Should you start Le’Veon Bell or Devonta Freeman in Week 7?

Which Ravens RBs should you trust in Week 7? Are Ty'Son Williams, Le'Veon Bell, Latavius Murray, or Devonta Freeman fantasy assets this week?

Last week, the Baltimore Ravens might have set some kind of NFL record: three newly-signed RBs each scoring for the same team. I mean, does anyone remember that happening with even two newly-signed RBs? After getting decimated by injuries in the run-up to the 2021 season, Baltimore’s backfield has seemingly stabilized thanks to three aging veterans in Latavius Murray, Devonta Freeman, and Le’Veon Bell — what might fantasy football managers realistically expect in Week 7?

What is Latavius Murray’s status for Week 7?

Murray has been ruled out for Sunday’s game. There is no guarantee that this TD-dependent streamer will remain a streamer when he returns, particularly if Ty’Son Williams gets another shot at the starting job.

A couple of weeks ago, I warned managers to sell high on Murray heading into his Monday Night Football matchup against the Colts. Coming off an 11.9-point, 18-touch fantasy day, the 31-year-old seemed like a good bet to keep the good times rolling. But his inefficient running and lack of usage in the passing game made him a fantasy red flag.

After regressing as expected on that Monday night, Murray came through in Week 6 with his best game of the season, including his fourth touchdown. But context is needed here — Bell and Freeman also scored, and it came against the Chargers’ NFL-worst run defense (5.4 yards per carry).

Murray missed practice Friday with an ankle injury and is expected to miss Sunday’s game. There is no guarantee that this TD-dependent streamer will remain a streamer when he returns. This is particularly true if Ty’Son Williams gets another shot at the starting job.

Are Le’Veon Bell or Devonta Freeman decent fantasy streamers for Week 7?

Based on usage thus far this season, Freeman has the edge over Bell right now. The key takeaway is that I’m talking about right now. Who knows how this backfield will shift from game to game.

If you have Freeman, he’s worth starting as a TD-dependent RB4+. My opponent this week actually swapped Freeman into his flex Thursday afternoon. I’m not sure whether to be worried or happy, as Freeman really could go either way. But one thing is certain — running against the Chargers is not the same as running against the Bengals, who are yielding only 3.9 yards per carry.

There’s little in Freeman’s recent portfolio that suggests a long-term breakout. He is a week-to-week commodity for desperate managers.

Bell is in the same boat. He brings similar middling rushing ability at this stage of his career, combined with a history of impressive passing-game chops. One of these two realistically could crack 8 fantasy points. I think expecting both to be startable in fantasy is a stretch.

Could Ty’Son Williams be active and effective in Week 7?

I raised this issue a couple of weeks ago on PFN. Williams looked incredible in Weeks 1 and 2 before the more experienced backs squeezed him out. He wasn’t even active last weekend. But if Murray sits, Williams could get some run against Cincinnati.

He has the lowest floor and highest ceiling this week, and he might have the most value during the fantasy playoffs — particularly if the Ravens opt to keep their older backs a little fresher for the playoffs.

BJ Rudell is the Fantasy Football Director for Pro Football Network. You can read all of BJ’s work here, listen to him on PFN’s Fantasy Football podcast, and check out his contributions in PFN’s free fantasy newsletter. Give him a follow on Twitter: @BJRudell.


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