The running game was the closest thing to a positive that came out of Denver’s anemic offensive performance last week vs. the Chiefs. So, which of the Broncos’ top three running backs should be your choice to start on your fantasy football team this week? Let’s take a look.
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Fantasy Outlook for Javonte Williams This Week
While it’s impressive to see Javonte Williams back on the field after injuring his knee about a year ago, the facts are that he still hasn’t been able to match his play before his knee injury.
Williams is coming off a season-high-tying 52 rushing yards last week vs. the Chiefs on just 10 carries, so there that could be a sign he is heading in the right direction.
But Denver is still awaiting his first touchdown of the season. Williams hasn’t scored a touchdown since 2021, his rookie season — he finished with seven total scores that season.
Fantasy Outlook for Jaleel McLaughlin This Week
Jaleel McLaughlin stands alone among Denver running backs this season simply because he is the only one who has scored a rushing touchdown for the Broncos.
Of course, that did come in Week 2 vs. the Commanders and their woeful defense. And it was his only carry of that game.
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On the other hand, McLaughlin is getting more and more time on the field. In his last two games, McLaughlin has been on the field for 21 offensive snaps each game, both season highs. He has been on the field for at least 20% of the Broncos’ offensive snaps in each of the last four games.
Although he has been limited in his carries to this point — just 29 rush attempts all season — McLaughlin is averaging over six and a half yards per carry and over seven yards a carry over his last three games (170 rush yards on 23 carries).
Fantasy Outlook for Samaje Perine This Week
Samaje Perine’s best moment probably occurred in the Broncos’ season opener, when he rushed for 41 yards on eight carries, both season highs. He hasn’t come close to matching that production out of the backfield since.
Perine, who only saw the field for nine offensive snaps last week, does have the added element of pass-catching out of the position. He has twice as many receiving yards (184) as rushing yards (88) this season.
Which Vikings RB Should You Start?
McLaughlin is the player to start in the Pro Football Network Start/Sit Optimizer. His projected 9.9 points include 53 rushing yards, two receptions, and 13 yards. That doesn’t seem like a big stat line, but it outperforms the consensus projection for Javonte Williams (8.8 points) and Samaje Perine (7.4 points).
My ranking for the three Broncos running backs aligns with this projection. With more time on the field for McLaughlin, it’s only a matter of time before he starts getting more carries and, thus, more production.
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