Week 2 fantasy football player analysis: running backs

by Bryce McRae and Tim Heaney on September 11, 2008 @ 07:34:53 PDT

 


We introduce our positional player analysis for the 2008 season. In past years, KFFL always evaluated each game matchup to explore the value of players to make your life easier. This year, we are launching a new format that we feel will be easier for fantasy owners. Instead of having to view many different team report articles, you can come to a one-stop shop for your positional questions.

Editor's note: All statistics in this article are from Week 1 of the 2008 season.

Fantasy value: No. 1 Running backs

Willie Parker, Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns

G
Pls
RZ Pls
IN5
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
1
25.00
5.00
1.00
138.0
3.00
0.00
0.00
0.00
Vs. running back position
G
Pls
RZ Pls
Att
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
1
--
--
30.0
168.0
3.00
4.00
23.0
0.00
  • Parker has done more damage to the Browns over the last two years than he has to any other team, averaging nearly 121 rushing yards and 0.5 touchdowns per game.
  • Parker should be viewed as a strong play this week.
  • Running back Rashard Mendenhall did not make much of an impact on Parker's Week 1 production as the rookie was utilized just 10 times for 28 yards.

 Ryan Grant, Green Bay Packers at Detroit Lions

G
Pls
RZ Pls
IN5
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
1
12.00
3.00
2
92.0
0.00
0.00
0.0
0.0
Vs. running back position
G
Pls
RZ Pls
Att
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
1
--
--
36.0
313.0
3.00
4.00
15.0
0.00
  • Grant (hamstring) is still bothered by a nagging hamstring injury, and the coaches have told him not to push it in games just yet.
  • The Lions' weak defense makes Grant a strong play in Week 2.
  • He has a good history against the Lions, with 158 rushing yards on 19 carries against them in two games last year; he also found the end zone twice.

Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings vs. Indianapolis Colts

G
Pls
RZ Pls
IN5
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
1
22.00
4.00
1
103.0
1.00
1.00
11.0
0.00
Vs. running back position
G
Pls
RZ Pls
Att
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
1
--
--
38.0
173.0
2.00
3.00
18.0
0.00
  • The Vikings will want to establish the run in Week 2 to keep Colts quarterback Peyton Manning from dissecting their suspect pass defense.
  • Offensive lineman Artis Hicks (elbow) should be fine, which is good news for Peterson as the team would be down to their third option at left tackle if not.
  • Peterson is a strong play, especially after seeing the Chicago Bears shred the Colts last week.

LaDainian Tomlinson, San Diego Chargers at Denver Broncos

G
Pls
RZ Pls
IN5
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
1
25.00
4.00
0.00
97.0
0.00
3.00
15.0
0.0
Vs. running back position
G
Pls
RZ Pls
Att
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
1
--
--
27.0
143.0
0.00
6.00
62.0
0.00
  • Over the last two years, Tomlinson (toe) has averaged 95.5 rushing yards, nearly 41 receiving yards and two total touchdowns per game against the Broncos.
  • Tomlinson (toe) suffered a big toe injury, which he called turf toe, in Week 1; X-rays came back negative, and he is expected to play in Week 2.
  • Owners should consider Tomlinson a strong play against the Broncos.

Frank Gore, San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks

G
Pls
RZ Pls
IN5
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
1
18.00
1.00
0.00
96.0
1.00
4.00
55.0
0.00
Vs. running back position
G
Pls
RZ Pls
Att
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
1
--
--
28.0
113.0
1.00
4.00
25.0
0.00
  • The Seahawks offense could find it tough to stay on the field with their top wideouts and running back Maurice Morris (knee) out; this could see the 49ers offense given plenty of snaps in Week 2.
  • Offensive coordinator Mike Martz lived up to his word as he included Gore frequently in the passing game in Week 1.
  • Gore, a strong play this week, totaled only 200 yards and did not find the end zone in two games against the Seahawks last year; in 2006, he managed 416 total yards and one score in two games.

Reggie Bush, New Orleans Saints at Washington Redskins

G
Pls
RZ Pls
IN5
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
1
23.00
1.00
0.00
51.0
0.00
8.00
112.0
1.00
Vs. running back position
G
Pls
RZ Pls
Att
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
1
--
--
30.0
155.0
0.00
4.00
33.0
0.00
  • Running back Pierre Thomas (ankle) is healthy and received 12 utilizations in Week 1; running back Deuce McAllister dressed but was not used.
  • The loss of wide receiver Marques Colston (thumb) to a torn thumb ligament could force the team to rely on Bush more often in both facets of the game.

Matt Forte, Chicago Bears at Carolina Panthers

G
Pls
RZ Pls
IN5
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
1
26.00
1.00
1.00
123.0
1.00
3.00
18.0
0.00
Vs. running back position
G
Pls
RZ Pls
Att
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
1
--
--
26.0
106.0
0.00
6.00
50.0
0.00
  • Quarterback Rex Grossman threw the ball only 21 times in Week 1, which is a byproduct of the Bears' focus on a ball-control style of offense.
  • As long as the Bears can play their game, running back Kevin Jones could steal a few carries as he finished with 13 last week.

Marion Barber III, Dallas Cowboys vs. Philadelphia Eagles

G
Pls
RZ Pls
IN5
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
1
21.00
6.00
2.00
80.0
2.00
3.00
21.0
0.00
Vs. running back position
G
Pls
RZ Pls
Att
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
1
--
--
14.0
40.0
0.00
3.00
34.0
0.00
  • Barber (ribs) practiced Wednesday, Sept. 10, after injuring his ribs in the team's Week 1 win, and he is expected to play this week, though he is a weak play.
  • Head coach Wade Phillips said he plans to put running back Felix Jones on the field more often with Barber; however, Jones didn't record a carry while Barber was still in the game in Week 1.
  • Barber emerged as the lead man in Dallas last year; he accumulated 138 total yards and a touchdown on 26 total touches (including three receptions) in two games against Philly.

Brian Westbrook, Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas Cowboys

G
Pls
RZ Pls
IN5
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
1
21.00
4.00
1.00
91.0
1.00
2.00
1.0
1.00
Vs. running back position
G
Pls
RZ Pls
Att
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
1
--
--
14.0
67.0
0.00
1.00
14.0
0.00
  • Westbrook is considered a weak play this week as he goes up against a stout run defense.
  • The Eagles might not find it as easy to pass against the Cowboys as they did the Rams, which could increase their reliance on Westbrook.
  • Last season, Westy totaled 299 yards and a score in two games against the 'Boys; in 2006, he tallied 214 total yards and one total score in two games.
  • In those four games, he has 30 catches, including 23 last year.

Larry Johnson, Kansas City Chiefs vs. Oakland Raiders

G
Pls
RZ Pls
IN5
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
1
23.00
3.00
1.00
74.0
0.00
1.00
12.0
0.00
Vs. running back position
G
Pls
RZ Pls
Att
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
1
--
--
27.0
124.0
3.00
1.00
4.0
0.00
  • With a weak passing offense, it is a good bet the Chiefs will lean heavily on Johnson in Week 1.
  • He is considered a strong play this week.
  • Johnson rumbled for 112 rushing yards and one touchdown in Week 7 against the Raiders last year; he managed 289 rushing yards and three touchdowns in two games against them in 2006.

Michael Turner, Atlanta Falcons at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

G
Pls
RZ Pls
IN5
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
1
23.00
3.00
1.00
220.0
2.00
1.00
6.0
0.00
Vs. running back position
G
Pls
RZ Pls
Att
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
1
--
--
24.0
103.0
0.00
10.00
123.0
1.00
  • Despite quarterback Matt Ryan's solid performance in Week 1, don't expect the Falcons to get away from their emphasis on the run, especially now that they face a tough defense.
  • Turner is a strong play this week.

Marshawn Lynch, Buffalo Bills at Jacksonville Jaguars

G
Pls
RZ Pls
IN5
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
1
23.00
1.00
0.00
76.0
1.00
3.00
18.0
0.00
Vs. running back position
G
Pls
RZ Pls
Att
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
1
--
--
30.0
133.0
1.00
4.00
36.0
1.00
  • Offensive tackle Jason Peters' return from his holdout could help create more holes for Lynch in Week 2, provided he plays.
  • If the Bills can continue to pass the ball as they did in Week 1 - something new offensive coordinator Turk Schonert wants to do - it should open up breathing room for Lynch.
  • Lynch is considered a strong play this week.

Brandon Jacobs, New York Giants at St. Louis Rams

G
Pls
RZ Pls
IN5
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
1
25.00
2.00
0.00
116.0
0.00
1.00
8.0
0.00
Vs. running back position
G
Pls
RZ Pls
Att
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
1
--
--
28.0
108.0
2.00
3.00
3.0
1.00
  • Head coach Tom Coughlin could try to utilize running back Ahmad Bradshaw more in Week 2 after failing to give him any touches last week; Derrick Ward should also see some carries.
  • If the Giants can get out to an early lead - a distinct possibility against the Rams' porous defense - Jacobs could be used to eat up the clock.
  • The burly back has a strong-play matchup this week.

Fantasy value: No. 1 or No. 2 Running backs

Ricky Williams, Miami Dolphins at Arizona Cardinals

G
Pls
RZ Pls
IN5
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
1
16.00
2.00
0.00
24.0
0.00
4.00
15.0
0.00
Vs. running back position
G
Pls
RZ Pls
Att
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
1
--
--
18.0
107.0
1.00
7.00
80.0
0.00
  • Williams struggled running behind a young line in Week 1, and the line could need more time to gel.
  • Running back Ronnie Brown received nine utilizations last week and should only be healthier as his knee strengthens from his knee surgery last year.
  • The position as a whole was utilized only 28 times in Week 1; that number should increase if Miami expects to field a more balanced attack.
  • Williams is a strong play this week.

Chris Johnson, Tennessee Titans at Cincinnati Bengals

G
Pls
RZ Pls
IN5
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
1
19.00
2.00
0.00
93.0
0.00
3.00
34.0
1.00
Vs. running back position
G
Pls
RZ Pls
Att
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
1
--
--
41.0
150.0
0.00
6.00
56.0
0.00
  • Even if he was outstanding in Week 1, Johnson still is in a timeshare at running back with LenDale White, who received 16 utilizations in Week 1.
  • The Bengals defense gave up 229 total rushing yards last week - a good chunk of it on wideout reverse - which was the second-worst total in the league; Johnson is a strong play.
  • The loss of quarterback Vince Young (knee) for a few weeks shouldn't hurt the team too much; they already relied heavily on their running game.

Joseph Addai, Indianapolis Colts at Minnesota Vikings

G
Pls
RZ Pls
IN5
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
1
13.00
3.00
0.00
44.0
0.00
1.00
3.0
0.00
Vs. running back position
G
Pls
RZ Pls
Att
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
1
--
--
19.0
104.0
0.00
4.00
19.0
1.00
  • The Vikings are thought to have a stout run defense, which could make life tough for Addai in Week 2, although Addai is a strong play based on this D's performance last week.
  • Don't be surprised if the Colts decide to attack the Vikings through the air; the Vikings have two mammoth defensive tackles in Pat Williams and Kevin Williams as well as a premier defensive end in Jared Allen.
  • Addai (head) left with a head injury in Week 1; the team says he could have returned if the game was closer, but his toughness has been questioned.

Thomas Jones, New York Jets vs. New England Patriots

G
Pls
RZ Pls
IN5
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
1
25.00
3.00
0.00
101.0
1.00
3.00
2.0
0.00
Vs. running back position
G
Pls
RZ Pls
Att
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
1
--
--
27.0
102.0
0.00
5.00
24.0
0.00
  • Quarterback Brett Favre's presence helped open up the field in Week 1 as the passing attack was more dangerous than it was last year.
  • Jones has already equaled his 2007 rushing touchdown total with one score on the ground in Week 1.
  • Jones, a weak play this week, was unable to do much against the Patriots last year, managing just 80 totals yards on 23 carries and three receptions in two games.

Steven Jackson, St. Louis Rams vs. New York Giants

G
Pls
RZ Pls
IN5
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
1
21.00
0.00
0.00
40.0
0.00
3.00
34.0
0.00
Vs. running back position
G
Pls
RZ Pls
Att
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
1
--
--
24.0
84.0
0.00
1.00
11.0
0.00
  • Jackson should be in better shape after receiving his first game action of the year in Week 1.
  • He is a weak play this week thanks to the Giants' tough defense against the run in Week 1.

Sammy Morris, New England Patriots at New York Jets

G
Pls
RZ Pls
IN5
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
1
15.00
3.00
1.00
53.0
1.00
5.00
34.0
0.00
Vs. running back position
G
Pls
RZ Pls
Att
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
1
--
--
16.0
47.0
0.00
8.00
52.0
0.00
  • With quarterback Tom Brady (knee) out, the Patriots could scale back their offense and hand the ball off to their backs more in Week 2.
  • Morris will still have to compete with running back Laurence Maroney (10 utilizations) for playing time in the New England backfield.
  • Even though he appears to be a weak play against the Jets, he probably should not be benched.
  • Morris should be snapped up if available in all leagues.

Fantasy value: No. 2 Running backs

Clinton Portis, Washington Redskins vs. New Orleans Saints

G
Pls
RZ Pls
IN5
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
1
23.00
1.00
0.00
84.0
0.00
0.00
0.0
0.00
Vs. running back position
G
Pls
RZ Pls
Att
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
1
--
--
19.0
145.0
0.00
7.00
58.0
0.00
  • Quarterback Jason Campbell continues to struggle with head coach Jim Zorn's West Coast offense, which should continue to lean on Portis.
  • That could prove to be double-edged sword if Campbell doesn't make defenses fear the pass.
  • Portis is a strong play, and the Redskins could rely on him heavily to keep the Saints' high-octane offense off the field.

Justin Fargas, Oakland Raiders at Kansas City Chiefs

G
Pls
RZ Pls
IN5
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
1
20.00
4.00
1.00
97.0
0.00
2.00
12.0
0.00
Vs. running back position
G
Pls
RZ Pls
Att
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
1
--
--
24.0
113.0
1.00
5.00
34.0
0.00
  • Fargas is a strong play against the Chiefs.
  • The Los Angeles native ran for 140 yards and one touchdown while catching five passes for 37 yards in two games against the Chiefs last year; he managed 142 yards on the ground and 19 through the air against them in 2006.
  • The Raiders opened with eight straight runs in Week 1 and should continue to rely heavily on their rushing attack until quarterback JaMarcus Russell and the passing game pick up.
  • Running back Darren McFadden received only 10 utilizations in Week 1, compared to 23 for Fargas, though they should continue to split carries.

LenDale White, Tennessee Titans at Cincinnati Bengals

G
Pls
RZ Pls
IN5
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
1
16.00
2.00
1.00
40.0
1.00
0.00
0.0
0.00
Vs. running back position
G
Pls
RZ Pls
Att
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
1
--
--
41.0
150.0
0.00
6.00
56.0
0.00
  • The Titans game plan shouldn't shift too much with the loss of quarterback Vince Young (knee); they were already a run-first team.
  • White has to split time with explosive running back Chris Johnson, who ran for an impressive 93 yards in Week 1 and was utilized on 19 plays.
  • Owners should view White as a strong play against the Bengals defense.

Edgerrin James, Arizona Cardinals vs. Miami Dolphins

G
Pls
RZ Pls
IN5
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
1
27.00
9.00
0.00
100.0
0.00
0.00
0.0
0.00
Vs. running back position
G
Pls
RZ Pls
Att
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
1
--
--
28.0
110.0
1.00
5.00
19.0
0.00
  • James could be losing out on goal line carries to rookie running back Tim Hightower, who received six utilizations in the red zone and the lone utilization inside the 5 for backs.
  • James is a strong play this week.

Earnest Graham, Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Atlanta Falcons

G
Pls
RZ Pls
IN5
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
1
13.00
1.00
1.00
91.0
0.00
3.00
27.0
0.00
Vs. running back position
G
Pls
RZ Pls
Att
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
1
--
--
19.0
62.0
1.00
4.00
32.0
0.00
  • Graham scored both times he faced the Falcons last year; he also ran for 181 rushing yards and caught six passes for 46 yards.
  • The Buccaneers will start Brian Griese at quarterback; while he has been effective at times, Tampa Bay should seek, at bare minimum, a balanced attack to give him a chance to succeed.

Kevin Smith, Detroit Lions vs. Green Bay Packers

G
Pls
RZ Pls
IN5
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
1
20.00
2.00
2.00
48.0
1.00
4.00
32.0
0.00
Vs. running back position
G
Pls
RZ Pls
Att
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
1
--
--
 24.0
122.0
1.00
5.00
39.0
0.00
  • The Lions might not have been able to run the ball as much as they wanted in Week 1 because they fell behind 21-0 early; Smith's utilizations could increase a bit in Week 2.
  • Running back Rudi Johnson received only three utilizations in Week 1, but he should be utilized more as he becomes comfortable in the Lions offense.

Fantasy value: No. 2 or No. 3 Running backs

Felix Jones, Dallas Cowboys vs. Philadelphia Eagles

G
Pls
RZ Pls
IN5
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
1
8.00
2.00
0.00
62.0
1.00
0.00
0.0
0.00
Vs. running back position
G
Pls
RZ Pls
Att
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
1
--
--
14.0
40.0
0.00
3.00
34.0
0.00
  • He did not see a carry in Week 1 until running back Marion Barber III (ribs) left with an injury; Barber is expected to play in Week 2.
  • Head coach Wade Phillips said he plans to get Jones on the field more often with Barber.
  • Jones should be considered a weak play against a solid Eagles defense.

DeAngelo Williams, Carolina Panthers vs. Chicago Bears

G
Pls
RZ Pls
IN5
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
1
19.00
2.00
0.00
86.0
0.00
1.00
4.0
0.00
Vs. running back position
G
Pls
RZ Pls
Att
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
1
--
--
15.0
53.0
0.00
5.00
33.0
0.00
  • Williams saw the bulk of the utilizations in Week 1, though running back Jonathan Stewart received 10 utilizations and could receive more work as he gains experience.
  • With the Bears limiting the Colts' running game, which was missing a couple of offensive linemen, to just 53 yards last week, Williams is a weak play this week.

Jamal Lewis, Cleveland Browns vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

G
Pls
RZ Pls
IN5
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
1
14.00
3.00
2.00
62.0
0.00
1.00
14.0
0.00
Vs. running back position
G
Pls
RZ Pls
Att
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
1
--
--
18.0
71.0
0.00
8.00
14.0
0.00
  • Lewis (hamstring) played after being a game-time decision in Week 1, and he should be fine to go this week.
  • The former Baltimore Raven ran for just 70 yards on 27 carries (2.6 average) and notched five catches for 19 yards in two games against the Steelers last year.
  • Lewis is a weak play in Week 2.

Fantasy value: No. 3 Running backs

Darren McFadden, Oakland Raiders at Kansas City Chiefs

G
Pls
RZ Pls
IN5
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
1
10.00
1.00
0.00
46.0
0.00
1.00
11.0
0.00
Vs. running back position
G
Pls
RZ Pls
Att
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
1
--
--
24.0
113.0
1.00
5.00
34.0
0.00
  • McFadden (neck) suffered a stinger in Week 1, but he is expected to play this week; he is a strong play against the Chiefs.
  • Fantasy owners might have been expecting a split of the carries last week, but running back Justin Fargas ended up receiving twice as many utilizations as McFadden.
  • Until Oakland commits to using McFadden more often, he's not close to being a reliable No. 1 or No. 2.

Julius Jones, Seattle Seahawks vs. San Francisco 49ers

G
Pls
RZ Pls
IN5
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
1
17.00
2.00
0.00
45.0
0.00
2.00
17.0
0.00
Vs. running back position
G
Pls
RZ Pls
Att
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
1
--
--
34.0
113.0
1.00
4.00
25.0
0.00
  • With running back Maurice Morris (knee) out, Jones should be the primary back in Seattle, at least between the 20s.
  • He is considered a strong play this week.
  • Running back T.J. Duckett wasn't utilized at all last week, but that should change in Week 2; fullback Leonard Weaver remains a factor as well.
  • The Seattle offense is missing its top three wideouts, and quarterback Matt Hasselbeck (back) has been dealing with back spasms; this could see the offense try to rely on the running game a bit more.

Pierre Thomas, New Orleans Saints at Washington Redskins

G
Pls
RZ Pls
IN5
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
1
12.00
1.00
0.00
52.0
0.00
2.00
11.0
0.00
Vs. running back position
G
Pls
RZ Pls
Att
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
1
--
--
30.0
155.0
0.00
4.00
33.0
0.00
  • With Deuce McAllister's status (knee) still undecided for Week 2, Thomas could be the No. 2 back by the end of this week's game.
  • Thomas performed like a No. 2 back in Week 1, gaining 12 utilizations for 63 total yards and two receptions; he also had a play inside the red zone.
  • Thomas should be acquired in all leagues, if available, given McAllister's injury history.

Warrick Dunn, Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Atlanta Falcons

G
Pls
RZ Pls
IN5
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
1
10.00
2.00
0.00
54.0
0.00
1.00
11.0
0.00
Vs. running back position
G
Pls
RZ Pls
Att
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
1
--
--
19.0
62.0
1.00
4.00
32.0
0.00
  • Head coach Jon Gruden fed his desire to work with Dunn by giving him a decent amount of utilizations, even as the No. 2. 
  • Dunn is still second fiddle behind Earnest Graham, but with Brian Griese filling in for Jeff Garcia (ankle) this week and maybe beyond, the run will gain more importance in Tampa, if that's possible.

Selvin Young, Denver Broncos vs. San Diego Chargers

G
Pls
RZ Pls
IN5
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
1
7.00
1.00
1.00
36.0
1.00
0.00
0.0
0.00
Vs. running back position
G
Pls
RZ Pls
Att
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
1
--
--
29.0
142.0
0.00
2.00
7.0
0.00
  • Young saw just seven utilizations in Week 1 but found the end zone on a run.
  • However, head coach Mike Shanahan irked fantasy owners once again as Michael Pittman scored two touchdowns. Andre Hall also led the Denver backs with 10 touches.
  • Young totaled just 39 yards on 11 carries but caught six passes in two games against the San Diego Chargers last year.
  • With the way Shanahan manages his backfield, it's hard to say Pittman will repeat his success in the future, but this three-headed monster could remain tough to judge, especially if the Broncos mix up the playbook against the aggressive Chargers.

Andre Hall, Denver Broncos vs. San Diego Chargers

G
Pls
RZ Pls
IN5
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
1
10.00
2.00
0.00
61.0
0.00
0.00
0.0
0.00
Vs. running back position
G
Pls
RZ Pls
Att
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
1
--
--
29.0
142.0
0.00
2.00
7.0
0.00
  • Hall led the crowded Denver backfield with 10 utilizations in Week 1.
  • However, head coach Mike Shanahan irked fantasy owners once again as Michael Pittman scored two touchdowns and Selvin Young found the end zone once. That left Hall, the presumed goal line back, without a score.
  • With the way Shanahan manages his backfield, it's hard to say Pittman will repeat his success in the future, but this three-headed monster could remain tough to judge, especially if the Broncos mix up the playbook against the aggressive Chargers.

Chris Perry, Cincinnati Bengals vs. Tennessee Titans

G
Pls
RZ Pls
IN5
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
1
20.00
1.00
0.00
37.0
0.00
1.00
5.0
0.00
Vs. running back position
G
Pls
RZ Pls
Att
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
1
--
--
14.0
31.0
0.00
8.00
59.0
1.00
  • Perry was uninspiring in his first NFL game since 2006, but the Bengals' woeful offensive line wasn't helping any facet of the offense.
  • He only ceded four touches to backup Kenny Watson, meaning Perry could see this workload for the near future.
  • The Titans stonewalled the Seahawks' running game, especially after Maurice Morris' (knee) departure forced the Seahawks to lean harder on the aerial attack. The Bengals should put forth a more balanced offensive attack.
  • The Titans' stout run D makes Perry a weak play for Week 2.

Willis McGahee, Baltimore Ravens at Houston Texans

G
Pls
RZ Pls
IN5
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
1
--
--
--
--
--
--
--
--
Vs. running back position
G
Pls
RZ Pls
Att
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
1
--
--
35.0
166.0
3.00
1.00
10.0
0.00
  • McGahee (knee) is expected to play in Week 2 after being held out because of a coaches' decision.
  • The disturbing aspect is that running back Le'Ron McClain received 22 utilizations; McClain is expected to have an offensive role in Week 2, especially if McGahee is less than 100 percent.
  • McGahee has a strong play, but his carries could be cut into from two sides from McClain and Ray Rice.
  • He still might be a fantasy factor, though, because the Texans were eaten alive by the Steelers running game (i.e. Willie Parker), and the Ravens want to take as much pressure of rookie quarterback Joe Flacco as possible.

Ray Rice, Baltimore Ravens at Houston Texans

G
Pls
RZ Pls
IN5
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
1
26.00
3.00
0.00
64.0
0.00
3.00
19.0
0.00
Vs. running back position
G
Pls
RZ Pls
Att
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
1
--
--
35.0
166.0
3.00
1.00
10.0
0.00
  • Rice led Ravens backs in Week 1 touches as Willis McGahee (knee) dressed but was held out due to a coaches' decision.
  • The disturbing aspect is that running back Le'Ron McClain received 22 utilizations; McClain is expected to have a similar role in Week 2
  • Rice has a strong play, but his carries could be cut into from two sides as McGahee is also expected to play against the Texans
  • He still might be a fantasy factor, though, because the Texans were eaten alive by the Steelers' running game (ie. Willie Parker), and the Ravens want to take as much pressure of rookie quarterback Joe Flacco as possible.

Chester Taylor, Minnesota Vikings vs. Indianapolis Colts

G
Pls
RZ Pls
IN5
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
1
8.00
0.00
0.00
19.0
0.00
3.00
21.0
0.00
Vs. running back position
G
Pls
RZ Pls
Att
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
1
--
--
38.0
173.0
2.00
3.00
18.0
0.00
  • Taylor is already one of the best No. 2 backs for fantasy purposes; the Vikes remain a run-heavy team with Tarvaris Jackson at quarterback, giving Taylor plenty of chances behind Adrian Peterson.
  • Taylor is a strong play this week.
  • Look for the Vikes to tone down Jackson's role this week after a sub-par Week 1 game, meaning double-digit touches are possible for Taylor.

Jerious Norwood, Atlanta Falcons at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

G
Pls
RZ Pls
IN5
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
1
18.00
2.00
0.00
93.0
1.00
2.00
6.0
0.00
Vs. running back position
G
Pls
RZ Pls
Att
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
1
--
--
24.0
103.0
0.00
10.00
123.0
1.00
  • Norwood was still a factor with the presence of Michael Turner, receiving just five less carries than the Falcons newcomer in a blowout win.
  • After laying an egg in his first game against the Bucs last year (four yards on two carries), Norwood scampered for 73 yards on nine carries against them in Week 15.
  • Norwood is a strong play this week.
  • The Bucs had trouble with blazing fast New Orleans Saints running back Reggie Bush, so Norwood can use his speed elements to exploit them.

Derrick Ward, New York Giants at St. Louis Rams

G
Pls
RZ Pls
IN5
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
1
12.00
2.00
0.00
39.0
0.00
2.00
21.0
0.00
Vs. running back position
G
Pls
RZ Pls
Att
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
1
--
--
28.0
108.0
2.00
3.00
3.0
1.00
  • In Week 1, Ward was the clear No. 2 choice in the Giants' committee setup.
  • The Rams were abused by the Philadelphia Eagles passing offense but only gave up 108 yards to the air-oriented Eagles.
  • Ward doesn't seem to be threatened by No. 3 Ahmad Bradshaw, who didn't receive a touch in Week 1. 

Ronnie Brown, Miami Dolphins at Arizona Cardinals

G
Pls
RZ Pls
IN5
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
1
9.00
0.00
0.00
23.0
0.00
3.00
28.0
0.00
Vs. running back position
G
Pls
RZ Pls
Att
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
1
--
--
18.0
107.0
1.00
7.00
80.0
0.00
  • The Dolphins ran the ball just 17 times last week, but Brown received a fair share of touches, rushing for 23 yards and catching three passes.
  • The Dolphins should utilize the backs a bit more against the Cardinals, who were susceptible to them in both the run and pass last week. Dolphins quarterback Chad Pennington will be in his second game with the offense, so he should trust more of his weapons.

Fantasy value: No. 3 or flex running backs

Michael Pittman, Denver Broncos vs. San Diego Chargers

G
Pls
RZ Pls
IN5
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
1
7.00
5.00
4.00
13.0
2.00
0.00
0.0
0.00
Vs. running back position
G
Pls
RZ Pls
Att
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
1
--
--
29.0
142.0
0.00
2.00
7.0
0.00
  • Head coach Mike Shanahan irked fantasy owners once again as Pittman scored two touchdowns, including five red zone touches and four inside the 5. He rushed for only 13 yards on seven attempts, though.
  • With the way Shanahan manages his backfield, it's hard to say Pittman will repeat this success in the future, but if the Broncos want to mix things up against an aggressive Chargers defense, Pittman could see more goal line touches.

Kevin Jones, Chicago Bears at Carolina Panthers

G
Pls
RZ Pls
IN5
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
1
13.00
0.00
0.00
45.0
0.00
0.00
0.0
0.00
Vs. running back position
G
Pls
RZ Pls
Att
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
1
--
--
26.0
106.0
0.00
6.00
56.0
0.00
  • Jones was effective in limited Week 1 duty, gaining 45 ground yards against the inept Colts run defense.
  • With Kyle Orton at quarterback, the Bears will likely only let him manage the game while feeding the pair of Jones and starter Matt Forte with plenty of carries.

Maurice Jones-Drew, Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Buffalo Bills

G
Pls
RZ Pls
IN5
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
1
5.00
1.00
1.00
13.0
0.00
4.00
37.0
0.00
Vs. running back position
G
Pls
RZ Pls
Att
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
1
--
--
21.0
85.0
0.00
4.00
34.0
0.00
  • The absence of guard Maurice Williams (biceps) and Vince Manuwai (knee) could hurt the Jags' running game for the near future.
  • He mustered 10 yards on 10 carries against the Bills last season, but he found the end zone and had two receptions.
  • He's a weak play for Week 2. 

Fred Taylor, Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Buffalo Bills

G
Pls
RZ Pls
IN5
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
1
11.00
2.00
1.00
13.0
0.00
4.00
37.0
0.00
Vs. running back position
G
Pls
RZ Pls
Att
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
1
--
--
21.0
85.0
0.00
4.00
34.0
0.00
  • Taylor received the most touches of any Jaguars back in Week 1.
  • The absence of guard Maurice Williams (biceps) and Vince Manuwai (knee) could hurt the Jags running game for the near future.
  • He ran off 104 yards with a touchdown on 14 carries against the Bills last year.
  • He's a weak play for Week 2. 

Jonathan Stewart, Carolina Panthers vs. Chicago Bears

G
Pls
RZ Pls
IN5
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
1
10.00
0.00
0.00
53.0
0.00
0.00
0.0
0.00
Vs. running back position
G
Pls
RZ Pls
Att
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
1
--
--
15.0
53.0
0.00
5.00
33.0
0.00
  • Stewart was the power portion of the successful tandem with DeAngelo Williams in Week 1.
  • The Bears held the Colts' running game in check during Sunday Night Football, and the Panthers could lean on the pass more in this contest.
  • The offensive line was banged up in Week 1; tackle Jeff Otah (knee) should play this week, but guard Travelle Wharton's (knee) status is up in the air. 

Laurence Maroney, New England Patriots at New York Jets

G
Pls
RZ Pls
IN5
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
1
10.00
0.00
0.00
51.0
0.00
0.00
0.0
0.00
Vs. running back position
G
Pls
RZ Pls
Att
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
1
--
--
16.0
47.0
0.00
8.00
52.0
0.00
  • Maroney is still stuck in a committee situation with Sammy Morris, Kevin Faulk and LaMont Jordan.
  • With Matt Cassel taking the reins from the inactive Tom Brady (knee), the Pats should focus more on the ground game, especially in the next few weeks.
  • Last week the Jets faced a Miami Dolphins team that had just 17 rushing attempts; the Pats should test their run D a bit more.

Steve Slaton, Houston Texans vs. Baltimore Ravens

G
Pls
RZ Pls
IN5
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
1
17.00
3.00
0.00
43.0
0.00
3.00
6.0
0.00
Vs. running back position
G
Pls
RZ Pls
Att
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
1
--
--
20.0
50.0
0.00
3.00
8.0
0.00
  • With Ahman Green (ankle) banged up once again, Slaton should see the bulk of touches among the Texans backs.
  • Slaton saw the most carries in this backfield last week, showing his versatility in the running and passing game.
  • He's a weak play for Week 2, matching up against a Ravens team that stifled the Cincinnati Bengals last week.

Fantasy value: Flex or bench running backs

Rashard Mendenhall, Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns

G
Pls
RZ Pls
IN5
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
1
10.00
1.00
0.00
28.0
0.00
0.00
0.0
0.00
Vs. running back position
G
Pls
RZ Pls
Att
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
1
--
--
30.0
168.0
3.00
4.00
23.0
0.00
  • Mendenhall was the understudy behind Willie Parker, who scored three touchdowns.
  • The Browns allowed Dallas Cowboys running backs Marion Barber III and Felix Jones to run rampant; the Steelers could use Mendenhall jointly with Parker in a similar fashion.
  • Parker remains the top back, relegating Mendenhall to a flier play despite his strong-play matchup.

Jamaal Charles, Kansas City Chiefs vs. Oakland Raiders

G
Pls
RZ Pls
IN5
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
1
8.00
0.00
0.00
28.0
0.00
2.00
6.0
0.00
Vs. running back position
G
Pls
RZ Pls
Att
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
1
--
--
27.0
124.0
3.00
1.00
4.0
0.00
  • The rookie worked the speed game well as a changeup back to Larry Johnson in Week 1 against the New England Patriots.
  • With the Chiefs possibly instituting a quarterback-by committee approach, they could find more use for a tandem running game to take pressure off starter Damon Huard.
  • He has a strong-play matchup.
  • Oakland struggled against the Denver Broncos running game, and Charles could be serviceable flier option for desperate owners.

Fred Jackson, Buffalo Bills at Jacksonville Jaguars

G
Pls
RZ Pls
IN5
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
1
10.00
0.00
0.00
31.0
0.00
0.00
0.0
0.00
Vs. running back position
G
Pls
RZ Pls
Att
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
1
--
--
30.0
133.0
1.00
4.00
36.0
1.00
  • Jackson was effective in spot duty against a struggling Seattle Seahawks squad.
  • The Jags welcomed running backs into their territory with open arms last week against the Tennessee Titans.
  • He has a strong-play matchup.
  • While Jackson is a risky play even as a flier start, any extended time against the Jags could be promising for his fantasy week.

Ahmad Bradshaw, New York Giants at St. Louis Rams

G
Pls
RZ Pls
IN5
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
1
0.00
0.00
0.00
0.0
0.00
0.00
0.0
0.00
Vs. running back position
G
Pls
RZ Pls
Att
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
1
--
--
28.0
108.0
2.00
3.00
3.0
1.00
  • As noted above, Bradshaw was not utilized as part of the Giants' running back committee; the team seemed to favor Derrick Ward as the change-of-pace back to the thundering Brandon Jacobs.
  • He has a strong-play matchup.
  • Despite the Rams' ineffectiveness against the run, Bradshaw isn't guaranteed to see touches, so he should be left on fantasy benches if he isn't needed as an injury replacement in deep setups.

Tim Hightower, Arizona Cardinals vs. Miami Dolphins

G
Pls
RZ Pls
IN5
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
1
12.00
6.00
1.00
13.0
1.00
3.00
21.0
0.00
Vs. running back position
G
Pls
RZ Pls
Att
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
1
--
--
28.0
110.0
1.00
5.00
34.0
0.00
  • Viewed as a sleeper heading into the fantasy season, the rookie vultured a touchdown from starter Edgerrin James in his first NFL game.
  • He has a strong-play matchup.
  • His red zone utilizations could lead to a promising fantasy backup role for Hightower; don't view him any higher than desperation flier start.

Dominic Rhodes, Indianapolis Colts at Minnesota Vikings

G
Pls
RZ Pls
IN5
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
1
8.00
0.00
0.00
2.0
0.00
4.00
30.0
0.00
Vs. running back position
G
Pls
RZ Pls
Att
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
1
--
--
19.0
104.0
0.00
4.00
19.0
1.00
  • Rhodes saw action with Joseph Addai (head) out of the game due to a minor head injury but contributed more in the passing game. 
  • He has a strong-play matchup.
  • With Addai seemingly ready to go this week, Rhodes might not see as many utilizations, meaning he shouldn't even be considered in deep leagues.

DeShaun Foster, San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks

G
Pls
RZ Pls
IN5
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
1
5.00
1.00
0.00
1.00
0.00
1.00
12.0
0.00
Vs. running back position
G
Pls
RZ Pls
Att
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
1
--
--
28.0
107.0
1.00
3.00
18.0
0.00
  • Starter Frank Gore is a central focus of the 49ers playbook, leaving Foster to pick up scraps in limited work.
  • He has a strong-play matchup.
  • Foster should be left on your bench unless your team is desperate for a flex player.

Rudi Johnson, Detroit Lions vs. Green Bay Packers

G
Pls
RZ Pls
IN5
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
1
3.00
1.00
0.00
14.0
0.00
0.00
0.0
0.00
Vs. running back position
G
Pls
RZ Pls
Att
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
1
--
--
24.0
122.0
1.00
5.00
39.0
0.00
  • Johnson wasn't much of a factor in his first week of learning the Lions offense.
  • Tailback Kevin Smith is the undisputed starter, but the Packers were friendly to running backs last week; if Detroit wants a changeup back at the goal line, Johnson could provide minimal contribution as a flex.

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About Bryce McRae

Bryce McRae is a Managing Editor with KFFL and has been involved in fantasy sports since 1999. He joined KFFL as a volunteer writer in March 2005 before becoming a Hot off the Wire Analyst in March 2006. He began working in his current capacity in September 2008. His work has appeared on fantasy sports sites such as Yahoo! and CBS Sportsline as well as in print. He graduated from the University of British Columbia in 2008 with a B.A. in History and U.S. Studies.

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