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Factoid

No. 2 running backs

Which backup will be best?

If you're in one of those competitions where you can start each player only once, you're probably short a running back for the Super Bowl. In mine, most people already used Isiah Pacheco, thinking the Ravens (or even the Bills) would cash out Kansas City. Or maybe you already used Christian McCaffrey, to guarantee those points (or anticipating a Lions upset).

Whatever the case, I think a minority of people in such competitions will actually be able to start McCaffrey and Pacheco. If so, like me, you're debating which lightly used No. 2 running back will be best, catching 2-3 passes or perhaps falling into the end zone at some point. Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Elijah Mitchell or maybe even fullback Kyle Juszczyk. Which desperation starter will be best?

Mitchell will likely be the choice for many teams. He scored in the NFC Championship Game, after all. But look closer. Mitchell played just a single snap the previous week, against Green Bay. He played 6 snaps -- the last 6, I believe -- against Detroit, with his touchdown and other three carries (of the clock-killing variety) on those plays, and seemed to be in the game because on McCaffrey's final carry to set up that touchdown, he got deposited on his head at the end of a 25-yard run. If the game is close and McCaffrey doesn't get hurt, then, I'm not sure Mitchell will even step on the field.

In short, none of the running back options behind the starters looks particularly likely to give you big numbers. But as far as small, serviceable numbers, here's what you might get.

Table shows all the games by these three players when the starters were healthy and available during the season, sorted by fantasy points (PPR).

NO. 2 RBS, WITH STARTER PLAYING
PlayerOppResultRunNoRecTDPPR
Mitchellat Was.W 27-108000114.0
Edwards-HelaireChi.W 41-105512112.7
JuszczykDal.W 42-100426112.6
Juszczykat Jac.W 34-30226110.6
Edwards-HelaireL.V.L 14-20634207.8
MitchellNYGW 30-12423207.4
MitchellDet.W 34-3170016.7
JuszczykDet.W 34-31323305.6
Juszczykat Was.W 27-10032305.3
Mitchellat Sea.W 31-13391-304.6
Juszczykat Ari.W 45-29022604.6
Edwards-Helaireat Buf.W 27-24311-104.0
Edwards-HelaireDet.L 20-21221703.9
Edwards-Helaireat Jac.W 17-9021703.7
Edwards-HelaireMia.W 26-7211503.6
Edwards-HelaireDen.W 19-871902.6
MitchellT.B.W 27-14240002.4
Edwards-Helaireat Bal.W 17-1012302.4
Edwards-Helaireat G.B.L 19-2761802.4
Mitchellat Jac.W 34-3230002.3
Edwards-Helaireat NYJW 23-20121102.3
Edwards-HelairePhi.L 17-21200002.0
Juszczykat Cle.L 17-1901901.9
JuszczykAri.W 35-1631401.7
JuszczykBalt.L 19-3301501.5
Mitchellat Phi.W 42-19130001.3
Mitchellat Pit.W 30-7100001.0
Edwards-Helaireat L.V.W 31-1750000.5
Edwards-HelaireLACW 31-1750000.5
Edwards-Helaireat Den.L 9-2440000.4
Edwards-Helaireat Min.W 27-2040000.4
JuszczykNYGW 30-1230000.3
MitchellCin.L 17-3120000.2
MitchellG.B.W 24-2100000.0
JuszczykG.B.W 24-2100000.0
JuszczykSea.W 28-1600000.0
Juszczykat Phi.W 42-1900000.0
Juszczykat Sea.W 31-1300000.0
JuszczykT.B.W 27-1400000.0
JuszczykCin.L 17-3100000.0
Juszczykat Min.L 17-2200000.0
Juszczykat LARW 30-2300000.0
Juszczykat Pit.W 30-700000.0
Mitchellat Min.L 17-22-1000-0.1
Mitchellat Cle.L 17-19-3000-0.3

Depending on how you want to look at the results (and I'll offer some different views), Edwards-Helaire looks like the best option. That's because in every game he at least got you something. Four of those were under a point, which is terrible. But Mitchell had four such games too, and two of them he got negative points -- he actually hurt your lineup.

Juszczyk had nine games, including the playoff win over Green Bay, where he got you zero points -- didn't even touch the ball. He had two games with double-digit points, but those were 30-point blowout wins over Dallas and Jacksonville. Does anyone think San Francisco is going to blowout Kansas City? If the answer is no, Juszczyk looks like the 3rd-best of the No. 2 options.

Mitchell had three games with over 5 points -- blowout wins over Washington and the Giants, and last week when he came in to score after McCaffrey got dumped on his cranium.

Edwards-Helaire had just one game with double-digits -- the blowout win over the Bears. That's probably not happening in the Super Bowl. But he had five games with 3.5-8.0 points. Mitchell and Juszczyk each had three such games.

I will starting CEH as my No. 2 running back in the Super Bowl, and crossing my fingers.

--Andy Richardson

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