Could the third time be the charm for Tra Carson?
The Detroit Lions’ second-year running back, who was added off the waiver wires from the Green Bay Packers in Week 7 after the two teams clashed, rushed a career-high 12 times last week as he debuted for his third team since entering the NFL.
While he only got 34 yards, the Lions showing him preference in Week 9 makes him a valuable fantasy football pickup with Kerryon Johnson no longer occupying the backfield. Johnson underwent knee surgery early last week and was placed on the injured reserve list, leaving behind a void in the Lions’ backfield that — after no action at Tuesday’s NFL trade deadline — falls to several unseasoned rushers to fill.
While Carson is listed third on the team’s depth chart behind Ty Johnson and J.D. McKissic, the Lions favored their newcomer in their 31-26 home win and gave him more carries than both of them combined. That doesn’t project to change, either, going on the road this week against the Oakland Raiders.
Picking Carson is an easy choice from a roster standpoint, but does his uptick within the Lions offense warrant him entering your starting lineup?
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Tra Carson Fantasy Outlook vs. Raiders
The Raiders have their issues, but stopping the run isn’t one of them. Oakland’s front line has denied the likes of Marlon Mack, LeSean McCoy and Aaron Jones and forced most teams to depend on their passer, which isn’t something that should worry the Lions with Matthew Stafford at the helm.
It does, however, hurt the outlook for any one of the rushers in a system that seems more likely to attack by committee than single out one particular back. They proved that strategy after, coming in Week 8, rookie Ty Johnson seemed destined to step up as the team’s new workhorse and was given the ball just seven times.
Both Johnson and Carson are projected to hit about the same fantasy numbers this week, according to FantasyPros, which only adds to the uncertainty about putting either one of them in your lineup — especially when that point total is about 5.5 points in standard leagues and 7.6 in PPR leagues. Not exactly eye-popping numbers for teams in need of a boost.
Should You Start or Sit Tra Carson in Week 9?
Carson’s value is even shakier after reports Friday the Lions were working out former Minnesota Vikings rusher Jay Ajayi. That Detroit is still searching for another running back threatens Carson’s long-term future as a fantasy asset, putting it on him show up in Week 9 or risk being on the move to team No. 4.
Final verdict: Even if Carson replicates his production from last week as the leading man, his numbers aren’t good enough to put into your lineup, even if you find yourself in a pinch. Picking him up and waiting a week isn’t the worst idea in the world since he does possess his talents, but you might find better luck adding someone like Pittsburgh’s Jaylen Samuels.