Week Seventeen Analysis: I closed out last week's matchup by telling you to pencil Mikel Leshoure in for around 50 yards and a score against the Falcons. He obliged us with 46 rushing yards and a score, and also added an unexpected 20 receiving yards. He's now scored eight times in as many games, although he's only complimented the touchdowns with 63 total yards per contest. Leshoure totaled a respectable 83 scoreless combo yards in the first meeting, but only three teams have surrendered fewer than the six rushing touchdowns Chicago has allowed to the position. It's a bad matchup for a touchdown-dependant fantasy back.
Week Sixteen Analysis: By now we know the routine with Mikel Leshoure. He's averaged a touchdown per game over his last seven weeks, so he's typically a good bet to punch one in, but when he doesn't, he's worthless. His 193 rushing yards over the last four weeks rank 27th in the league, behind guys like Bilal Powell, Mark Ingram and his own teammate, Joique Bell. Atlanta is a middling run defense that's surrendered a rather charitable 11 rushing touchdowns, so you while you can probably pencil Leshoure in for around 50 yards and a score, just remember that there's always added risk when a player's fantasy value is so heavily dependent on touchdowns.
Week Fifteen Analysis: Mikel Leshoure has eclipsed 70 rushing yards just once in his last 10 games, and he's only averaged 46 in his last three. Moreover, he's sporting a pathetic 3.7-yard per carry average, so his only saving grace has been his six short touchdowns over the last six weeks. Meanwhile, Joique Bell is averaging 5.4 yards per carry, has a stranglehold on passing downs, has siphoned off 27 touches the last two weeks, and is encroaching on Leshoure's goal-line role. Arizona gave up four rushing touchdowns to Seattle last week, and in their last three games, four different backs have topped 100 rushing yards. Still, Leshoure is quickly losing ground to Bell in this timeshare.
Week Fourteen Analysis: Mikel Leshoure is averaging just 3.8 yards per carry, he hasn't topped 84 rushing yards since the opener, and he contributes next to nothing in the passing game. However, he's scored six times in the last five games, so he appears to have enrolled in the "Michael Turner School of Fantasy Production." Green Bay is a middling opponent in terms of yardage, but they've surrendered eight rushing scores in their last seven games. Leshoure went for 84 yards and a score against them just a few weeks ago, and he could certainly repeat those numbers at Lambeau.
Week Thirteen Analysis: This ranking is very tenuous, as Mikel Leshoure is nursing an ankle injury and has yet to practice this week. It'll be unfortunate if he can't go, because despite his middling yardage totals, he's scored five touchdowns in his last four games. Moreover, only two teams have surrendered more than the 12 touchdowns Indianapolis has allowed to opposing backs. The rub is that even if he plays, Leshoure is going to be less than 100 percent, and at risk of losing extra touches to both Joique Bell and Kevin Smith. Keep monitoring the practice reports, and have a backup plan ready.
Week Eleven Analysis: Mikel Leshoure has only scored in one of his last six games, and has averaged ordinary totals of 16 touches and 69 combo yards over that span. Joique Bell is clearly locked into the passing down role, which means the unspectacular Leshoure could see even less action than usual if the Lions fall behind Green Bay this week. The Packers allow just 3.9 yards per carry, and haven't allowed a 100-yard rusher since Frank Gore in the opener. In fact, they've held four straight opposing starters under 60 rushing yards, which included a 29-yard outing from Arian Foster, so there's not a lot to like about Leshoure here.
Week Ten Analysis: Mikel Leshoure hasn't cracked 70 rushing yards in any of his last five games, but last week he broke his four-game scoring slump with a touchdown hat trick in Jacksonville. The rub is that, for a guy whose longest career run is just 16 yards, Leshoure's typically going to need more than the meager 13 carries he's averaged over the last five weeks. Fortunately, Minnesota's run defense has been as bad recently as any unit in the league. Over the past three games, Minnesota has allowed the sixth-most rushing yards, and LaRod Stephens Howling, Doug Martin and Marshawn Lynch have all scored and gone over 140 combo yards against the Vikings. So Leshoure has a great opportunity to piggyback on last week's success.
Week Nine Analysis: Jim Schwartz is playing poker with the media, and all signs point to a bluff. Mikel Leshoure appeared to sustain a leg injury late last week, and he's been absent from practice this week, but Schwartz insists that he's not hurt. Clearly, we'll need to monitor this situation into the weekend. In the three games prior to last week's early exit, Leshoure had gone scoreless while averaging 80 combo yards—very Donald Brown-like production. However, opposing backs have averaged 167 combo yards and a touchdown per game against Jacksonville, so the matchup is good enough to warrant adding backup Joique Bell just in case Leshoure can't go.
Week Eight Analysis: Mikel Leshoure carried the ball 26 times in his NFL debut, but he's averaged just 13 carries for a scoreless 53 yards in the three games since. The good news is that he's coming off a career-best 5.3 yards per carry against a strong Chicago run defense, and that he's averaged four catches for 29 yards in his four NFL games. The bad news is that, like Chicago, Seattle is a very tough opponent—they're ceding less than 3.5 yards per carry and haven't given up a touchdown to an opposing back in their last four games. Leshoure is purely a matchup play, and this is a matchup to avoid if possible.
Week Seven Analysis: While Mikel Leshoure has averaged just 3.6 yards per carry and has only scored once in three games, there are still several factors working in his favor. He's averaging a robust 18 carries per game, he's chipping in 32 receiving yards per game, and he's the unquestioned goal line back. Unfortunately, none of that will likely matter in Chicago. Through five games, the Bears' suffocating run defense has surrendered just one touchdown and 3.5 yards per carry to opposing backs. Last week they held Maurice Jones-Drew to 56 yards, so it's hard to imagine Leshoure doing much better.
Week Six Analysis: After 30 touches in his first game, Mikel Leshoure saw his touches nearly cut in half versus the Vikings in his most recent game. It shows how fickle the Lions can be. And it shows that the coaching staff doesn't quite trust Leshoure to carry a game yet. So which Mikel will we see this week? We have to presume it'll fall somewhere in the middle of those two performances. Leshoure will get his work and probably approach 70 yards, but since Rashard Mendenhall is the only featured running back to score a rushing touchdown against the Eagles this year a score is no "Leshoure-thing".
Week Four Analysis: At long last, we got our first glimpse at Mikel Leshoure last week against Tennessee. And then a second look… and a third… we got 30 looks at Mikel Leshoure Sunday! He turned the 26 carries and four receptions into 134 combo yards and a score, while Kevin Smith failed to register a single touch. Leshoure will face a much stiffer challenge this week against the Vikings' top-ranked fantasy run defense. Minnesota is allowing under 3.4 yards per carry to opposing backs, and is one of just three teams who've yet to allow a touchdown to the position. Consider Leshoure a low-end No. 2 back this week.