Start or Sit Giovani Bernard
It’s week three of the NFL season, and as crazy as it seems, we will already be a major chunk of the way through the 2018 fantasy football regular season when the Steelers and Buccaneers wind down on Monday Night Football. So far, we’ve had some spectacular ups-and-downs in terms of out-of-nowhere players suddenly playing amazing, and amazing players suddenly playing like they’ve never seen a football field before. We now have to samples of data for the NFL season, and it’s a mess to try to make heads or tails of this so early in the season. However, we at Football Absurdity are here to help you think through some of your tough weekly lineup decisions. For example, should you start or sit Giovani Bernard as he takes on the Carolina Panthers this weekend?
Giovani Bernard owners likely scooped him up off the waiver wire this week after Joe Mixon went down with a knee microscopy procedure that will keep him out for 2-4 weeks. Those who invested the FAAB will feel FAABulous this weekend… if his down-the-stretch production last season is to be believed. For the first time in his career, Gio had the backfield mostly to himself, without Mixon or Jeremy Hill to muck up the situation. In the final five games of the season, he averaged 14.2 carries and 4.8 receptions a game, for a tidy 19 touches a contest. He only scored twice, but he averaged over 100 yards per game. This isn’t an isolated incident, either. Bernard has 36 career games with 10+ carries and 37 games with fewer than that amount. Whenever he has double-digit carries, he averages 14.42 fantasy points in PPR, 12.74 in half-PPR and 11.06 in standard scoring.
Matchup plays a key factor in deciding to start or sit Giovani Bernard. This weekend he gets a Panthers defense that sits completely in the middle-of-the-road against running backs so far this year, mostly due to only one back gashing them per game. In week one, Ezekiel Elliott had 86 yards and a score, and Tevin Coleman hit 125 yards, but not the end zone. Though they were limited in carries, the backups (Rod & Ito Smith) ripped off 5.1 yards a carry combined over the first couple of games of the season.
Giovani Bernard is getting a whack at the starter role with Joe Mixon out, and he should do well with the increased opportunity. When he’s had the opportunity to do work in the past, he produced. Fire up the Nard Dog in your RB2 slot this week, he should get you double-digit fantasy production. If you are wondering if you should start or sit Giovani Bernard in week three, I would lean towards a start.
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