RB committee: Evaluating every team

Here is our look at the backfield status for each of the NFL’s 32 teams.


Arizona Cardinals

Committee worry level: Medium

Week 9: Beanie Wells (one carry, minus-two yards); Tim Hightower (13 carries, 39 yards)

Season: Beanie Wells (70 carries, 231 yards, 2 TD; three receptions, 25 yards); Hightower (66 carries, 337 yards, 2 TD; nine receptions, 64 yards)

Comment: Wells missed some practice time last week because of an injection that accidentally induced swelling in his surgically-repaired knee, and his virtual non-existence in Week 9 was due more to the swelling than an actual injury. He was out of action again on Wednesday, but even if he comes back this week, the Seahawks’ run defense isn’t bad.

Atlanta Falcons

Committee worry level: Low

Week 9: Michael Turner (24 carries, 107 yards, 2 TD); Jason Snelling (five carries, 15 yards; five receptions, 24 yards)

Season: Turner (155 carries, 694 yards, 5 TD; nine receptions, 73 yards); Snelling (66 carries, 280 yards, 2 TD; 22 receptions, 125 yards, TD)

Comment: Turner is a workhorse who should never be benched, but the Falcons are finding ways to get Snelling the ball. Snelling is a borderline flex play in PPR leagues if you have some injury or bye-week issues.

Baltimore Ravens

Committee worry level: Medium

Week 9: Ray Rice (22 carries, 83 yards; seven receptions, 97 yards); Willis McGahee (six carries, 24 yards; three receptions, 42 yards, TD)

Season: Rice (153 carries, 606 yards, 2 TD; 31 receptions, 236 yards); McGahee (57 carries, 231 yards, 4 TD; seven receptions, 48 yards, TD)

Comment: For the second year in a row, McGahee’s touchdown production is infuriating Rice’s owners. In Week 9, McGahee scored on a 32-yard screen pass, so it’s not like he vultured a short-yardage score from Rice. What do you want the guy to do, take a knee at the one?

Buffalo Bills

Committee worry level: Low

Week 9: Fred Jackson (eight carries, 16 yards, TD; five receptions, 20 yards); C.J. Spiller (seven carries, 20 yards; one reception, five yards)

Season: Jackson (83 carries, 313 yards, 2 TD; 12 receptions, 28 yards); Spiller (39 carries, 150 yards; 18 receptions, 81 yards)

Comment: The Bills threw 51 times against the Bills in Week 9, and unless you think that will happen a lot, don’t panic if you own Jackson. Also, with WR Roscoe Parrish on injured reserve, Spiller will now handle punt return AND kickoff return duties. That doesn’t leave much time to play in the backfield.

Carolina Panthers

Committee worry level: High

Week 9: Mike Goodson (nine carries, 29 yards; three receptions, 18 yards); Tyrell Sutton (seven carries 41 yards; three receptions, 15 yards); Jonathan Stewart (five carries, 30 yards); DeAngelo Williams (DNP – injured)

Season: Williams (87 carries, 341 yards; 11 receptions, 61 yards); Stewart (69 carries, 206 yards, TD; five receptions, 85 yards, TD); Goodson (16 carries, 50 yards; 17 receptions, 140 yards); Sutton (seven carries, 41 yards; three receptions, 15 yards)

Comment: Goodson is expected to start for the Panthers in Week 10 with the other three backs injured. He can catch the ball, and isn’t a bad runner. Still, if you can grab the Buccaneers’ defense this week, by all means do it. Odds are about 97.6 percent that they’ll shut the Panthers out.

Chicago Bears

Committee worry level: High

Week 9: Matt Forte (14 carries, 49 yards; three receptions, 12 yards); Chester Taylor (10 carries, 13 yards, TD; one reception, 14 yards)

Season: Forte (104 carries, 401 yards, 3 TD; 29 receptions, 315 yards, 3 TD); Taylor (54 carries, 173 yards, TD; 11 receptions, 92 yards)

Comment: Taylor got a 1-yard TD, as promised by Mike Martz. He also got almost half the carries against the Bills. Forte’s value in standard formats is plummeting by the week.

Cincinnati Bengals

Committee worry level: Low

Week 9: Cedric Benson (18 carries, 54 yards, TD; two receptions, 20 yards); Bernard Scott (no stats)

Season: Benson (161 carries, 599 yards, 3 TD; 11 receptions, 77 yards, TD); Bernard Scott (20 carries, 94 yards; eight receptions, 58 yards)

Comment: Colleague Mike Harmon said last week that Benson’s only chance for fantasy value against the Steelers was if a pass interference call in the end zone put the ball on the 1-yard line to set up a short TD – which is exactly what happened early in the fourth quarter. Harmon’s like Nostradamus.

Cleveland Browns

Committee worry level: Non-existent

Week 9: Peyton Hillis (29 carries, 184 yards, 2 TD; three receptions, 36 yards); Mike Bell (six carries, seven yards)

Season: Hillis (133 carries, 644 yards, 7 TD; 30 receptions, 229 yards, TD); Mike Bell (13 carries, seven yards)

Comment: Wow, that was a fantastic game from Hillis. Fantastic season, fantastic everything.

Dallas Cowboys

Committee worry level: Medium

Week 9: Marion Barber (six carries, 14 yards); Felix Jones (five carries, 16 yards); Tashard Choice (three carries, nine yards)

Season: Jones (73 carries, 302 yards; 24 receptions, 157 yards); Barber (71 carries, 213 yards, 2 TD; seven receptions, 28 yards); Choice (11 carries, 30 yards; seven receptions, 31 yards)

Comment: Felix Jones can’t block, and Marion Barber can’t run. Attention, Jason Garrett: Free Tashard Choice!

Denver Broncos

Committee worry level: Low

Week 9: Bye

Season:Knowshon Moreno (76 carries, 252 yards, 2 TD; 12 receptions, 127 yards, 2 TD); Correll Buckhalter (38 carries, 82 yards, TD; 16 receptions, 106 yards, TD); Laurence Maroney (36 carries, 74 yards; four receptions, 50 yards)

Comment: How many goal-line rushes will Tim Tebow steal from Moreno this week? One? Two? Seriously, Moreno has averaged 16 touches over his last two games, so he’ll have value no matter what.

Detroit Lions

Committee worry level: Low

Week 9: Jahvid Best (16 carries, 48 yards; five receptions, 40 yards); Kevin Smith (five carries, 10 yards; one reception, 27 yards)

Season: Best (107 carries, 345 yards, 4 TD; 41 receptions, 356 yards, TD); Smith (27 carries, 106 yards; eight receptions, 82 yards)

Comment: Best didn’t gain a lot of yards on the ground – again – but he got more work than Smith, and seems to be running better, indicating that his turf toe issues might be finally going away. The Bills and their awful run defense loom as a terrific matchup for Best this week.

Green Bay Packers

Committee worry level: Low

Week 9: Brandon Jackson (13 carries, 42 yards, TD; four receptions, 26 yards, TD); John Kuhn (13 carries, 50 yards; two receptions, 12 yards)

Season: Jackson (108 carries, 460 yards, 3 TD; 25 receptions, 193 yards, TD); Kuhn (62 carries, 225 yards, TD; six receptions, 37 yards)

Comment: Jackson has averaged 72 yards from scrimmage per game since taking over for the injured Ryan Grant. That’s not bad at all, and I wouldn’t worry too much about he and Kuhn sharing the workload in the Pack’s Week 9 blowout.

Houston Texans

Committee worry level: Low

Week 9: Arian Foster (27 carries, 127 yards, 2 TD; four receptions, 70 yards); Derrick Ward (five carries, 12 yards)

Season: Foster (157 carries, 864 yards, 9 TD; 32 receptions, 315 yards, TD); Ward (25 carries, 160 yards, 3 TD; two carries, five yards)

Comment: Foster is a beast, and if he keeps this up, he’ll be a serious contender for top overall fantasy pick in 2011. I’d probably still take Adrian Peterson, but I’d have to think about it.

Indianapolis Colts

Committee worry level: High

Week 9: Donald Brown (15 carries, 50 yards; three receptions, 47 yards); Javarrius James (four carries, 12 yards, 2 TD Joseph Addai (DNP – injured); Mike Hart (DNP – injured)

Season: Addai (93 carries, 406 yards, 3 TD; 18 receptions, 118 yards); Brown (47 carries, 147 yards, TD; seven receptions, 86 yards); Hart (38 carries, 177 yards, TD; four receptions, 24 yards); James (seven carries, 16 yards, 2 TD)

Comment: Addai might return this week, Hart won’t, Brown is ready to go again, and James might get some goal-line work like he did against the Eagles. You should probably stay away from any of these guys, except for maybe Brown, until things clear up.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Committee worry level: Non-existent

Week 9: Bye

Season: Maurice Jones-Drew (162 carries, 645 yards, TD; 19 receptions, 153 yards, 2 TD)

Comment: Hopefully, David Garrard will get MJD involved in the passing game this week, since the Texans don’t like to cover anyone. Track down the Texans-Jags matchup on TV if you can, because it might be a shootout.


Kansas City Chiefs

Committee worry level: High

Week 9: Thomas Jones (19 carries, 32 yards); Jamaal Charles (10 carries, 53 yards; five receptions, 47 yards)

Season: Jones (137 carries, 570 yards, 3 TD; four receptions, 21 yards); Charles (113 carries, 719 yards, 2 TD; 21 receptions, 238 yards)

Comment: I know the Chiefs have been trying to keep Charles fresh, but this is getting a little silly. Bill Barnwell of Football Outsiders wrote the following earlier this week: “Let’s make this very clear: Jamaal Charles and Thomas Jones are not an equal pairing. They should not be billed as partners. In their relationship, Charles is Simon and Jones is Garfunkel … Charles is Will Smith and Jones is DJ Jazzy Jeff.” Perfect.

Miami Dolphins

Committee worry level: High

Week 9: Ronnie Brown (nine carries, 59 yards, TD; five receptions, 40 yards); Ricky Williams (two carries, one yard)

Season: Brown (101 carries, 433 yards, 2 TD; 18 receptions, 120 yards); Williams (78 carries, 336 yards, TD; six receptions, 46 yards, TD)

Comment: What in the world happened to Williams? Did he retire and go to India again? With Chad Pennington back under center, it figures that the Dolphins will run more, right? Cross your fingers for Williams’ re-emergence.

Minnesota Vikings

Committee worry level: Non-existent

Week 9: Adrian Peterson (15 carries, 81 yards, TD; four receptions, 63 yards, TD)

Season: Peterson (180 carries, 857 yards, 7 TD; 26 receptions, 257 yards, TD)

Comment: Purple Jesus is on track for a career high in receptions and more than 2,200 yards from scrimmage. He’s the best running back alive.

New England Patriots

Committee worry level: High

Week 9: Danny Woodhead (nine carries, 54 yards; two receptions, 38 yards); BenJarvus Green-Ellis (nine carries, 14 yards); Sammy Morris (one reception, 22 yards); Fred Taylor (DNP – injured);

Season: Green-Ellis (94 carries, 385 yards, 6 TD; two receptions, 17 yards); Woodhead (45 carries, 232 yards, 2 TD; 16 receptions, 174 yards, TD); Taylor (25 carries, 98 yards; two receptions, six yards); Morris (11 carries, 29 yards; two receptions, 41 yards)

Comment: Tough matchup against the Steelers this week, which doesn’t bode well for BJGE. Woodhead could still get his now-usual, pesky dozen touches and 60-80 yards.

New Orleans Saints

Committee worry level: High

Week 9: Ladell Betts (13 receptions, 31 yards, TD; one reception, one yard); Chris Ivory (12 carries, 50 yards); Julius Jones (six carries, 68 yards; two receptions, minus-six yards); Pierre Thomas (DNP – injured); Reggie Bush (DNP – injured)

Season: Ivory (78 carries, 382 yards; one reception, 17 yards); Betts (45 carries, 150 yards, 2 TD; 20 receptions, 104 yards); Thomas (46 carries, 147 yards, TD; 17 receptions, 133 yards); Jones (35 carries, 152 yards; seven receptions, 21 yards); Bush (seven carries, 18 yards; nine receptions, 63 yards, TD)

Comment: After this week’s bye, who the heck knows what this situation will look like? Unless Thomas is really in the federal witness protection program, they all could get carries.

New York Giants

Committee worry level: Low

Week 9: Ahmad Bradshaw (19 carries, 57 yards, 2 TD; 4 receptions, 35 yards); Brandon Jacobs (11 carries, 78 yards)

Season Bradshaw (153 carries, 765 yards, 5 TD; 20 receptions, 140 yards); Jacobs (68 carries, 360 yards, 5 TD; four receptions, 26 yards)

Comment: After the early-season grumbling about his backup role, Jacobs sure has churned out some solid games lately.


New York Jets

Committee worry level: Medium

Week 9: LaDainian Tomlinson (15 carries, 55 yards; six receptions, 47 yards); Shonn Greene (10 carries, 46 yards; two receptions, nine yards)

Season: Tomlinson (123 carries, 599 yards, 5 TD; 30 receptions, 191 yards); Greene (87 carries, 391 yards, TD; five receptions, 36 yards)

Comment: Tomlinson is the only one of this duo that can catch the ball, but his running has been slowing down lately. If you’ve been waiting to buy low on Greene, do it now.

Oakland Raiders

Committee worry level: Medium

Week 9: Darren McFadden (17 carries, 89 yards; four receptions, 25 yards); Michael Bush (five carries, 17 yards)

Season: McFadden (139 carries, 757 yards, 4 TD; 24 receptions, 242 yards, 2 TD); Bush (85 carries, 324 yards, 4 TD; nine receptions, 127 yards)

Comment: So much for a near-even split. Let’s see how many carries Bush gets in Week 11 before writing him off as an RB3.

Philadelphia Eagles

Committee worry level: Non-existent

Week 9: LeSean McCoy (16 carries, 95 yards; three receptions, eight yards)

Season: McCoy (121 carries, 572 yards, 5 TD; 41 receptions, 301 yards)

Comment: McCoy stayed busy in Michael Vick’s return game, and should keep doing so. He’s tied with Best for the league lead among running backs with 41 receptions, making him a PPR stud.

Pittsburgh Steelers

Committee worry level: Non-existent

Week 9: Rashard Mendenhall (22 carries, 99 yards, TD; three receptions, 31 yards); Ike Redman (two carries, two yards)

Season: Mendenhall (168 carries, 702 yards, 7 TD; 14 receptions, 93 yards); Redman (29 carries, 119 yards)

Comment: If you’re in a league with bonus points for 100 yards rushing, Mendenhall’s big game had to be bittersweet. However, we said from the beginning he’d be a workhorse, and he’s fourth in the league in carries, so stop complaining.

San Diego Chargers

Committee worry level: High

Week 9: Ryan Mathews (nine carries, 42 yards; two receptions, 18 yards); Mike Tolbert (eight carries, 32 yards; one reception, two yards); Darren Sproles (one carry, three yards; one reception, six yards)

Season: Mathews (86 carries, 379 yards, 2 TD; 15 receptions, 92 yards); Tolbert (87 carries, 395 yards, 7 TD; 14 receptions, 99 yards); Sproles (27 carries, 131 yards; 29 receptions, 267 yards, TD)

Comment: Whatever, Norv Turner. You’re killing us with this mess. Now you’re even driving people crazy with Sproles, who had eight touches in Week 8 and 11 in Week 7.

San Francisco 49ers

Committee worry level: Non-existent

Week 9: Bye

Season: Frank Gore (164 carries, 691 yards, 2 TD; 38 receptions, 348 yards, 2 TD)

Comment: Troy Smith will get another start at QB for the Niners, so Gore is going to get the ball again and again and again. He had 29 carries and a reception in Week 8.

Seattle Seahawks

Committee worry level: Medium

Week 9: Marshawn Lynch (11 carries, 48 yards); Justin Forsett (one carry, minus-one yard; one reception, five yards)

Season: Lynch (98 carries, 352 yards, TD; four receptions, 16 yards); Forsett (76 carries, 333 yards, TD; 16 receptions, 137 yards)

Comment: Last week, I wrote: “Let’s pretend Week 8 never happened, and stick with the idea that Lynch is the lead back with Forsett getting enough work to stay relevant.” Ditto for Week 9 – this team was down 21-0 to the Giants before it left the locker room. Starting Lynch still seems like a good idea, especially with QB Matt Hasselbeck returning from a concussion.

St. Louis Rams

Committee worry level: Non-existent

Week 9: Bye

Season: Steven Jackson (172 carries, 676 yards, 2 TD; 17 receptions, 169 yards)

Comment: I’ve been in your corner all year, SJ39. Give me some touchdowns as a reward, OK? And soon!

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Committee worry level: Medium

Week 9: LeGarrette Blount (13 carries, 46 yards); Cadillac Williams (eight carries, 13 yards; one reception, nine yards)

Season: Williams (92 carries, 225 yards; 27 receptions, 196 yards, TD); Blount (56 carries, 268 yards, 3 TD; two receptions, nine yards)

Comment: Blount was stopped on a late goal-line carry that could have won the game for the Bucs against the Falcons, but he’s still the lead man here. Williams is doing his best to get his season average below two yards per carry.

Tennessee Titans

Committee worry level: Non-existent

Week 9: Bye

Season: Chris Johnson (178 carries, 721 yards, 8 TD; 22 receptions, 90 yards)

Comment: Time to see if Randy Moss’ presence will open up some lanes for Johnson. It’s not like the guy has been a slacker so far, right? Johnson, that is. Moss is definitely a slacker.

Washington Redskins

Committee worry level: High

Week 9: Bye

Season: Ryan Torain (91 carries, 391 yards, 3 TD; eight receptions, 55 yards); Clinton Portis (49 carries, 195 yards, 2 TD; four receptions, 41 yards); Keiland Williams (10 carries, 38 yards, TD; 14 receptions, 85 yards, TD)

Comment: Confusion alert! On Wednesday, Portis and Torain both practiced, with Torain’s hamstring injury a little more sore than expected. The book on Portis was that we should expect a Week 11 return, but keep your eye on his status as the weekend approaches. Torain could be in for some competition, which is bad for those who’ve been counting on him for the last month.

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