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Joseph Hutchins | Archive | Email |
Staff Writer

The Shot Caller's Report - Running Backs
Your Weekly Guide To Fantasy Lineups: Week 3
Positions: QBs | RBs | WRs

Bye Weeks:

Grab a Helmet

James Starks

James Starks will have the backfield all to himself in Week Three.

Joique Bell @ WAS, Bernard Pierce v. HOU, or James Starks @ CIN: In that order. We’re only two weeks deep and we’ve already lost four starting running backs, not including two guys – Reggie Bush and Maurice Jones-Drew – who are missing practices but haven’t, at press time, been officially ruled out for Week 3. Bell, of course, sits behind Bush on the depth chart so he’s no guarantee to start. He’s pretty valuable even when he doesn’t and is currently the 8th best RB to date (just three slots below Bush). Pierce - a riskier play with plenty of upside - may only get the Ravens’ load to himself for a single week (if that) but is definitely worth a look if he does. Starks, the most productive of the trio in Week 2 (20 carries, 132 yards, and a score), should bounce back to earth some this week since the Pack won’t be facing Washington’s 32nd-ranked D, but will still be a factor and isn’t a terrible receiver if the Pack gets pass-heavy again. Bottom line: Start any of these handcuffs if you’re already short available bodies.

Ben Tate @ BAL or Danny Woodhead @ TEN: There’s nothing physically wrong with the guys in front of Tate and Woodhead (yet), but both seem to have carved out fairly regular opportunities, making them worth consideration on a week-by-week basis. Tate has received slightly fewer than half as many carries as starter Arian Foster (18 v. 37), but has actually tallied more rushing yards to date (148 v. 136). Velly, velly interesting. Woodhead, on the other hand, garnered a healthy 17 touches last Sunday against the Eagles (nine carries, eight receptions). Though he’s unlikely to ever supplant Ryan Mathews as the starter (too small), he will certainly be used quite regularly since Mathews is made out of glass and has a bit of a fumbling problem, to boot. If you own any of the wounded soldiers mentioned previously, don’t hesitate to plug in either of these super-subs this coming Sunday.

Knowshon Moreno v. OAK: Way back in 2009 (so, like, a century ago in NFL time), Moreno was selected 12th overall and expected to be the Denver meal ticket for years to come. It didn’t work out quite that way, of course, but two coaches, two quarterbacks, and at least three potential Moreno replacements later, he’s finally fulfilling that promise. Willis McGahee, who originally took Moreno’s job in 2011, was let go this past off-season to make way for 2nd-round draft pick Montee Ball, who was supposed to take Moreno’s job in 2013 but lost out to former 3rd-round pick, Ronnie Hillman, who was named the starter on opening night before he slid down the depth chart and was ultimately replaced by the guy this whole round-robin started with in the first place, Knowshon Moreno. Anyone have an Advil? And we thought Mike Shanahan couldn’t be trusted with running backs! Trust Moreno for now.

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Bobby Rainey or Chris Ogbonnaya @ MIN: Make that any Cleveland PLAYER, apparently. Did that just happen? Did the Browns just throw in the towel after a mere two games by trading away the 3rd overall pick in the 2012 draft and franchise cornerstone, Trent Richardson, a day or so after announcing they were going to start their 3rd-string QB (instead of backup Jason Campbell) this weekend in Minneapolis? I mean, if they want to guarantee they end up with 2014’s #1 pick, why not just go for the trifecta and hire Rod Marinelli to run the show for the final 14 games? In all seriousness, I don’t see the logic in any of these moves unless the Cleveland brass have become smitten with a particular college QB who is guaranteed to make himself available in next April’s draft. Best of luck to them, though, if the object of their affection is Johnny Manziel (dangerously overrated) and not Marcus Mariota or Brett Hundley (the opposite of that).

Maurice Jones-Drew @ SEA: MJD is “confident” he’ll play this weekend in the Emerald City, and though that would have been music to his owners’ ears in years past, it earns nothing more than a shrug of the shoulders in 2013. For starters, Jones-Drew has been very underwhelming (just 73 total yards through two weeks and a single reception). Additionally, he plays for what could easily have been called the league’s worst squad up until yesterday when Cleveland set fire to their 2013 season. Finally, even if he and the Jags did have a pulse and could conceivably put up a fight, they’re running into the NFL’s version of a buzz saw in the Seahawks defense this weekend. Seattle’s yielding a mere 230 yards and five points per game through two weeks and has already felled one of the NFL’s most prolific offenses (San Francisco). There’s simply nothing to like about Jones-Drew in Week 3.

David Wilson or Brandon Jacobs @ CAR: You thought Tom Coughlin was bluffing, didn’t you? You thought maybe he was attempting to light a fire under the phenomenally gifted but tragically flawed David Wilson and never really intended to use Brandon Jacobs much in a game the Giants desperately needed. Apparently, you don’t know Tom Coughlin very well. Jacobs received the same number of carries as Wilson (seven) in the game against Denver and only gained 13 fewer yards than the younger, more explosive back, despite it being his first significant action in almost a year and a half. Thirteen fewer than Wilson’s total, by the way, was just FOUR if you’re scoring at home. Jacobs gained FOUR yards and still got the same number of carries as Wilson. It’s time to cut bait on every New York running back until Andre Brown (or Ahmad Bradshaw?) returns. That includes all your Jets, by the way.

Wide Receivers