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Joseph Hutchins | Archive | Email |
Staff Writer

The Shot Caller's Report - Running Backs
Your Weekly Guide To Fantasy Lineups: Week 6
Positions: QBs | RBs | WRs

Bye Weeks:
Atlanta, Miami

Grab a Helmet

Pierre Thomas @ NE: Fantasy pundits were understandably skeptical of Thomas’ Week 5 explosion against Chicago (21.1 points), an anomalous effort that seems unlikely to be repeated in the weeks to come. Fair enough. Can we at least entertain the possibility that he may become a legitimate double-digit threat in the near term and possibly for the rest of the season? He’s certainly produced that kind of consistency in the past (most recently in 2011 with six double-digit days) and there was plenty of competition then (Darren Sproles and Mark Ingram). Now that Ingram’s out, the lion’s share of the Saints’ rushing work should land in Thomas’ lap. Moreover, he’s a better-than-you-think receiver who’s commanded only one less target than Sproles – inarguably the best receiving RB in the league – through the season’s first five weeks. Reconsider your position on Pierre Thomas lest you miss out on some sneaky production.

Knowshon Moreno

The Broncos will get to showcase their running game this week.

Knowshon Moreno or Ronnie Hillman v. JAX: I do love a double-digit dog in the NFL, but you’d have to be pretty nervy to bet into this current Broncos juggernaut. Denver’s been installed as almost four-touchdown favorites this coming Sunday against the Jags, a record-setting spread, and there’s simply no reason to think the final margin won’t be somewhere in that neighborhood. If it is, the Bronco running backs will probably see plenty of opportunities. Knowshon Moreno’s an automatic start at this point, but in a game that gets out of hand fast, the versatile Ronnie Hillman should probably be considered a reasonably good RB2 option, as well. Heck, even the seemingly forgotten Montee Ball could get an extended look this weekend, though I wouldn’t bet my own fantasy matchups on it. They’re versatile, they play in the best offense, and they’re playing against a terrible Jacksonville squad. Sign me up.

Giovani Bernard @ BUF: Cincinnati is smartly limiting touches for Bernard, a dazzlingly athletic back who, nonetheless, doesn’t possess great size and would likely get beat up if he touched it 25 times a game. 15 seems to be the number the Bengals have settled upon of late and the Law Firm gets the rest, creating what amounts to a 55/45 split in the Cincy backfield. Despite only half the work, Bernard is averaging a stellar 10.4 points/game, making him the 20th most valuable player at the position. Only Darren Sproles, in fact, has fewer touches amongst top 20 running backs. You may curse the opportunities Bernard bleeds to BJGE, but if you’re honest about what he is (a highly efficient RB2 option who carries a much lower risk of injury), I’m sure you’ll understand why he belongs in your starting lineup most every week and not on your bench.

Grab a Gatorade

Da’Rel Scott, Brandon Jacobs @ CHI: You think David Wilson wants to press Ctrl+Alt+Del on his brief professional career? He finally found paydirt after a brutal first month of the season and then suffered a neck injury, causing him to miss the final three quarters of last Sunday’s contest and also this Thursday’s game. Truthfully, the entire Giants team could probably use a reboot at this point, especially after getting drilled at home by a similarly struggling Eagles squad forced to use backup Nick Foles for half the game when Michael Vick also succumbed to injury (bad hammy). This is what rock bottom looks like, New York, and it isn’t likely to get better until the defense is able to keep opposing offenses out of the end zone. If there’s one silver lining, it’s this: You’re only two games out of first place in the NFC East. Wilson et al. may rebound at some point, but waiting for that to happen seems prudent.

Chris Johnson @ SEA: If the extent of your fantasy research consists of poring over box scores on Monday morning, you’re likely to have a higher opinion of Johnson than you should. On a play that wasn’t even designed for him, the Titans’ meal ticket snatched an improvised shovel pass from Ryan Fitzpatrick last Sunday and slalomed through traffic for a 49-yard score against the Chiefs, his very first six-pointer of the season. The rest of the afternoon, he accounted for just 31 yards (17 rushing), the exact same total he accumulated against the Jets a week prior. That’s about 40 fewer yards than his own backup has gained in that same stretch, by the way, a troubling sign with the big, bad (and probably angry) Seahawks on tap. Chris Johnson says he hates fantasy football. It’s gonna hate him right back this Sunday in Seattle.

Eddie Lacy @ BAL: Lacy was back on the field against Detroit and, rather than ease him back into the Green Bay groove, Coach McCarthy used the rookie extensively in what turned out to be a dull, low-scoring affair. The Bama product toted the rock 23 times versus the Lions and just barely failed to trigger century-mark bonuses with a healthy 99-yard output. He doesn’t get close to that this weekend, unfortunately, unless something unusual happens. The Ravens are currently the second stingiest run defense from a fantasy perspective (11.9 pts/game yielded to opposing backs) and haven’t allowed anyone to top the 100-yard mark. And it’s not exactly like they’ve been facing scrubs. Arian Foster, C.J. Spiller, Trent Richardson, and Knowshon Moreno, and Lamar Miller are the five main men they’ve faced to start the season. Not one of them has topped eight points. Lacy’s not in the same class just yet, so do the right thing.

Wide Receivers