Fantasy Football Today - fantasy football rankings, cheatsheets, and information
A Fantasy Football Community!

Create An Account  |  Advertise  |  Contact      

Staff Writer
Email Joseph

Jospeh's Articles

The Shot Caller's Report - RBs
Your Weekly Guide To Fantasy Lineups
Positions: QBs | RBs | WRs/TEs

Running Backs

Must Start: The Top 15

1. Shaun Alexander @ STL - Believe it or not, his numbers (879 rushing yards, 5.1 yards/carry, and 12 touchdowns) compare quite favorably to Mr. Holmes' otherworldly figures (892 yards, 4.6 yards/carry, and 15 touchdowns). It's only fair, then, that he should inherit the top spot with Priest on the shelf. The 'Hawks have become a run-first team and if they wanna keep winning, they'll continue to be. I presume they do.

2. Tiki Barber @ ARI - The G-men had no business losing to Chicago last week but don't blame Tiki. He chipped in with 131 total yards and two more touchdowns. He'll continue to be the focal point of New York's offense (duh) and should post solid to spectacular numbers in the desert this weekend.

3. Ahman Green vs. MIN - It's been somewhat feast or famine for Green owners this season as he's scored all of his touchdowns (seven) in just three games. Not surprisingly, the Pack has won all of them. I doubt that little tidbit has escaped the notice of head coach and now offensive coordinator, Mike Sherman. Expect Batman to be a huge factor again this Sunday as the Pack attempts to wrest control of the NFC North from Minnesota.

4. Deuce McAllister vs. KC - If anyone can handle 30 carries a game, it's this guy. Unfortunately, he hasn't been getting anywhere near that many of late. The reason? His defense is abominable and is consistently putting the offense in come-from-behind mode. If they're somehow able to slow down the high-powered but Priest-less Chefs this Sunday, Deuce could have a field day.

5. Clinton Portis vs. CIN - He's gone over 100 yards just three times this season. Not coincidentally, the Redskins have won all three of those games. I'm not a mind reader but I'm betting Coach Gibbs will do everything in his power to make sure the kid reaches triple digits again this Sunday. He should facing a Bengals D giving up a league-worst 149.6 rushing yards/game.

6. Jamal Lewis @ NYJ - Like Portis, Lewis faces way too many eight-man fronts. Unlike Portis, his defense and special teams usually give him plenty of short-field scoring opportunities. He'll likely see more this weekend against a suddenly punchless Jets offense.

7. Edgerrin James vs. HOU - "Punchless" is the last word you'd use to describe Indy's high-octane O. Though Peyton and Co. get most of the attention (and deservedly so), James is the guy who keeps defenses honest. Expect another workmanlike 100 yards and, with any luck, a touch or two.

8. Chris Brown vs. CHI - The decimated receiving corps has made things tougher on Brown but he's still managed to post some huge numbers this season (five 100-yard games to date). If the Titans are able to stake an early lead (a strong possibility), he could see the ball 25 to 30 times. 25 x five yards a pop (his average) = a pretty nice day.

9. Willis McGahee @ NE - He's carried the ball 67 times since earning the job full-time, which tells me he's all the way back from the devastating Orange Bowl injury. That's a good thing since the Bills were going nowhere with Travis Henry at the helm. Provided they don't fall too far behind against the Pats this weekend, he could see the rock another 30+ times. All things being equal, you want backs who get 30+ carries.

10. Domanick Davis @ IND - I'm no mathematician but I'd say his prediction of a 2,000 yard season is out of reach. That doesn't mean he can't be a useful start from here on out. He finally broke out against the Broncos last week (71 yards and two scores) and could have another large day against Indy's crummy defense. Don't forget he's always a threat in the passing game should this one turn into a shootout. It will.

11. Curtis Martin vs. BAL - Martin has feasted on poor defenses this season and struggled against good ones. Baltimore's defense isn't good. It's great. Though he won't reach the century mark, he should still get plenty of opportunities and, with any luck, a few shots around the goal line.

12. Michael Pittman @ ATL - He's been one of the pleasant surprises and, I'm guessing, one of the top free agent pickups thus far. His 128-yard, three-TD performance spelled doom for KC last week and if the Dirty Birds don't account for him, he could wreak havoc again this Sunday. He's a destitute man's L.T. and a great sub if you happen to own the Bolts' star, too. Give him a go.

13. Emmitt Smith vs. NYG - The sledding's been pretty rough for Emmitt of late but he still has an uncanny nose for the end zone (six touchdowns) and a north-south running style conducive to moving the chains. Expect the Cards to take advantage of Michael Strahan's absence by pounding Ol' Reliable between the tackles 20+ times this Sunday.

14. Corey Dillon vs. BUF - He probably went unused in many leagues last week, which is a real shame. The 112 yards, not to mention the touch, would have come in awfully handy. If you sat him down, don't beat yourself up over it. Just don't do it again this week. Though he's facing a formidable Bills front, he should still be good for 80-100 yards and another score.

15. Jerome Bettis @ CLE - I KNOW you're lying if you expected anything out of Bettis this year. Last week's performance was vintage Bus (33 carries for 149 yards) and if Butch Davis has any sense at all, he'll load the box with bodies and place the burden squarely on the shoulders of Pittsburgh's precocious rook, Big Ben. Sorry, Butch. You don't HAVE enough bodies to keep this bowling ball out of the end zone.

Grab A Helmet:

Onterrio Smith @ GB - I don't trust that Mike Tice saw what we saw Monday night but if he did, Smith will get the bulk of the carries the rest of the way. The former Duck is more powerful and more elusive than either Michael Bennett or Mewelde Moore and could do some serious damage against an improving but still average Green Bay front. Give him a look if you're short on backs this week.

Anthony Thomas @ TEN - Though Thomas Jones is scheduled to return this week, I'd be shocked if the Bears don't call on A-Train early and often. He's bigger, stronger, and more durable and should match up well against an inexperienced and inconsistent Titans front yielding 4.6 yards/carry. Don't be surprised if he tallies 50-75 yards and a touch.

Fred Taylor vs. DET - The Jags turn to David Garrard at QB this Sunday and though he's not a bad backup, he's no Byron Leftwich. That means the offensive burden falls on Taylor. He's facing a Detroit front that looked uncharacteristically average last week. Expect Jacksonville to give him every opportunity to reach the century mark in a game that has all the makings of a 13-10 snoozefest.

Kevan Barlow vs. CAR - Guess that Lloyd kid's not so bad after all, eh Kevan? Actually, you didn't look too shabby yourself last week (61 yards and a touch). For once, the Niners have a chance to win a game this Sunday. In order to do so, they'll need a big game from their feature back. It's anybody's guess whether or not he'll come through, but there aren't a ton of great starts this week at tailback. In other words, he gets the nod by default.

Grab A Gatorade:

Kevin Jones @ JAX - He looks like a potential difference-maker in the future but for now, he's a waste of your time. He doesn't get a ton of carries and doesn't accumulate a ton of yards with the ones he does get. He draws a well-rested and solid Jags D this week, just another reason to sit him down.

Rudi Johnson @ WAS - This is a matchup recommendation all the way. I like Johnson against most opponents but the 'Skins are defending the run exceedingly well this year (3.1 yards/carry and 84.0 per game). That shouldn't change this week as the Bengals don't possess great balance of offense. Expect eight-man fronts and very little production from the former Tiger.

William Green/Lee Suggs vs. PIT - Predictably, this duo struggled against the suffocating Ravens D last week. Unfortunately, they won't get much of a breather this week with the red-hot Curtain coming to town. Suggs appears to be the back du jour but that could always change (and fast) and if the carries are split evenly, it won't be worth starting either one of them. Wait until the matchups improve.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends