Week 2 Start 'Em, Sit 'Em: Evaluating Running Backs Who Are Fighting for Touches

Andrew Gould@AndrewGould4Featured ColumnistSeptember 15, 2013

Sep 8, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; New York Giants running back David Wilson (22) fumbles the ball in the third quarter against Dallas Cowboys defensive tackle Nick Hayden (96) and linebacker Sean Lee (50) at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Getting a chance to succeed is half the battle for these NFL running backs with potential to become fantasy football superstars.

It doesn't matter how talented they areno rusher can put up numbers without the ball is his hands. 

These dynamic young rushers are all perfectly engineered to obtain fantasy glory, but their liabilities to their actual teams hinder their chances of helping their fake owners. Inability to pass-block and hold on tight to the football have limited their opportunities, but they should not be forgotten so quickly.

Frustrated managers will have tough decisions to make with these guys this Sunday. They may not get many carries, but it will only take one breakaway run to regret leaving one of them on the bench.


David Wilson (vs. Denver Broncos)

If only running backs wore glue on their gloves and didn't need to protect the quarterback.

With Ahmad Bradshaw gone to Indianapolis, the path cleared for David Wilson to become the main man in New York. After averaging 5.0 yards per carry in his rookie year, the speedster certainly deserved it.

The fumbling issues were overblown, as Wilson did not cough the ball up once after dropping the first carry of his career, which immediately placed him in Tom Coughlin's doghouse. 

That was until last weekend, where he lost the ball twice before getting summoned to the sideline. He finished with just 19 yards, which means he scored negative points for most fantasy gamers.

But Wilson feels just awful for ruining your team's week...wait, what's that? Oh, apparently he could not care less.

Nevertheless, the Giants lost Andre Brown during the preseason and can't possibly be planning on heavily using Brandon Jacobs in the 31-year-old's second go-around with the G-Men. They need Wilson as much as your team needs Wilson, so start him unless you have a really good alternative.

We're watching, David. Don't make us regret it.

Verdict: Start


Giovani Bernard (vs. Pittsburgh Steelers)

As one of the many people who spent the offseason tooting Giovani Bernard's horn, it hurt to see him get four carries during his professional debut.

The explosive rookie squeezed out 22 rushing yards on those attempts while BenJarvus Green-Ellis registered 25 yards on 14 carries. The veteran can keep the goal-line touches, but Bernard gets all the other yardage. Wasn't that the agreement?

How much longer will the rookie take a backseat to a veteran who averaged 3.9 yards per carry last season? Eventually the more talented back will receive a higher usage rate, but neither is a particularly pretty option this Monday night.

The Bengals face the Steelers, who boasted the league's second-best rushing defense in 2012 and limited Chris Johnson to 70 yards on 25 carries last Sunday. If Johnson couldn't produce with a full workload, Bernard won't get much done with less than half of the team's touches.

Those who have him shouldn't start him this week, but those who don't own him should try to buy low if he finishes with another lackluster scoring line.

Verdict: Sit


Lamar Miller (at Indianapolis Colts)

Three yards. How comfortable are we starting a guy who ran for three yards during Week 1?

If only he was afforded one handoff, but Miller ran for three yards on 10 carries. That's 0.9 feet per carry.

While Cleveland sports a capable defense overlooked due to its offensive futility, Miller made some poor decisions that highlighted his inexperience. Bleacher Report's Alessandro Miglio tweeted a telling photo of a missed opportunity.

Like Wilson, Miller is a supremely talented runner with mega big-play upside, but he's still inconsistent and a weak pass-blocker. But he rushed for 250 yards on 51 carries during his rookie season, giving the Miami Dolphins confidence to let Reggie Bush walk.

After drafting Miller as a No. 2 back, owners are lucky if they have another worthwhile rusher to insert into the starting lineup. Since the Colts allowed 171 rushing yards last week, Miller deserves another chance.

Verdict: Start