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Joseph Hutchins | Archive | Email
Staff Writer

The Shot Caller's Report - Running Backs
Your Weekly Guide To Fantasy Lineups: Week 17
Positions: QBs | RBs | WRs

Bye Weeks:

Grab a Helmet

Marshawn Lynch

Lynch has been a consistent fantasy workhorse all year.

Marshawn Lynch v. STL: The Seahawks are always the talk of the town in my little slice of the world, the lovely Pacific Northwest, but they’ve gained a more national audience of late. That happens when you AVERAGE over 50 points in your last three games, the most recent 42 at the expense of San Francisco’s seemingly stalwart defense. Russell Wilson’s getting most of the pub (for good reason) and Pete Carroll’s deflecting most of the credit (unconvincingly), but if you want to know what powers the Hawks’ supersonic attack these days, look no further than workhorse Marshawn Lynch. All the Bills’ castoff has done in these three impressive blowouts is average just north of 117 yards per and score six touchdowns. That’s good for an average of almost 25 fantasy points per game, better than every other running back during that span, Adrian Peterson included. Here’s the even more impressive part: Lynch has accomplished that feat despite carrying the ball more than THIRTY fewer times than Minnesota’s meal ticket. If All Day is the top start at RB for Week 17 – and you’ll find basically nobody who says he isn’t – Mr. Lynch isn’t far behind. Don’t hop off this gravy train until you’re sporting that championship belt.

BenJarvus Green-Ellis v. BAL: The Seahawks have parlayed their recent success into a shot, albeit an outside one, at the NFC West division title. Cincinnati lost their miniscule shot at an AFC North crown last week when the Ravens plastered the Giants in Baltimore, meaning they’ll have literally nothing to play for in Week 17. That means you should probably sit The Law Firm down, right? Conventional wisdom suggests so, but Marvin Lewis has gone on record as saying he doesn’t think it would be wise to rest his starters now that the Bengals are riding a wave of momentum into the second season. He’s basing that decision, of course, on prior experience (2005 and 2009), when he decided to do the opposite (rest his studs), only to watch his teams crash and burn in the postseason. More recently, Mike McCarthy’s Pack suffered a similar fate following a wildly successful 2011 regular season (15-1). Lewis didn’t get to be one of the league’s longest-tenured coaches by following conventional wisdom and ignoring recent experience. He’ll have his first-teamers ready to roll this Sunday, BJGE included.

Shonn Greene @ BUF: I don’t play in leagues that extend championship matchups to Week 17, but if I did, I’d have trouble trusting running backs playing for crummy non-contenders. I mean, their teams are crummy non-contenders for a reason, right? Plus, you can’t count on maximal effort or guys playing through injuries in that final week. In fact, you can’t count on much of anything at precisely the time of year you most need something to count on…except maybe this: the Buffalo defense. No team has given up more fantasy points to opposing running backs this season than the Bills. No team has given up more rushing yards than the Bills. No team has given up more rushing touchdowns than the Bills. Basically, the Buffalo Bills are the gift that keeps on giving in 2012 and there isn’t a more favorable matchup for your rock-toters this weekend. You certainly can’t trust the Jets passing attack (read: circus), so why not place some faith in the resurgent Greene? After all, he might be the reason you’re still playing (20 points in Week 16).

Grab a Gatorade

Chris Johnson v. JAX: I’ve had a complicated relationship with Mr. Johnson this season. If I were smart, I’d let last week’s recommended sit be the last thing you remember and walk smiling into the 2012 sunset. Of course, if I were smart, I wouldn’t be slaving away the day after Christmas writing a fantasy column that might (MIGHT!) be read by ten people. Johnson has a seeming dream matchup in the final week of the regular season against Jacksonville’s abominable run defense (almost as bad as Buffalo’s). What he doesn’t seem to have, however, are teammates that give a hoot about playing football right now. It’s an emotional game that rewards effort and intensity and severely punishes laziness and lack of focus. If you watched the Titans sleepwalk through their 55-7 drubbing in Lambeau last Sunday, you know exactly what I’m talking about. You also know Tennessee’s gridders are going through the motions for an owner they’ve probably dismissed as crazy and a coach they’ve likely discerned is soon to be history. I doubt they’ve carried you this far, anyway, but if they have, sit your Titans down this Sunday.

Ryan Grant, Alex Green, or DuJuan Harris @ MIN: I often use football players and other well-known athletes as passwords for the various websites and bank accounts I access on the internet. I consider them easier to remember than the birthdates and pet names and such which people typically use for that purpose. Grant has been featured as one of my passwords for several years now and I actually got to thinking earlier this season that I should probably rotate him out since he’s no longer a relevant Packer. Ha! How’d that turn out, Shot Caller? Even a long-time fan such as myself couldn’t have been more surprised at the former Domer’s reemergence this past couple weeks. And yet, no matter how much I’d like this story to end with a bye-clinching, 20-carry, 100-yard, multiple-TD performance in the Metrodump on Sunday…yeah, that’s not gonna happen. The Vikings need a W too and are playing high-quality football right now. Plus, Alex Green has been given a full green light to return to action this Sunday. I’m guessing the Pack will return to a committee approach and that Grant’s Week 16 effort will look like nothing more than his Green Bay swan song by early 2013.

LeSean McCoy @ NYG: Like his backfield buddy, Mike Vick, McCoy has been cleared for action just in time for one last meaningless game in a season that was, unfortunately, full of them. Unlike Mr. Vick, however, McCoy will have to share touches with perhaps the Eagles’ only bright spot of the otherwise depressing 2012 campaign, Bryce Brown. Brown hasn’t been very good of late, for sure, but he was pretty special a couple weeks back and the soon-to-be-deposed Andy Reid is still likely to share the wealth so as not to jeopardize anyone’s overall health in a game that, at best, can only end up a moral victory for him and his troops. If you held on to McCoy, hoping he’d swoop in and save the day come Week 17, you might want to reconsider giving him the nod. Yes, it makes for a good story but it doesn’t make sound fantasy football sense. Plus, nobody remembers who almost won league championships. Ask somebody if they remember Andy Reid twenty years from now.

Wide Receivers