Thanks to injuries, inconsistency and some new faces on the scene, several backfields around the NFL are getting a little shakeup today. While defenses may end up guessing who will carry the load, fantasy owners likely face the same dilemma.
For instance, Eagles starter Jordan Howard is dealing with a shoulder injury and has not been cleared for contact. Howard is not expected to play Sunday against the New England Patriots, a source said, which means Miles Sanders and Boston Scott should see the majority of snaps. But it also indicates that newly signed Jay Ajayi, who came on board officially on Friday, will suit up. He's slated to get carries, as well.
Ajayi hasn't played this season, as he's recovered from an ACL tear, but he's got fresh legs at a time when few have them. The scheme is the same, so he should ease back in smoothly with a few tweaks.
As for the Arizona Cardinals, coach Kliff Kingsbury has said it will be running back by committee, given the recent struggles by franchise back David Johnson. He had five rushes for two yards last week before getting pulled.
Sources say that while it's unclear who the actual starter will be, Kenyan Drake should receive the bulk of the carries and touches. Kingsbury has indicated he wants to get Drake going, and his style fits the offense perfectly. Johnson could be relegated to a backup-type role for now.
Meanwhile, the Washington Redskins welcome back Derrius Guice into their backfield. The Week 1 starter, who has missed the bulk of the season following knee surgery, should get carries today, as well. But Adrian Peterson is still expected to be the starter, a source said. It's likely that Guice gets his carries and catches on third down to begin with. His role could grow, but it won't end up with Peterson being inactive like it was when Jay Gruden was still the coach.
The Denver Broncos have split running back totes this season, but NFL Network's Tom Pelissero notes Phillip Lindsay is expected to receive most of the carries against the Minnesota Vikings and going forward.