Week 4 fantasy football player analysis: running backs

by Bryce McRae and Tim Heaney on September 25, 2008 @ 10:16:37 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 to Week 3 of the 2008 season, unless otherwise noted. Statistics appearing in each table are per-game averages.

Fantasy value: No. 1 Running backs

Marshawn Lynch, Buffalo Bills at St. Louis Rams

G
Pls
RZ Pls
IN5
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
3
24.00
3.33
0.67
72.7
1.33
2.67
19.0
0.00
Vs. running back position
G
Pls
RZ Pls
Att
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
1
--
--
33.3
179.0
2.00
2.67
13.3
0.67
  • The Rams are allowing 36.7 offensive points per game this year; Lynch could be leaned on to ice the game if the Bills build a big lead.
  • With the Rams allowing the fourth-most rushing yards per game to this position, Lynch is a strong play this week.
  • It might still be early, but Lynch has scored in all three games this year.

Marion Barber III, Dallas Cowboys vs. Washington Redskins

G
Pls
RZ Pls
IN5
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
3
25.33
6.67
2.00
95.0
1.33
3.33
29.0
0.33
Vs. running back position
G
Pls
RZ Pls
Att
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
3
--
--
23.7
105.7
0.33
6.67
61.7
0.00
  • In limited time, Barber has averaged 30.3 rushing yards, 0.3 touchdowns, 1.3 receptions, and 17 receiving yards per game against the Redskins over the last two years.
  • Running back Felix Jones received seven utilizations last week, but that barely cuts into Barber's 32. He's still seeing the bulk as the Cowboys want to put in Jones in a limited number of situations.
  • Barber is a weak play this week.

Michael Turner, Atlanta Falcons at Carolina Panthers

G
Pls
RZ Pls
IN5
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
3
20.33
4.33
1.33
122.0
1.67
6.67
4.0
0.00
Vs. running back position
G
Pls
RZ Pls
Att
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
3
--
--
27.0
108.7
0.33
5.33
37.3
0.00
  • Quarterback Matt Ryan struggled in the team's Week 2 loss on the road, completing just 13 of 33 passes for 158 yards; the Panthers should stack the box against Turner to force the rookie signal caller to beat them.
  • Turner is coming off his second NFC Offensive Player of the Week award this year after he ran for 104 yards and three scores in Week 3.
  • He is considered a weak play in Week 4.

Chris Perry, Cincinnati Bengals vs. Cleveland Browns

G
Pls
RZ Pls
IN5
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
3
22.00
2.33
0.33
58.3
0.67
1.67
5.3
0.00
Vs. running back position
G
Pls
RZ Pls
Att
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
3
--
--
32.3
142.7
2.00
2.00
12.7
0.00
  • Perry enjoyed his best start of the season in Week 3, rushing the ball 20 times for 74 yards and one touchdown while catching two passes for 19 yards.
  • The Bengals' passing game had been lackluster until last week. Even if they throw the rock more, the team should still lean on Perry because of his receiving ability.
  • He is considered a strong play against the Browns.

Reggie Bush, New Orleans Saints vs. San Francisco 49ers

G
Pls
RZ Pls
IN5
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
3
24.67
2.00
0.00
50.7
0.33
8.67
82.7
0.67
Vs. running back position
G
Pls
RZ Pls
Att
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
3
--
--
28.0
122.3
1.00
3.67
31.0
0.33
  • Bush received 32 utilizations last week while his backfield counterpart Pierre Thomas received nine; running back Deuce McAllister failed to make it in the team's game plan.
  • He has averaged 51 rushing yards, two touchdowns, eight receptions and 90 receiving yards in two career games against the 49ers. He scored four total touchdowns while catching nine passes for 131 yards in his only 2006 meeting with them.
  • With tight end Jeremy Shockey (sports hernia) out, there could be more targets to go around in the Saints' passing offense. Bush already plays a significant role in the passing game.
  • Bush should be considered a strong play against the 49ers.

LaDainian Tomlinson, San Diego Chargers at Oakland Raiders

G
Pls
RZ Pls
IN5
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
3
22.33
4.33
1.00
63.3
0.67
2.67
16.3
0.00
Vs. running back position
G
Pls
RZ Pls
Att
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
3
--
--
23.7
87.7
1.67
4.33
34.7
0.00
  • Tomlinson (toe) has run the ball 90 times for 494 yards and seven touchdowns while catching eight passes for 46 yards and one touchdown in four games against the Raiders the last two years.
  • He was able to play in Week 3 and is expected to play in Week 4, in which case he would be a strong play. Look for the speedy Darren Sproles to spell him a bit, though. 
  • Pro Bowl center Nick Hardwick (foot) could return in Week 4.

Frank Gore, San Francisco 49ers at New Orleans Saints

G
Pls
RZ Pls
IN5
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
3
24.33
5.67
2.33
95.7
1.00
4.33
41.7
0.00
Vs. running back position
G
Pls
RZ Pls
Att
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
3
--
--
22.7
119.3
1.00
4.67
28.3
0.00
  • Gore ranks third at this position with 17 utilizations in the red zone.
  • He managed just 41 yards on 12 carries and one reception for no gain in their Week 8 matchup with the Saints last year; he totaled only 40 yards on 13 carries and five receptions for 28 yards against them in 2006.

Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings at Tennessee Titans

G
Pls
RZ Pls
IN5
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
3
24.67
3.00
0.33
113.3
0.33
1.67
10.3
0.00
Vs. running back position
G
Pls
RZ Pls
Att
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
3
--
--
22.0
83.3
0.67
5.67
37.7
0.33
  • After being a game-time decision in Week 3, Peterson (hamstring) was able to play and ran for 77 yards on 17 carries while being shut out of the passing game.
  • Running back Chester Taylor (foot) received 11 carries for 44 yards in Week 3, and he has caught seven passes for 41 yards on the season - two more receptions than Peterson. However, Taylor was limited in practice Wednesday, Sept. 24, and might not be at full capacity if he plays this week.
  • With the Titans defense allowing shutting down running backs, Peterson is a weak play in Week 4.

Brian Westbrook, Philadelphia Eagles at Chicago Bears

G
Pls
RZ Pls
IN5
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
3
17.33
3.33
1.00
53.7
1.00
2.67
15.3
0.67
Vs. running back position
G
Pls
RZ Pls
Att
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
3
--
--
19.7
70.3
0.67
4.67
30.0
0.00
  • Westbrook (ankle) received only five utilizations last week before he suffered a strained ankle tendon early in the game; he is considered day-to-day.
  • Offensive guard Shawn Andrews (back) failed to make it on the field in Week 3 and his status for the team's Week 4 matchup is unknown.
  • If he does play in Week 4, Westbrook is a weak play because of the Bears' strong defense against this position (3.57 yards allowed per rushing attempt).

Matt Forte, Chicago Bears vs. Philadelphia Eagles

G
Pls
RZ Pls
IN5
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
3
29.67
2.33
0.33
101.3
0.33
4.33
35.0
0.33
Vs. running back position
G
Pls
RZ Pls
Att
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
3
--
--
16.7
46.7
0.33
2.67
32.0
0.33
  • They might be seeing the second-least amount of running attempts per game, but the Eagles are allowing just 2.80 yards per attempt; this makes Forte a weak play.
  • Point-per-reception owners should note the Eagles have allowed just eight receptions to this position all year, tied for the fourth lowest total in the league.
  • Forte is a weak play this week.

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

Clinton Portis, Washington Redskins at Dallas Cowboys

G
Pls
RZ Pls
IN5
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
3
23.00
4.33
0.33
82.7
1.00
1.33
7.3
0.00
Vs. running back position
G
Pls
RZ Pls
Att
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
3
--
--
16.0
66.3
0.67
4.00
32.7
0.33
  • The Cowboys have allowed the fifth least rushing yards to this position all season (199); though, they have also faced the least amount of rushing attempts.
  • Portis ran for 140 yards and two touchdowns on 37 carries while catching six passes for 36 yards against the Cowboys last year; he ran for 84 yards and one touchdown on 23 carries while catching one pass for nine yards against them in 2006.
  • Consider Portis a weak play against the Cowboys.

LenDale White, Tennessee Titans vs. Minnesota Vikings

G
Pls
RZ Pls
IN5
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
3
16.67
3.00
2.33
49.3
1.33
0.00
0.0
1.00
Vs. running back position
G
Pls
RZ Pls
Att
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
3
--
--
18.3
58.7
0.67
3.67
19.7
0.33
  • White continues to receive the majority of the goal line and short-yardage utilizations while running back Chris Johnson is utilized more often overall.
  • With the Vikings' strong run defense, White is considered a weak play this week.

Chris Johnson, Tennessee Titans vs. Minnesota Vikings

G
Pls
RZ Pls
IN5
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
3
20.33
2.00
0.00
92.0
0.00
2.33
17.0
0.33
Vs. running back position
G
Pls
RZ Pls
Att
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
3
--
--
18.3
58.7
0.67
3.67
19.7
0.33
  • Johnson may be receiving most of the utilizations, but he is still splitting time with running back LenDale White, who managed 16 utilizations to Johnson's 20 last week.
  • Johnson should be considered a weak play against the Vikings.

Fantasy value: No. 2 Running backs

Michael Pittman, Denver Broncos at Kansas City Chiefs

G
Pls
RZ Pls
IN5
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
3
6.67
4.00
3.33
15.0
1.33
0.33
2.7
0.00
Vs. running back position
G
Pls
RZ Pls
Att
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
3
--
--
34.7
196.3
2.00
3.00
28.0
0.00
  • He is not receiving many utilizations outside of the red zone, but with the way the Broncos offense is rolling, he is receiving plenty of chances near the goal line.
  • All three of Falcons running back Michael Turner's rushing touchdowns against the Chiefs last week came from four yards or less, which is where Pittman has received most of his work.
  • He should be acquired in all leagues if available.
  • Consider Pittman a strong play in Week 4.

Maurice Jones-Drew, Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Houston Texans

G
Pls
RZ Pls
IN5
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
3
10.33
2.00
1.00
45.7
0.67
3.67
40.3
0.00
Vs. running back position
G
Pls
RZ Pls
Att
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
2
--
--
34.0
145.0
2.50
1.50
7.5
0.00
  • Jones-Drew (ankle) missed practice Wednesday, Sept. 24, though he missed practice Wednesday, Sept. 17, and still went on to run for 107 yards in Week 3.
  • Against the Indianapolis Colts, Jones-Drew received 19 utilizations last week compared to 28 for his backfield partner Fred Taylor (ankle), who also missed practice Wednesday, Sept. 24, though he was also able to play last week after missing practice.
  • He has averaged 48.7 rushing yards and 1.33 rushing touchdowns on 7.67 carries while catching five passes for 57.6 receiving yards per game in three contests against the Texans over the last two years.
  • Jones-Drew should be considered a strong play this week.

Jonathan Stewart, Carolina Panthers vs. Atlanta Falcons

G
Pls
RZ Pls
IN5
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
3
10.33
1.33
1.00
48.3
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
3
--
--
26.0
131.0
1.33
5.00
32.7
0.00
  • Stewart is a strong play against the Falcons this week.
  • Running back DeAngelo Williams received 13 utilizations last week to Stewart's seven, which was Stewart's lowest total in three games this year.

Pierre Thomas, New Orleans Saints vs. San Francisco 49ers

G
Pls
RZ Pls
IN5
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
3
9.67
2.67
1.67
25.0
1.00
2.33
16.0
0.00
Vs. running back position
G
Pls
RZ Pls
Att
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
3
--
--
28.0
122.3
1.00
3.67
31.0
0.33
  • Thomas was the team's primary short-yardage back in Week 3; he has received the most red-zone and inside-the-five utilizations among the team's backs. Running back Deuce McAllister (knees) remains out of the offensive picture, giving Thomas all the carries in that role.
  • If available, Thomas should be picked up in all leagues.
  • Owners should view Thomas as a strong play this week.

Larry Johnson, Kansas City Chiefs vs. Denver Broncos

G
Pls
RZ Pls
IN5
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
3
19.67
3.33
1.00
72.3
0.33
0.33
4.0
0.00
Vs. running back position
G
Pls
RZ Pls
Att
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
3
--
--
23.0
103.7
1.00
9.33
100.3
0.67
  • Johnson could be utilized extensively in Week 4 to keep the Broncos' high-powered offense off the field.
  • The team feels running backs Jamaal Charles and Kolby Smith are more versatile on passing downs; this could play a factor as the Broncos allow the most receptions and receiving yards to this position in the league.
  • Consider Johnson a strong play against a team he has torched in the past (283 rushing yards, one touchdown, six receptions, 47 receiving yards in two games against them 2006).

Steve Slaton, Houston Texans at Jacksonville Jaguars

G
Pls
RZ Pls
IN5
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
2
19.50
6.50
1.50
79.5
0.50
3.50
7.0
0.00
Vs. running back position
G
Pls
RZ Pls
Att
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
3
--
--
24.3
103.7
1.33
4.33
45.7
0.33
  • Slaton ran the ball 18 times for 116 yards and one touchdown while catching four passes for eight yards in Week 3, his first career NFL start.
  • He should be acquired if available in all leagues.
  • He is considered a strong play this week.
  • Even if running back Ahman Green (ankle) returns in Week 4, Slaton would likely see the majority of the touches.

Edgerrin James, Arizona Cardinals at New York Jets

G
Pls
RZ Pls
IN5
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
3
22.00
3.67
0.00
82.7
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
3
--
--
26.3
84.0
1.00
7.67
61.7
0.33
  • James no longer seems to be a focal point of the offense; he doesn't receive the goal line carries and has rarely had the ball thrown to him
  • There is also talk of running back Tim Hightower receiving more carries.
  • James ran the ball 18 times for 93 yards in Week 3 while catching two passes for 15 yards, which amounted to his best overall game of the season.

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

Ryan Grant, Green Bay Packers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

G
Pls
RZ Pls
IN5
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
3
13.33
3.00
1.00
55.3
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
3
--
--
25.0
100.0
0.00
7.33
75.3
0.67
  • Grant (hamstring) appears to be over his hamstring injury; he fully participated in practice Wednesday, Sept. 24, and should see more than the 20-25 snaps he saw in Week 3.
  • Grant ran for just 54 yards on 13 carries while failing to catch a pass in Week 3, but if he gets closer to a full workload, it may allow him to establish more of a rhythm.

Earnest Graham, Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Green Bay Packers

G
Pls
RZ Pls
IN5
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
3
14.00
3.00
0.67
74.3
0.33
1.33
13.0
0.00
Vs. running back position
G
Pls
RZ Pls
Att
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
3
--
--
 23.0
127.3
1.00
4.67
27.0
0.00
  • Graham ran for 16 yards on 12 carries in Week 3 as quarterback Brian Griese attempted a franchise-record 67 passes; logic would suggest that Griese's attempts this week will be closer to the 33 he managed in Week 2.
  • Running back Warrick Dunn received 10 utilizations to Graham's 12 in Week 3, and Dunn was far more effective with five carries for 31 yards.
  • Graham didn't catch a pass, either, while Dunn caught four for 27 yards.

Thomas Jones, New York Jets vs. Arizona Cardinals

G
Pls
RZ Pls
IN5
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
3
19.67
3.33
1.33
69.3
0.33
2.33
8.0
0.00
Vs. running back position
G
Pls
RZ Pls
Att
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
3
--
--
22.0
84.7
1.00
4.67
42.7
0.00
  • After consecutive weeks with 20-plus utilizations, Jones received just 13 utilizations in Week 3 as the team was constantly playing catch-up against the Chargers.
  • The team might rely more on Jones if quarterback Brett Favre (ankle) is limited by an ankle injury, although he's expected to be fine.
  • Luckily for Jones' owners, there does not appear to be another back ready to usurp carries from him; running back Leon Washington has received just 17 utilizations all year.

Steven Jackson, St. Louis Rams vs. Buffalo Bills

G
Pls
RZ Pls
IN5
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
3
23.00
1.00
0.00
53.0
0.00
5.00
44.3
0.00
Vs. running back position
G
Pls
RZ Pls
Att
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
3
--
--
23.7
82.7
0.33
4.33
31.7
0.00
  • Jackson (groin) was limited in practice Wednesday, Sept. 24, but he could see his workload increase as the week progresses.
  • Offensive guard Jacob Bell (hamstring) appears ready to start Week 4, and his return should strengthen the offensive line.
  • Head coach Scott Linehan feels Jackson, a weak play this week, is just now getting his legs under him after his holdout during training camp; Jackson received 28 utilizations in Week 3, his highest total of the season.

Darren McFadden, Oakland Raiders vs. San Diego Chargers

G
Pls
RZ Pls
IN5
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
3
16.67
2.33
0.00
84.0
0.33
1.67
8.7
0.00
Vs. running back position
G
Pls
RZ Pls
Att
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
3
--
--
20.7
105.7
0.33
2.33
17.3
0.00
  • McFadden (toe) missed practice Wednesday, Sept. 24, but is expected to go; he missed practice last week as well and was still able to play in Week 3.
  • Running back Justin Fargas (groin) won't practice all week is not expected to play in Week 4; he was out in Week 3.
  • The team has shown a commitment to the run as they are attempting the fewest number of pass attempts per week (20.7).
  • McFadden is considered a weak play this week.
  • Running back Michael Bush was more effective than McFadden in Week 3 as Bush ran for 55 yards on 14 carries; McFadden had the same number of carries but accumulated 42 yards.

Rashard Mendenhall, Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Baltimore Ravens

G
Pls
RZ Pls
IN5
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
3
4.00
0.33
0.00
9.3
0.00
0.33
3.7
0.00
Vs. running back position
G
Pls
RZ Pls
Att
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
2
--
--
17.0
60.5
0.00
4.50
34.5
0.50
  • Mendenhall should be the team's primary ball carrier in Week 3 with running back Willie Parker (knee) out.
  • Mendenhall received most of his work this season in the team's Week 1 win, running the ball 10 times for 28 yards.
  • He is considered a weak play against the Ravens.

Le'Ron McClain, Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers

G
Pls
RZ Pls
IN5
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
2
20.50
5.00
2.00
76.0
1.00
1.50
14.0
0.00
Vs. running back position
G
Pls
RZ Pls
Att
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
3
--
--
19.7
59.7
0.00
8.00
46.0
0.33
  • Even with running back Willis McGahee returning in Week 3, McClain still played a major role in the offense (19 utilizations) and should receive around 15 carries in Week 4.
  • McGahee (eye) may be limited in practice all week, but he is expected to start.
  • McClain should be acquired in all leagues if available.
  • Owners should view him as a weak play against the Steelers.

Willis McGahee, Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers

G
Pls
RZ Pls
IN5
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
1
17.00
4.00
2.00
64.0
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
3
--
--
19.7
59.7
0.00
8.00
46.0
0.33
  • McGahee (eye) is expected to start the team's Week 4 game, though he could be limited in practice because of an eye injury.
  • He ran for 50 yards and one touchdown on 12 carries while catching three passes for 12 yards in his Week 9 matchup against the Steelers last year; he lost a fumble in that contest and missed the other game against them.
  • Running back Le'Ron McClain received 19 utilizations in Week 3 and should receive about 15 carries this week as the team spreads the ball around; running back Ray Rice is also in the mix and received five utilizations last week.
  • McGahee is a weak play for those owners starting him this week.

Fantasy value: No. 3 Running backs

Tim Hightower, Arizona Cardinals at New York Jets

G
Pls
RZ Pls
IN5
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
3
11.33
4.00
1.33
20.0
0.67
2.33
26.3
0.00
Vs. running back position
G
Pls
RZ Pls
Att
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
3
--
--
26.3
84.0
1.00
7.67
61.7
0.33
  • Hightower received 11 utilizations in Week 3, his second straight week with that total; however, there has been talk of giving him more carries.
  • Running back Edgerrin James is still the primary back and received 20 utilizations in Week 3, though he is no longer a focal point in the offense.

Warrick Dunn, Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Green Bay Packers

G
Pls
RZ Pls
IN5
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
3
12.00
2.67
0.33
44.7
0.33
2.67
19.7
0.00
Vs. running back position
G
Pls
RZ Pls
Att
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
3
--
--
23.0
127.3
1.00
4.67
27.0
0.00
  • The Bucs have kept to their promise to use Dunn frequently; he receives just two fewer touches per game than starter Earnest Graham.
  • The Pack ranks 23rd in rushing yards allowed to the position per game.

Felix Jones, Dallas Cowboys vs. Washington Redskins

G
Pls
RZ Pls
IN5
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
3
6.00
0.67
0.00
49.3
0.67
0.33
1.0
0.00
Vs. running back position
G
Pls
RZ Pls
Att
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
3
--
--
23.7
105.7
0.33
6.67
61.7
0.00
  • The Cowboys want to keep Jones at eight to 10 touches per game in addition to his kick return duties.
  • He's making an impact on limited touches - he has scored a touchdown in each of his first three games.
  • Jones is a weak play this week.

Jerious Norwood, Atlanta Falcons at Carolina Panthers

G
Pls
RZ Pls
IN5
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
3
13.33
2.00
0.00
62.0
0.33
1.33
14.7
0.00
Vs. running back position
G
Pls
RZ Pls
Att
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
3
--
--
27.0
108.7
0.33
5.33
37.3
0.00
  • He remains a reliable change-of-pace back to starter Michael Turner.
  • Norwood has seen double-digit utilizations in each of the first three weeks of the season.
  • The speedster rushed for just 32 yards but had three catches for 34 yards in one game against Carolina last year. In '06, he averaged just 43 rushing yards against them in another pair of meetings.
  • Norwood has a chance to make a moderate contribution against a unit that allows receiving backs to succeed, but he's still a weak play given Carolina's tame numbers against the position.

Michael Bush, Oakland Raiders vs. San Diego Chargers

G
Pls
RZ Pls
IN5
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
2
14.50
1.00
0.00
72.5
0.50
0.50
2.5
0.00
Vs. running back position
G
Pls
RZ Pls
Att
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
3
--
--
20.7
105.7
0.33
2.33
17.3
0.00
  • In Week 3, Bush had a solid workload with 15 touches, but rookie Darren McFadden (toe) was healthy enough to start while garnering 18 utilizations.
  • After a 90-yard week with a touchdown, he had 55 yards on 14 carries last week. The Raiders' run-first philosophy suits Bush for fantasy purposes in deep leagues.
  • The Chargers have been weaker against the pass this year, but counting on quarterback JaMarcus Russell in the vertical game is a chance the Raiders don't want to take.
  • McFadden will see the majority of work if healthy, but like with the Jacksonville Jaguars, and as long as Justin Fargas (groin), both backs will be fantasy relevant until the Raiders learn to throw an intermediate forward pass.

Selvin Young, Denver Broncos at Kansas City Chiefs

G
Pls
RZ Pls
IN5
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
3
9.67
1.67
0.33
59.7
0.33
0.67
5.0
0.00
Vs. running back position
G
Pls
RZ Pls
Att
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
3
--
--
34.7
196.3
2.00
3.00
28.0
0.00
  • Young leads the Broncos with 9.67 utilizations per game. Too bad that could change in the near future with head coach Mike Shanahan's backfield bonanza. Young had 11 carries for 65 yards last week to lead the backfield.
  • The University of Texas alum pairs with Andre Hall between the 20s for the Broncos' dreaded backfield committee; running back Michael Pittman sees short-yardage and goal line duties, for the most part.
  • Young ripped through the Chiefs' run defense last season, accumulating 132.5 rushing yards, 1.5 receptions, 10.0 receiving yards and 0.5 touchdowns per game in two contests last year.
  • The Chiefs welcome backs of all roles; they rank last in the league in rushing yardage allowed to running backs.
  • Young should receive at least a piece of Denver's action as a strong play, and he has positive history against KC.

Fred Taylor, Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Houston Texans

G
Pls
RZ Pls
IN5
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
3
18.00
3.00
0.67
62.7
0.00
1.33
7.7
0.00
Vs. running back position
G
Pls
RZ Pls
Att
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
3
--
--
34.0
145.0
2.50
1.50
7.5
0.00
  • The entire Jags' running game broke through against the Indianapolis Colts' soft D in Week 3. Taylor ran for 121 yards on 26 carries and netted two catches for nine yards.
  • Taylor has 237 rushing yards on 34 carries combined in his last three meetings with the Texans. He also caught seven passes for 88 yards in that duration.
  • The Texans rank 27th in the league in rushing yardage allowed per game to enemy backs.
  • Taylor (hand) has missed some practice time, but he's expected to go this Sunday.
  • Taylor is a strong play as the time split with Maurice Jones-Drew (ankle) might not stand in the way of a big day against the Texans.

DeAngelo Williams, Carolina Panthers vs. Atlanta Falcons

G
Pls
RZ Pls
IN5
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
3
14.67
10.67
0.00
48.0
0.00
1.33
5.0
0.00
Vs. running back position
G
Pls
RZ Pls
Att
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
3
--
--
26.0
131.0
1.33
5.00
32.7
0.00
  • Williams received double-digit utilizations for the third straight contest with 13 last week, but power back Jonathan Stewart earned another touchdown against the powerful Chicago Bears run D.
  • In two contests against the Falcons last year, Williams was rather quiet, with 18 carries for 74 yards.
  • Despite his mediocre history, Williams is a strong play for this matchup, so play him with confidence despite the continued timeshare.

Jamal Lewis, Cleveland Browns at Cincinnati Bengals

G
Pls
RZ Pls
IN5
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
3
17.33
2.00
1.00
52.0
0.00
2.33
21.0
0.00
Vs. running back position
G
Pls
RZ Pls
Att
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
3
--
--
35.3
148.0
0.67
4.33
27.7
0.00
  • Lewis continues to struggle to break 70 rushing yards this year. He mustered just 56 on 12 carries Week
  • He maintains an unspectacular 3.5 yards-per-carry average on the year, although he has faced three tough run defenses and was limited by a hamstring injury early on.
  • The Bengals offer him a chance to obtain his first 100-yard game of the season. In two games against Cincy last year, he carried the ball 48 times to gain 308 yards and a touchdown. He also caught five passes for 42 yards.
  • The Browns are going through a quarterback controversy between starter Derek Anderson and backup Brady Quinn. They could lean on the run a bit if they want Anderson to stay mistake free.

Ray Rice, Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers

G
Pls
RZ Pls
IN5
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
2
15.50
1.50
0.00
42.5
0.00
1.50
9.5
0.00
Vs. running back position
G
Pls
RZ Pls
Att
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
3
--
--
19.7
59.7
0.00
8.00
46.0
0.33
  • Rice was left on the outside of the fence with just five utilizations in Week 3. Le'Ron McClain (19) and Willis McGahee (17) each found paydirt while dominating the workload.
  • This trio should continue splitting for the rest of the season. Offensive coordinator Cam Cameron is infatuated with McClain, and McGahee looked healthy last week.
  • The run-first Ravens aren't excited about this matchup - the Steelers rank third in rushing yardage allowed per to running backs this year. However, the chances of the Ravens leaning on the pass are slim.
  • Play Rice if the alternatives are few. The system can use one of these backs on a whim.

Fantasy value: No. 3 or flex Running backs

Andre Hall, Denver Broncos at Kansas City Chiefs

G
Pls
RZ Pls
IN5
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
3
7.67
1.67
0.00
39.0
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
3
--
--
34.7
196.3
2.00
3.00
28.0
0.00
  • Hall pairs with Selvin Young between the 20s for the Broncos' dreaded backfield committee; running back Michael Pittman sees short-yardage and goal line duties, for the most part.
  • Hall had just 25 yards on six carries last week against the New Orleans Saints.
  • The Chiefs welcome backs of all roles; they rank last in the league in rushing yardage allowed to running backs.
  • Hall should receive at least a piece of Denver's action as a strong play.

Fred Jackson, Buffalo Bills vs. St. Louis Rams

G
Pls
RZ Pls
IN5
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
3
10.33
0.67
0.00
24.0
0.00
2.67
28.0
0.00
Vs. running back position
G
Pls
RZ Pls
Att
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
3
--
--
33.3
179.0
2.00
2.67
13.3
0.67
  • Jackson only saw seven utilizations in Week 3 after compiling 24 in the first two contests.
  • The Bills are running more two-back sets with Jackson paired with Marshawn Lynch. Jackson is a better receiver, and the combo setup may keep opponents from focusing on either runner.
  • The Rams rank 29th in yards allowed per game to the position, but they haven't allowed pass-catching backs much success in that role.
  • Jackson could help if you need to use him, especially in point-per-reception setups. The Rams' friendly run D makes him a strong play.

Jamaal Charles, Kansas City Chiefs vs. Denver Broncos

G
Pls
RZ Pls
IN5
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
3
8.33
1.33
0.33
24.3
0.00
2.00
15.0
0.00
Vs. running back position
G
Pls
RZ Pls
Att
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
3
--
--
23.0
103.7
1.00
9.33
100.3
0.67
  • The speedster received 12 utilizations last week as the Chiefs ran the ball 33 times against the Atlanta Falcons. Charles ran for 38 yards and caught three passes for 24 yards.
  • If the Chiefs give a similar workload to Charles, he can punch some holes in Denver's weak run D. The Broncos have trouble defending backs on passing plays, as shown by New Orleans Saints pseudo receiver Reggie Bush, who has inflicted much of the damage.
  • Charles has a strong-play matchup this week if you need to use him.

Darren Sproles, San Diego Chargers at Oakland Raiders

G
Pls
RZ Pls
IN5
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
3
6.00
0.67
0.00
31.3
0.00
1.33
37.0
0.33
Vs. running back position
G
Pls
RZ Pls
Att
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
3
--
--
23.7
87.7
1.67
4.33
34.7
0.00
  • Sproles has been a spell back for the bruised LaDainian Tomlinson (toe) in the last few weeks. He was utilized 16 times in the last two weeks.
  • Sproles had just two carries for 20 yards in one game of spot duty against Oakland last year; he didn't receive a touch in the other contest.
  • As long as Tomlinson is bothered by the toe, Sproles will see time. However, it's not enough time to expect big numbers from him. Fantasy owners will have to hope for him to spring one or two big plays.
  • He has a strong-play matchup this week if you need to use him.

Fantasy value: Flex or bench Running backs

Brandon Jackson, Green Bay Packers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

G
Pls
RZ Pls
IN5
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
3
9.00
1.00
0.00
31.0
0.33
1.67
12.0
0.00
Vs. running back position
G
Pls
RZ Pls
Att
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
2
--
--
25.0
100.0
0.00
7.33
75.3
0.67
  • In Week 3, Jackson received just six utilizations, although starter Ryan Grant amassed a mere 13. Jackson had 20 yards on three carries, along with a 16-yard catch.
  • Grant (hamstring) practiced Wednesday, Sept. 24, and isn't listed in the injury report. He's expected to return to his full workload this week.
  • Jackson shouldn't be looked at unless you need an injury or bye-week replacement.

Leon Washington, New York Jets vs. Arizona Cardinals

G
Pls
RZ Pls
IN5
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
3
5.67
0.33
0.00
12.0
0.00
2.67
19.7
0.00
Vs. running back position
G
Pls
RZ Pls
Att
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
3
--
--
22.0
84.7
1.00
4.67
42.7
0.00
  • Washington didn't do much in Week 3, losing a yard on one carry and catching two passes for 20 yards.
  • Most of Washington's value comes in those leagues that count return yardage or deep leagues that award a point per reception.
  • The big-play threat isn't playable unless you're in dire straits.

Chester Taylor, Minnesota Vikings at Tennessee Titans

G
Pls
RZ Pls
IN5
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
3
6.67
1.33
0.00
27.0
0.00
2.33
13.7
0.00
Vs. running back position
G
Pls
RZ Pls
Att
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
3
--
--
22.0
83.3
0.67
5.67
37.7
0.33
  • Starter Adrian Peterson (hamstring) fought through an injury to retain his majority role in the backfield in Week 3.
  • Taylor (foot) was utilized 17 times but sustained an injury during Week 3 play. He was limited in practice Wednesday, Sept. 24.
  • The Titans surrendered 146 rushing yards to the Houston Texans last week, and if Taylor is healthy this week, the Vikings could use both backs to chip away.
  • Still, the Titans' stout defensive line gives Taylor a weak-play matchup.

Ladell Betts, Washington Redskins at Dallas Cowboys

G
Pls
RZ Pls
IN5
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
3
6.33
0.67
0.00
16.0
0.00
1.00
6.3
0.00
Vs. running back position
G
Pls
RZ Pls
Att
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
3
--
--
16.0
66.3
0.67
4.00
32.7
0.33
  • Betts has been productive in his limited work, averaging 4.4 yards per carry on 17 attempts in two games.
  • Betts gained 37 yards on 12 carries, along with a six-yard reception, in two games against Dallas last year.
  • Betts, a weak play for this game, should be owned chiefly by those who have starter Clinton Portis and is a last-ditch play at best this week.

Correll Buckhalter, Philadelphia Eagles at Chicago Bears

G
Pls
RZ Pls
IN5
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
3
7.00
1.00
0.00
16.0
0.00
2.67
19.7
0.33
Vs. running back position
G
Pls
RZ Pls
Att
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
3
--
--
19.7
70.2
0.67
4.67
30.0
0.00
  • Buckhalter's fantasy value for Week 4 and beyond is directly dependent on the health of starter Brian Westbrook (ankle).
  • He filled in well when Westbrook left last week by gaining 43 yards on 10 carries as well as catching six passes for 44 yards and a touchdown.
  • If you have Westbrook or have the room on your roster, grab Buckhalter as a precaution as he would take Westbrook's place for this game. Buckhalter does not sniff Westbrook talent wise, but having Westy's opportunities in the Eagles offense would make him a productive fantasy back.
  • Buckhalter is a weak play regardless of his role this week.

Kevin Jones, Chicago Bears vs. Philadelphia Eagles

G
Pls
RZ Pls
IN5
Run Yds
Run TD
Rec
Rec Yds
Rec TD
3
5.67
0.00
0.00
18.3
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
3
--
--
16.7
46.7
0.33
2.67
32.0
0.33
  • Rookie back Matt Forte is cannibalizing the touches for Chicago, leaving Jones as a minimally productive backup.
  • This week Jones is a weak play and a desperation option, at best.

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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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