Fantasy Football Believe It or Not: Roster Ravens running backs, drop Laviska Shenault, go get Miles Sanders

As we head into Week 7, and the first ‘byenado’ of the season (six teams are on a buy) difficult decisions may have to be made. We’re going to have to drop players we don’t want to in the name of setting a complete lineup. At the same time, we may have to roster running backs we don’t want to, in the name of trying to find a starting running back. That conflict itself will lead to some interesting roster moves. Factor in all the backup running backs and the Week 7 waiver wire is going to be very interesting. Let’s get started by looking at what we should, and shouldn’t believe from Week 6.

Darrel Williams is a must-start RB for as long as Clyde Edwards-Helaire is out

The Case: One of the biggest positives to come out of Week 6 was Williams’ role in his first game without Edwards-Helaire. Williams saw 21 carries (75% of the team’s rush attempts) and four targets. Meanwhile, Jerick McKinnon had just four total touches. Williams looks to be a workhorse back in one of the best offenses in football. Start him with confidence for as long as the Chiefs do.

The Verdict: Believe it.

The poll results below make it seem obvious, but I think it’s worth remembering that we did not view Edwards-Helaire as a must-start running back. The difference is that Williams plays more on passing downs and in short yardage than Edwards-Helaire did. Especially at this time of year, any running back dominating touches like Williams did in Week 6 is a must-start option. 

It’s time to buy low on Miles Sanders

The Case: Forgot about Sanders because he played on Thursday night? It’s time to remember. For the second week in a row, Sanders dominated playing time for the Eagles at running back, with an 83% snap share. Because he was playing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, that didn’t turn into Fantasy production, but Sanders’ 56 yards on nine carries was impressive nonetheless. The next three weeks he gets the Raiders, Lions, and Chargers.

You should be trying to acquire him everywhere.

The Verdict: Believe it.

It’s been a very frustrating start to the year for anyone who drafted Sanders. He still hasn’t scored a touchdown and he has single-digit carries in half of his games. But his snap share has trended in the right direction two weeks in a row, and Sanders is playing far too well for that trend to reverse. 

The Eagles’ third-year back is averaging 4.7 yards per carry and his 5.7 rush attempts per broken tackle rank second best in the league. Even his role hasn’t been quite as bad as the way it’s been talked about. He’s averaging nearly four targets per game and one of the three players on the team with a higher target share just got traded to the Arizona Cardinals

With Sanders’ efficiency, his recent dominance of snaps, and his upcoming schedule, it should surprise no one if he’s a top-12 running back for the next month. Go get him before the breakout.

With the Jaguars on a bye in Week 7, Laviska Shenault is droppable

The Case: There are six teams, including the Jaguars, on a bye in Week 7. It’s going to be really difficult to hold all the Fantasy relevant players on those teams. And Shenault hasn’t done enough to be one of those you hold. Week 6 was just the third time this season he’s scored double-digit Fantasy points and he’s still without a touchdown. Heading into Monday Night Football, he’s WR46 on the season. That’s not someone that everyone else is rushing to add. 

The Verdict: Don’t believe it.

Everything above is true, but I still don’t want to drop Shenault. In fact, being WR46 without a touchdown is almost a point in his favor. With a more normal touchdown distribution, he’d be WR36 after the first six weeks of the season.

Trevor Lawrence is a rookie-quarterback, who we should expect to improve as the season goes on, and I have hopes that Lawrence will take a mini-leap over his bye. Shenault is the clear No. 2 in this passing game with a 19% target share and Jacksonville plays at Seattle coming off their bye. That is a great defense to get going against.

I know we’re going to make difficult decisions over the next few days, and some of you may have to drop Shenault to field a lineup, but I’m trying to hold him and I’ll be trying to add him wherever he is dropped. This is especially true for my team’s above .500 as Shenault gets the Texans and the Jets in the Fantasy playoffs.

Latavius Murray, Devonta Freeman, & Le’Veon Bell all need to be rostered

The Case: If it is clarity you’re looking for heading into the byes, Baltimore is not the place to look for it. Devonta Freeman, Latavius Murray, Le’Veon Bell, and Lamar Jackson all had either eight or nine carries in Week 6. Murray, Freeman, and Bell all scored touchdowns. To further complicate things, Murray left the game with an injury, but John Harbaugh does not believe it’s serious.

With this much uncertainty on an offense that is this good, we just need to roster all of the Ravens running backs until further notice.

The Verdict: Believe it.

I want to clarify, I don’t want you to go add all the Ravens running backs on the waiver wire. I’m simply saying they should all be rostered in most 12-team leagues. I understand you’re going to have to prioritize them. That’s not very easy. 

The last one is easy. Bell needs to be rostered just in case he ends up as the 1B in a two-man backfield, but he’s well behind Murray and Freeman. Separating those two is more difficult. Freeman has looked more explosive the past two weeks and much better in the passing game. But Murray is still getting more work…for now. I wouldn’t drop Murray for Freeman, but I really want to have both and I wouldn’t be surprised at all if Freeman was the best Ravens’ back rest of season. If I didn’t need a starter this week, I would choose Freeman over Murray, because there appears to be more upside there.

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