Outside the Huddle: Week 3

Fantasy football suggestions for when you face the player who hasn’t yet figured out why Le’Veon Bell had zero points last weekend.

Okay, the Raiders D/ST once again scored -1 points, Carson Wentz was 25th among quarterbacks in scoring, Gronk had 1 target, and DeSean Jackson managed 64 yards on 6 catches, so it’s safe to say you can trust the process. With a shortened offseason and little game-speed preparation, now is when the big injuries start to hit, and this weekend either ruined your league or had you licking your chops at future matchups. We lost some big-name running backs in recent weeks with Bell and Marlon Mack going down early. Saquon Barkley’s season is done with a torn ACL, which triggered wails from Happy Valley where Penn Staters still suffer PTSD from Ki-Jana Carter and Curtis Enis. Raheem Mostert sprained an MCL, and Christian McCaffrey suffered a high ankle sprain, which means both are likely out multiple weeks.

Sometimes, fantasy titles are won and lost in the waiver wire trenches, and this is a week that could define the rest of your season as breakout stars move up the depth chart and carry the load for running back-minded offenses. But fantasy success isn’t just about getting the players you want, it’s bragging about the players you don’t want so your opponents burn a buy-in and you can steal Mike Davis, Devonta Freeman, or Jerick McKinnon.

Here’s the running backs you should be selling for Week 3:

Latavius Murray, New Orleans Saints (@ Green Bay)

Latavius Murray may go down as one of my greatest pickups in 2015 when he became the starting running back for a bad Oakland Raiders team and ran for over 1,000 yards. I still lost in the first round of the playoffs because my Matt Ryan-Julio Jones combo put up a goose egg against the Carolina Panthers, but that didn’t deter me from nabbing Murray again in 2017 when the Minnesota Vikings parted ways with Adrian Peterson and his questionable parental disciplinary procedures. Then I lost in the first round again when Drew Brees played his worst game of the season against the sorry Buccaneers. But now Murray plays behind Alvin Kamara, who’s ranked number 1 among running backs, just secured a new contract extension, flaunted a new sparkly mouthguard, and is pretty much every NFL defense’s worst matchup. Murray had five touches last game against his former team and is the 43rd ranked running back according to ESPN. 

Your angle: Murray will be the next man up if Kamara goes down.

Jordan Howard, Miami Dolphins (@ Jacksonville Thursday Night)

A year and half after the Eagles won their first Super Bowl in franchise history, packing downtown Philadelphia with over a million fans, some who claimed their lives complete and prepared wills and deathbed confessionals, they signed Jordan Howard as a power back after Howard rushed for over 1,000 yards in two of his first three seasons. Howard had a decent start in Doug Pederson’s committee backfield but was outplayed by rookie Miles Sanders then suffered an injured shoulder that kept him out the rest of the season. Howard, now with the Dolphins, rushed for 11 yards on 13 carries in the first two weeks, and Myles Gaskin is on the rise due to his ability to catch passes. Howard is likely going to become a second or third option, more so in short yardage situations.

Your angle: Who needs yards and receptions when your goal line back scores two touchdowns?

LeSean McCoy, Kansas City Chiefs (@ Baltimore)

LeSean McCoy was a top-five featured back in the NFL the first six seasons of his career. And then Chip Kelly showed up with his protein shakes, self-inflicted wounds, and his overall awkward interpretation of team culture and shipped McCoy to Buffalo where he had two more Pro Bowl seasons before a rapid decline. Now in his second season with the Chiefs, McCoy is behind Clyde Edwards-Helaire, who had his own breakout performance in the season opener against the Houston Texans. McCoy is now competing for garbage plays with Darrel Williams and had 1 carry for -5 yards and 6 catches for 28 yards in last week’s Chiefs win over the Chargers. Unfortunately, McCoy has reached a point in his career where his meager wait staff tips are higher than his points total.

Your angle: If AP can still get it done at 35 then McCoy can do it at 32.

Greg Oldfield’s stories have appeared in Hobart, Carve, Barrelhouse, and Maudlin House, among others. He also writes about soccer for the Florida Cup and the Brotherly Game and often rambles about soccer on Twitter. 

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