Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Fantasy Football Week 6 Running Back Rankings: How will the Dolphins replace De’Von Achane?

Before we get to the running back rankings for Week 6 of the Fantasy Football season, here are my thoughts on the Dolphins backfield in the wake of De’Von Achane’s injury, Zack Moss, Rhamondre Stevenson, and some of the biggest questions facing the position this week: 

Do the Dolphins still have two Fantasy-relevant running backs? 

De’Von Achane’s knee injury, which landed him on IR this week, is a huge blow for Fantasy players and for the Dolphins offense, which has been the league’s best at running the ball, in no small part thanks to Achane ripping off big gain after big gain en route to 454 yards on over 12 yards per carry over the past three weeks. He’ll be sidelined for at least the next four games, which leaves a massive hole in Miami’s backfield.

Raheem Mostert will fill most of that hole, and while he’s not on Achane’s level as an explosive playmaker, he brings plenty to the table himself; Mostert’s 43-yard touchdown run in Week 4 saw him hit 21.62 mph, the fastest time by any ball carrier this season except for Achane and, of course, Tyreek Hill. The Dolphins are plenty fast, even without Achane, though they’ll obviously miss him. And they’ve got another back coming back potentially as soon as Week 6 who brings some speed to the table himself.

Jeff Wilson isn’t on Mostert or Achane’s level, but he did have the fastest carry by a 49er last season. Wilson opened the season on IR due to an abdominal injury, but he’s returned to practice and might be cleared to play this week. It would be tough to trust him right away for Fantasy, but if he’s active, there are worse desperation starts than an RB who averaged 4.9 yards per carry last season and will be in one of the best offenses in the NFL. Keep an eye on his status, because Wilson could slide right in as a Fantasy starter. 

Is Zack Moss the Colts lead RB moving forward?

I’ll admit, I did not see Moss playing 80% of the snaps in Jonathan Taylor’s first game, but maybe we should have seen something like it coming. After all, Taylor’s practice reps last week were his first since last December, which means they were his first with new coach Shane Steichen and new QB Anthony Richardson. Taylor was healthy, but he may not have been fully up to speed, either physically due to conditioning or with the offense.

Of course, with Moss putting up 195 total yards Sunday, it gets a lot harder to just assume Taylor is going to come take that RB1 role from him. I think it will happen, certainly, but it might be more of a wait than expected. Moss has looked awesome as the lead back, including contributing more than expected as a pass-catcher, so we might be looking at a true committee here moving forward. Which might just make both of them worth starting. The Colts want to play fast, and they want to run the ball, and having two backs they trust could be just what they want. 

It just might not be what we want to see from Taylor, whose path to a top-five RB run looks more uncertain than it did after they announced his return. I’ll still bet on him getting close eventually, because he’s too talented a back to remain in a backup role for long. But he might be more like a top-20 RB at least for the next few weeks. But given how many of the RB2 class look untrustworthy right now, I might be inclined to just rank both as top-24 options in this offense. 

Is Rhamondre Stevenson just done as a useful Fantasy option? 

I am by no means buying stock in the Patriots offense right now because it seems extremely short on talent and schematic answers. But things won’t be this bleak forever. They’ve had a really tough schedule to open the season, and I’d bet their consecutive games with no touchdowns will be the rock-bottom point.

I’d still bet on it being a bottom-half offense the rest of the way, and probably a bottom-10 one too, but that would still represent a significant improvement. However, that’s not the only thing holding Stevenson back right now, as he’s also splitting work with Ezekiel Elliott a lot more than most expected. 

And that’s the part that might not change enough to save Stevenson’s role. I’m pretty confident that Stevenson is a better player than Elliott at this point in their careers, but he just hasn’t really shown it yet. The sooner he changes that, the sooner his role will grow; if you’re confident in Stevenson as a player, you should probably bet on him taking on a bigger share of the RB work than his 60% rush share and his 44% share of the RB targets. 

I’d start both members of the Dolphins and Colts backfields ahead of Stevenson this week; I’d start Jaleel McLaughlin over him, too, if Javonte Williams is out. I’d consider it with D’Onta Foreman and Brian Robinson, and potentially even Emari Demercado if James Conner and Keaontay Ingram are sidelined this week. But that still keeps Stevenson squarely in the RB3 range of the rankings, and I’d be willing to trust him over Jerome Ford against the 49ers, the Panthers backs, and any non-Saquon Barkley Giants option. Stevenson may never unlock that top-12 upside we hoped he would have, but better days are ahead if you want to buy low at his absolute low point. 

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Here are my full rankings for Week 6 at running back for PPR leagues:

Week 6 Running Back Rankings

  1. Christian McCaffrey @CLE
  2. Austin Ekeler vs. DAL
  3. Bijan Robinson vs. WAS
  4. Tony Pollard @LAC
  5. David Montgomery @TB
  6. Travis Etienne vs. IND
  7. Josh Jacobs vs. NE
  8. Alvin Kamara @HOU
  9. Derrick Henry vs. BAL
  10. Kenneth Walker @CIN
  11. Breece Hall vs. PHI
  12. Kyren Williams vs. ARI
  13. Rachaad White vs. DET
  14. Raheem Mostert vs. CAR
  15. D’Andre Swift @NYJ
  16. Joe Mixon vs. SEA
  17. James Cook vs. NYG
  18. Isiah Pacheco vs. DEN
  19. Zack Moss @JAX
  20. Dameon Pierce vs. NO
  21. Alexander Mattison @CHI
  22. Jonathan Taylor @JAX
  23. D’Onta Foreman vs. MIN
  24. Rhamondre Stevenson @LV
  25. Brian Robinson Jr. @ATL
  26. Jerome Ford vs. SF
  27. Gus Edwards @TEN
  28.   @MIA
  29. Chuba Hubbard @MIA
  30. Ezekiel Elliott @LV
  31. Javonte Williams @KC
  32. Jaleel McLaughlin @KC
  33. Keaontay Ingram @LAR
  34. Emari Demercado @LAR
  35. Kenneth Gainwell @NYJ
  36. Matt Breida @BUF
  37. Tyler Allgeier vs. WAS
  38. Tyjae Spears vs. BAL
  39. Justice Hill @TEN
  40. Jerick McKinnon vs. DEN
  41. Cam Akers @CHI
  42. Antonio Gibson @ATL
  43. Dalvin Cook vs. PHI
  44. Devin Singletary vs. NO
  45. Kareem Hunt vs. SF
  46. Samaje Perine @KC
  47. Clyde Edwards-Helaire vs. DEN
  48. Tank Bigsby vs. IND
  49. Chase Edmonds vs. DET
  50. Damien Harris vs. NYG
  51. Zach Charbonnet @CIN
  52. Joshua Kelley vs. DAL
  53. Craig Reynolds @TB
  54. Rico Dowdle @LAC
  55. Ameer Abdullah vs. NE
  56. Salvon Ahmed vs. CAR
  57. Chris Evans vs. SEA
  58. Kendre Miller @HOU
  59. Sean Tucker vs. DET
  60. Duece Vaughn @LAC

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