Week 3: RB Roundup
Felix Jones (starter); Le' Veon Bell; Isaac Redman; Jonathan Dwyer
Current scenario: We are now two weeks into the season and Pittsburgh is still seeking a starting running back. Week one starter Isaac Redman has done little to impress rushing seven times for eight yards against the Titans and three carries for four yards against the Bengals. In week 2 Felix Jones got the start for Pittsburgh and he too did little to ensure a continued starting role rushing for just 37 yards on 10 carries. Things appear bleak for the Pittsburgh backfield and fantasy owners should avoid everything Pittsburgh related until further notice.
Future scenario: Bell returned to practice this week, but when he'll return to the field is still up in the air. If the rookie is still available and you have some roster room, now would be a good time to acquire him. Bell is almost a sure fire start when he returns; after all, he can't do much worse than what we've seen from Redman and Jones thus far.
BenJarvus Green-Ellis (starter); Giovani Bernard (handcuff); Cedric Peerman; Rex Burkhead
Current scenario: Green-Ellis may be the starter in week 3, but all eyes will be on the rookie Bernard. In Week 2 against the Steelers, it was Bernard scoring the team's only two touchdowns with a seven yard run and a 27 yard reception. Not only did the rookie out of North Carolina post better numbers than fellow back Green-Ellis, but also did so with fewer touches. Things seem to be working for the Bengals, so it could be some time before Bernard sees an increase in playing time.
Future scenario: We think Bernard should be the every down back. Eventually the Bengals brass will agree. However, what matters is wins and so long as the Bengals continue winning, we're unlikely to see a change in the backfield. The only change we may see is more touches for Bernard, which means fewer for the Law Firm. This will only make fantasy owners crazier because when this happens they'll have to guess which back will have the hot hand in any given week. Neither back is a strong RB2, but both could be used as a flex start.
Willis McGahee, Bobby Rainey; Chris Ogbonnaya
Current scenario: In a stunning move, the Browns traded away Trent Richardson, the No. 3 overall selection in the 2012 NFL Draft, to the Colts for a 2014 first rounder. This move will give the Browns 10 picks in the 2014 draft and could very well be what they need to rebuild this franchise. From a fantasy perspective, this means Rainey, Ogbonnaya or possibly Willis McGahee will be the new starting back in Cleveland. Rainey and Ogbonnaya have modest deep league appeal, but Week 3 is looking like a stay-away situation.
Future scenario: Don't count on the newly signed McGahee producing this week - or even playing - but he's the best bet for fantasy production, limited as it may be.
Trent Richardson (starter); Ahmad Bradshaw (handcuff); Donald Brown
Current scenario: The one piece of the puzzle missing for the Colts the past few years is a workhorse type running back. Wednesday's trade for Trent Richardson has filled that gap and now the Colts have a powerful one-two punch with Andrew Luck and Richardson in the backfield. Week 3 may not be a great one for Richardson as the Colts face a tough 49ers defense and he'll be playing largely on instinct. The good news is he'll be playing. So will Bradshaw, but likely in a decreased role with passing down responsibilities. Expect a shared backfield for now, but not for long.
Future scenario: Indy didn't add Richardson to share the backfield, though Bradshaw's veteran experience will help everyone. Playing with Luck and company boosts Richardson's overall scoring potential.
Green Bay Packers
Eddie Lacy (starter); James Starks; Johnathan Franklin; John Kuhn;
Current scenario: Suffering from a concussion sustained Week 2 against the Redskins, Eddie Lacy will likely sit out this weekend's game against the Bengals. This means James Starks, who shredded Washington when called upon, will get the start for Green Bay. Though Starks became Green Bay's first 100-yard runner since the 2010 season, don't expect a repeat against the Bengals' seventh ranked run defense.
Future scenario: If Starks continues to play well, the Packers will be hard pressed to bring Lacy back quickly. History says owners shouldn't fear this scenario seeing as Starks has a history of injuries and poor production. Green Bay drafted Lacy (and Franklin for a reason); and sharing carries is the NFL norm these days. Since Lacy is a rookie, there might be scenarios where the Packers lessen his load. This is his backfield when healthy.