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Richardson, Green rising at RB
Welcome to the Week 7 edition of our weekly look at fantasy running back committees. In this space, we’ll look at recent performances and attempt to read the backfield tea leaves to help you with lineup decisions. We’ll post this article each Tuesday, and offer updates in our fantasy coverage throughout the week, including in the Friday morning edition of the FOX Sports Fantasy Buzz Blog!
As usual, this series will focus mainly on the more volatile and/or 50-50 situations, but there are a few non-committee notes as well. If you have any questions, the FOXSports.com fantasy staff is always happy to help. The best ways to reach me are via Facebook or Twitter.
Week 7 Byes: Falcons, Broncos, Chiefs, Dolphins, Eagles, Chargers
Before you get too excited about William Powell’s 78 yards from scrimmage against the Bills, note that he got 14 touches to LaRod Stephens-Howling’s 11, and that Stephens-Howling is a better receiver. These guys are both worthy of flex consideration in Week 7, but the Vikings are a tough matchup. Also, keep in mind that the Cardinals’ offensive line is HORRIBLE.
We’ve got an honest to goodness timeshare here, which is good for the Bills but not friendly to those who were hoping for RB1 upside from Fred Jackson or C.J. Spiller. Jackson (21) and Spiller (16) got plenty of touches against the Cardinals, and will be solid RB2 options against the Titans’ 24th-ranked run defense at home this week.
In the three games that Jonathan Stewart and DeAngelo Williams have been active this season, Williams has carried 31 times to Stewart’s 25, so stay away from this situation if you’re looking for a heavy workload. Will one of them score a touchdown against the Cowboys? Maybe, but don’t ask me which one, or if both will cede scores to Cam Newton and/or Mike Tolbert. You’ll need to be in a world of bye-week hurt to start a Panther RB.
Trent Richardson is day-to-day with the rib injury that opened the door for 15 carries, 56 yards and a score by Montario Hardesty in Week 6. If you want to pick up Hardesty and hope for a slow recovery by Richardson, I won’t argue with you, but don’t make a big investment or cut anyone important.
DeMarco Murray’s sprained foot will probably keep him out of Week 7’s contest with the Panthers. Fortunately, the Cowboys exhumed Felix Jones on Sunday, and he responded with 18 carries for 92 yards and a score. Jones appears to be a strong free-agent plug-and-play this week against Carolina’s shaky, 23rd-ranked run defense, but keep this in mind: He’s lost playing time in the past because he’s a terrible blocker. I’m not saying he’ll screw up and get banished in favor of Phillip Tanner in the second quarter, but he might. As a Cowboy hater, I always enjoy when a missed Jones block puts Tony Romo’s life in danger.
Raise your hand if you stashed Jahvid Best in anticipation of a Week 7 return? Yeah, me too. The neurologists say that Best isn’t ready to play, and since there’s no target date for his return, you can ditch him now. Mikel Leshoure can expect a tough night in Soldier Field on Monday, but there probably aren’t 25 better backfield options. Also, if you need to reach deep in a PPR league, Joique Bell carried seven times for 38 yards against the Eagles, and has shown pretty good receiving skills.
I’m not necessarily going to tell you to start Vick Ballard again this week, but since the Colts were losing 21-6 at halftime against the Jets, we probably didn’t get a true gauge of his potential impact. He’ll get to run against the Browns’ 25th-ranked run defense in Week 7, so he might be able to help owners in a bye-week bind. It’ll be interesting to see if Mewelde Moore gets to show his stuff as a third-down back, too.
Oh, God, not these guys again. Start Darren Sproles, and ignore Pierre Thomas and Mark Ingram, who are averaging 7.4 carries per game each. If the Saints decide to give one of them the ball more often, we can talk about them. Until then, we’re going to pretend they don’t exist.
Rashard Mendenhall is reportedly recovering well enough from his Week 6 Achilles’ injury that he’s likely to play Sunday night against the Bengals. Start Mendenhall if he’s active, but remember that he and Isaac Redman split carries down the middle in Week 5 – the Steelers could be taking it easy on Mendenhall for a little while as he continues his comeback from knee surgery. As for Redman, who’s dealing with an ankle injury of his own, his 105-yard receiving game against the Titans will happen again when hell freezes over - twice. Finally, I put in a speculative claim on Baron Batch in one 14-team league, since there’s a chance that neither Mendenhall nor Redman will play this week.
Well, lookie here. Steven Jackson is fine, but the Rams used he and Daryl Richardson as a thunder-and-lightning combo in Week 6, with Jackson getting 80 yards from scrimmage on 15 touches, and Richardson racking up 99 yards on 13 touches. Felix Jones is the best short-term RB pickup this week, but Richardson – who is owned in just 4.2 percent of FOXSports.com leagues – is probably more interesting for the remainder of the season. I wouldn’t expect a 50-50 split, but Richardson could get 10-12 touches per game.
LeGarrette Blount had seven carries for 58 yards and a touchdown in the Bucs’ 38-10 blowout win over the Chiefs, and that’s nice. However, he didn’t get his second carry of the game until the final play of the third quarter, so let’s not pretend he’s a hot pickup. Doug Martin was the Bucs’ primary back, with 76 yards on 13 carries and two receptions for 55 yards. Martin is still an RB2 against the porous Saints, and Blount should remain on your fantasy bench unless you’re extremely shorthanded and gambling for a TD.
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