Were Tony Pollard And Michael Carter’s Week 5 Performances Legit?

We are now five weeks into the 2022 fantasy football season and starting to get a better idea of what these teams are. Decisions will only get more difficult from here on out. Let’s take a look at our RB start/sit Week 6 plays.

Rhamondre Stevenson, New England Patriots (at CLE)

The Patriots opened the season with a three-man backfield. After Ty Montgomery went down, it became a two-man backfield. Last week, Damien Harris strained his hamstring, and we saw what happened afterward — it was the Rhamondre Stevenson show. He did not disappoint.

Stevenson played 90% of the offensive snaps and carried the ball 25 times for 161 yards. Sure, it was against the Lions’ sieve-like run defense, but I’m more concerned with the volume. Stevenson was used as a true workhorse.

Early reports on Harris are that he will miss multiple games. Stevenson has graduated into must-start territory.

It also doesn’t hurt that he gets a Browns defense allowing the fourth-most fantasy points to running backs. Cleveland is allowing 123.8 rushing yards per game to RBs and an average of a rushing touchdown per game.

The matchup is great. The player is great. There’s no Hulk Hogan in that Cleveland run defense. Rhamondre the Giant is ready to chokeslam the Browns in Week 6.

Kenneth Walker III, Seattle Seahawks (vs. ARI)

Not every backup taking over for an injured starter is worth starting. Kenneth Walker III is essentially a younger, faster version of Rashaad Penny. And that’s not meant to be a knock on Penny.

The Seahawks drafted Walker in the second round. He ran a 4.38 40-time and has a 96th-percentile speed score. Now, he’s set to take over as Seattle’s lead running back. Fantasy managers should expect him to see an even higher percentage of the carries than Penny did because he doesn’t have a Walker breathing down his neck.

MORE: Buy Low, Sell High Week 6

The Cardinals have actually been a pretty stout run defense. They’ve allowed the sixth-fewest fantasy points to running backs, and Walker also doesn’t have much in the way of receiving upside. Arizona’s opponents throw the ball to RBs at just a 12.7% clip, the second-lowest rate in the league. Additionally, Geno Smith throws to running backs 12.4% of the time, the third-lowest rate in the league.

With all that said, Walker needs to be in fantasy lineups. He carried the ball eight times for 88 yards last week and showed off his long speed on his 69-yard touchdown scamper. The Seahawks under Smith are one of the highest-scoring offenses in the league. Walker is a good bet to score a touchdown and return solid RB2 value this week.

Michael Carter, New York Jets (at GB)

Last week, Michael Carter had his best fantasy game of the season, scoring 17.3 PPR fantasy points. Fantasy managers may be inclined to try and chase that production, but I implore you to resist that temptation.

This is Breece Hall’s backfield. Hall out-carried Carter 18-10 and played 16 more snaps. It would’ve been even more lopsided, but the Jets went up big on the Dolphins late and gave Carter more burn.

The entirety of Carter’s production last week came from two one-yard touchdowns following long plays by Hall where he was just barely stopped short. Hall was also on the field for both of those plays; the ball just happened to go to Carter. If Hall scores both touchdowns, we’re talking about Carter posting five fantasy points.

This call is less about the matchup and more about Carter’s Week 5 being a mirage. He’s not a trustworthy option going forward.

Tony Pollard, Dallas Cowboys (at PHI)

The move with Tony Pollard is probably to just never start him the week after he has a big game. Last week, Pollard ripped off a really impressive 57-yard touchdown run where he evaded multiple tackles.

The thing with Pollard is he’s still just Ezekiel Elliott’s backup and is averaging about a 40% snap share. The reason many of us were high on Pollard was the notion that there would be a lot of ball to go around in a high-powered Cowboys offense. No such thing has been the case in the absence of Dak Prescott.

Prescott is likely to miss one more week. That means another week of Cooper Rush managing the game and Dallas trying to win with ball control and defense. Rush simply does not throw to running backs. Not even Zeke.

Pollard has one reception in his last three games. Elliott has three. Combined, the two have seen a 14% target share. Without any receiving work, Pollard’s only path to fantasy value is a splash play on one of his 8.8 carries per game. There’s just not enough work there to trust. Sit Pollard this week.

Katz has been playing fantasy football since 2003 and specializes in redraft. His favorite thing to do is consistently make the playoffs only to get bounced in heartbreaking fashion. You can follow him on Twitter: @jasonkatz13 and find more of his work here.

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