Week 7: RB Roundup
Le' Veon Bell; Felix Jones; Jonathan Dwyer; Isaac Redman
Current scenario: To say the Steelers' run game has been horrible this season would be an under statement. Through five games Pittsburgh still doesn't have a back with 100 rushing yards on the season. That's correct; no running back has gained 100 yards this season. Jones is the closest at 92 yards, with Bell a close second with 91 yards. Starting back Le'Veon Bell has only played in two games thus far and should reach 100 yards this weekend. If the Steelers are going to get back on track they need to run the ball better. Unfortunately for Bell and the Steelers, this week's game against the Ravens likely won't help their run game. Through the Ravens' first six games they have allowed just one rushing touchdown, so don't count on Steelers backs hitting pay dirt this week.
Future scenario: Bell is the clear starter the remainder of the season. Jones, Dwyer and Redman had three weeks to win the starting job and they all failed. This should tell you something about Pittsburgh's depth at running back. After the Ravens game this weekend the match-ups look a little better. Week eight brings Oakland, followed by New England and Buffalo -- all of which should provide nice match-ups for Bell.
BenJarvus Green-Ellis (starter); Giovani Bernard (handcuff); Cedric Peerman; Rex Burkhead
Current scenario: BenJarvus Green-Ellis has received the majority of Cincinnati's carries nearly every game this season. One might say that makes him the better option each week. That is until you see the Law Firm has just 2 receptions compared to Bernard's 20. In addition, the rookie has reached the end zone one more time than Green-Ellis this season. All signs point to this backfield remaining a running back by committee.
Future scenario: Owners looking long term should consider adding Bernard to their roster. The rookie has more total yards, touchdowns and has more potential. The Bengals' schedule does not look good for running backs the next few weeks, so owners will only want to start Green-Ellis or Bernard as a bye week fill in or in a flex position.
Willis McGahee (starter); Chris Ogbonnaya (handcuff); Bobby Rainey
Current scenario: The Browns' run game has been lacking all season. Through 6 games the leading rusher for Cleveland has run for 50+ yards just twice. The first was week 2 when Trent Richardson (now with Indianapolis) ran for 58 yards against Baltimore. The second came week 5 against Buffalo when Willis McGahee scrambled for 72 yards on 26 carries. To add insult to injury, Cleveland backs have scored just one rushing touchdown all season and that too came week 5 against the Bills. There is one possible bright spot in this backfield and that comes in the form of Chris Ogbonnaya. Last week against Detroit the fourth year man out of Texas had 5 carries for 24 yards with 7 receptions for 61 yards and a touchdown. This marked the second time in three weeks Ogbonnaya had 5 or more receptions and a touchdown.
Future scenario: Things do not look good for Cleveland backs in the coming weeks. The Browns' next three games are in Green Bay, in Kansas City and home against Baltimore. As the Browns fall behind in these games, Ogbonnaya should see more opportunities for receptions out of the backfield, making him the only possible play. This is of course assuming you're willing to take a chance on the Browns backfield.
Ray Rice (starter); Bernard Pierce (handcuff); Shaun Draughn
Current scenario: Before the season began, had you told me Ray Rice would struggle to rush for 500 yards this season I would have said you're crazy. Rice has rushed for 1,000+ yards for four consecutive years and at age 26 there is no reason to have thought this wouldn't be year 5. Fast forward 6 weeks and Rice's projected numbers put him at just 525 rushing yards -- a far cry from 1,000. If something doesn't change in Baltimore (and change soon), fantasy owners are going to be greatly disappointed in Rice's production this season.
Future scenario: Baltimore has a tough divisional match-up this week against a Steelers team looking to get back into the AFC north mix. Week 9 brings a bye for Baltimore, followed by two more divisional games at Cleveland and home against Cincinnati. Pittsburgh's run defense has not been as strong this year as they have in the past and Cleveland has allowed a league high 8 rushing touchdowns. These next few weeks could be big for Rice.