Here is our look at the backfield status for each of the NFL’s 32 teams.
Arizona Cardinals Committee worry level: High Week 5: Chris "Beanie" Wells (20 carries, 35 yards; one reception, five yards); Tim Hightower (four carries, six yards) Season: Hightower (46 carries, 235 yards, 2 TD; seven receptions, 49 yards); Wells (39 carries, 129 yards; two receptions, 11 yards)
Comment: After complaining about his role following Week 4, Beanie sure made good use of his increased workload, didn’t he? He’ll still get the majority of the carries moving forward, but they need to get Hightower involved in the passing game again.
Atlanta Falcons Committee worry level: Low Week 5: Michael Turner (19 carries, 140 yards); Jason Snelling (six carries, 18 yards; two receptions, two yards) Season: Turner (93 carries, 421 yards, TD; six receptions, 46 yards); Snelling (53 carries, 244 yards, 2 TD; 11 receptions, 76 yards, TD)
Comment: This is one of the few teams that has enough carries to go around for two backs – even when Snelling gets more than a half dozen.
Comment: Great game for Rice, who reportedly may get more goal-line duties as well.
Buffalo Bills Committee worry level: High Week 5: Fred Jackson (12 carries, 73 yards; one reception, minus-seven yards); C.J. Spiller (five carries, 31 yards; one reception, three yards) Season: Jackson (32 carries, 160 yards, TD; three receptions, minus-seven yards); Spiller (19 carries, 80 yards; 13 receptions, 48 yards)
Comment: Not a bad debut for Jackson as the Bills’ lead back. He’s a nice fantasy RB2 to have, but keep an eye on Spiller, in whom the Bills have a big investment. This worry level stays high until Spiller’s backup status is written in pen instead of pencil.
Carolina Panthers Committee worry level: Medium Week 5: DeAngelo Williams (12 carries, 51 yards; three receptions, eight yards); Jonathan Stewart (eight carries, 30 yards; one reception, four yards) Season: Williams (68 carries, 297 yards; seven receptions, 42 yards); Stewart (36 carries, 117 yards, TD; four receptions, 77 yards, TD)
Comment: Can a team’s quarterbacks be so bad that its running game will never get going? The Panthers are really testing that theory now. Stewart should be pretty much dead to you.
Chicago Bears Committee worry level: Low Week 5: Matt Forte (22 carries, 166 yards, 2 TD; two receptions, 22 yards); Chester Taylor (18 carries, 43 yards; two receptions, 11 yards) Season: Forte (72 carries, 300 yards, 2 TD; 18 receptions, 231 yards, 3 TD); Taylor (37 carries, 109 yards;seven receptions, 64 yards)
Comment: Forte had a huge game against the Panthers, but the Bears HAD to run with Todd Collins at quarterback. With Jay Cutler scheduled to return this week, Forte returns to his role as PPR starter, and iffy standard scoring play against the run-stopping Seahawks.
Cincinnati Bengals Committee worry level: Non-existent Week 5: Cedric Benson (23 carries, 144 yards; two receptions, 19 yards); Bernard Scott (two carries, four yards) Season: Benson (103 carries, 406 yards, 2 TD; five receptions, 39 yards, TD); Scott (17 carries, 68 yards; three receptions, 15 yards)
Comment: There’s the breakout, Cedric. Nice job!
Cleveland Browns Committee worry level: Low Week 5: Peyton Hillis (10 carries, 28 yards; four receptions, 49 yards, TD); Jerome Harrison (six carries, six yards); Season: Hillis (76 carries, 350 yards, 4 TD; 20 receptions, 143 yards, TD); Harrison (31 carries, 91 yards; four receptions, 42 yards)
Comment: Harrison was traded to the Eagles on Wednesday for Mike Bell. Harrison and Bell both become handcuffs, with Harrison being slightly more interesting. Hillis had a bad thigh, and the Steelers on this week’s schedule. Ugh.
Dallas Cowboys Committee worry level: High Week 5: Felix Jones (15 carries, 109 yards; four receptions, 17 yards); Marion Barber (six carries, 19 yards); Tashard Choice (no stats) Season: Barber (42 carries, 144 yards, TD; three receptions, six yards); Jones (37 carries, 207 yards; eight receptions, 55 yards); Choice (eight carries, 21 yards; three receptions, four yards)
Comment: The Cowboys weren’t lying about getting Jones more involved – he should start in any format right now, and could be close to making Barber a clear second banana. Choice has apparently entered the federal witness protection program, and will be left out of this space in the future until he resurfaces with a new identity.
Comment: The Broncos host the Jets this week, and they’ll likely be without Moreno again. Looks like another horrible week for the running game.
Detroit Lions Committee worry level: Low Week 5: Jahvid Best (18 carries, 67 yards; four receptions, 37 yards); Kevin Smith (three carries, 16 yards; one reception, 17 yards) Season: Best (68 carries, 241 yards, 4 TD; 25 receptions, 254 yards, TD); Smith (six carries, 28 yards; five receptions, 39 yards)
Comment: Best isn’t spectacular, but in PPR formats, it’s hard to argue with his production. Is he a must-start at this point?
Green Bay Packers Committee worry level: High Week 5: Brandon Jackson (10 carries, 115 yards; five receptions, 25 yards); John Kuhn (three carries, 12 yards; two receptions, five yards) Season: Jackson (55 carries, 252 yards, TD; 13 receptions, 75 yards); Kuhn (29 carries, 133 yards, TD; four receptions, 25 yards)
Comment: Last week, I wrote that “both of these guys stink.” Um, sorry Brandon. You can start for me this week.
Comment: You’re a pest, Derrick Ward! Stop stealing Foster’s TDs!
Indianapolis Colts Committee worry level: Medium Week 5: Joseph Addai (17 carries, 50 yards; five receptions, 39 yards); Mike Hart (11 carries, 50 yards, TD; one reception, five yards); Donald Brown (DNP – injured) Season: Addai (76 carries, 278 yards, 2 TD; 18 receptions, 118 yards); Brown (23 carries, 81 yards, TD; two receptions, 26 yards); Hart (15 carries, 50 yards, TD; one reception, five yards)
Comment: Brown isn’t expected to play in Week 6, so Hart will back up Addai after filling in admirably during the second half against the Chiefs. That’s if Addai can play, which isn’t a lock. Watch his status as kickoff approaches, and grab Hart if you need a bye-week or injury fill-in.
Comment: Karim came in when MJD was hurt, and he’s NOT going to get a significant amount of work moving forward unless there’s an injury. Don’t waste your time on him.
Kansas City Chiefs Committee worry level: High Week 5: Jamaal Charles (16 carries, 87 yards; one reception, 14 yards); Thomas Jones (eight carries, 19 yards) Season: Jones (60 carries, 235 yards, TD; two receptions, six yards); Charles (50 carries, 325 yards, TD; six receptions, 106 yards)
Comment: Was that the game Charles’ owners have been waiting for? It was from a workload perspective. If he keeps getting 17 touches, he’ll break loose for some long ones.
Miami Dolphins Committee worry level: High Week 5: Bye Season: Ronnie Brown (48 carries, 226 yards, TD; nine receptions, 51 yards); Ricky Williams (43 carries, 165 yards, TD)
Comment: Look for a low-scoring battle against the Packers in Green Bay this week. That could mean plenty of ground game for the ‘Fins.
Comment: Thirty-four pass attempts for Favre against the Jets, and 20 carries for the running backs. I know the Vikings were behind for much of the game, but this worries me a little in the wake of the Randy Moss trade. Will head coach Brad Childress acquiesce to Favre and let him throw all the time, or force-feed the ball to the best runner in the NFL?
New England Patriots Committee worry level: High Week 5: Bye Season: BenJarvus Green-Ellis (47 carries, 215 yards, 2 TD; one reception, six yards); Fred Taylor (25 carries, 98 yards; two receptions, six yards); Danny Woodhead (11 carries, 78 yards, TD; one reception, 11 yards, TD); Sammy Morris (nine carries, 24 yards; one reception, 19 yards)
Comment: Taylor is likely to miss Week 6, so let’s see if BJGE continues his ascent to consistent fantasy usefulness.
New Orleans Saints Committee worry level: Medium Week 5: Ladell Betts (10 carries, 44 yards; five receptions, 26 yards); Chris Ivory (10 carries, 39 yards); Pierre Thomas (DNP – injured); Reggie Bush (DNP – injured) Season: Thomas (46 carries, 147 yards, TD; 17 receptions, 133 yards); Betts (23 carries, 91 yards; nine receptions, 49 yards); Ivory (29 carries, 119 yards); Bush (seven carries, 18 yards; nine receptions, 63 yards, TD)
Comment: Did the Saints really sign the nearly useless Julius Jones as insurance for the still-injured Thomas, who might miss his third straight game this week? Good grief. Betts and Ivory are doing just fine.
New York Giants Committee worry level: Low Week 5: Ahmad Bradshaw (16 carries, 67 yards; three receptions, 22 yards); Brandon Jacobs (10 carries, 41 yards, TD) Season: Bradshaw (91 carries, 449 yards, 3 TD; 12 receptions, 83 yards); Jacobs (36 carries, 124 yards, TD; four receptions, 26 yards)
Comment: Jacobs scored early on against the Texans, and got a decent amount of work that wasn’t all due to the blowout win. Bradshaw’s ankle made him miss some practice time last week, so let’s see if Jacobs stays moderately busy. I want to see that kind of production one more time before making him a fantasy starter again.
New York Jets Committee worry level: High Week 5: LaDainian Tomlinson (20 carries, 94 yards; five receptions, 13 yards); Shonn Greene (10 carries, 57 yards, TD) Season: Tomlinson (76 carries, 435 yards, 3 TD; 17 receptions, 95 yards); Greene (62 carries, 280 yards, TD; two receptions, 17 yards)
Comment: Tomlinson continues to be one of the season’s biggest surprises. Unfortunately, he’s going to wear down if he touches the ball 25 times very often. Also, Greene is pretty good, in case the Jets haven’t noticed.
Oakland Raiders Committee worry level: High Week 5: Michael Bush (26 carries, 104 yards, TD; three receptions, 31 yards); Darren McFadden (DNP – injured) Season: McFadden (85 carries, 392 yards, TD; 16 receptions, 162 yards, TD); Bush (36 carries, 157 yards, 2 TD; five receptions, 47 yards)
Comment: McFadden might return from his hamstring injury this week, but head coach Tom Cable said Wednesday that since McFadden isn’t likely to be 100 percent, Bush is expected to remain the starter. If Bush has another strong game, McFadden owners will need to temper their sky-high expectations. This stuff will happen when you draft a guy who can’t stay healthy.
Comment: One-hundred-thirty-eight yards from scrimmage while wearing a flak jacket? McCoy is a stud, plain and simple. Jerome Harrison has been shipped in from Cleveland to be McCoy’s handcuff. Harrison could actually get a little bit of work when McCoy needs a breather.
Comment: One of the biggest things to look for this week is if Ben Roethlisberger’s return opens up more running room for Mendenhall. You know, since I’ve been predicting that for three weeks and everything.
San Diego Chargers Committee worry level: High Week 5: Mike Tolbert (12 carries, 11 yards; two receptions, 24 yards); Ryan Mathews (nine carries, 59 yards; one reception, zero yards); Darren Sproles (two carries, one yard; three receptions, 32 yards) Season: Tolbert (63 carries, 292 yards, TD; eight receptions, 57 yards); Mathews (42 carries, 215 yards, TD; five receptions, 44 yards); Sproles (19 carries, 74 yards; 10 receptions, 117 yards)
Comment: Buy low NOW on Mathews if you can, since he’s probably going to reclaim his starting job soon. He’s been limited by a nagging ankle injury, which is why his carry numbers have been low. Once he gets better, look out.
San Francisco 49ers Committee worry level: Non-existent Week 5: Frank Gore (18 carries, 52 yards; four receptions, 21 yards, TD) Season: Gore (91 carries, 332 yards, TD; 33 receptions, 284 yards, 2 TD)
Comment: Just a so-so game against the Eagles by Gore’s standards, but he’s entitled. He’ll bring back the awesomeness this week against the Raiders.
Seattle Seahawks Committee worry level: Medium Week 5: Bye Season: Justin Forsett (51 carries, 215 yards; nine receptions, 66 yards); Marshawn Lynch (37 carries, 164 yards; one reception, seven yards)
Comment: Lynch makes his Seahawks’ debut this week against the Bears. Pete Carroll seemed to be looking for an excuse all along to bury Forsett, so let’s see how much work each back gets.
St. Louis Rams Committee worry level: Non-existent Week 5: Steven Jackson (25 carries, 114 yards; one reception, 12 yards) Season: Jackson (98 carries, 398 yards, TD; 13 receptions, 128 yards)
Comment: Please, please, PLEASE get into the end zone this week, SJ39. Lord knows I don’t ask for much!
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Committee worry level: High Week 5: Cadillac Williams (11 carries, 33 yards); LeGarrette Blount (four carries, three yards); Earnest Graham (three carries, 65 yards, TD) Season: Williams (66 carries, 172 yards; eight receptions, 64 yards); Graham (14 carries, 89 yards, TD; 10 receptions, 98 yards, TD); Blount (10 carries, 30 yards, TD)
Comment: No idea what’s going to happen here, since hardly anyone seems to be able to get yards unless they’re on fluke long runs like Graham had against the Bengals. Blount still appears to be the long-term play, and we won’t acknowledge Kareem Huggins’ existence again until he records a stat.
Tennessee Titans Committee worry level: Non-existent Week 5: Chris Johnson (19 carries, 131 yards, 2 TD; one reception, one yard) Season: Johnson (113 carries, 485 yards, 6 TD; 13 receptions, 39 yards)
Comment: Now THAT’S what Johnson’s owners have been waiting for!
Washington Redskins Committee worry level: Non-existent Week 5: Ryan Torain (16 carries, 40 yards; four receptions, 27 yards); Clinton Portis (DNP – injured) Season: Portis (49 carries, 195 yards, 2 TD; four receptions, 45 yards); Torain (41 carries, 156 yards, TD; four receptions, 27 yards)
Comment: Portis seemed to hint on a radio show earlier this week that he might not be back this season. Sometimes, it’s all about opportunity, and Torain has a big one. Here’s hoping he runs with it.