brian Hill or Devonta Freeman v. TB

The aforementioned Hill was one of the more disappointing Week 11 performers after a surprise Week 10 breakout filling in for Devonta Freeman. He gained just 30 yards on 15 carries, failed to score, and contributed a hardly noticeable 3.8 fantasy points to Atlantaís 29-3 pasting of the Panthers in Charlotte. Freeman may be back this week, but Iíd be leery of both Falcons backs against the Buccaneers. Iíve been fading RB opponents of Tampa all year long, as Iím sure youíve noticed, and for very good reason: They havenít been very successful. Only one has topped 100 yards (Chris Carson) and only two others have discovered paydirt (Todd Gurley and CMC). Granted, Alvin Kamara tallied over 100 total yards last Sunday, but he needed 23 touches to do that and neither of these guys are getting that kind of volume. Nope.

Kalen Ballage @ CLE

At one point last Sunday, the fantasy ticker update on Ballage read ď6 carries, TD.Ē Surely theyíd forgotten to include his total rushing yards, right? How does one carry the ball six times for no yards but still have a rushing TD to his credit? If anyone could do that, it would be Kalen Ballage and thatís precisely what he did. His first five carries netted him -3 yards and it wasnít until that sixth carry that he got back to zero, where heíd started the day. All told, the former Sun Devil only managed to accumulate 17 yards on 14 touches. Take away that six-pointer and heíd have netted a microscopic 1.7 points. I guess what Iím saying here is that 99% of you already know Ballage stinks. For the 1% of you intrigued by that TD and a better Week 12 matchup, please reconsider.

Derrius Guice v. DET

Guice seems like another guy who could attract attention this Sunday based on a single statistical data point, a 45-yard catch-and-scoot TD reception, his first NFL score. There are several things wrong with reading too much into that one play, however. First, it was his only meaningful NFL touch of 21 he’s accumulated in two years as a pro. Second, he’s only touched the ball 21 times in two seasons, meaning he’s not exactly proven to be a reliable contributor so far. Third, it was a garbage time score in the fourth quarter of a game Washington was trailing 34-3. Finally, Dwayne Haskins threw him the ball and Dwayne Haskins is nowhere near ready to lead Washington out of the NFC East basement. I love the matchup against a Detroit team allowing nearly 27 FPts/G to opposing backs. I just don’t like the opposing back.

Quarterbacks | Running Backs | Wide Receivers