FANTASY PLAYS: Time to unload Howard, Murray?
Last week most people in the fantasy football community were down on Jordan Howard and DeMarco Murray. Both running backs were limited in practice all week with injuries and both were questionable to play Week 3. Not only did both play, but they finished the week as Top 12 running backs.
Howard finished Week 3 with the second most fantasy points among running backs in PPR leagues. He rushed the ball 23 times for 138 yards and scored two touchdowns. He also added five catches for a total of 28 touches, which was tied for the third most among backs for the week. His 23 carries were the fifth most among backs which was certainly surprising considering he was seen with his shoulder in a sling after Week 2. He was also seen nursing his shoulder on the sidelines during the Chicago Bears’ Week 3 win. Howard’s stock will never be higher and after this Thursday’s game against the Green Bay Packers, he gets the Minnesota Vikings, Baltimore Ravens and Carolina Panthers. Those are three very good run defenses. Fantasy owners have to be concerned with the shoulder and they should see what they could get for him. Sell now and try to get RB1 value in return or maybe a wideout and lower-end running back two.
As for Murray, his 115 rushing yards and touchdown on 14 carries gave him 19 Fantasy Points. A big chunk of the 115 yards came on a 75-yard touchdown run. That was encouraging to see, but there still are some concerns with Murray’s health as he has dealt with a hamstring injury most of the season, including preseason. There’s also this Derrick Henry kid, who looks good when he hits the football field. Henry had a career day in Week 2 and touched the ball 14 times (one fewer than Murray) in Tennessee’s Week 3 win over Seattle. Like Howard, Murray owners should see what they can get for him. This was by far his best performance of the season and again, most of those yards came on that one play. This backfield is looking more and more like a split as the weeks go on.
LeSean McCoy has 30 rushing yards on 26 attempts in his last two football games. Those are ugly numbers for a back who was taken with the first few picks in your fantasy football draft. I chalk the poor performances up to tough matchups. The Panthers and Broncos are tough teams to run on, especially when you can’t get your offense going through the air. There is a positive here with McCoy, and that’s the fact he has 18 receptions for 173 yards. The 18 catches are the second most among running backs and the 10th most in the NFL. If you are playing in PPR formats, approach a McCoy owner, chances are he’s unhappy with his output so far and he could be had in a trade.
Terrelle Pryor Sr., where are you? Many had this guy inside their Top 20 at the position heading into the season and it’s looking like a mistake. Pryor enjoyed a nice breakout campaign last year in Cleveland, but he has not been on the same page with his new quarterback Kirk Cousins in Washington, and he’s unstartable at the moment. That doesn’t mean you can’t try to acquire him. Wait until after Washington plays in Kansas City this week, because I’m expecting another dud performance from Pryor and then he’ll be on the bye week. Most Pryor owners will be fed up by then and with San Francisco, Philadelphia and Dallas coming up on the schedule, things could look up for him. You have to remember, this is a new offense in Washington, not only for him, but for Cousins. He lost two 1,000 yard wideouts through free agency and his offensive coordinator. It’ll take some time for the two to get on the same page, and it may just happen after the bye week. Pryor’s stock will never be as low as it is right now. Actually, it may be even lower after this week. He has four catches in his last two games.
Maybe you can trade Sammy Watkins for him? That may seem crazy to say after Watkins just put up a two touchdown game with 106 yards last Thursday against the 49ers. That game was nice and all, and Sammy has been pretty productive through three games this season. He has caught 13 of the 14 balls thrown his way for 194 yards. He also has a juicy matchup this week against the Dallas Cowboys, but then it gets really tough for Watkins. After Dallas, the Rams face the Seahawks, Jaguars, Cardinals, Giants, Texans, Vikings, Saints, Cardinals, Eagles and the Seahawks again. There are only two easy games for Watkins there, Philly and New Orleans. The rest of the teams have top corners which should give Watkins fits. Also, who’s to say Sammy will be healthy for those games? He’s had a long list of injuries over his short career. Let Watkins rack up a few more points this week, then sell high before those tough match ups, and shoot even higher than Terrelle Pryor Sr.
This column was provided to The Associated Press by the Fantasy Sports Network, http://FNTSY.com