Devontae Booker Start/Sit Week 6: Booker is a flex play at best

With a rash of injuries and bye weeks around the NFL, Devontae Booker is in line to start at running back -- should you start him in fantasy?

Devontae Booker isn’t a name that inspires much confidence in fantasy football, at least not since his somewhat good (I guess) stretch of games as a rookie in 2016 with the Denver Broncos. He compiled 612 yards and 4 rushing TDs that season with a less-than-stellar 3.52 yards per carry.

As it turns out, that’s just who he is.

But, here we are. It’s 2021. It’s Week 6. Running back carnage has begun with the likes of Christian McCaffrey, Nick Chubb, and Saquon Barkley slated to miss this week with injuries. It’s the latter that matters here, as Booker now finds himself as the “next man up” for the New York Giants. 

Devontae Booker in with Saquon Barkley out

This Los Angeles Rams defense isn’t as scary as people make it sound. They’re perfectly in the middle of the pack in fantasy points allowed to the RB position at 18.4 points per game. They’re giving up a healthy 117.2 rushing yards per game and have allowed 6 rushing touchdowns through five weeks.

It seems weird when you have a defense anchored by Aaron Donald, but LA’s defense is beatable on the ground. 

What concerns me more than what they give up to opposing running backs is the perceived game script of this matchup. The Giants are hobbled across the board on offense — not only are they missing Barkley, but they’ll be without wide receivers Kenny Golladay, Darius Slayton, and fellow wideout Kadarius Toney is active but could be limited. 

The Giants’ defense has been suspect through the air. Additionally, Matthew Stafford has been shredding opposing secondaries to the tune of 1,587 passing yards through five games. 

The Rams should get out to an early lead in this game. Aside from Sterling Shepard and Toney, New York doesn’t have any weapons on the outside that will command much attention from their secondary. The Rams should have no problem loading the box to stop the running game of both Booker and quarterback Daniel Jones.

Play Booker in the flex, if you must

I don’t feel good about this matchup for Booker. But I fully understand that you might not have many other options at running back. With the injuries and bye weeks starting to mount, you can do worse than to play a running back that’s in line to start for his team. Please know what you’re getting in Booker, though — he’s a career 3.9-yards-per-carry running back that isn’t exactly a pass-catching savant. 

If Booker can manage to fall into the end zone for a touchdown, we’ll call him a successful flex play this week. It’s also entirely possible that he finishes with a terribly low floor. Play him if you must, but he’s risky.

Jon Helmkamp is a fantasy football and NFL contributor for Pro Football Network. You can find him on Twitter: @JonHelmkamp and find more of his work here. Don’t forget to listen to the PFN Fantasy Football podcast and check out our free fantasy newsletter.

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