Here is our look at the backfield status for each of the NFL’s 32 teams.
Arizona Cardinals Committee worry level: Medium Week 7: Beanie Wells (14 carries, 54 yards, TD); Tim Hightower (six carries, 59 yards; one reception, four yards) Season: Hightower (52 carries, 294 yards, 2 TD; eight receptions, 53 yards); Beanie Wells (53 carries, 183 yards, TD; two receptions, 11 yards)
Comment: Hightower continued his fumble-prone ways against the Seahawks, and his head coach isn’t happy (Ken Whisenhunt: “We can’t live with this going forward”). Beanie got the rock more often in the second half, and appears to be taking over.
Atlanta Falcons Committee worry level: Low Week 7: Michael Turner (23 carries, 121 yards, 2 TD; two receptions, 23 yards); Jason Snelling (five carries, four yards; four receptions, 15 yards) Season: Turner (131 carries, 587 yards, 3 TD; nine receptions, 73 yards); Snelling (61 carries, 265 yards, 2 TD; 17 receptions, 101 yards, TD)
Comment: Huge outing for Turner, who has a bye this week. He’s been inconsistent, but it’s hard to complain too much about a guy with 660 yards from scrimmage through seven games.
Baltimore Ravens Committee worry level: Low Week 7: Ray Rice (16 carries, 72 yards; one reception, one yard); Willis McGahee (11 carries, 64 yards, TD; one reception, 10 yards) Season: Rice (131 carries, 523 yards, 2 TD; 24 receptions, 139 yards); McGahee (51 carries, 207 yards, 4 TD; four receptions, six yards)
Comment: McGahee’s carry totals in his last four games: 14, 10, zero, 11. Thanks for making us uncomfortable, John Harbaugh. Let’s consider the goose egg an aberration, and keep considering McGahee as an effective caddy for Rice.
Buffalo Bills Committee worry level: Low Week 7: Fred Jackson (23 carries, 73 yards; one reception, four yards); C.J. Spiller (seven carries, 33 yards) Season: Jackson (55 carries, 233 yards, TD; four receptions, minus-three yards); Spiller (26 carries, 113 yards; 13 receptions, 48 yards)
Comment: You don’t have to like Jackson’s production from Week 7, but you have to like the workload. Until Spiller learns all the ins and outs of his position – meaning BLOCKING – Jackson will stay busy. You can probably buy low on him if you want to.
Carolina Panthers Committee worry level: Medium Week 7: DeAngelo Williams (19 carries, 44 yards; four receptions, 19 yards); Jonathan Stewart (14 carries, 29 yards) Season: Williams (87 carries, 341 yards; 11 receptions, 61 yards); Stewart (50 carries, 146 yards, TD; four receptions, 77 yards, TD)
Comment: Williams is day-to-day with a foot injury, which doesn’t make his fantasy bust status any easier to swallow. Still, since he got 19 carries last week, you have to start him if he’s active.
Chicago Bears Committee worry level: Medium Week 7: Matt Forte (10 carries, 41 yards; five receptions, 32 yards); Chester Taylor (three carries, 20 yards; two receptions, 10 yards) Season: Forte (90 carries, 352 yards, 3 TD; 26 receptions, 303 yards, 3 TD); Taylor (44 carries, 160 yards; 10 receptions, 78 yards)
Comment: Offensive coordinator Mike Martz confirmed earlier this week that Taylor will be the short-yardage and goal-line back. The way Forte has been running, you wonder if Taylor could become the all-the-time back at some point. The O-line has been bad, but this is ridiculous.
Cincinnati Bengals Committee worry level: Non-existent Week 7: Cedric Benson (20 carries, 70 yards; one reception, six yards); Bernard Scott (one carry, 14 yards; five receptions, 43 yards) Season: Benson (123 carries, 476 yards, 2 TD; six receptions, 45 yards, TD); Bernard Scott (18 carries, 82 yards; eight receptions, 58 yards)
Comment: Benson is still the man, but that was a nice little appearance by Scott. PPR owners should watch to see if it happens again.
Cleveland Browns Committee worry level: Non-existent Week 7: Peyton Hillis (16 carries, 69 yards, TD; one reception, one yard); Mike Bell (five carries, minus-three yards); Season: Hillis (104 carries, 460 yards, 5 TD; 27 receptions, 193 yards, TD); Bell (seven carries, zero yards)
Comment: Nothing to see here. All is well with Hillis.
Dallas Cowboys Committee worry level: Medium Week 7: Felix Jones (nine carries, 35 yards; three receptions, 27 yards); Marion Barber (four carries, six yards; one reception, seven yards) Season: Jones (60 carries, 274 yards; 21 receptions, 143 yards); Barber (56 carries, 181 yards, TD; seven receptions, 28 yards)
Comment: Listen, and listen good: Buy low on Jones RIGHT NOW. He had a bad game after his solid Week 6, but if you were the Cowboys, you’d spend the rest of your lost season giving this guy the ball as much as possible. He’s an explosive back, but hasn’t exploded yet. It’s coming.
Comment: From last week’s entry: “We’ve said all along that the Broncos want Moreno to be the guy, and they’ll give him the ball as often as they can.” Keeping Maroney and Buckhalter anchored to the bench was a nice touch.
Detroit Lions Committee worry level: Non-existent Week 7: Bye Season: Jahvid Best (80 carries, 257 yards, 4 TD; 31 receptions, 285 yards, TD); Kevin Smith (10 carries, 45 yards; five receptions, 39 yards)
Comment: QB Matthew Stafford returns this week, and it’s hard to say what that will mean for Best, since Stafford left halfway through the season opener. The bet here is that Stafford will have a big second half of the season, keeping Best as a strong PPR option.
Green Bay Packers Committee worry level: Low Week 7: Brandon Jackson (13 carries, 58 yards, TD; three receptions, 46 yards); John Kuhn (seven carries, 12 yards) Season: Jackson (80 carries, 363 yards, 2 TD; 19 receptions, 150 yards); Kuhn (41 carries, 154 yards, TD; four receptions, 25 yards)
Comment: Jackson has averaged 109 yards from scrimmage over his last three games, and scored on a one-yard run against the Vikings. He’s the clear lead back for the Pack.
Comment: Watch Monday’s game to see if Ward makes a noticeable dent in Foster’s workload. Maybe I’m worrying too much, but head coach Gary Kubiak has been talking an awful lot about Ward lately. Or, maybe I’m just obsessed with Ward, as longtime readers of this article know.
Indianapolis Colts Committee worry level: High Week 7: Bye Season: Joseph Addai (93 carries, 406 yards, 3 TD; 18 receptions, 118 yards); Mike Hart (26 carries, 93 yards, TD; one reception, five yards); Donald Brown (23 carries, 81 yards, TD; two receptions, 26 yards)
Comment: Addai’s status for Week 8 is uncertain due to a shoulder injury, but it doesn’t sound like he’ll play. We’ll know later in the week if Brown is ready to return from his injury hiatus, and if he plays, he’ll be a nice free-agent pickup.
Jacksonville Jaguars Committee worry level: Non-existent Week 7: Maurice Jones-Drew (16 carries, 47 yards; five receptions, 74 yards, TD); Deji Karim (five carries, 29 yards; one reception, one yard) Season: Jones-Drew (135 carries, 510 yards, TD; 17 receptions, 140 yards, 2 TD); Karim (23 carries, 102 yards; three receptions, nine yards)
Comment: Five receptions? Finally! Can Todd Bouman play quarterback for this team every week?
Kansas City Chiefs Committee worry level: High Week 7: Thomas Jones (20 carries, 125 yards, TD); Jamaal Charles (15 carries, 71 yards, TD) Season: Jones (99 carries, 460 yards, 3 TD; three receptions, 26 yards); Charles (81 carries, 489 yards, 2 TD; 10 receptions, 130 yards)
Comment: It’s hard to argue with how the Chiefs have handled this backfield from a real-life standpoint, since they’re leading the league in rushing yards per game by quite a bit. Still, if they could get Charles more involved in the passing game, fantasy owners would surely appreciate it. That’s not an unreasonable request, right?
Miami Dolphins Committee worry level: High Week 7: Ronnie Brown (nine carries, 14 yards; two receptions, 20 yards); Ricky Williams (11 carries, 48 yards) Season: Brown (76 carries, 313 yards, TD; 12 receptions, 73 yards); Williams (67 carries, 288 yards, TD; five receptions, 44 yards, TD)
Comment: Even though last week’s matchup against the Steelers was a tough one, neither of these guys has been especially helpful for fantasy owners. Maybe this week’s game against the 22nd-ranked Bengals run defense will be a tonic for their woes.
Comment: Peterson is averaging 23 carries per game, and it’s hard to imagine that number increasing much if Brett Favre can’t play this week. Not that any Peterson owners are complaining now.
New England Patriots Committee worry level: High Week 7: Danny Woodhead (eight carries, 24 yards; three receptions, 28 yards); BenJarvus Green-Ellis (11 carries, 24 yards, TD); Sammy Morris (one carry, two yards); Fred Taylor (DNP – injured); Season: Green-Ellis (68 carries, 259 yards, 4 TD; one reception, six yards); Woodhead (30 carries, 165 yards, TD; nine receptions, 91 yards, TD); Taylor (25 carries, 98 yards; two receptions, six yards); Morris (11 carries, 29 yards; one reception, 19 yards)
Comment: We all knew that we could never trust anyone in the Pats’ backfield, and this season is just another lesson on why. Danny Woodhead? The guy from Hard Knocks? Really? Anyway, BJGE is still the only decent fantasy starting option from this bunch.
New Orleans Saints Committee worry level: High Week 7: Chris Ivory (15 carries, 48 yards); Julius Jones (one carry, six yards; one reception, one yard); Ladell Betts (eight receptions, 48 yards); Pierre Thomas (DNP – injured); Reggie Bush (DNP – injured) Season: Thomas (46 carries, 147 yards, TD; 17 receptions, 133 yards); Ivory (59 carries, 325 yards; one reception, 17 yards); Betts (29 carries, 111 yards, TD; 18 receptions, 103 yards); Jones (22 carries, 68 yards; two receptions, seven yards); Bush (seven carries, 18 yards; nine receptions, 63 yards, TD)
Comment: FOXSports.com’s Jay Glazer reported on Sunday that the Saints were getting frustrated with the slow pace of Thomas’ rehab, and Thomas wasn’t at Wednesday’s practice this week. Ivory has played well enough that he’ll have a role even when Thomas returns, but he’s still not a good play against the Steelers. Neither is Bush, who may return after being out since Week 2 with a broken leg.
New York Giants Committee worry level: Low Week 7: Ahmad Bradshaw (24 carries, 126 yards; two receptions, 12 yards); Brandon Jacobs (12 carries, 75 yards, TD) Season: Bradshaw (134 carries, 708 yards, 3 TD; 16 receptions, 105 yards); Jacobs (57 carries, 282 yards, 5 TD; four receptions, 26 yards)
Comment: Bradshaw has turned into a stud, but the Giants know they’re going to wear him out if he keeps carrying the ball this much, right? Even their own offensive coordinator is worried about that, since on Wednesday he said, “I’m holding my breath, hoping he’s going to last the entire year.” As a Giants fan, I’m nervous.
New York Jets Committee worry level: Medium Week 7: Bye Season: LaDainian Tomlinson (92 carries, 490 yards, 5 TD; 19 receptions, 107 yards); Shonn Greene (71 carries, 323 yards, TD; two receptions, 17 yards)
Comment: Tomlinson has been the star in the J-E-T-S backfield, but the carry split is closer than you’d think. If you’ve stayed with Greene for this long, give him another chance or two.
Oakland Raiders Committee worry level: High Week 7: Darren McFadden (16 carries, 165 yards, 3 TD; two receptions, 31 yards, TD); Michael Bush (15 carries, 52 yards, TD; one reception, 13 yards) Season: McFadden (101 carries, 557 yards, 4 TD; 18 receptions, 193 yards, 2 TD); Bush (71 carries, 256 yards, 3 TD; eight receptions, 72 yards)
Comment: The way the carries broke down against the Broncos, McFadden appears to be the leader here, but not by a lot. The Raiders would be smart to limit McFadden in an effort to keep him healthy, and since Bush runs well, they won’t lose much when that happens. The guess here is a 60-40 split IF McFadden stays healthy
Comment: Michael Vick is expected to start after the bye for the Eagles. McCoy has carried the ball a little more in Kevin Kolb’s starts than he did in Vick’s starts. McCoy should still start under any circumstances, but that’s something to watch for.
Pittsburgh Steelers Committee worry level: Non-existent Week 7: Rashard Mendenhall (15 carries, 37 yards; one reception, six yards); Ike Redman (three carries, nine yards) Season: Mendenhall (131 carries, 532 yards, 5 TD; nine receptions, 48 yards); Redman (24 carries, 98 yards)
Comment: Mendenhall’s workload hasn’t slowed since Ben Roethlisberger’s return, as he’s carried the ball 42 times in two games. Let’s get back over the century mark this week, OK, Rashard?
San Diego Chargers Committee worry level: High Week 7: Darren Sproles (two carries, seven yards; nine receptions, 70 yards);; Ryan Mathews (eight carries, 15 yards; two receptions, seven yards); Mike Tolbert (two carries, five yards, TD; one reception, 13 yards); Season: Tolbert (68 carries, 300 yards, 3 TD; nine receptions, 70 yards); Mathews (62 carries, 294 yards, TD; 10 receptions, 63 yards); Sproles (22 carries, 90 yards; 24 receptions, 235 yards)
Comment: Last week, it looked like Mathews had his lead role back. After Sunday’s game against the Patriots, in which Mathews was a spectator for the entire second half, head coach Norv Turner said of late-game passing downs, “Please. Darren (Sproles) has been playing that position for four years, and he knows exactly what he’s doing in protection. He knows exactly what he’s doing with the route. Obviously, when we get into those situations, it takes away the chances to use (Mathews) as a player.” What’s next? Heck if I know. You stink, Norv Turner. Make up your mind.
San Francisco 49ers Committee worry level: Non-existent Week 7: Frank Gore (19 carries, 102 yards; four receptions, 57 yards) Season: Gore (135 carries, 573 yards, TD; 37 receptions, 341 yards, 2 TD)
Comment: Does it really matter that Troy Smith will start at quarterback for the Niners this week? Gore is making a run at fantasy MVP honors in PPR leagues.
Comment: We talked last week about this timeshare working for both backs, but Lynch’s role makes him a huge fantasy asset. Not many guys get 24 carries a game these days.
St. Louis Rams Committee worry level: Non-existent Week 7: Steven Jackson (22 carries, 110 yards; two receptions, 35 yards) Season: Jackson (149 carries, 617 yards, 2 TD; 16 receptions, 165 yards)
Comment: Jackson had surgery to fix his fractured index finger on Monday, but he’s aiming to play this week. He probably will, and should put up his usual solid numbers against the Panthers. Once again, a touchdown or two would be nice for a change.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Committee worry level: High Week 7: Cadillac Williams (four carries, 12 yards; eight receptions, 34 yards, TD); LeGarrette Blount (11 carries, 72 yards); Earnest Graham (DNP – injured) Season: Williams (80 carries, 202 yards; 23 receptions, 161 yards, TD); Graham (14 carries, 89 yards, TD; 10 receptions, 98 yards, TD); Blount (21 carries, 102 yards, TD)
Comment: Blount finally got a decent workload in Week 7, which means he must be learning the intricacies of blitz pickups. The timeshare here is expected to involve Blount on early downs and short-yardage plays, with Williams in on passing downs. Both guys have value, with Williams’ probably restricted to PPR leagues.
Tennessee Titans Committee worry level: Non-existent Week 7: Chris Johnson (24 carries, 66 yards; two receptions, seven yards) Season: Johnson (163 carries, 662 yards, 7 TD; 17 receptions, 66 yards)
Comment: Johnson faces a tough run defense this week at San Diego. He’s not getting to 2,500 yards from scrimmage again at this pace, but you’ll still take him.
Washington Redskins Committee worry level: Non-existent Week 7: Ryan Torain (21 carries, 125 yards) Season: Torain (82 carries, 381 yards, 3 TD; five receptions, 36 yards)
Comment: That’s two games in a row with more than 100 yards for Torain. Don’t expect the Lions to put up much of a fight against him this week, either. Start him if you have him.