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Joseph Hutchins | Archive | Email |
Staff Writer

The Shot Caller's Report - Running Backs
Your Weekly Guide To Fantasy Lineups: Week 14
Positions: QBs | RBs | WRs

Bye Weeks:

Grab a Helmet

Ben Tate

Ben Tate's previous meeting with the Jags didn't go as planned.

Ben Tate @ JAX: I recommended Tate in this same matchup just two weeks ago and he thanked me by rushing for precisely ONE yard on seven carries in the Texans’ embarrassing home loss. It appears I was just a week premature on that endorsement as he rebounded for a mammoth 28.2-point effort in the narrow loss to New England last Sunday. So which Tate do we get for the NFL Network’s Week 14 episode of Toilet Bowl Thursday? I don’t have much data to support this conclusion, but I think we get “good” Ben Tate. Coack Kubiak pulled his plug early in Week 12, a panic move that won’t likely be repeated. Moreover, Tate seems to be the kind of back who gets better the more touches he gets. He’s garnered 15 or more carries in ten career games and has recorded 100+ yards in four of them. I think he has a really good chance to make it 11 and five if his coach stays the course.

Reggie Bush or Joique Bell @ PHI: Very few teams possess two studs at the running back position a la the Texans. Fewer still possess two you could actually start at the same time. Detroit’s duo of Reggie Bush and Joique Bell has been the most productive of these two-headed monsters in 2013, posting three “double-doubles” (double-digit fantasy days for both backs) in 12 Lions contests. Their latest tag-team demolition came at the expense of Green Bay’s hapless Pack during last week’s Thanksgiving Day massacre, wherein Bush notched 24.2 points and Bell 18.8. That ranked them third and ninth overall, respectively, at the position for Week 13. Most are expecting plenty of points in Philly this weekend and if that turns out to be the case, you can bet these two will be accounting for some, if not most of them. Start either back (or both) against the Eagles Sunday.

Knowshon Moreno or Montee Ball v. TEN: Bush and Bell are making tandem backfields downright sexy again, but it’ll take a few more dynamic duos to get cynical fantasy GMs hopping on board the RBBC bandwagon. Like these two guys, for instance. Ball’s been a bit of a late bloomer in his rookie campaign due mostly to rudimentary pass-blocking skills and an early inability to secure the pigskin. Moreno, on the other hand, has been a REALLY late bloomer, blossoming into a top 10 back in this, his fifth professional season. Did I say top 10? I meant top 3. Who would’ve guessed that way back in September? If he’d have borne fruit earlier, Ball might not be sharing the Denver backfield with him. Regardless, no NFL RB corps has accounted for more fantasy points and the load’s been steadily leveling since Week 11. Start either Bronco back with confidence against the Titans.

Grab a Gatorade

Rashad Jennings @ NYJ: Jennings and the guy he replaced, Darren McFadden, looked like another possible tag team heading into the Week 13 matchup with Dallas. That plan never really materialized, however, as McFadden only logged five carries (for a measly 13 yards) and is now missing practices again in advance of the Week 14 matchup with New York. We’ve seen this movie and we know how it ends: with Jennings handling most of the workload again (provided he’s also cleared to play). Two touchdown trots salvaged an otherwise forgettable Thanksgiving for the former Jaguar, but the Jets D isn’t likely to share the Cowboys’ holiday spirit this Sunday. Rex Ryan’s boys have yielded the fewest rushing yards in the league thus far (77 per game) and still haven’t come close to allowing a 100-yard rusher. Pass on all Raider RBs.

Zac Stacy @ ARZ: St. Louis’ surprise meal ticket cooled considerably last week following a blistering midseason run wherein he averaged nearly 15 points per game (Week 5 through Week 12). That’s not terribly surprising considering what he was up against, the fearsome San Francisco defense on the road. It would be a mistake to think Arizona’s front seven shouldn’t instill that same measure of fear, though. The Cardinals have actually performed much better than the Niners against the run this year (83.3 yards/game and 3.5 per carry) and fared pretty well against one of the league’s best and brightest, Shady McCoy, last week (just 79 yards). They desperately need a win to stay in the thick of the NFC playoff race and I think the Cardinals know they can get it if they force Kellen Clemens to beat them. That means loading up on Stacy so steer clear of the former Commodore this weekend.

Frank Gore v. SEA: Gore was one of the more solid RB options just a month or so ago, but a nagging ankle injury and several poor performances have rendered him suspect as we head into the playoffs. Had he not tallied a three-yard TD run against the Rams last Sunday, in fact, he’d have easily posted his third single-digit outing in as many weeks. That’s not good news when you consider who’s next up for San Fran on the schedule. The Seahawks have played down to their competition on more than one occasion this season, but they always show up for the big games and they’ve really clamped down on opposing ball carriers since yielding consecutive 100-yard performances in Weeks 8 and 9 (the aforementioned Stacy and Mike James). Don’t forget this final piece of lousy info for Gore’s owners: He tallied just 16 yards on nine carries in the Week 2 meeting at Qwest Field. You shouldn’t be staking your playoff hopes on him.

Wide Receivers