James Conner is still out, and Joshua Dobbs is making too many mistakes lately at quarterback. But the Cardinals remain committed to the run, so starting an Arizona RB in fantasy football isn’t a bad option. But which one is the question?
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Fantasy Outlook for Keaontay Ingram This Week
With Conner out last week, Keaontay Ingram had the most carries (10) and second-most rushing yards (40) vs. the Rams (Dobbs was the Cardinals’ leading rusher with 47).
For a player who was only on the field for 28 offensive snaps last week, Ingram got plenty of touches — 12, when you combine his two receptions for 11 yards. The fact that he was only on the field for 26 offensive snaps combined over his first three games seems to send a signal that he could be the Cardinals’ go-to back during Conner’s absence.
Up until last week, Ingram had not demonstrated that he could be a productive running back, averaging less than two yards a carry in his NFL career before last week (1.9). He also has just one career touchdown in 16 NFL games — Week 7 last year vs. the Saints.
Fantasy Outlook for Damien Williams This Week
With 99 career games and 344 career carries, Damien Williams represents the most experienced running back of this trio. Although primarily a backup — just 16 career starts — Williams has shown the ability to get in the end zone.
Prior to this season, Williams had scored 11 touchdowns over his previous four seasons (2018-22). At the same time, he’s a proven big-game player, with six touchdowns in six career playoff games, including one for the Chiefs in Super Bowl LIV.
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Williams made the most of his 13 offensive snaps last week, averaging over four yards a carry (4.5) in eight rush attempts (for 36 yards).
However, he hasn’t had to handle any sort of heavy workload in a long time. Williams has played in just two games since the start of the 2022 season, and it’s been over two years since he played in a game in which he received 10+ carries — 16 vs. the Raiders on Oct. 10, 2021.
Fantasy Outlook for Emari Demercado This Week
Over the last two weeks, Emari Demercado has been on the field — 77 offensive snaps — more than the other two backs have been on the field all season — 67 snaps.
Two weeks ago, the rookie out of TCU got his first legitimate shot to play against the Bengals, and he responded with 45 yards on 10 carries and his first career touchdown.
And although he was limited to just two carries last week, Demercado was still on the field a lot — 33 offensive snaps, to be exact. So, he is seeing plenty of time on the field with Conner out.
Which Cardinals RB Should You Start?
The good news is that the Cardinals are committed to the run, even with Conner out of the lineup. True, Dobbs is a threat to run the ball, especially of late — 22 carries over the last three games after just 12 rushing attempts in his first three games.
But the Cardinals want to run the ball, which means one or two (or three) of these running backs will get some carries.
While it may be a running-back-by-committee plan, if there is one to start, I would go with Demercado. The rookie has been trusted to be on the field a lot lately, and I don’t think he is going to be denied carries anymore if they keep putting him on the field.
Start Demercado, and if nothing else, your chances of getting fantasy points from a touchdown will likely increase.
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