Fantasy Football Mailbag: Wednesday 11/16/16

Fantasy football research never stops, and roles change drastically from one week to the next. That's where our fantasy football mailbag comes into play.

Have a question about a certain player, team, strategy, or anything football? Shoot us a question on Twitter or send an email to, and we can talk anything fantasy football related -- even daily fantasy football.

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Now, let's answer some questions.

Email submission from Richard Hamilton:

I have been offered both LeGarrette Blount AND Melvin Gordon for Ezequiel Elliot. I am currently in 1st place and the current 2nd place team is making this offer. We play each other this week. Our league has its playoffs during the 15th and 16th weeks. Other than this weeks game against SF, I don't like Blount's schedule, but Gordon's schedule looks great other than the bye this week. Both Elliot (TB and Det) and Gordon (Oak and Cle) have great playoff matchups. I also have McCoy, Ajayi, and Ware as RBs. Should I go for this deal?

Whew, that is quite the haul. You obviously have solid depth at running back to begin with, so you don't necessarily need to add two new backs to the fold. But if we're trying to bank on upside, the Melvin Gordon and LeGarrette Blount side of this holds an edge.

High-upside fantasy assets are those who get touches near the goal line. No running back in football has more rushes in the red zone this year than Gordon at 52. To get to second place, you have to slide all the way down to two guys who have 37. One of those guys is -- drum roll -- Blount. Ezekiel Elliott is a complete freak, but he falls behind here with 27 red-zone rushes, ceding six to Dak Prescott and five to Alfred Morris.

If we look even closer to the goal line, Gordon and Blount also are the top two guys in the league in carries inside the 10 with 28 and 23, respectively. And -- you guessed it -- they have the most rushes inside the five-yard line with 16 and 13, respectively. If we're looking for pure touchdown upside, there may not be two running backs in football better than these guys. Elliott versus Gordon straight up the rest of the way would be an interesting discussion, but the addition of Blount puts it over the top.

Richard is right in that Blount's schedule isn't great. However, what we want to focus on with the New England Patriots is Vegas. If they're favored, they'll be able to score points and give Blount opportunities for huge games. They have a solid shot of being favorites in every game the rest of the season, and that's enough to make Blount a solid rest-of-season option.

Email submission from Keenan Bates:

I'm now at 5-5 and holding onto the 4th and final play-off spot with 4 games left in the regular season. Time to lock down my spot and keep the momentum going. I'm trying to decide on my RB2 for this week. Here are my options. RB2: S. Ware, F. Gore, D. Martin (Ware has the best match-up, on paper, but wanted to get your thoughts as well).

With running backs, we always want to check out a guy whose team is favored, and Spencer Ware has that with the Kansas City Chiefs favored by seven points over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. However, there are other factors at play here, and they may make Frank Gore the more desirable option.

First, the Chiefs' matchup is a bit tough here. The Buccaneers rank 15th against the run, according to numberFire's schedule-adjusted metrics, and that includes time they were without star defensive tackle Gerald McCoy. McCoy's back, and with Chiefs left guard Parker Ehinger out for the season, McCoy could be a force this week.

Second, Gore's matchup really doesn't have those same concerns. The Tennessee Titans rank 20th against the rush, and the Indianapolis Colts are three-point favorites at home. Their implied team total is 27.75, a good bump up from the Chiefs' mark of 25.5. With guard Jack Mewhort expected to return to the lineup this week, Gore's situation may be better than it looks on paper.

It's never easy to sit exciting guys like Ware or Doug Martin for an old plodder like Gore. But as Gore has shown this year, his fantasy stock is still stupidly high because of his offense. It's hard to blame anyone for picking Ware over Gore here, but we shouldn't be down on the old man just yet.

As we've been reminded countless times throughout the season, we don't want to overreact based on what coaches say. They lie all the time, and acting on this alone can lead us down a bad path.

But decisions on roster personnel are different. And with the Seattle Seahawks' waiving of Christine Michael on Tuesday night, our confidence in Thomas Rawls can go up a bit.

Head coach Pete Carroll said earlier this week that Rawls is "practicing to play this week," and Week 11 has been the targeted return for a while. Although we don't yet know his workload, we can reasonably assume he'll be active on Sunday.

For fantasy, it'll be best to temper expectations on Rawls early on and try to avoid starting him this week if possible. C.J. Prosise proved himself to be more than competent as a runner in Week 10, so he can allow the team to ease Rawls back into the mix. But if you're in a desperate spot and need to plug someone in, Michael's release opens the door for Rawls to have a role right away, even if he isn't necessarily splitting work evenly with Prosise from the jump.

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