Backfields in motion
- With the Houston Texans giving Justin Forsett a season-high 14 carries, owners of Arian Foster are a bit concerned. Fear not, as the Texans held control of the game from the get go and logically gave their workhorse more chances to take breather. Even Ben Tate got into the action with three carries. Facing the New England Patriots on Monday night, the Texans shouldn't keep Foster on any kind of leash when the current No. 1 and No. 2 seeds in the AFC do battle. Watching the Tate-Forsett battle could prove to be important, though, if the team does indeed sit Foster toward the end of the season if home field is clinched for the playoffs early.
A week after Buffalo Bills head coach Chan Gailey stated C.J. Spiller would receive a 60-40 split of the carries over Fred Jackson, it was the latter that saw the most action Sunday. F-Jax totaled 109 yards on 25 carries as Gailey preferred Jackson's more physical style in the wind and rain. Jackson recorded his longest run of the season in the muck, although it was just 15 yards, but Spiller ripped off a 40-yarder for the second straight contest. There's no question Spiller is the more talented rusher, but there's no talking Gailey out of giving at least a decent chunk of situational opportunities to Jackson and keeping Spiller from living out his top-five fantasy RB potential.
Lloyd's time to shine
- It's all good on the DeMarco Murray (foot) front. The Dallas Cowboys lead back did not experience any setbacks after registering a season-high 23 carries with four more touches coming in the passing game. Murray nearly broke the century mark in his first game back but lost 11 yards on his final rush of the game. Though Dallas might ease off Murray a bit this week, Felix Jones (knees, shoulder) has a list of ailments and won't get enough touches to be relevant.
- The Pittsburgh Steelers appear to have their running back situation figured out. The Mini-Bus, Jonathan Dwyer, is the starter and worth starting in fantasy circles, while Isaac Redman will get some looks, especially in short yardage and worth owning for depth. Chris Rainey will only be the change-of-pace back as Rashard Mendenhall will likely to remain inactive, despite being healthy. Mendenhall is a free agent at the end of the year and doesn't appear to be in the team's plans anymore.
- Ahmad Bradshaw of the New York Giants only lost four carries to David Wilson, while Kregg Lumpkin saw the field in some passing situations. Most importantly to his owners, Bradshaw was there when the G-Men got into the red zone, the situation where NYG had been using Andre Brown (broken leg) fairly often. Bradshaw's workload should be plentiful going forward.
- Danny Amendola (heel) was held out against the San Francisco 49ers, one week after barely playing against the Arizona Cardinals. Rookie Chris Givens has taken off lately and has averaged nine targets per game over the last three contests. Early in the season, Givens was a deep threat, setting an NFL record of five straight games with a 50-yard reception, but is looking more and more like a complete receiver. Even if Amendola manages to return, the remaining schedule is favorable for Givens to stay pertinent.
- The Indianapolis Colts employed a lot of sets with three or more receivers on the field during last week's frantic come-from-behind victory against the Detroit Lions. Thus, T.Y. Hilton saw a lot more snaps than normal and recorded his third game with six catches and 100 yards over the last five games. Donnie Avery is his main threat, however. Avery scored twice, including the game-winner as time expired, which marks his first touchdowns since Week 1. Under normal circumstances Hilton wouldn't have seen the field as much so his production may continue to be inconsistent.
- In their first game with newly promoted offensive coordinator Dowell Loggain, the Tennessee Titans continued to struggle as Jake Locker couldn't stop turning the ball over or taking sacks. The team keeps saying they want to get Kenny Britt more involved and have seen him score in each of the last two games, despite an underwhelming number of catches. Nate Washington is getting equal snaps to Britt, but Kendall Wright is getting a lot more targets. Jared Cook led the team with 12 targets and looks to be the biggest beneficiary of the change in play calling. Locker needs to protect the football to make any of these options worth gambling on as fantasy starters.
- Without anything that resembles a capable quarterback under center, Larry Fitzgerald of the Arizona Cardinals is being painfully hung out to dry. Over the last three games, Fitz has only managed five catches on 26 targets. After last week's game he stated, "You gotta laugh to keep from crying." And that about sums up what his owners have been feeling all year. Rookie Ryan Lindley is playing so poorly John Skelton could go back to being the starter. Kevin Kolb (ribs) doesn't seem ready to take the large number of shots he'd absorb behind an anemic offensive line.
- Brandon Lloyd can't run block for the New England Patriots like Julian Edelman (foot) does but could win back some big-play opportunities as the unquestioned No. 2 WR on the team with Edelman done for the year. Donte' Stallworth was just resigned but does not contain any value right now.
- Riley Cooper of the Philadelphia Eagles is a long shot, but he played the most snaps at wide receiver for the team this week. He also caught his second impressive red zone touchdown of the season from rookie Nick Foles. Their connection seems pretty strong and legitimate. If the Eagles are to ever get over their woes inside the 20 this season, Cooper appears to be the most likely solution.
About Eric McClung
Eric McClung has been profiled by the FSWA for covering the fantasy sports spectrum and is a two-time award finalist. He's also made several appearances in print and on radio. McClung began contributing to KFFL in 2008 and currently serves as one of KFFL's featured fantasy NASCAR experts.
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