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Start Gore, Spiller in Week 10
In the end, the lone player to make his mark on the ground in the Week 10 opener was Andrew Luck. Can anybody top his two rushing touchdowns on Sunday?
Let’s get into this week’s running back “Lineup Calls.”
Stevan Ridley vs. BUF
How many ways can I say? The Buffalo run defense is absolutely terrible, ceding 5.7 yards per carry with 14 touchdowns. Opponents have rolled up 44 runs of at least 10 yards against the Bills. Light up the scoreboard this week and get Ridley into your lineup.
Michael Turner at NO
Turner had a flashback moment on Sunday night, including a fantastic 43-yard sprint to the outside. He’s a huge play this week against the dismal New Orleans defense, a team ranked dead-last against running backs The Saints played well against Michael Vick and the Philadelphia passing game in Week 9, but LeSean McCoy still posted a strong effort. This is going to be a high-scoring affair, and Turner will be a factor.
Willis McGahee at CAR
The Panthers quietly play well against opposing passing games, but they have allowed the ninth-most fantasy points to running backs (six touchdowns). I anticipate another huge workload for McGahee this week as the Broncos try to create space over the middle for Peyton Manning. He’s logged 46 carries in the past two weeks.
Frank Gore vs. STL
Gore has alternated huge and middling efforts in the past four weeks, producing two 100-yard games and two games with fewer than 60 rushing yards. Overall, he’s generated 89.6 total yards per game. Look for the 49ers to go back to basics this week against the Rams (14th-most fantasy points allowed).
C.J. Spiller at NE
I know that the Patriots dominate against the run. I put Spiller on the board as a contributor to the passing game. Though he continues in a workload split, Spiller has registered three consecutive 100-yard games (15 receptions). That’s where he makes his mark as a back-end RB1 this week.
Mikel LeShoure at MIN
LeShoure delivered for trusting fantasy owners in a big way against Jacksonville in Week 9. I like the balance being established in the Detroit offense, though the presence of Joique Bell (No. 30 at RB this week) does present some anxious moments. The Vikings’ run defense has faltered of late, having been run over in three consecutive games. As a result, Minnesota has now allowed the 18th-most fantasy points to running backs following a fantastic start to the season.
Look for Matthew Stafford to open things up against the Minnesota secondary, thereby affording LeShoure huge running lanes. He’ll establish a new season-high rushing mark and score.
Isaac Redman vs. KC
Redman rolled to a huge effort in Week 9 against the Giants. The scheduling gods present another glorious opportunity against the woeful Chiefs (sixth-most fantasy points allowed to running backs). I know that Jonathan Dwyer will be back for this game and eat into the workload (he’s a back-end RB2), but Redman stands at the top of the pecking order. The Pittsburgh offensive line has played well in the past several weeks, and this is an opportunity for a huge display.
Shane Vereen vs. BUF
Stevan Ridley is the lead back, without question, but Vereen is on the board for fantasy owners looking for injury or Bye week replacements in this difficult week. Vereen has scored in two of the past three weeks and amassed 17touches in the two games preceding the Patriots’ Week 9 Bye.
Marcel Reece at BAL
Reece doesn’t factor in the running game, but he’s caught 12 passes in the past two weeks for 153 yards. The Oakland running game has sputtered for much of the season, thereby putting the ball into Carson Palmer’s hands 40 or more times per game.
Speedster Taiwan Jones is expected to start the game and may receive the bulk of the carries. He’s worth a look-see as a deep-RB2 option this week against this Tampa Bay defense (13th-fewest fantasy points allowed to running backs). Opposing running backs have piled up 47 receptions. That’s where this duo may do some damage.
Daniel Thomas vs. TEN
Thomas has become an integral part of the Miami backfield in the past several weeks, including goal line work. He’s amassed 39 touches in the past three games in which he’s participated.
The Titans have allowed the third-most fantasy points to running backs this season, including 10 touchdown runs. Reggie Bush is in line for a big day in terms of yardage and rates a RB1 grade, but Thomas factors into the mix around the goal line.
Jamaal Charles at PIT
Charles has been cleared for the Week 10 finale against the Steelers, but he might not be cleared by you as general manager this week. The Steelers have allowed the sixth-fewest fantasy points to running backs, including six total touchdowns (five rushing).
Charles has rushed for 40 yards or fewer in three consecutive games and has produced just two 100-yard games this season. He’s a back-end RB2 play this week.
Chris Johnson at MIA
Johnson produced another big game for fantasy owners in Week 9 despite the tough matchup against the Bears. OK, that’s what the box score says. Johnson was bottled up for much of the day and lost two fumbles before ripping off a huge touchdown run after the Chicago defense had packed up for the day.
The Dolphins may give up chunks of yardage in the air, but they’re still quite stout on the ground. Miami has allowed the seventh-fewest fantasy points to running backs, including just three touchdowns (two rushing). Johnson rates a mid-RB2 play this week.
Ryan Mathews at TB
He’s still in your lineup and the matchup looks good on paper. I’m still reticent to wholeheartedly endorse Mathews. He has big-play potential, as evidenced by his 31-yard run against the Chiefs, but the overall production has yet to match expectations. Mathews has yet to rush for 100 yards this game and continues to cede touches to Ronnie Brown and Jackie Battle (Brown saw extensive red zone action in Week 9).
The Buccaneers have allowed the 13th-fewest fantasy points to running backs.
Steven Jackson at SF
As expected, Jackson produced little for fantasy owners in the Week 8 contest against Vince Wilfork and the Patriots. He was limited to 23 yards on seven carries (two receptions for 22 yards) while splitting time with Daryl Richardson.
This week, Jackson faces the top-ranked San Francisco run defense (95.5 total yards per game with a single touchdown). He’s no better than a deep RB3 option for this road tilt.
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