This was a bizarre week. Jay Ajayi was traded, Eddie Lacy was introduced as a starter and Ezekiel Elliott was lastly suspended (or WAS he?!).
Not surprisingly, questions concerning the backfields in Dallas, Miami, Philadelphia and Seattle have been coming into our inboxes, our social media channels, our telephones, even somebody knocked on my door on Halloween and requested me what I believed would occur.
So let’s put this multi function place — here is the low-down on every huge backfield state of affairs heading into Week 9.
Jerry Jones & Co. have persistently been sincere about their run recreation personnel. They put in Alfred Morris as the first backup after the preseason whereas making Darren McFadden inactive all season.
Heading into this week, Morris was the primary identify off the lips of Jones and coach Jason Garrett and received apply time with the first-team offense.
If that does not promote you on Morris being the lead man rather than Elliott, this may: Morris’ greatest runs this 12 months got here on performs that contain energy blocking by the offensive line. This is usually stuff the place one of many huge guys jumps off the snap and will get into place to dam downfield for his again.
It’s the energy of this offensive line and it suits Morris simply in addition to it suits McFadden. That’s an enormous change as a result of Morris was beforehand recognized for his success operating in a zone-blocking scheme. He nonetheless can try this too, and that versatility, mixed with an improved receiving skill-set, makes him a no brainer over McFadden. To boot, unheralded operating again Rod Smith has labored forward of McFadden with the second-team offense, so McFadden may not see a lot taking part in time quickly.
Morris ought to tee off in opposition to a Chiefs protection permitting over 5.zero yards per carry of their final 4 video games with a rush rating to a operating again in every of their final three. Start him as a No. 2 Fantasy operating again.
Ajayi’s departure will open the door for Kenyan Drake and Damien Williams to go Miami’s floor recreation. Coach Adam Gase has stated he plans to “maximize what they do well” — Drake is a speedy receiver whereas Williams performs with extra energy and leverage, and each can catch the ball. One may badume Drake might be on the sector on first- and second-downs whereas Williams takes on pbading downs and the goal-line position.
The actual key for Miami is its offensive line. None of the 5 starters have a constructive grade from Pro Football Focus on the season and the group is partially in charge for Ajayi’s poor begin. If they’ll coordinate themselves higher, the operating backs will profit. If not, then at the least Drake and Williams could make performs on the sides as go catchers and negate the road’s ineffectiveness altogether.
Week 9 brings a very good litmus check for the Dolphins as a result of the Raiders have been gradual to cease any operating again currently. Over the final 4 weeks, backs have averaged four.three yards per carry with three speeding scores in opposition to the Silver & Black. Drake and Williams are good bye-week fill-ins in all codecs.
Philadelphia’s teaching workers would not come out and say that Ajayi would turn out to be the workforce’s lead again, however LeGarrette Blount gave the impression of a person resigned to his destiny when he spoke with the media this week, aptly admitting that “I can only control what I can control.”
Blount is a bodily runner with out lots of burst. Ajayi can explode higher in a zone-blocking system just like the one the Eagles run. He’s additionally a extra proficient go catcher. The writing’s on the wall, and the Eagles did not hand over a fourth-round decide to provide Ajayi a handful of carries each week.
But we won’t count on Ajayi to slip proper into an enormous workload in Week 9, and even when he did he’d see a troublesome Broncos run protection. Figure that is Blount’s final likelihood at getting over a dozen carries in a recreation — proper into the tooth of one of many league’s hardest run defenses. The Eagles run recreation is unappealing in Week 9.
After the Denver recreation, the Eagles have a bye, so in Week 11 we should always see far more of Ajayi for Philadelphia. Playing behind a greater offensive line and in an excellent offense, we should always count on Ajayi to be extra environment friendly.
Seattle’s acquisition of Duane Brown to play left sort out will badist, however there are nonetheless main considerations over whether or not this squad can run the ball successfully. Part of the issue is who the Seahawks have at operating again — Thomas Rawls hasn’t seemed good in years, nor has Eddie Lacy. No one else on the roster is taken into account sturdy sufficient to deal with early downs.
Pete Carroll determined to provide Lacy an opportunity, saying we’re “going to see a lot of Eddie this week.” Somehow, he is getting the shot regardless of averaging 2.6 yards per stick with it the season with not more than 52 yards in a recreation. Carroll believes giving Lacy an opportunity to get right into a rhythm will badist him.
Perhaps most damning of all is that the Seahawks’ main rusher is nonetheless Chris Carson. The rookie hasn’t performed since Week four and nonetheless has extra rush yards (and carries) than another operating again on the workforce. That’s simply as a lot on the teaching workers as it’s their gamers. Until this modifications, no Seattle operating again is price trusting, not even Lacy in opposition to the Redskins this week.