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Fantasy news & notes: Return of the running backs

IT'S A RUNNING BACK REVIVAL!!!!!!!! ... I mean not for the season obviously, but at least for Week 10

A number of good backs could see their return just as fantasy managers need them to push towards the fake playoffs. Carlos Hyde, Doug Martin, Dion Lewis, and James Starks all could (but the way the season is going, probably won't) be available Sunday.

With that, let's get to it:

NEWS: Carlos Hyde (shoulder) told reporters there were no setbacks this week and that there was "a good chance" he plays Sunday on the road versus Arizona. The only problem? He was also in a non-contact jersey until Thursday. He tested the shoulder Friday on hitting sleds.

- Fantasy spin: You can excuse fantasy managers if they're not totally convinced Hyde will be a full-go game day. Having optimism about playing is great and all, but being in a non-contact jersey is a major red flag. If he's active, you almost have to play him given his talent and the volume of touches he'd see, but Hyde could easily re-aggravate the injury at any point in the game. Not only is his health a concern but it's a horrible matchup as well. The Arizona defense gives up the fifth-fewest fantasy points per game to running backs this season.

- Bottom line: It sounds like Hyde should be good to go, but keep a close eye on the injury reports. If Hyde suffers some kind of pregame setback DuJuan Harris is a solid RB2 option. Harris has been running hard and decisively and will continue to see volume if Hyde is out again.

NEWS: Doug Martin (hamstring) was back at practice Thursday in a limited capacity after partaking in just individual drills Wednesday. He's been out since Week 2. Martin's status for Sunday's home tilt against Chicago is still unclear and was deemed a game-time decision. Martin himself said he's optimistic but coach Dirk Koetter sounded unsure and said Martin's availability would be up to the trainers. In other Tampa Bay news, Mike Evans was cleared from the concussion protocol and will play Sunday.

- Fantasy spin: Martin was glossed with the dreaded "game-time decision" tag. If he suffers any kind of setback and isn't able to go, Peyton Barber and Mike James would fill in with Barber likely to see the lion's share of the carries. In terms of the matchup, Chicago's overall defense isn't good by any stretch of the imagination but the run defense has been solid. They've limited opposing backs to just 3.73 yards per carry and are surprisingly the fourth-stingiest to fantasy running backs.

- Bottom line: If Martin is a go, play him despite the bad paper matchup. Tampa, especially at home, will move the ball and give the artist formerly known as the Muscle Hamster some good opportunities to punch in scores. And play Mike Evans with extreme confidence.

NEWS: Dion Lewis returned to practice and, according to beat reporter Jeff Howe, Lewis is actually on track to play Sunday versus the Seahawks.

- Fantasy spin: While Lewis is absolutely worth an add and stash, playing him Sunday is a big-time gamble. Seattle's run defense is obviously terrific, Lewis himself hasn't played a game in over a calendar year and LeGarrette Blount has been running really well. All of this means the team doesn't have a need to rush Lewis into a massive work load.

- Bottom line: Pick up Lewis for sure but deploying him this week is not advisable. The Patriots have the Niners next week making Lewis an extremely strong play.

NEWS: Jarvis Landry hurt his shoulder Wednesday and sat out of practice Thursday. Adam Gase says he's day-to-day. Right now, Landry's status on the road against San Diego doesn't appear in doubt but obviously keep an eye on injury reports.

- Fantasy spin: Landry's numbers have fallen off a cliff recently. He posted a 33-yard game last week and has just one 90-plus yard receiving day in his last five games. The team has instead relied heavily on the ground game (see: Jay Ajayi) while de-emphasizing the passing game. Landry's Week 10 opponent, the Chargers, have been more than capable versus fantasy wide receivers despite losing Jason Verrett, with a middle-of-the-pack ranking in terms of fantasy points allowed. If Landry plays, and it sounds likely that he will, temper expectations. He is a WR3/flex play at best considering he's averaging 75 yards per game with only one touchdown on the season.

- Bottom line: If for some reason Landry can't play, deep sleeper Jakeem Grant is listed as next up on the depth chart in terms of slot receivers. Grant is a big-time speed merchant and subsequently his fantasy value will be tied directly to whether or not he can take one of the few targets he'll see to the house.

NEWS: Randall Cobb (hamstring) was limited in practice again this week and will have "no limitations" on Sunday. In other Green Bay news, James Starks is coming back from knee surgery, practiced this week and is expected to play in some capacity this Sunday on the road versus the Titans.

- Fantasy spin:Ty Montgomery has been one of the most interesting players in fantasy this year going from undrafted to getting a handful of snaps at running back to creating a full-on fantasy firestorm on whether he should be RB eligible. And now the saga continues as Starks is set to return. It would be foolish to expect Starks to handle every down this week and moving forward but there is no question he will reduce Montgomery's opportunities in the backfield. Montgomery will still be on the field a lot but now as a part-time running back and a part-time third wide receiver. It all adds up to mean Montgomery could be a volatile week-to-week play moving forward.

- Bottom line: Montgomery's value won't be any higher than it is right now and I'd recommend you trade him. For those of you who play in leagues where Montgomery has RB eligibility, this should be even easier. Target a top-20-ish wide receiver. And yes, play Cobb but watch the injury report like a hawk pregame.

NEWS: Jeremy Maclin missed practice all week with a groin injury. He re-aggravated the injury after just taking two snaps in Week 9. It's extremely unlikely he will play Sunday in what is a pretty good matchup versus Carolina.

- Fantasy spin: There will be a lot of ink spilled about Tyreek Hill and Albert Wilson but don't be surprised if Chris Conley is the primary beneficiary here. Conley played on 88 percent of the team's snaps last week, tops among Kansas City wide receivers. His four targets were the lowest of the group, but the team leader in Week 9, Albert Wilson, only had eight. It's a relatively equitable split that could easily flip. Conley is a terrific athlete facing a Panthers team that has been repeatedly burned by big plays over the top this year and currently allows the fourth-most fantasy points per game to wide receivers.

- Bottom line: If you like living dangerously and want to go full YOLO on a boom-or-bust play at wideout, Conley is your guy.

Other news and notes:Tevin Coleman (hamstring) and Jacob Tamme (shoulder) have officially been ruled out for the Falcons road game against the Eagles. Austin Hooper has shown to be a good athlete and had 46 yards and a touchdown last week. He's a good upside play at tight end for those of you in need.

Lamar Miller is still recovering from his shoulder injury. He was a limited participant in practice Thursday but is expected to get a full load Sunday on the road against Jacksonville. It's an OK matchup on paper. The Jags allow 3.93 yards per carry and have allowed the 17th-most fantasy points per game to running backs.

DeSean Jackson (shoulder) missed practice this week and was listed as doubtful for Sunday. You weren't likely playing him anyways versus Minnesota.

Travis Benjamin (knee) missed practice Wednesday and Thursday and sounds doubtful for Sunday's home game against the Dolphins. Tyrell Williams was practicing though and should be good to go.

Ladarius Green practiced this week and took reps with the Steelers starting unit and is reportedly set to play Sunday. Stash him in deeper leagues if you're desperate at the position. He probably won't be a good play this week but has interesting upside in Week 11 and 12 considering Pittsburgh takes on Cleveland and Indy in back-to-back weeks.

DeAngelo Williams reportedly had knee surgery and will miss the next two to three weeks according to Steelers beat reporter Mark Kaboly and confirmed by NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport. If you were holding on to D-Will as a handcuff, feel free to let him go.

Want more fantasy news and notes? Follow James Koh on Twitter: @JamesDKoh

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