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Joseph Hutchins | Archive | Email
Staff Writer

The Shot Caller's Report - Running Backs
Your Weekly Guide To Fantasy Lineups: Week 2
Positions: QBs | RBs | WRs

Bye Weeks:

Grab a Helmet

Frank Gore

Frank Gore's value remains high early in the season.

Frank Gore v. DET: For a guy who played quarterback in the NFL and helped shepherd the position’s best prospect in a generation at Stanford (Andrew Luck), Jim Harbaugh sure doesn’t care much for the forward pass. San Francisco threw the fewest of any team last year save for Denver, who eschewed the pass for more practical than philosophical reasons (Tim Tebow couldn’t complete any). Harbaugh’s philosophy is simple and doesn’t appear to have changed in 2012: win the line of scrimmage and you’ll win more often than not. The Niners spent most of Week 1 executing that plan to perfection, pulverizing the Packer defenders to the tune of 186 yards on 32 carries. Gore accounted for precisely half of those totes, racking up 112 yards and one score. So long as Brandon Jacobs isn’t around to vulture touches, Gore should find similar success in Week 2 against the Lions.

Michael Bush @ GB: Speaking of vultures, allow me to introduce you to the league’s very best. The former handcuff to Darren McFadden in Oakland reprises that role in Chicago this year as the primary poacher to Matt Forte. Bush didn’t disappoint in the opener versus Indianapolis, rushing for 42 yards and two scores on 12 carries. That is to say, he didn’t disappoint unless you’re a Matt Forte owner. This week, Bush draws the aforementioned Green Bay defense in Thursday night’s rivalry game at Lambeau. Because the Bears are unlikely to jump out to such a sizeable lead, he’s a stretch to get 12 more carries. Could he garner 7-10, though, and another scoring opportunity or two? Sure seems plausible enough. I’ll be rooting against him, of course (gotta have this one, Pack), but that doesn’t mean you have to. Give him a look.

Jamaal Charles @ BUF: There were several reasons to be at least mildly concerned about Charles heading into drafts this past summer. Would he be fully recovered from a torn ACL suffered early in 2011? Would newly acquired Peyton Hillis steal most of the carries and all of the goal-line work? Would Kansas City be good enough to make either of the two running backs worth owning? Fantasy GMs seemed to answer yes, no, and yes, respectively, by selecting Charles in the second round on average, a full four to five rounds higher than Hillis. Turns out they were right, at least for one week. The former Longhorn garnered 16 carries to Hillis’ 7 and outgained his new teammate 87 yards to 16. Hillis will probably be more of a factor in closer games but Charles is clearly the more dynamic of the two and the one worth starting, in my opinion, against the Bills in upstate New York this weekend.

Grab a Gatorade

Kevin Smith @ SF: I recommended a start for Detroit’s current rock-toter last Sunday and he did not disappoint, tallying 91 total yards and a couple scores on 17 touches versus St. Louis. He gets one more week as the featured back before Mikel Leshoure returns to share the load, but I think he’ll be hard-pressed to match those numbers in the Bay Area against the Niners. San Fran literally shut down the Pack’s running attack (granted, an easy thing to do) and forced Aaron Rodgers almost exclusively to the airwaves in an impressive, wire-to-wire win in Titletown. Though Smith is probably a more versatile back than Ced Benson and could be involved in the passing game some, he’s unlikely to crack even the 50-yard mark on Sunday. Two more scores seems like a pretty big stretch, as well. Keep him reserved this time.

Michael Turner v. DEN: Chris Johnson is officially on notice after a putrid 11-carry, four-yard dud to open the 2012 campaign, but we’ll give him a chance to right the ship before recommending a sit. He’s still very young/talented, after all, and is still the centerpiece of his squad’s offense. I can’t afford Turner the same courtesy, frankly, because…well, he’s neither. Though Atlanta turned a close game into a blowout in KC, Turner notched only 11 carries for a pedestrian 32 yards. Moreover, the Falcons finally followed through on that promise to give “The Burner” some relief. His backup, Jacquizz Rodgers, tallied nine total touches, as well. The worst part for Turner’s owners, though? The Falcons appear committed to a more pass-oriented attack this season. Finally. That’s great for them (Julio Jones and Roddy White are the best receiving duo in the business) but bad for those who drafted Turner as their #1 back this season. His days of carrying your fantasy squad are all but over.

Ryan Williams or Beanie Wells @ NE: It’s RBBC time in Arizona, and the early returns on this particular combo weren’t overly impressive. Williams got the official start and tallied 26 total yards on 11 touches (eight carries and three receptions). Wells played sidekick and recorded 14 yards on seven carries (he wasn’t targeted in the passing game). Neither player scored a touchdown because…surprise! LaRod Stephens-Howling, the ostensible fifth wheel/third RB, scored the only rushing touchdown for the Cardinals in the win over Seattle. Yuck. This situation’s way too messy to interest us moving forward. That’s especially the case in Week 2 when Arizona faces a New England squad that completely shut down Chris Johnson last Sunday.

Wide Receivers