You can question the move all you want, but if Bibbs is indeed going to approach or pass a 50 percent share of the touches in this backfield, he is squarely on our radars. The Broncos travel to the Superdome where not only do the Saints put up points in bunches, they bring their opponents out of their shell, as well. New Orleans gives up 95.3 rushing yards per game on the season, but have been especially roasted through the air of late. The Saints allowed a league-high 235 receiving yards to running backs over the last month. Don’t forget that it was a 69-yard can and run for a touchdown that got Bibbs into position to take this job in the first place.
Lance Kendricks, TE, Los Angeles Rams (4.3 percent owned)
The tight end position is a mess, and while using Lance Kendricks after a 12-target, 90-yard day may feel like chasing points, we don’t have much in the way of real alternatives. Kendricks’ playing time is at a pristine level, as he’s played 86 percent of the team snaps their last three games. He’s been out on the field plenty, and last week showed us he has the volume upside we look for. The Jets are weak in the secondary and rank an average-level 15th at defending the tight end positon in Football Outsiders’ DVOA metrics.
That’s why Atlanta gets the edge here. The Falcons might not have as good a record as Oakland (6-3 vs. 7-2), but quarterback Matt Ryan looks like the early favorite to win league MVP honors. Even with ample questions on defense — which won’t improve if a recent shoulder injury sidelines cornerback Desmond Trufant for any lengthy period of time — the Falcons also have more players who’ve been to the postseason on their roster. That means plenty when you’re trying to separate contenders from pretenders.
Which struggling NFC North team is worth believing in: Green Bay or Minnesota?
There was no gutsier team in football for the first five weeks of the season than the Minnesota Vikings. They lost starting quarterback Teddy Bridgewater before the opener and rallied behind Sam Bradford after he arrived in a trade. They watched Pro Bowl running back Adrian Peterson go down with a knee injury in a Week 2 win over Green Bay and still managed to start the year with five straight victories. There have been other key injuries — and the stunning resignation of offensive coordinator Norv Turner — and still the Vikings keep talking like they will overcome.
But it’s time to face reality: It’s hard to see Minnesota keeping pace down the stretch.
The Packers have their own problems — including an injury-riddled backfield and the fact that they’re beginning a three-game road swing after dropping three of their last four contests — but they also have Aaron Rodgers. If he can continue to shake off the early-season struggles that plagued him, the Packers should be in good shape. Wide receiver Jordy Nelson is looking more comfortable in his return from a torn ACL sustained last season and Green Bay still has history on its side. After all, the Packers haven’t missed the playoffs since 2008 — tied for the longest current streak in football with New England.