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RB committee: Who's the top back?

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John Halpin

John Halpin has been a fantasy contributor for since 2007. He has written and co-hosted webcasts about fantasy football for, and managed websites for the NHL, the U.S. Olympic Committee and USA Network. Listen to his "Fantasy 15 Podcast" on and follow him on Twitter.


The fantasy backfield committee update will help you understand what’s happening in the world of running back tandems.

The four "worry levels" – High, Medium, Low, and Non-Existent – are subject to change on a weekly basis.

And now, without further ado, is our look at the backfield status for each of the NFL’s 32 teams.

Arizona Cardinals
Committee worry level: Medium
Week 2: Tim Hightower (11 carries, 115 yards, TD; two receptions, nine yards); Chris "Beanie" Wells (DNP - injury)
Season: Hightower (24 carries, 169 yards, 2 TD; six receptions, 49 yards); Wells (no stats)

Comment: Wells thinks he’s going to play this week after missing the first two games with a bruised knee. His coach isn’t so sure. Hightower’s running stats from Week 2 look great, but remember that there was an 80-yard TD in there, and they don’t happen a lot.

Atlanta Falcons
Committee worry level: Low
Week 2: Jason Snelling (24 carries, 129 yards, 2 TD; five receptions, 57 yards, TD); Michael Turner (nine carries, 75 yards)
Season: Snelling (26 carries, 133 yards, 2 TD; six receptions, 61 yards, TD); Turner (28 carries, 117 yards; one reception, seven yards)

Comment: Turner injured his groin last week, but he was cleared to come back into the game before his coaches decided to keep him out of the blowout win over the Cardinals. Snelling looked like Superman in relief of Turner, but he’s headed back to a second-fiddle role.

Baltimore Ravens
Committee worry level: Medium
Week 2: Ray Rice (16 carries, 87 yards; four receptions, 30 yards); Willis McGahee (three carries, 10 yards)
Season: Rice (37 carries, 130 yards; six receptions, 49 yards); McGahee (nine carries, eight yards, TD; one reception, minus-six yards)

Comment:  Coach Jim Harbaugh says Rice will get more work this week against the Browns. Woo-hoo!

Buffalo Bills
Committee worry level: High
Week 2: Marshawn Lynch (17 carries, 64 yards); Fred Jackson (nine carries, 39 yards, TD); C.J. Spiller (one carry, three yards; four receptions, 23 yards)
Season: Lynch (20 carries, 77 yards); Spiller (eight carries, nine yards; eight receptions, 31 yards); Jackson (13 carries, 58 yards, TD; two receptions, zero yards)

Comment: Lynch’s busy game against the Packers threw a big wrench into this situation, didn’t it? Head coach Chan Gailey also talked earlier this week about using Spiller more in the coming weeks, and Jackson had more than 1,400 yards from scrimmage last season, so we can’t forget about him. What a mess – bench all of ‘em until further notice.


  • Which Cleveland RB will score more fantasy points for the 2010 season?
    • James Harrison
    • Peyton Hillis
Carolina Panthers
Committee worry level: Medium
Week 2: DeAngelo Williams (17 carries, 54 yards; three receptions, 20 yards); Jonathan Stewart (eight carries, 43 yards)
Season: Williams (33 carries, 116 yards; three receptions, 20 yards); Stewart (13 carries, 55 yards)

Comment: With rookie Jimmy Clausen as the new starting quarterback, the Panthers are going to run until they drop, so Williams should start to prove his immense value in Week 3. Stewart got the call on fourth-and-goal from the 1-yard line againt the Bucs, and was stopped.

Chicago Bears
Committee worry level: Medium
Week 2: Matt Forte (10 carries, 29 yards; five receptions, 37 yards, TD); Chester Taylor (four carries, six yards; two receptions, nine yards)
Season: Forte (27 carries, 79 yards; 12 receptions, 188 yards, 3 TD); Taylor (13 carries, 35 yards; five receptions, 53 yards)

Comment: Twelve receptions already for Forte, huh? Those Marshall Faulk comparisons sound better all the time.

(Yes, I know Forte isn’t as good as Faulk. I’m talking about usage, not talent. Relax.)

Cincinnati Bengals
Committee worry level: Non-existent
Week 2: Cedric Benson (23 carries, 78 yards); Bernard Scott (five carries, 17 yards)
Season: Benson (38 carries, 121 yards, TD; one reception, 11 yards); Scott (11 carries, 52 yards; three receptions, 15 yards)

Comment: It’s hard to argue with Benson’s workload. I know someone who traded him for Michael Vick this week, and I wouldn’t have done it. Benson is underrated – he had 1,251 rushing yards in 13 games last season. That’s really good.

Cleveland Browns
Committee worry level: High
Week 2: Jerome Harrison (16 carries, 33 yards; three receptions, 35 yards); Peyton Hillis (eight carries, 35 yards, TD; three receptions, 26 yards)
Season: Harrison (25 carries, 85 yards; four receptions, 42 yards); Hillis (17 carries, 76 yards, 2 TD; seven receptions, 50 yards);

Comment: Harrison missed Wednesday’s practice with a thigh injury, so his status for Week 3 is in question. Since he and Hillis are headed to Baltimore to face the Ravens, they should be very questionable for your fantasy squad as well.

Dallas Cowboys
Committee worry level: High
Week 2: Marion Barber (11 carries, 31 yards); Felix Jones (seven carries, seven yards; two receptions, 12 yards); Tashard Choice (one carry, minus-one yard; one reception, six yards)
Season: Barber (19 carries, 70 yards; two receptions, one yards); Jones (15 carries, 45 yards; four receptions, 38 yards); Choice (six carries, 17 yards; three receptions, four yards)

Comment: This is a fiasco. Jones probably can’t handle a lead back’s load, but do the Cowboys know how explosive he is? Judging by the way they’re using him, I’d say no. If they want him to break the big ones, they need to get the ball in his hands more often. I hate the Cowboys, and this STILL bothers me.

Denver Broncos
Committee worry level: Medium
Week 2: Knowshon Moreno (24 carries, 51 yards, TD; four receptions, 67 yards); Correll Buckhalter (11 carries, 19 yards, TD)
Season: Moreno (39 carries, 111 yards, 2 TD; five receptions, 71 yards); Buckhalter (17 carries, 34 yards, TD)

Comment: This looks like last year, with Moreno staying ahead of the pesky Buckhalter. It’s pretty clear that the Broncos see Moreno as the guy, and they’re going to give him every chance to succeed.

Detroit Lions
Committee worry level: Non-existent
Week 2: Jahvid Best (17 carries, 78 yards, 2 TD; nine receptions, 154 yards, TD)
Season: Best (31 carries, 98 yards, 4 TD; 14 receptions, 170 yards, TD)

Comment: All hail the new fantasy king! Five touchdowns in two games? And 14 catches? Wow..

Green Bay Packers
Committee worry level: High
Week 2: Brandon Jackson (11 carries, 29 yards, TD; one reception, 10 yards); John Kuhn (nine carries, 36 yards)
Season: Jackson (29 carries, 92 yards, TD; three receptions, 22 yards); Kuhn (11 carries, 51 yards, TD)

Comment: The Pack is now downplaying any suggestion that Jackson will be the lead back. He’s splitting carries with Kuhn, and Kuhn will get the short-yardage work. That big free-agent pickup doesn’t look quite as great as it did last week, huh? The third stringer is rookie Dimitri Nance, and while he’s not relevant to you right now, you never know.


  • Which Kansas City RB will score more fantasy points for the 2010 season?
    • Jamaal Charles
    • Thomas Jones
Houston Texans
Committee worry level: Low
Week 2: Arian Foster (19 carries, 69 yards; three receptions, 69 yards); Steve Slaton (three carries, 14 yards)
Season: Foster (52 carries, 300 yards, 3 TD; four reception, 76 yards); Slaton (three carries, 14 yards; six receptions, 29 yards)

Comment: The Texans beat the Redskins with an aerial assault, but part of that was due to the need to come back from a 17-point deficit, and Foster did get 19 carries. He’s leading the NFL in that category so far, you know.

Indianapolis Colts
Committee worry level: Medium
Week 2: Joseph Addai (20 carries, 92 yards; two receptions, 21 yards); Donald Brown (16 carries, 69 yards, TD; one reception, 19 yards)
Season: Addai (30 carries, 136 yards; eight receptions, 50 yards); Brown (16 carries, 69 yards, TD; two receptions, 26 yards)

Comment: Hey, look at Brown! He didn’t get all those carries in garbage time, either. The Colts would be smart to use both backs, since Brown has shown signs of being pretty good. That’s great news unless you own Addai.

Jacksonville Jaguars
Committee worry level: Non-existent
Week 2: Maurice Jones-Drew (12 carries, 31 yards; one reception, 17 yards); Rashad Jennings (nine carries, 38 yards; four receptions, 50 yards)
Season: Jones-Drew (35 carries, 129 yards; four receptions, 32 yards); Jennings (13 carries, 64 yards; five receptions, 54 yards)

Comment: Don’t read anything into last week’s workload split. The Jags got smoked, and MJD got some rest. That’s it.

Kansas City Chiefs
Committee worry level: High
Week 2: Thomas Jones (22 carries, 83 yards; one reception, five yards); Jamaal Charles (11 carries, 49 yards; one reception, 27 yards)
Season: Jones (33 carries, 121 yards; one reception, five yards); Charles (22 carries, 141 yards, TD; two receptions, 35 yards)

Comment: The Jamaal Charles support group will meet here every Thursday at 9 p.m. ET. You can bring your Todd Haley voodoo dolls.

(Seriously, the Chiefs almost have to figure out better ways to get the ball to Charles. Don’t panic just yet.)

Miami Dolphins
Committee worry level: High
Week 2: Ronnie Brown (13 carries, 80 yards; one reception, three yards); Ricky Williams (10 carries, 30 yards)
Season: Brown (26 carries, 145 yards, TD; three receptions, 23 yards); Williams (28 carries, 92 yards)

Comment: Pretty much down the middle again. This might be the tandem-iest of all the running back tandems.

Minnesota Vikings
Committee worry level: Low
Week 2: Adrian Peterson (28 carries, 145 yards, TD; five receptions, 41 yards); Toby Gerhart (four carries, 10 yards; one reception, five yards)
Season: Peterson (47 carries, 232 yards, TD; eight receptions, 55 yards); Gerhart (four carries, 10 yards; one reception, five yards)

Comment: Look at all the receptions for Purple Jesus so far. He’s going to have a huge season. It’s not like Brett Favre has anyone else to throw to, other than Visanthe Shiancoe. The wideouts have been awful.

New England Patriots
Committee worry level: High
Week 2: BenJarvus Green-Ellis (10 carries, 19 yards); Kevin Faulk (five carries, 22 yards; two receptions, 15 yards); Fred Taylor (five carries, 11 yards); Sammy Morris (one reception, 19 yards)
Season: Taylor (19 carries, 82 yards; two receptions, six yards); Green-Ellis (15 carries, 41 yards); Faulk (eight carries, 45 yards; six receptions, 62 yards); Morris (one carry, two yards; one reception, 19 yards)

Comment: Faulk is done for the season with a knee injury, so while this backfield is still its usual, confusing self, there are only three guys left. SAM-MEE! SAM-MEE! SAM-MEE!

New Orleans Saints
Committee worry level: Low
Week 2: Pierre Thomas (18 carries, 46 yards; eight receptions, 57 yards); Reggie Bush (five carries, four yards; four receptions, 30 yards, TD)
Season: Thomas (37 carries, 117 yards, TD; 11 receptions, 72 yards); Bush (seven carries, 18 yards; nine receptions, 63 yards, TD)

Comment: Bush looks like he’ll be out six weeks or so with a broken leg, which just about cements Thomas as a must-start fantasy option. He’s been really, really good so far.

New York Giants
Committee worry level: Medium
Week 2: Ahmad Bradshaw (17 carries, 89 yards); Brandon Jacobs (four carries, eight yards)
Season: Bradshaw (37 carries, 165 yards, TD; two receptions, 17 yards); Jacobs (16 carries, 52 yards; two receptions, 21 yards)

Comment: If Jacobs could actually run any more, this might be a worrisome situation for Bradshaw owners. Alas ...

New York Jets
Committee worry level: High
Week 2: Shonn Greene (15 carries, 52 yards; one reception, eight yards); LaDainian Tomlinson (11 carries, 76 yards; four receptions, 26 yards)
Season: Tomlinson (22 carries, 138 yards; six receptions, 42 yards); Greene (20 carries, 70 yards; two receptions, 17 yards)

Comment: Greene’s owners are a little happier than they were in Week 1, but not by much. How can that fossil LT keep taking carries from their guy? Did he sell his soul to the devil to stay young?

Oakland Raiders
Committee worry level: Medium
Week 2: Darren McFadden (30 carries, 145 yards; two receptions, eight yards); Michael Bush (DNP - injury)
Season: McFadden (48 carries, 240 yards; eight receptions, 63 yards, TD); Bush (no stats)

Comment: Bush practiced on Wednesday, and expects to make his 2010 debut in Week 3 against the Cardinals. But after the way McFadden has been lighting it up, Bush will be like Rico Tubbs to McFadden’s Sonny Crockett. What, too obscure for a second banana reference?

Philadelphia Eagles
Committee worry level: Low
Week 2: LeSean McCoy (16 carries, 120 yards, 3 TD; four receptions, eight yards)
Season: McCoy (23 carries, 155 yards, 4 TD; nine receptions, 55 yards)

Comment: Big game by McCoy, who is now headed for weekly battles with his own insecurities because his quarterback runs better than he does. He’ll still produce, though.

Pittsburgh Steelers
Committee worry level: Low
Week 2: Rashard Mendenhall (23 carries, 69 yards; one reception, three yards); Ike Redman (four carries, eight yards; one reception, three yards)
Season: Mendenhall (45 carries, 189 yards, TD; three receptions, 18 yards); Redman (10 carries, 27 yards; one reception, three yards)

Comment: As a Mendenhall owner in multiple leagues, I’m happy with the way this has gone so far. When Ben Roethlisberger comes back in a couple of weeks, Mendenhall will just have all the more room to run.

San Diego Chargers
Committee worry level: High
Week 2: Mike Tolbert (16 carries, 82 yards, 2 TD; one reception, 13 yards); Darren Sproles (five carries, 37 yards; four receptions, 63 yards); Ryan Mathews (five carries, 26 yards; two receptions, 29 yards)
Season: Mathews (24 carries, 101 yards; three receptions, 31 yards); Tolbert (18 carries, 108 yards; one reception, 13 yards); Sproles (10 carries, 40 yards; six receptions, 75 yards)

Comment: Uh-oh. Mathews hurt his ankle, came out of the game and never returned. He’s got a sprained ankle, and while he says he’s fine, he’s not making the playing-time decisions. Norv Turner got a reminder last week that he has a variety of backfield options, including the gnat-like Sproles. If I owned Mathews, I wouldn’t like this one bit.

San Francisco 49ers
Committee worry level: Non-existent
Week 2: Frank Gore (20 carries, 112 yards, TD; seven receptions, 56 yards, TD); Anthony Dixon (one carry, two yards, TD); Brian Westbrook (one carry, zero yards)
Season: Gore (37 carries, 150 yards, TD; 13 receptions, 101 yards, TD); Dixon (one carry, two yards, TD); Westbrook (one carry, zero yards)

Comment: That was one monster game Gore had on Monday. Big, strong back, catches the ball ... he’s living up to the fantasy hype.

Seattle Seahawks
Committee worry level: High
Week 2: Justin Forsett (eight carries, 44 yards; one reception, eight yards); Julius Jones (four carries, 12 yards); Leon Washington (four carries, 17 yards)
Season: Forsett (15 carries, 87 yards; four receptions, 25 yards); Jones (12 carries, 30 yards); Washington (10 carries, 29 yards)

Comment: Can I just skip this team’s section every week? None of these guys is ever going to help you too much, anyway.

St. Louis Rams
Committee worry level: Non-existent
Week 2: Steven Jackson (19 carries, 75 yards; four receptions, 50 yards)
Season: Jackson (41 carries, 156 yards; eight receptions, 56 yards)

Comment: Jackson had a huge first half against the Raiders, and got shut down in the second. He’s on pace for 1,696 yards from scrimmage, and if the Rams would just get him into the end zone once in awhile, we’d all appreciate it.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Committee worry level: Low
Week 2: Cadillac Williams (27 carries, 51 yards; one reception, eight yards); Earnest Graham (three carries, one yard; five receptions, 33 yards, TD)
Season: Williams (49 carries, 126 yards; three receptions, 31 yards); Graham (nine carries, 11 yards; six receptions, 41 yards, TD)

Comment: Caddy is one of those guys who gets so much work that you almost have to play him. Except when he faces a defense like the Steelers’, which happens this week.

Tennessee Titans
Committee worry level: Non-existent
Week 2: Chris Johnson (16 carries, 34 yards; five receptions, 19 yards)
Season: Johnson (43 carries, 176 yards, 2 TD; nine receptions, 27 yards)

Comment: Bust! OK, I’m kidding. Johnson will be fine. Better than fine, even.

Washington Redskins
Committee worry level: Low
Week 2: Clinton Portis (13 carries, 33 yards, 2 TD); Larry Johnson (two carries, minus-seven yards)
Season: Portis (31 carries, 96 yards, 2 TD; one reception, one yard); Larry Johnson (five carries, two yards)

Comment: Is Portis teetering on the brink of fantasy extinction, or is it the ‘Skins’ running game as a whole?

Tagged: Falcons, Bills, Bears, Bengals, Browns, Cowboys, Broncos, Lions, Packers, Titans, Colts, Chiefs, Raiders, Rams, Dolphins, Vikings, Patriots, Saints, Giants, Jets, Eagles, 49ers, Seahawks, Buccaneers, Redskins, Panthers, Jaguars, Ravens, Cardinals, Steelers, Chargers, Texans, Michael Vick, Jay Feely, Sammy Morris, Neil Rackers, Chad Johnson, T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Phil Dawson, Joey Galloway, Jason Hanson, Donald Driver, Brett Favre, Ryan Longwell, Joe Nedney, Derrick Mason, Reggie Wayne, Peyton Manning, Tony Gonzalez, Sebastian Janikowski, Marc Bulger, Olindo Mare, Randy Moss, Tom Brady, Kevin Faulk, Adam Vinatieri, Jake Delhomme, Ricky Williams, Kerry Collins, Santana Moss, Donovan McNabb, David Akers, Correll Buckhalter, Thomas Jones, Kris Brown, Hines Ward, LaDainian Tomlinson, Drew Brees, Terrell Owens, Rian Lindell, Matt Hasselbeck, Steve Smith Sr., John Kasay, Fred Taylor, Todd Heap, Brandon Stokley, Bowling Green, Jabar Gaffney, Deion Branch, Maurice Morris, Jeremy Shockey, Josh Reed, Clinton Portis, Antonio Bryant, David Garrard, Daniel Graham, Chester Taylor, Ladell Betts, Shayne Graham, Matt Bryant, Antwaan Randle El, Brian Westbrook, Jeff Reed, Anquan Boldin, Jason Witten, Nate Burleson, Visanthe Shiancoe, Justin Fargas, Carson Palmer, Andre Johnson, Byron Leftwich, Bryant Johnson, Willis McGahee, Dallas Clark, Larry Johnson, Kevin Walter, Josh Brown, Justin Gage, Antonio Gates, Tony Romo, Matt Schaub, Julius Jones, Devery Henderson, Larry Fitzgerald, Philip Rivers, Kellen Winslow, Roy Williams, Ben Roethlisberger, Lee Evans, Steven Jackson, Michael Jenkins, Benjamin Watson, Nate Kaeding, Bernard Berrian, Chris Cooley, Eli Manning, Derrick Ward, Patrick Crayton, Jerricho Cotchery, Mewelde Moore, Michael Turner, Lawrence Tynes, Wes Welker, Willie Parker, Earnest Graham, Malcom Floyd, Jason Wright, Mark Clayton, Aaron Rodgers, Jason Campbell, Roddy White, Heath Miller, Vincent Jackson, Frank Gore, Brandon Jones, Alex Smith, Ronnie Brown, Braylon Edwards, Cedric Benson, Carnell Williams, Troy Williamson, Dave Rayner, Derek Anderson, Matt Cassel, Kyle Orton, Marion Barber, Brandon Jacobs, Alvin Pearman, Darren Sproles, Roydell Williams, Bo Scaife, Rob Bironas, Josh Cribbs, Leonard Weaver, Nate Washington, Robbie Gould, Lance Moore, Ryan Grant, Greg Camarillo, Tarvaris Jackson, Jerious Norwood, Maurice Stovall, Reggie Bush, Vince Young, Vernon Davis, Matt Leinart, Jay Cutler, Laurence Maroney, Santonio Holmes, DeAngelo Williams, Marcedes Lewis, Joseph Addai, Kellen Clemens, Greg Jennings, Anthony Fasano, Devin Hester, Maurice Jones-Drew, Tony Scheffler, Marques Colston, Jeff King, Devin Aromashodu, Michael Robinson, Brad Smith, Jason Avant, Leon Washington, Stephen Gostkowski, Brandon Marshall, Jerome Harrison, Hank Baskett, Miles Austin, Fred Jackson, Chansi Stuckey, Kenneth Darby, Ahmad Bradshaw, Le'Ron McClain, Steve Breaston, Kevin Boss, Dante Rosario, Brent Celek, Legedu Naanee, Troy Smith, Nick Folk, Mason Crosby, Steve Smith, Brian Leonard, Jacoby Jones, Laurent Robinson, James Jones, Mike Sims-Walker, Trent Edwards, Michael Bush, Calvin Johnson, Adrian Peterson, Ted Ginn Jr., Marshawn Lynch, Brady Quinn, Dwayne Bowe, Robert Meachem, Greg Olsen, Anthony Gonzalez, Kevin Kolb, Zach Miller, Sidney Rice, Dwayne Jarrett, D.J. Ware, Matt Prater, Matt Moore, Pierre Thomas, Jonathan Stewart, Joe Flacco, Felix Jones, Rashard Mendenhall, Chris Johnson, Dustin Keller, Donnie Avery, Devin Thomas, Jordy Nelson, John Carlson, James Hardy, Eddie Royal, Matt Forte, Fred Davis, DeSean Jackson, Malcolm Kelly, Ray Rice, Chad Henne, Matt Ryan, Darren McFadden, Pierre Garcon, Chaz Schilens, Justin Forsett, Adrian Arrington, Tashard Choice, Ryan Torain, Keenan Burton, Tim Hightower, Jalen Parmele, Earl Bennett, Jamaal Charles, Early Doucet, Harry Douglas, Steve Slaton, Jermichael Finley, Mario Manningham, Davone Bess, Dan Carpenter, BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Albert Young, Garrett Hartley, Rashad Jennings, David Buehler, Javon Ringer, Cedric Peerman, Bernard Scott, Julian Edelman, Sammie Stroughter, Shonn Greene, Brandon Tate, Mike Wallace, Jared Cook, Deon Butler, Mike Thomas, Brian Hartline, Louis Murphy Jr., Austin Collie, Johnny Knox, Matthew Stafford, Mark Sanchez, Darrius Heyward-Bey, Michael Crabtree, Knowshon Moreno, Josh Freeman, Jeremy Maclin, Brandon Pettigrew, Percy Harvin, Donald Brown, Hakeem Nicks, Kenny Britt, Beanie Wells, Mohamed Massaquoi, LeSean McCoy, Arian Foster, Michael Bennett, Rob Gronkowski, Arrelious Benn, Dez Bryant, Jonathan Dwyer, Demaryius Thomas, Golden Tate, Ryan Mathews, Aaron Hernandez, Jahvid Best, Tony Moeaki, Jimmy Graham, Ed Dickson, Garrett Graham, Montario Hardesty, Dennis Pitta, Brandon LaFell, Ben Tate, Boobie Dixon, Toby Gerhart, C.J. Spiller, Sam Bradford, Jermaine Gresham, Dexter McCluster

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