As many of you have heard, Melvin Gordon suffered both hip and knee injuries during his Week 15 matchup with Carolina, and is expected to miss this week’s matchup against the Oakland Raiders. If you were on the fast track to the fantasy playoffs and you owned Melvin Gordon, you should have picked Kenneth Farrow up at some point. If you didn’t, that was poor management, plain and simple. Kenneth Farrow was probably the most obvious handcuff in fantasy football, not because he’s a living, breathing human being who happens to be the last man standing in that backfield, but because he’s actually a talented running back, and for those who are worried about starting him this week, allow us to alleviate your concerns.
An undrafted free agent out of Houston, Kenneth Farrow displayed the workout metrics that we look for in a running back, including a 125.6 Burst Score (81st-percentile), 11.09 Agility Score (77th-percentile), and a 124.8 SPARQ-x Score (83rd-percentile), actually exceeding Melvin Gordon in each respective category. Farrow is also listed at 5-9 and 218 pounds with a 32.2 BMI (89th-percentile), so he’s already bigger, more explosive, and more agile than a large percentage of NFL running backs. Farrow’s 23.4-percent College Dominator Rating (38th-percentile) may not be quite as impressive as his measurables; however, he played in a gimmicky college offense where the quarterback accounted for a large percentage of the team’s rushing yards, and he still averaged 5.4 yards per carry at the college level. Bottom line, Farrow’s measurables suggest that he would be able to handle a heavy workload if the opportunity arose.
If Kenneth Farrow’s measurables don’t make you feel better about starting him on Sunday, consider San Diego’s personnel moves at the running back position over the course of the season. When Danny Woodhead suffered a season ending injury in Week 2, the Chargers signed Dexter McCluster, who despite being active from Weeks 3 through 8, was out-touched by Farrow during that span. When McCluster suffered a season ending injury, the Chargers signed Ronnie Hillman, who has yet to be active after three weeks on the roster. At this point in the season, Farrow is the only San Diego running back who has touched the football since McCluster went down. This tells me that the Chargers have become more comfortable with Farrow spelling Melvin Gordon as the season has progressed.
On Sunday, when Melvin Gordon went down, Kenneth Farrow went on to handle 16 carries for 55 total yards despite the Chargers being in catch-up mode for most of the game. Most impressively, Farrow added 6 receptions for 23 yards on 6 targets equaled the most receptions by a Charger this season. At an 84.6-percent Opportunity Share, Farrow was basically playing the Melvin Gordon bell cow role. This week, Farrow faces the Oakland Raiders, who have given up the 5th most fantasy points to running backs, and has generally looked lost on defense for most of the season. For those worried about Ronnie Hillman stealing touches, well, you should be worried, because he’s going to steal touches, because that’s what happens in NFL games when the starter needs a breather. Just don’t worry about him stealing too many touches, because although Ronnie Hillman existed as an NFL entity before Kenneth Farrow did, that doesn’t mean Hillman is a better player, nor is he more suited for goal line work. Start Farrow with confidence this week.