Fantasy Football

Fantasy Football: Start or Sit Theo Riddick in Week 5?

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Going into the season, Riddick had a clearly defined role in the Jim Bob Cooter offense as a pass catching back out of the backfield. Ever since Ameer Abdullah went down mid-game and left a mess of a backfield with Riddick and rookie Dwayne Washington, Riddick has been getting fewer carries. The increased, and changed, the workload has had a deleterious effect on Riddick’s overall fantasy football production. The JBC offense was bordering on so prolific that Riddick had borderline standard scoring value. While his intense target volume keeps Riddick useful in PPR leagues, those in standard leagues should stay far away from him this week, and maybe for the season.

In the two games since Ameer Abdullah went down, the Lions have been forced to feed Riddick to the point that it is stifling the offense. He has 40 yards on 21 carries, meaning he is looking up at 2.0 yards per carry average without his backfield mate. This is leading to fewer meaningful opportunities for Riddick in the passing game. After going for 91 passing yards in the first two games of the season, Riddick went for just 66 in the last couple of games. His dismal rushing yards as the main back dropped his scrimmage yards from 86.5 yards per game to just 53 in the last two. He also hasn’t scored a touchdown this season without Ameer Abdullah, so you’re looking at just the yardage in a standard scoring league. That isn’t a winning proposition for Riddick, especially since Cooter revealed this week that with Dwayne Washington sidelined, he’s going to turn towards Zach Zenner for increased carries. Given that Zenner is realistically a hyper-athletic fullback, that means that Zenner, not Riddick, would be in line for any potential goal-line carries. This greatly limits Riddick’s upside.

Though when you consider the opponent, the Eagles, it’s hard to think of Riddick having much of an upside. The Eagles currently rank 31st in the NFL in fantasy points allowed to the running back. They are stingy with those points. Through their first three games (they got a week four bye), they allowed scant 53.7 yards to all backs combined, and only Isaiah Crowell went over 50 scrimmage yards this season. They are tough, and Jim Schwartz has them playing tough so far this year.

Riddick is not a good start this week. He is a terrible runner, the Lions needing to lean on him thanks to an injured Ameer Abdullah and an injured Dwayne Washington will lead to a stifled offense. He will also lose goal-line work to Zach Zenner and is playing one of the stingiest NFL squads against the run. Stay away.

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Robert D. Cobb
Founder, Publisher and CEO of INSCMagazine. Works have appeared and featured in places such as Forbes, Huffington Post, ESPN and NBC Sports to name a few. Follow me on Twitter at @RobCobb_INSC, email me at [email protected]