As you get ready to lock in your fantasy lineup for week four, I’m sure you have a decision or two that you’re looking for a bit clearer evidence to support. One of those decisions may be regarding Arizona Cardinals running back Rashard Mendenhall.
Entering the season as a bit of a question mark health-wise, Mendenhall hasn’t fared too bad thus far. He’s rushed for 155 yards and a score on 40 carries, putting up a decent average of 3.9 yards per carry. On a Cardinals team with that kind of offensive line, that’s not too bad. He’s also caught four passes for 44 yards.
Heading into week four against the 0-3 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Mendenhall may require a tough decision to have to make. Depending on who you have in terms of options at the running back or flex position, Mendenhall could be a guy you have to decide whether or not to start.
Here are some ways to look at it.
Tampa Bay ranks in the very middle of the league as far as rush defense, allowing 107 yards per game. That’s a pretty good sign for Mendenhall. Wondering why he only received nine carries last week against the New Orleans Saints, you have to remember they were forced to throw the ball after being behind by so much the majority of the game.
Against the Bucs, who are starting a rookie quarterback this week, the Cardinals may have their opportunities offensively and could see some decent field position all day long.
Carson Palmer hasn’t been horrible this season, but he hasn’t been good either with four picks already as opposed to three touchdowns. Leading a balanced attack will definitely help Palmer out, thus the run game has to be established.
Backup Alfonso Smith hasn’t seen much action and only has 54 yards on 16 carries this year, giving Mendenhall the clear-cut bulk of the carries in the back field. I see Mendenhall as a definite sleeper this week against a team that clearly has some issues at the moment, while the Cardinals do have reason to believe they can most certainly win the game. It all starts with a balanced attack, which Mendenhall will be heavily involved in.