Week 4: RB Report

 
 
 
 
Football > Week 04 > RB Report

Week 4: RB Report

Getting a current, short and long term vibe on the various running backs, be it the flat out starters or the dreaded committee options...

Dr. Jekylls - Players with erratic starts to the season we still like...Rashard Mendenhall, Ryan Mathews, Shonn Greene, James Starks

Those that regularly tuned into the FFToolbox Podcast during the preseason heard me say over and over again that after the top-7 running backs (a group than ended with LeSean McCoy and Darren McFadden) I was no fan of the next tier. That meant taking receiver -- maybe even QB -- instead of guys like Steven Jackson, Frank Gore and yes, Mendenhall. Considering the Steelers' top runner has yet to crack 66 yards on the ground (and the last two games were nice match-ups, in theory) so far, so good with that assessment. But come on, these are the Steelers, they run the ball. Mendenhall is never my fave, but his second half schedule is nice. More of a buy-low than a panic sell situation (though Isaac Redman should be handcuffed to Mendenhall all the same...

Mathews' numbers have been on the rise for three straight games, but week 3 was the first time he took charge of the San Diego backfield. Including last season, burly Mike Tolbert was more effective, but Mathews is more talented and the edge in touches should be his more often than not. The weekly breakdown could mirror the Giants' situation with Mathews in the Ahmad Bradshaw role. Loved Mathews to start the season and if anything my crush has grown stronger. Tolbert remains in play and will surely be a touchdown stealing thorn for Mathews owners, but he's not the San Diego runner I want. Never was...

Last season LaDainian Tomlinson was the Jets back to own, but he faded down the stretch. No reason to think that doesn't happen again. The question is will Greene be able to take advantage or will the Jets turn to backups --Joe McKnight-- who might be a change-of-pace option or the inexperienced Bilal Powell? Considering the Jets will be in the playoff hunt and Greene has stepped up previously, he remains the best bet to lead what remains a run-oriented attack. Of course, none of that means he'll actually be of help to fantasy owners and for now (especially this week against the Ravens) it's advisable to sit Greene if other options exist. The thing is, your fellow owner that has Greene is probably thinking the same and a buy-low opportunity exists for a guy who will be on a team running the ball late in games more often than not...

Let's make this last one simple: In the Packers backfield, Starks has the younger legs and Ryan Grant is already dinged up after one week of heavy use.. For now, that's enough to remain in the Starks camp. Upside rules.

Mr Hydes - Up and down players we don't need to ride...Beanie Wells, Ryan Grant, BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Cadillac Williams

In real life I'm not the biggest fan of roller coasters, which is perhaps why I have a constant aversion to Beanie and his in-and-out of the line-up ways. When he's played, he's been productive and yes, the NFC West makes for nice regular match-ups, but I'd rather someone else deal with what figures to be a weekly headache. The good news is this is his gig, nobody will steal his snaps. Of course, if the Cardinals had a handcuff option like Michael Bush or Montario Hardesty I could plug-and-play with as needed, I might feel differently about counting on Wells. Alas, they don't, so I don't...

Such a bummer that Grant suffered a bruised kidney after rushing for 92 yards against the Bears (and looking good doing it). Not because he might sit out week 4, but because savvy owners can't max out his value in a trade, knowing that the younger James Starks remains the best fantasy bet and Grant's body isn't likely to hold up, obviously. Hard to trade a player who might not play that week, but I'd rather move him than think there are definitely better days ahead...

I blame myself. I've stated for weeks and weeks that the Law Firm was not a worthy investment due to his lack of top shelf talent and the confusing way the Patriots dole out their touches week to week. So what do I do after BJGE has a productive week 2? I call him my fantasy sleeper of the week, thinking the Pats would feed him late as they rolled the Bills. Oops on all fronts. His name value is such that you can get value for him. If an owner is freaking about Starks' lack of touches in week 3 (or is frustrated with DeAngelo Williams), pull the trigger. Heck, I might even move him for a lottery ticket like Roy Helu or Kendall Hunter if I don't need either right now and can get something out of the deal...

Everyone hopped aboard the Cadillac bandwagon after he produced in the opener and to his credit he churned out 75 yards on 18 carries last week against the Ravens. Still,this is Steven Jackson's gig and even if S-Jax were lost for the season, I'd be concerned Williams wouldn't need to get pulled into the garage for a tuneup. Other than Jackson owners holding onto a handcuff, look to deal Williams before -- one way or another -- his value odometer turns over...