So far this year, Isaiah Crowell is the #19 running back in fantasy football, a stat that would likely surprise you if you heard it. Going into the season, there was a big fear that he would be stuck in a massive timeshare with Duke Johnson that would lead both down the path of fantasy irrelevance. While they are in a committee, it has not damaged Crowell’s fantasy value. He’s a top-twenty back, which makes him a weekly start on a per-game basis.[embedit snippet=”jeff-ads”]
Crowell gets a ton of the work in Cleveland, getting twelve fantasy points or more in five of his eight games this season, mostly on the back of his five touchdowns. He and Johnson are very much splitting the load this season, but Crowell is doing enough with his part of it to get his owners fantasy football production. However, his per-touch real-life football production isn’t that effective recently (2.89 yards per attempt over his last four games). That means that you’re banking on Crowell getting that touchdown carry. He’s the only guy the Browns can trust within the five, so he gets the chance to punch it in about as frequently as you can expect a back on the Browns to be getting opportunities within the five.
The return of Josh McCown throws a wrench in that plan, as he is by far the best quarterback out of the billion they have started this season. That means that when the ball gets close, it will likely be Gary Barnidge and Terrelle Pryor getting goal-line opportunities, and fewer chances for Crowell.
While Crowell has been able to rack up fantasy points this season taking advantage of the opportunity, this week is not a great game to rely on him to get a touchdown. The Browns are going up against a Dallas squad that has given up the second-fewest fantasy points per game to running backs, and have given up mostly pedestrian efforts against them this year. Crowell is a difficult start to get into your lineup, especially given how many better options there is this week that has been available on the wire recently. If Crowell is your only option to slot into your RB2 slot, you could do worse, but he doesn’t have a high upside. That limited upside means that if you have one of the mid-season upstarts like Terrance West or Tim Hightower, I will go with them over Crowell. He’s a solid floor, low ceiling RB2 option.