As initially reported after Ben Tate went down in Week 1 due to a sprained knee, his return to the Cleveland Browns starting lineup would likely happen in Week 5, following their Week 4 bye, to face off against the Tennessee Titans.
Initially, the Browns plan was to use Tate as an every down back, but since he went down with the knee injury, Tate left the door wide open for Terrance West and Isaiah Crowell to change Mike Pettine’s stance on that. Since Tate went down in Week 1, West and Crowell have combined for 375 total yards and 4 touchdowns, much of which would have been Tate’s doing had he stayed healthy, but he didn’t. This leaves fantasy owners with a giant question mark when Ben Tate returns.
Pettine stated that they’re “eager” for Tate to return, but it’s difficult to speculate as to what his role will be. At the moment, I’d say Tate returns as the starter for the Browns, but because both rookie running backs proved how efficient they can be, there will be a serious RBBC in Cleveland, and Pettine will likely ride the hot hand going forward. Tate will be a low RB2 with big upside while West can be seen as an RB3 once Tate returns. Crowell is safe to drop in both 10 and 12 team leagues upon Tate’s return.