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

Create An Account  |  Advertise  |  Contact      

Staff Writer
Email Joseph

Joseph'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. LaDainian Tomlinson @ DEN—He’s scored ten times and tallied 590 yards from scrimmage in his last three ballgames, all San Diego victories. To add some perspective, that’s the same number of touchdowns Steven Jackson, a pretty fair running back himself, scored LAST SEASON! If you’re looking for this year’s LJ, you’ve found him.

2. Larry Johnson v. OAK—Not that this year’s LJ is chopped liver or anything. Though he struggled in South Florida last weekend (by his standards), he still accounted for almost 100 yards and another score. Problem was the rest of the KC offense did exactly zilch. That’s probably not the last time it’ll happen, even with Trent Green back in charge, but he’s certainly more valuable when the passing game gets outta first gear. Expect it to this weekend as the Chiefs drop the hammer on AFC West doormat, Oakland.

3. Steven Jackson @ CAR—The aforementioned Jackson is on a similar pace this year (about ten scores) but has really ramped up the production this past month, tallying no fewer than 96 yards and a score in his last four tilts. That’s the kind of consistency we were expecting and the reason you can’t sit him down the rest of the way. Too bad it hasn’t altered the bottom line in St. Louis, four consecutive losses and likely exclusion from the playoffs.

4. Willie Parker @ CLE—FWP hit two longballs in the Week 10 shootout with New Orleans, racing for 72 and then 76 yards in the span of four carries. By comparison, Edgerrin James has run for 152 yards in his last two games…on 39 carries. Not sure if that says more about Parker or James but this much is clear: Fast Willie Parker is every bit as fast as his moniker would indicate. Give him the nod against Cleveland’s 30th ranked run defense and watch the points pile up.

5. Brian Westbrook v. TEN—Westbrook is no stranger to huge chunks of yardage either and appeared to end a mini-slump last Sunday with a 150-yard effort as the Birds got back on track against Washington. This week, he draws Tennessee’s 31st ranked run defense. I’m thinking he ends that touchdown drought, as well, in a game Philly should dominate from start to finish.

6. Kevin Jones @ ARZ—“ I think he’s still capable of atrocities in the backfield….” Does 44 yards and a lost fumble against the Niners count? Ummm, yeah. Fortunately, the former Hokie managed to pick up the slack in the passing game, catching nine balls for 71 yards as the Lions came up short in Week 10. They get another bottom-feeder this weekend, the lowly Cardinals, so it’s likely he’ll make up for it. He’d better hope so ‘cuz my already worn patience was stretched to the limit by last week’s performance.

7. Frank Gore v. SEA—While Jones was plodding along in the Detroit backfield, Gore was wreaking havoc in San Francisco’s, rushing for 148 first half yards and a score in the first half of last Sunday’s (mild) upset. If he hadn’t been felled by a concussion early in the second half, he might still be running wild. The prognosis on said concussion is good so he should be back in your lineup against the Chickens this weekend. Make it happen, folks.

8. Tiki Barber @ JAX—We can gush all we want about LT and LJ but the fact remains Tiki stands all by himself atop the rushing yardage heap with 971 yards. How many of you knew this? The fly in the ointment, of course (and the reason he’s easy to forget) is that he doesn’t score touchdowns and, even worse, doesn’t get the opportunity to do so with Brandon Jacobs around. If you can live with 107+ yards per game (and who can’t), keep starting him. If not, man do you have high standards!

9. Rudi Johnson @ NO—His numbers are down a bit this year but he’s still on pace to easily surpass 1,200 yards and score twelve touchdowns, his total the last two years. Better yet, he’s starting to gain some steam this past month, having scored in each of his past three games. Unfortunately, as he’s gaining it, the Bengals are losing it. Let’s see if they can turn things around in the Crescent City this weekend, shall we?

10. Thomas Jones @ NYJ—Cedric who? The Bears dispensed with the platoon last Sunday night, handing the rock to Jones 30 times, only the second time he’s carried it 30 or more times in his career. He rewarded them with 113 yards, a score, and a pivotal 26-yard sprint draw that, according to Michaels and Madden, “changed the complexion of the game.” Seriously, how many times did they mention this play? Forty? It was a nice run, guys, but 38-20 games don’t ride on one play.

11. Anthony Thomas @ HOU—Willis McGahee averaged about 80 yards per tilt in his seven full starts this year. Thomas, since taking over, has averaged about 102 yards in one-and-a-half starts. Does that make HIM the best running back in the NFL? Might wanna outrush your backup, Willis, before spouting off about being the league’s premier rock-toter. Just an observation, is all. Start A-Train against Houston’s 27th-ranked run defense this Sunday while you’re chewing on that one.

12. Deuce McAllister v. CIN—Believe it or not, Deuce still starts for the Saints, a fact the NFL spin doctors probably don’t want you to know. All the talk may be about Brees, Colston, and Bush but the glue that holds this multi-faceted attack together is still the former Reb, the workhorse who makes all of those guys more valuable. Give him the start against Cincy’s matador defense this week as he should score once…and maybe even twice.

13. DeShaun Foster v. STL—It’s hard to see him hanging onto the gig past this season but, for now at least, he’s still the meal ticket in Charlotte. This despite the fact he ran for a paltry 48 yards on 13 carries against Tampa’s none-too-stout run defense last Monday night. He gets another pillowy soft outfit this Sunday, the Rams, so it’s possible he could surprise. The very fact that would BE a surprise is surprising…if that makes any sense.

14. Fred Taylor v. NYG—The Jags will supposedly shut down Big Swifty for the remainder of the year, meaning Jacksonville’s fortunes rest squarely on the shoulders of Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew. There’s no real reason to favor one guy over the other but Taylor does get a few more touches and is still a versatile threat capable of scoring when things are going right. If you don’t like him, go with the former Bruin. Makes no difference to me…or to them, apparently.

15. Edgerrin James v. DET—The Lions were gashed by Frank Gore and the Niners running attack last weekend, an encouraging sign for Edge, a guy who’s been trying to get untracked all season. He’s averaged over 3.5 yards/carry his last two games, a marked improvement from earlier in the season and could be in line for a true breakout performance this Sunday. Wouldn’t go betting the farm on it but if it were ever gonna happen, this is the spot. Give him a look.

Grab A Helmet:

Ladell Betts @ TB—Clinton Portis’ broken hand equates to a real opportunity for the former Hawkeye, a remarkably consistent backup who’s never been afforded the chance to carry the load. He looked pretty good last week in mop-up duty (20 carries for 83 yards) and could surprise the rest of the season. Plus, with Jason Campbell under center, he’s likely to be the focal point of the Washington attack…if you can call it that. Go find him.

Ahman Green v. NE—Green ran into the buzzsaw known as Minnesota’s run defense in Week 10, accounting for only 55 yards on 20 carries as Favre and Don Driver carried the day for the Pack. Things don’t get much easier this week against New England’s third-best run-stuffers (79.8 yards/game) but I gotta think he’s still good for 75 yards and, quite possibly, a score. A decent play at your #2 slot and a top-notch #3 guy if your league goes that deep.

Corey Dillon or Laurence Maroney @ GB—Dillon’s 50-yard trudge through the Foxboro muck was, without a doubt, the most depressing (but humorous) big-gainer in recent memory. I mean, has he fallen off THAT much? I’m pretty sure he could have run that fast five years ago with Maroney hanging around his neck. The end is definitely near for the former Dawg but that doesn’t mean he can’t score a sneaky six against the Green and Gold this weekend. Maroney, too, though there’s nothing sneaky about his scores.

Julius Jones or Marion Barber III v. IND—This two-headed monster combined for a somewhat pedestrian 110 yards in the Week 10 win at the Cactus, ceding the limelight to Tony Romo and the Dallas passing game instead. If the Cowboys attempt to duplicate that game plan against the Colts this Sunday, they’ll more than likely be in trouble. My suggestion? Let Jones and MBIII pound it into the teeth of that 32nd ranked run defense. And, no…I don’t own either guy so it’s an objective analysis.

Joseph Addai @ DAL—The Indy tandem, on the other hand, could struggle against Dallas’ fourth-rated run defense. Nevertheless, when you have Peyton on your side, holes tend to open up in the running game. I suspect this guy will be the Colt running through them, despite Coach Dungy’s insistence on keeping Dominic Rhodes, a backup if ever there was one, involved. Take a chance on Addai. Only a matter of time before he’s doing his pre-’06 Edge impersonation.

Grab A Gatorade:

Ronnie Brown v. MIN—Since giving up 100+ rushing yards in their first two contests, the Vikes have yielded just 349 yards, or about 43 per game, an astonishingly stingy number. This against the likes of Frank Gore, Ahman Green, Thomas Jones, Kevin Jones, and Willis McGahee, to name a few. I don’t know about you but I’d be shocked if Brown is able to gain much more than 50 yards this weekend. Heard it here first, people.

Chester Taylor @ MIA—Unfortunately for the purple guys, their own rushing attack has hit a snag of late, with Chet averaging just under 65 yards per in his last three. That doesn’t bode well for this weekend’s trip to Miami as the Fish are yielding just 3.4 yards/carry and are fresh off two stellar performances against the Bears and Chiefs. This one has all the makings of a 14-13 snoozer so you should probably steer clear of most everyone this Sunday.

Any Oakland RB @ KC—Cut. Paste. Cut. Paste. Cut….

Carnell Williams v. WAS—Hard to believe he’s become an afterthought in the Tampa offense but, lo and behold, that’s precisely what has happened. Since averaging nearly 96 yards/tilt in a three-game stretch back in October, Carnell hasn’t topped the 44-yard mark. That’s three games worth of ineptitude. Needless to say, he hasn’t scored a touchdown either. In fact, he’s only scored one of those ALL SEASON! Welcome to Tampa, home of the sophomore slump. Messrs. Clayton and Williams will now show you to your padded cell.

Wali Lundy v. BUF—The apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree, huh? Or something like that. After scoring an early touch against the Jags last weekend, Lundy was inexplicably yanked by Shanny Jr. (aka, Gary Kubiak) in favor of Packer cult hero/castoff, Samkon Gado, a head-scratcher if ever there was one. The worst part? Houston actually won, meaning Kubes’ dubious move was vindicated. You don’t want anything to do with this fantasy axis of evil. Trust me.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends