Week Six Running Backs
1) LaDainian Tomlinson vs. Raiders – What are you going to do, bench him?
2) Ronnie Brown vs. @ Browns – My biggest mea culpa this year might have to be not believing in Brown. He has turned in one of the most impressive seasons of the year, and he doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. I still want to see if he can go the whole season without slowing down, since he’s never surpassed 300 carries in a season, pro or college. As long as he’s on the field, he’s unbenchable.
3) Willis McGahee vs. Rams – McGahee keeps on keeping on, for those in yardage heavy leagues at least. The former Bill is averaging 94 yards per game despite not having a score on the ground all season. Of course, playing the Rams, this seems as good a week as any for McGahee to cross the stripe.
4) Adrian Peterson @ Bears – Peterson has already made me a believer. He’s a big play threat who gets the tough yardage. His yardage numbers won’t be huge, but with the Bear’s penchant for turning the ball over, he could score multiple times.
5) Brian Westbrook @ Jets – Keep an eye on Westbrook and the Eagles injury report. He should be good to go, and he should be good to really go over the Jets porous defense.
6) Edgerrin James vs. Panthers – The Panthers’ defense has been disappointing, and the Cardinals have shown a consistent commitment to their running attack. Now with Kurt Warner at the helm, the passing game might actually take pressure off of James. Oh man. Burn.
7) Reggie Bush @ Seahawks – Bush had his most effective yardage game, even if his yards per carry didn’t budge all that much. I’ve explained why I am hesitant to trust Bush in the past, but with McAllister down, he’ll have every shot at putting up 100 total yards every week.
8) Shaun Alexander vs. Saints – The Saints have no ability to play defense this year, so even a banged up Alexander who is going to lose carries should be good for a touchdown.
9) Brandon Jacobs @ Falcons – Jacobs played one of the best games of his career last week, obviously due to his absolute fear that Derrick Ward would steal his job. Ward is banged up now, though, so Jacobs is in the clear.
10) Jamal Lewis vs. Dolphins – The fact that Lewis is this high on the rankings makes me so very sad.
11) Marion Barber vs. Patriots – He’ll have good days and he’ll have bad ones. That’s how running back by committee’s work. Still, it’s hard to imagine he won’t be a factor in this crucial game.
12) Sammy Morris @ Cowboys – I don’t always try to explain why things happen. I have no idea why Morris is running well. Sure, I can suppose opponents don’t respect the running game because they are too afraid of Tom Brady and Randy Moss. But I really have no explanation beyond that. As always, monitor Laurence Maroney. If he appears to be back on track, drop Morris on your rankings.
13) Maurice Jones-Drew vs. Texans – Jones-Drew had his first big game of the year while on just about every fantasy owner’s bench. Still, it was nice to see the Jaguars pay more attention to their most explosive player. We all know the drill, he’s a risky play, but could single handily win your game. Use with caution.
14) Kenny Watson @ Chiefs – Monitor the Rudi Johnson situation. If Johnson shows no progress, Watson could actually be an interesting sleeper play. He’s averaging over five yards per carry. That’s something.
15) Larry Johnson vs. Bengals – This week sucks for running backs. Johnson is facing the Bengals defense, so that should be either 100 yards or a score. Right?
16) Thomas Jones vs. Eagles – I am too bored by Jones to actually make any worthwhile comment about him.
17) Brian Leonard @ Ravens – Leonard hit the 100 yard mark for the first time in his career. The Ravens, however, aren’t exactly where running backs go to have career days. Leonard will return to the 50-75 yard range, but could always score.
18) Michael Turner vs. Raiders – Last week, the Chargers showed signs of life, and Turner made the most of it. With the game already out of hand, the second stringer outplayed Tomlinson. I can’t tell you to start the guy, but his ceiling is actually in the top 10 if things break just the right way.
19) Clinton Portis @ Packers – If he could just stay healthy, he’d be one of the safer plays week in and week out. Unfortunately, Portis just can’t remain on the field. I long for the good old days.
20) Justin Fargas @ Chargers – Fargas ran well with Jordan out of the lineup, and it seems as though Jordan will continue to be sidelined. Still, against the Chargers, you better be considering using someone like Cedric Benson if you want me to be okay with you starting Fargas.