Fantasy Football

RB committee update: Panthers starting to roar

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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.

Welcome to the latest edition of our fantasy backfield committee update, which will help you understand what's going on in the Shanahan-created world of running back tandems. The four "worry levels" — High, Medium, Low and Non-Existent — are subject to change on a weekly basis and completely, subjectively determined by the humble fantasy analyst who writes this article. If you have any comments, insight, etc., please post a comment below. Under the most recent week and for the season, the player order goes according to who got the most touches. And now, without further ado, is our look at the backfield status for each of the NFL's 32 teams. The Ravens, Broncos, Lions, Jaguars, Seahawks and Titans have byes in Week 7.

Arizona Cardinals

Committee worry level: Medium
Week 6: Tim Hightower (13 carries, 32 yards, TD; four receptions, 26 yards); Beanie Wells (12 carries, 29 yards; one reception, seven yards)
Season: Hightower (51 rushes, 158 yards, 3 TD; 29 receptions, 228 yards); Wells (35 rushes, 124 yards; one reception, seven yards) Comment: I have a feeling that this one might change to "high" pretty soon. Beanie didn't get all those carries after the game was decided — they were rotating from the get-go. If you still own Beanie, hang on.

Atlanta Falcons

Committee worry level: Low
Week 6: Michael Turner (13 carries, 30 yards, TD; two receptions, 16 yards); Jerious Norwood (four carries, 21 yards; two receptions, 12 yards)
Season: Turner (100 carries, 353 yards, 6 TD; three receptions, 21 yards); Norwood (19 carries, 78 yards; eight receptions, 55 yards) Comment: Norwood might miss a few weeks with a hip flexor injury, so you might want to cut bait at this point. Unless you have bench space for a second banana who isn't coming back until mid-November or so.

Baltimore Ravens

Committee worry level: Medium
Week 6: Ray Rice (10 carries, 77 yards, 2 TD; 10 receptions, 117 yards); Willis McGahee (seven carries, three yards); Le'Ron McClain (one carry, one yard; one reception, minus-two yards)
Season: Rice (73 carries, 441 yards, 3 TD; 33 receptions, 325 yards); McGahee (45 carries, 202 yards, 5 TD; eight receptions, 58 yards, 2 TD); McClain (15 carries, 45 yards, TD; 12 receptions, 76 yards) Comment: I'm going to pat myself on the back here and say that I hope you listened when I told you to sell high on McGahee. It's too late to do that now. Rice is a stud, and McGahee might pick up some vulture TD scraps. As for McClain ... why am I still listing him here?

Buffalo Bills

Committee worry level: High
Week 6: Marshawn Lynch (19 carries, 61 yards; two receptions, 11 yards); Fred Jackson (15 carries, 52 yards)
Season: Jackson (98 carries, 415 yards; 20 receptions, 177 yards, TD); Lynch (44 carries, 134 yards; 13 receptions, 110 yards) Comment: Almost right down the middle again. These guys are going to get the ball plenty this week with Ryan Fitzpatrick starting in place of Trent Edwards at quarterback. Fitzpatrick isn't good, but he went to Harvard. That's interesting, isn't it?

Carolina Panthers

Committee worry level: Medium
Week 6: DeAngelo Williams (30 carries, 152 yards, 2 TD; two receptions, 20 yards); Jonathan Stewart (17 carries, 110 yards, TD)
Season: Williams (89 carries, 372 yards, 4 TD; 13 receptions, 123 yards); Stewart (50 carries, 248 yards, 2 TD; eight receptions, 69 yards) Comment: This looks like it's turning into a Miami-style setup, where you can own either guy and be happy. It's nice to have the Panthers' running game back, isn't it? This week they play the Bills, who just gave up 318 yards to the Jets. It's a fantasy goldmine!

Chicago Bears

Committee worry level: Non-existent
Week 6: Matt Forte (15 carries, 23 yards; five receptions, 37 yards)
Season: Forte (86 carries, 294 yards, TD; 18 receptions, 129 yards) Comment: Not that there's really anyone around to threaten him, but Forte might not want to fumble twice in a row at the goal-line ever again.

Cincinnati Bengals

Committee worry level: Non-existent
Week 6: Cedric Benson (16 carries, 44 yards, TD; two receptions, one yard)
Season: Benson (127 carries, 531 yards, 4 TD; 10 receptions, 66 yards) Comment: Benson and the Bengals host the Bears this week, and he's been squawking about the Bears trying to blackball him when he left. If you believe in guys with chips on their shoulders, this week could be fun.

Cleveland Browns

Committee worry level: Low
Week 6: Jamal Lewis (11 carries, 21 yards; two receptions, 15 yards);Jerome Harrison (five carries, 26 yards)
Season: Harrison (61 carries, 228 yards; 14 receptions, 88 yards); Lewis (67 carries,233 yards; six receptions, 70 yards) Comment: Lewis is pretty clearly the man here when he's healthy, and Harrison's been affected by flu symptoms this week.

Dallas Cowboys

Committee worry level: High, and getting higher
Week 6: Bye
Season: Marion Barber (58 carries, 297 yards, 3 TD; four carries, 58 yards); Tashard Choice (44 carries, 133 yards, TD; 12 receptions, 92 yards); Felix Jones (21 carries, 212 yards, TD; one reception, 20 yards) Comment: Team owner Jerry Jones said on his radio show earlier this week that Choice has "certainly earned and is going to get a big part of the load." If you own Barber, and you're smashing your head against the computer screen right now, I don't blame you. Jones looks like he'll be back this week as well, so this is shaping up to be one big mess. I'm thinking about benching Marshawn Lynch in favor of Choice in one league.

Denver Broncos

Committee worry level: Medium
Week 6: Knowshown Moreno (18 carries, 44 yards; one reception, minus-one yard); Correll Buckhalter (10 carries, 46 yards; four receptions, 29 yards)
Season: Moreno (99 carries, 381 yards, TD; nine receptions, 68 yards, TD); Buckhalter (47 carries, 313 yards, TD; 12 receptions, 125 yards) Comment: Buckhalter came back in Week 6, but Moreno still got more work, if not a lot more. If there was a fantasy position called "annoying pest," Buckhalter would be a great pickup.

Detroit Lions

Committee worry level: Non-existent
Week 6: Kevin Smith (15 carries, 61 yards)
Season: Smith (109 carries, 348 yards, 3 TD; 19 receptions, 143 yards) Comment: Smith is on pace for more than 1,300 total yards and eight touchdowns. Why do I get so disappointed when I look at his numbers?

Green Bay Packers

Committee worry level: Non-existent
Week 6: Ryan Grant (24 carries, 90 yards; three receptions, 17 yards)
Season: Grant (90 carries, 347 yards, 2 TD; 12 receptions, 100 yards) Comment: Is this guy the most boring clear-cut No. 1 RB ever? He's fine, but he doesn't do anything exciting, he doesn't score much, he doesn't catch the ball a lot ... if you own him, do you forget to check his stats every week?

Houston Texans

Committee worry level: Low
Week 6: Steve Slaton (19 carries, 43 yards; six receptions, 102 yards, TD); Chris Brown (nine carries, 45 yards)
Season: Slaton (91 carries, 274 yards, TD; 23 receptions, 282 yards, 2 TD); Brown (32 carries, 106 yards, TD; two receptions, 10 yards) Comment: You can worry about Slaton's putrid yards-per-carry average, but don't worry about Brown, since he got most of his carries when the game had already been decided. Slaton's really making up for his poor running with that receiving production, isn't he?

Indianapolis Colts

Committee worry level: High
Week 6: Bye
Season: Joseph Addai (62 carries, 210 yards, 3 TD; 26 receptions, 153 yards, TD); Donald Brown (44 carries, 154 yards, 2 TD; seven receptions, 138 yards) Comment: Addai was starting to put some daylight between him and Brown before the bye. Let's see what happens this week.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Committee worry level: Non-existent
Week 6: Maurice Jones-Drew (33 carries, 133 yards, 3 TD; five receptions, 45 yards)
Season: Jones-Drew (108 carries, 463 yards, 8 TD; 26 receptions, 165 yards) Comment: Happy now, MJD? Planning to bitch out your coaching staff again any time soon?

Kansas City Chiefs

Committee worry level: Low
Week 6: Larry Johnson (23 carries, 83 yards; three receptions, 12 yards); Jamaal Charles (four carries, six yards; one reception, two yards)
Season: Johnson (116 carries, 309 yards; 11 receptions, 69 yards); Charles (19 carries, 83 yards; 13 receptions, 119 yards) Comment: Johnson got more than three-and-a-half yards per carry over the course of a game? WOW!

Miami Dolphins

Committee worry level: Medium
Week 6: Bye
Season: Ronnie Brown (92 carries, 443 yards, 6 TD; nine receptions, 64 yards); Ricky Williams (61 carries, 316 yards, 2 TD; 11 receptions, 132 yards, TD) Comment: Does your league give credit for passing yards by Brown? I hope so.

Minnesota Vikings

Committee worry level: Low
Week 6: Adrian Peterson (22 carries, 143 yards; four receptions, 23 yards); Chester Taylor (eight carries, 22 yards)
Season: Peterson (120 carries, 618 yards, 7 TD; 14 receptions, 85 yards); Taylor (36 carries, 91 yards; 21 receptions, 181 yards) Comment: If you hear news about Peterson missing practice time, don't worry. Brad Childress says he's going to rest his superstar deity when necessary during the week. Also, is there anyone out there who still thinks Michael Turner should have been picked ahead of Purple Jesus?

New England Patriots

Committee worry level: High
Week 6: Laurence Maroney (16 carries, 123 yards, TD, three receptions, 10 yards); BenJarvus Green-Ellis (seven carries, 67 yards; two receptions, 11 yards); Kevin Faulk (one carry, five yards; three receptions, 54 yards, TD); Sammy Morris (one reception, three yards)
Season: Maroney (48 carries, 222 yards, TD; six receptions, 36 yards); Morris (30 carries, 109 yards; 11 receptions, 137 yards); Faulk (21 carries, 75 yards; 17 receptions, 150 yards, TD); Green-Ellis (seven carries, 67 yards; two receptions, 11 yards) Comment: Morris didn't practice Wednesday or Thursday, so Maroney would appear to be a clear No. 1 option for the Pats, with Faulk as the change-of-pace guy. But because it's the Pats, we probably need to see it first. I'd still grab Maroney if I could and hope he doesn't drive you nuts like he has in the past.

New Orleans Saints

Committee worry level: High
Week 6: Mike Bell (15 carries, 34 yards, TD); Pierre Thomas (15 carries, 72 yards); Reggie Bush (six carries, 17 yards, TD; one reception, seven yards)
Season: Bell (60 carries, 263 yards, 2 TD; one reception, nine yards); Bush (42 carries, 165 yards, 2 TD; 15 receptions, 128 yards); Thomas (48 carries, 284 yards, 3 TD; four receptions, 46 yards) Comment: Bell got a couple of goal-line looks last week, which has to scare the crap out of you if you own Thomas. As for Bush, I think he's a destitute man's Leon Washington at this point.

New York Giants

Committee worry level: Medium
Week 6: Ahmad Bradshaw (10 carries, 48 yards, 1 TD); Brandon Jacobs (seven carries, 33 yards; one reception, two yards)
Season: Jacobs (107 carries, 388 yards, TD; five receptions, 20 yards); Bradshaw (68 carries, 423 yards, 3 TD; six receptions, 74 yards) Comment: The game against the Saints was a lost cause early, with not much reason to run. I'm still on the "buy low on Jacobs" warpath.

New York Jets

Committee worry level: High
Week 6: Thomas Jones (22 carries, 210 yards, TD; two receptions, 17 yards); Leon Washington (15 carries, 99 yards; three receptions, 46 yards); Shonn Greene (one carry, zero yards)
Season: Jones (96 carries, 481 yards, 6 TD; four receptions, 18 yards); Washington (70 carries, 325 yards; 15 receptions,131 yards); Greene (eight carries, 31 yards) Comment: Is it silly for me to keep the worry level at "high" here? Not if you look at the workload division between Jones and Washington, since it's closer than most teams. I still don't trust Jones one bit. OK, maybe one bit.

Oakland Raiders

Committee worry level: High
Week 6: Justin Fargas (23 carries, 87 yards; one reception, 11 yards); Michael Bush (six carries, 22 yards; one reception, two yards); Darren McFadden (DNP - injury)
Season: Bush (48 carries, 179 yards, 2 TD; nine receptions, 53 yards); McFadden (47 carries, 146 yards, TD; seven receptions, 53 yards); Fargas (46 carries, 137 yards; five receptions, 27 yards) Comment: Bush said he had a head injury that caused him to sit more than he wanted to in Week 6, but I've read two articles this week about how much head coach Tom Cable loves Fargas. Grab Huggy Bear, Jr. if you can. (Note: Justin's father is actor Antonio Fargas, who played "Huggy Bear" in the 1970s TV series Starsky and Hutch. His father is not Snoop Dogg, who played the same role in the 2004 film of the same name. Snoop-a-Loop!)

Philadelphia Eagles

Committee worry level: High
Week 6: Brian Westbrook (six carries, 50 yards; nine receptions, 91 yards); LeSean McCoy (five carries, 13 yards)
Season: McCoy (45 carries, 175 yards; eight receptions, 62 yards); Westbrook (38 carries, 184 yards; 17 receptions, 130 yards, TD) Comment: Trying to make me look stupid, huh, Westbrook? I'm keeping the worry level at "high" just to make you mad. So there.

Pittsburgh Steelers

Committee worry level: High
Week 6: Rashard Mendenhall (17 carries, 62 yards, TD; two receptions, 15 yards); Willie Parker (seven carries, 26 yards; one reception, nine yards); Mewelde Moore (five carries, 20 yards)
Season: Mendenhall (68 carries, 349 yards, 4 TD; seven receptions, 70 yards); Parker (59 carries, 185 yards; five receptions, 53 yards, TD); Moore (17 carries, 57 yards; 14 receptions, 100 yards, TD) Comment: Though head coach Mike Tomlin said this week that Mendenhall had "earned" more carries moving forward, remember that he was in Tomlin's doghouse just a few weeks ago. Let's wait a week before significantly discounting Parker. I certainly wouldn't start Parker this week, though.

San Diego Chargers

Committee worry level: High
Week 6: LaDainian Tomlinson (18 carries, 70 yards; three receptions, 30 yards); Darren Sproles (one carry, zero yards; one reception, four yards);
Season: Sproles (38 carries, 90 yards, TD; 16 receptions, 201 yards, TD); Tomlinson (38 carries, 140 yards; TD; five receptions, 30 yards) Comment: Hey, is L.T. back? Sure, but he's still not going to earn his lofty draft status. I predict his next injury will be in Week 11.

San Francisco 49ers

Committee worry level: Low
Week 6: Bye
Season: Glen Coffee (71 carries, 183 yards, TD; 10 carries, 69 yards); Frank Gore (39 carries, 241 yards, 3 TD; eight receptions, 57 yards, TD) Comment: Gore's on target to start this week.

Seattle Seahawks

Committee worry level: Low
Week 6: Julius Jones (five carries, five yards); Edgerrin James (three carries, three yards); Justin Forsett (two carries, four yards; one reception, 16 yards)
Season: Jones (74 carries, 290 yards, TD; 12 receptions, 67 yards, 2 TD); James (40 carries, 108 yards; two receptions, 13 yards); Forsett (18 carries, 103 yards; 10 receptions, 81 yards) Comment: I'm not wasting more than 13 words on this debacle of a backfield.

St. Louis Rams

Committee worry level: Non-existent
Week 6: Steven Jackson (16 carries, 50 yards; six receptions, 78 yards)
Season: Jackson (120 carries, 501 yards; 20 receptions, 170 yards) Comment: GET IN THE END ZONE, WILL YA???!!!

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Committee worry level: Medium
Week 6: Cadillac Williams (16 carries, 77 yards, TD); Derrick Ward (one carry, two yards; one reception, five yards)
Season: Williams (64 carries, 276 yards, 2 TD; 15 receptions, 89 yards, TD); Ward (33 carries, 135 yards, TD; six receptions, 38 yards) Comment: OK, I'm finally downgrading this one to "medium," but I can't believe the Bucs are wasting Ward like this. If they let him play a bit, they'll see how good he is. Hang onto him if you can. I'm not changing it to "low" until Ward retires and enters a monastery or something.

Tennessee Titans

Committee worry level: Low
Week 6: Chris Johnson (17 carries, 128 yards); LenDale White (six carries, 15 yards)
Season: Johnson (95 carries, 596 yards, 2 TD; 16 receptions, 126 yards, TD); White (39 carries, 148 yards, TD; two receptions, 12 yards) Comment: Johnson owners: if you saw the final score before you saw the stats, how shocked were you to see Johnson's rushing yardage? Would you have bet on him getting that many yards if I gave you 20:1 odds?

Washington Redskins

Committee worry level: Non-existent
Week 6: Clinton Portis (15 carries, 109 yards; three receptions, 15 yards)
Season: Portis (106 carries, 447 yards, TD; nine receptions, 57 yards, TD) Comment: Portis is still the man, and while his leg's been bugging him this week, he's still expected to play Monday against the Eagles. Even on one leg, he'd get most of the carries over Ladell Betts.

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