Jackie Battle: Fantasy Owners Must Start Chargers Backup RB vs. Saints

Patrick ClarkeCorrespondent IOctober 2, 2012

September 30, 2012; Kansas City, MO, USA; San Diego Chargers running back Jackie Battle (44) runs in for a touchdown as Kansas City Chiefs outside linebacker Justin Houston (50) defends in the second quarter at Arrowhead Stadium. The Chargers won 37-20. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-US PRESSWIRE

If you were surprised to discover that San Diego Chargers' backup running back Jackie Battle turned out a top-five fantasy effort in Week 4 vs. the Kansas City Chiefs, then you are not alone.

But before you go researching Jackie Battle, just know that he is must-start this weekend vs. the New Orleans Saints

One week after earning just three carries against the Atlanta Falcons, Battle burst back onto the scene despite starting RB Ryan Mathews making his second straight appearance for the Bolts. Battle would finish the game with 15 carries for 39 yards and a touchdown as well as four receptions for 42 yards and another score. 

If Battle made it look easy against the Chiefs, then finding the end zone will be effortless against the Saints in Week 5. Not only does New Orleans rank dead last in the NFL this season defending the run, but it also ranks 24th against the pass.

The Saints are 0-4 for good reason. They are allowing nearly 187 yards per game on the ground and another 277 through the air every week. It's safe to say that both Mathews and Battle will have their fair share of chances to score on Sunday night.

Think about this: New Orleans allowed 4.7 yards per carry from Green Bay Packers' running back Cedric Benson in Week 4. And Benson was averaging just 3.1 yards per rush coming into last week and is still averaging just 3.6 yards per carry this season. 

It would be foolish to bench Battle this weekend against the Saints. They are completely discombobulated defensively and show no signs of improving before kickoff in Week 5. 

Sure, Mathews could see more carries against New Orleans, and that means less for Battle, but that doesn't matter when you consider that the first-year Charger is averaging a touchdown per every nine touches this season.

That statistic stands out more than any other in my opinion and bodes well for Battle owners as their star eyes a showdown with one of the NFL's worst defenses (possibly the worst defense) this weekend in the Superdome.


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