Fantasy Football

Week 7 lineup calls: Running backs

Share This Story

Michael Harmon

Mike is a fantasy contributor for FOXSports.com.MORE>>
 
   
 

Lineup calls: QB | RB | WR | TE | K | D/ST

Each and every season, new heroes emerge from the shadows to allow fantasy owners to steal a win (or series of them).

We’ve seen a few along the way in 2010, but now is the prime time for those running backs to make their marks.

In Week 7, lineups are decimated by the bye week, myriad of injuries and, in many cases, head-scratching and mind-numbing workload splits. Thirteen teams enter the week averaging less than 100 rushing yards per game. The highest average from that group (99.6 yards per game) has been achieved by the winless Panthers. There you have it.

Top 10 Running Backs

(other than Maurice Jones-Drew, Adrian Peterson, Steven Jackson, Frank Gore, Chris Johnson, Ray Rice, Rashard Mendenhall or Michael Turner)

Jamaal Charles vs. Jacksonville

Charles didn’t find the end zone against Houston in Week 6, but fantasy owners were very happy to see him active on the ground and in the air (117 total yards on 20 touches). He rushed for 93 yards, his third straight game with at least 87 rushing yards.

Charles’ rise back to fantasy prominence continues this week against Jacksonville. The Kansas City defense will help to control field position, thereby creating opportunities for Matt Cassel, Charles and the offense. The Jaguars allow 111.2 yards and 1.2 touchdowns per game.

Peyton Hillis at New Orleans

Hillis’ five-game scoring streak was ended, to the surprise of no one, by the Steelers last week. He still amassed 90 total yards on 18 touches, his fourth straight game with at least 77 total yards. I suspect that we see more of the same, a healthy combination of runs and pass receptions, this week against the middling New Orleans defense.

The Saints allow 106 rushing yards per game. Remember, that average includes last week’s pathetic effort out of the Tampa Bay offense. Hillis will find his spots this week.

Cedric Benson at Atlanta

The Cincinnati offense has yet to find its stride, and Benson has produced just two strong games in five start to open the season (one 100-yard game). I’m curious to see how the Bengals approach this week’s road test in Atlanta. The Falcons have allowed only 97.8 yards per game and three touchdowns this season. Last year, the Bengals were able to lean on defenses with the running game. Unless Carson Palmer starts to click with his receivers downfield, Benson may find running room sparse in this one.

DeAngelo Williams vs. San Francisco

The struggles (I’m being kind) of the Carolina offense have removed Williams from the “exclusions” list, at least temporarily. The Panthers did receive some good news this week when Steve Smith rejoined the team for Wednesday’s practice. As such, there’s some optimism that he and Matt Moore (re-installed as the starter) can restore their downfield connection and spring Williams and Jonathan Stewart.

Williams has topped 80 rushing yards only once this season (in Week 4, when he ripped off a 39-yard touchdown run), so fantasy owners are despondent. Might the winless Panthers come out with a roar in Week 7 against San Francisco (111.2 yard and 0.5 touchdowns allowed per game)?

Knowshon Moreno vs. Oakland

The Broncos have yet to demonstrate an ability to run the ball. However, it’s hard to exclude Moreno from the list this week against the putrid Oakland run defense. The Raiders surrender 149.6 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown per game.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s still the Kyle Orton show this week. Moreno just gets to post big numbers between the tackles in his 12-15 touches.
 

POLL

  • Who will score the most fantasy points for Week 7 of this group?
    • Cedric Benson at Atlanta
    • Jamaal Charles vs. Jacksonville
    • Knowshon Moreno vs. Oakland
    • Ryan Torain at Chicago
    • DeAngelo Williams vs. San Francisco

Ryan Torain at Chicago

Torain performed brilliantly in Week 6 against the Redskins with 100 rushing yards and two touchdowns. He’s front and center this week against the third-ranked Chicago run defense (84 yards per game) that has allowed seven touchdowns. Torain shoulders another heavy load (we’ll be monitoring his knee until game day) and takes advantage of Donovan McNabb’s work between the 20s.

Marshawn Lynch vs. Arizona

Lynch didn’t overwhelm anybody in his first game with the Seahawks (44 yards on 17 carries), but he did find the end zone. He’ll remain in a timeshare with Justin Forsett. However, it appears that Lynch will garner most of the short-yardage work.

The Arizona run defense ranks among the worst in the NFL, allowing 140.5 rushing yards and a touchdown per game.

Ryan Mathews vs. New England

Mathews took on a bigger load against St. Louis last week with 12 carries. Unfortunately, the game situation and Mike Tolbert’s goal-line work mitigated his fantasy value (12 carries for 64 yards and three receptions for 12 yards). He’s not a rock-solid start this week, as the Patriots are strong against the run around the painted grass (one touchdown surrendered). I do anticipate that Mathews gets more involved in the passing game given the injuries to Antonio Gates and Malcom Floyd. The Patriots do allow 109.6 rushing yards per game.

Michael Bush at Denver

There’s an outside chance that Darren McFadden finally returns to action this weekend, but he’d take a backseat to Bush (for the time being) even if cleared. Bush logged just 47 yards on 20 carries last week against the 49ers.

He’s in a much better spot against the Broncos, a defensive unit that continues to lose starters. As such, the Denver run defense had dropped markedly in the rankings in the past several weeks (now 25th at 127.7 yards and 1.2 touchdowns per game). The Raiders may be turning to Kyle Boller this week with Bruce Gradkowski and Jason Campbell ailing. As such, we can reasonably expect a lot of two-stepping to the running back.
 

POLL

  • Who will score the fewest fantasy points for Week 7 of this group?
    • Ahmad Bradshaw at Dallas
    • Ronnie Brown vs. Pittsburgh
    • LeSean McCoy at Tennessee

Christopher Ivory vs. Cleveland

Ivory ran wild for the Saints in Week 6, producing 158 yards on 15 carries. In fact, he’s averaged 7.1 yards per carry in the past three weeks. As such, the Saints are in no rush to get Pierre Thomas back on the field. I suspect that he sits out another game, allowing Ivory to maintain his lead role in the crowded backfield. This week’s opponent, Cleveland, ranks 23rd against the run (120.2 yards per game), but have surrendered only one rushing touchdown (Rashard Mendenhall last week). Take the robust rushing average and charge to victory.

Running Back Sleepers

Justin Forsett vs. Arizona

Forsett takes a secondary role to Marshawn Lynch (above), but remains an explosive second option that will see time as a receiver out of the backfield. Last week, Forsett ran for 67 yards on 10 carries and scored in the huge road win over Chicago. He’ll most definitely be active and make the most of his 10-12 touches once again. Forsett warrants a flex play this week.

Thomas Jones vs. Jacksonville

Jones rebounded from a smallish Week 5 effort against the Colts by rushing for 100 yards and a touchdown in the shootout loss to Houston. He’s averaging 4.3 yards per carry and nearly 16 carries per game. Owners affected by the bye week or myriad injuries can safely keep Jones in their RB2 slot against the struggling Jacksonville defense. The Kansas City defense may present multiple short-field opportunities for Matt Cassel and the offense.

Danny Woodhead at San Diego

Woodhead has become something of a folk hero in the past several weeks. Instead of trying to find new adjectives to describe him, how about we just say that Woodhead is a valuable member of a backfield tandem with BenJarvus Green-Ellis. In the Patriots’ past two games, Woodhead has amassed 162 yards and a touchdown on 25 touches. That’s the big number. He’s been fully integrated into the offense and will be a vital part of the passing game going forward. Look for continued dump-offs from Tom Brady this weekend against the Chargers with a handful of carries while spelling BJGE.

Running Back Flops

Ahmad Bradshaw at Dallas

Bradshaw is one big game away from joining the hallowed “exclusions” list. He’s been an absolute terror in recent weeks, although fantasy owners are tired of seeing No. 27 creep into the mix around the goal line.

I start Bradshaw without reservation in this game, but I’m not anticipating another 130-yard effort. The Cowboys have allowed 100.8 rushing yards per game (10th in the game) and three touchdowns all season.

LeSean McCoy at Tennessee

Following two huge efforts, including one while donning the flak jacket, McCoy was held in check by the Falcons in Week 6 (85 total yards). He has a difficult task ahead in this space against the strong Tennessee front that has surrendered 97.5 yards per game and just one rushing touchdown all season. McCoy is in your lineup given his all-purpose value, but temper your expectations.

Ronnie Brown vs. Pittsburgh

With the exception of one long 51-yard run against the Vikings, Brown has found running room sparse this season. He faces another daunting task here as part of a split backfield against the top-ranked Pittsburgh run defense (63.8 yards per game and two touchdowns allowed).

Tagged: Josh Reed, Antonio Bryant, Ladell Betts, Shayne Graham, Justin Fargas, Larry Johnson, Willie Parker, Brandon Jones, Troy Williamson, Dave Rayner, Hank Baskett, Ryan Torain, Kahlil Bell, Lance Ball, Michael Vick, Jay Feely, Sammy Morris, Neil Rackers, Chad Johnson, T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Mike Sellers, Phil Dawson, Joey Galloway, Charlie Batch, 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, Jabar Gaffney, Deion Branch, Maurice Morris, Jeremy Shockey, Clinton Portis, David Garrard, Daniel Graham, Chester Taylor, Matt Bryant, Shaun Hill, Antwaan Randle El, Brian Westbrook, Jeff Reed, Anquan Boldin, Jason Witten, Nate Burleson, Visanthe Shiancoe, Carson Palmer, Andre Johnson, Byron Leftwich, Bryant Johnson, Willis McGahee, Dallas Clark, Kevin Walter, Josh Brown, Justin Gage, Seneca Wallace, Antonio Gates, Tony Romo, Clifton Smith, 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, Earnest Graham, Malcom Floyd, Jason Wright, Mark Clayton, Aaron Rodgers, Jason Campbell, Roddy White, Heath Miller, Vincent Jackson, Frank Gore, Alex Smith, Ronnie Brown, Braylon Edwards, Cedric Benson, Carnell Williams, Derek Anderson, Matt Cassel, Ryan Fitzpatrick, 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, Bruce Gradkowski, Devin Aromashodu, Michael Robinson, Brad Smith, Jason Avant, Leon Washington, Stephen Gostkowski, Brandon Marshall, Jerome Harrison, 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, Eldra Buckley, Jackie Battle, 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, Lex Hilliard, Pierre Garcon, Chaz Schilens, Justin Forsett, Adrian Arrington, Tashard Choice, Keenan Burton, Tim Hightower, Jalen Parmele, Jacob Hester, 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, Kareem Huggins, Jimmy Clausen, 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, Colt McCoy, Ben Tate, Boobie Dixon, Toby Gerhart, C.J. Spiller, Sam Bradford, Jermaine Gresham, Dexter McCluster, Max Hall

More Stories From Michael Harmon

Member Comments

Please note by clicking on "Post comment" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Use and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be Polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator.

powered by


NFL Videos

AFC West fantasy football players to watch Posted: Jul 16, 2014
Ryan Fowler discusses who you should keep an eye on from the AFC West as you get...

Fantasy Football: AFC South Players to Watch Posted: Jul 11, 2014
Ryan Fowler has your AFC South fantasy players to watch for 2014.

Fantasy Football: AFC North players to watch Posted: Jul 09, 2014
Ryan Fowler names three AFC North players who could provide great late round val...

More Than Sports on MSN