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Joseph Hutchins | Archive | Email |
Staff Writer

The Shot Caller's Report - Running Backs
Your Weekly Guide To Fantasy Lineups: Week 4
Positions: QBs | RBs | WRs

Bye Weeks:
Green Bay, Carolina

Grab a Helmet

LeSean McCoy @ DEN: Is the honeymoon already over for Chip Kelly in Philly? Do you ever really get one in that town? The naysayers are in full “I told you so” mode after successive Eagle stumbles and a date with Denver looming, but you know this Duck isn’t panicking. Neither should McCoy’s owners. There are some perfectly good reasons why he and the Birds have crashed back to earth the last couple weeks. First, it hasn’t been weeks. The game against KC marked Philadelphia’s third game in just TEN calendar days (rough). Second, you can’t turn the ball over like the Eagles did last Thursday night and win in the NFL. It doesn’t matter what type of offense you run. Third, who cares so long as McCoy continues to lead all running backs in points? He’s the perfect back for Chipper’s offense and if he stays healthy, he’ll maintain that lead all year long.

Matt Forte

Consistency is Forte's game in 2013.

Matt Forte @ DET: A pair of Levis, a mug of Stumptown java, a Coen brothers film, and Matt Forte. What do these seemingly disparate things have in common? Consistent, reliable quality. Forte will never be an elite touchdown-maker (the Bears have Michael Bush for pile-pushing at the goal line), but he’ll always net a handful over the course of the season and he’s about as predictable as they come for rushing/receiving yardage at the position. In three weeks to start the 2013 campaign, he’s garnered 15.1, 16.1, and 17.1 fantasy points. That’s about as steady as it gets, folks. You’ll rarely get a sublime stat line out of Chicago’s meal ticket, but you’re also rarely at risk of getting burned by low single digits. He’s always fared pretty well against the Lions so keep starting Forte and be thankful for the consistent performances.

Trent Richardson or Ahmad Bradshaw @ JAX: I threw a couple bucks at both Vick Ballard and Bradshaw in our August auction, hoping one of them would eventually emerge as the lead guy in a solid Indianapolis offense. Imagine how smug I felt when Ballard succumbed to a freak practice injury after just one week, seemingly handing his running mate the gig. Such hubris couldn’t go unpunished, of course, and the fantasy gods wasted no time dealing me my immediate comeuppance: Indianapolis’ stunning trade for Trent Richardson last Wednesday. Making matters murkier, Bradshaw went out and…had his best game of the season! Against the Niners!! In San Francisco!!! All of this despite Richardson poaching 13 carries. I can’t make heads or tails of it either, folks, but I think it’s a job share for the short term and Indy is clearly committed to the running game. Either back is worth starting against the Jags’ league-worst run-stopping unit.

Grab a Gatorade

Willis McGahee v. CIN: The Browns actually shocked the football world twice this past week, first when they dealt Richardson and then again when they marched into Minneapolis with a 3rd-string quarterback (and that depleted RB corps) and dunked the Vikings, 31-27. Just when you thought you had it all figured out, huh? I’m not getting too excited about Brian Hoyer’s productive day as he did throw three picks and presumably wasn’t promoted so he can ruin the master plan by winning games. That said, his 54 pass attempts tells me Cleveland will at least pretend to compete and will do so via the air instead of the ground. Good idea. Here are the Browns’ top rushers from last Sunday, in order of production: 1) Josh Aubrey (defensive back); 2) Chris Ogbonnaya (backup RB); 3) Josh Gordon (wide receiver); 4) Bobby Rainey (backup RB); 5) Willis McGahee (starting RB). And they WON!

Le’Veon Bell v. MIN (in London): Bell, Montee Ball, and Eddie Lacy were considered the rookie rock toters most likely to succeed back in August. Through three weeks, however, the most productive rookie RB has been…D) none of the above. There’s still a whole bunch of football to be played and it would be foolish to call the race for Gio Bernard this early. Nevertheless, none of the other three have helped themselves thus far. Ball has acute fumble-it is. Lacy runs so hard he’s a danger to himself and others. Bell hasn’t played a snap. Though fantasy GMs and Steelers fans alike have been anxiously awaiting his professional debut, they’d be wise to consider the state of Bell’s team before getting too excited. Pittsburgh’s offense is in disarray right now (poor line play, lack of explosion on the flanks) and even a juicy matchup against Minnesota’s below-average D doesn’t guarantee success. Wait and see with Le’Veon.

Doug Martin v. ARZ: Martin managed to avoid being sucked into the vortex created by Josh Freeman’s death spiral, but now that Freeman has lost his job to Mike Glennon, I’m not sure he’ll be able to completely avoid the collateral damage. Bad or inexperienced quarterbacks typically beget unproductive rushing attacks and Glennon, already one of those things, might very well be both of them in the short term. Despite getting way more snaps than Freeman in the preseason (an obvious warning sign, in retrospect), he wasn’t terribly productive and looked like more of a long-term project than an overnight sensation. If you don’t think opposing defenses are going to be daring Glennon to prove himself, you haven’t watched enough NFL football. Arizona’s run stoppers are already top-notch (3.2 yards/attempt and just 73.3/game) so consider doing what most haven’t considered doing since Martin joined the club: planting him on your bench.

Wide Receivers