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The Shot Caller's Report - RBs
Your Weekly Guide To Fantasy Lineups: Week 5
Positions: QBs | RBs | WRs

Running Backs

Bye Weeks: Miami, New England, Pittsburgh, and Seattle; so that means Ronnie Brown, Ricky Williams, BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Fred Taylor, Rashard Mendenhall, and Justin Forsett are all benched.

Always start your studs: Adrian Peterson, Chris Johnson, Maurice Jones-Drew, Steven Jackson, Frank Gore, and Ray Rice.

Start 'Em:
Running Backs Who Will Outperform Relative To Their Draft Position And Recent Hype

Mike Tolbert @ OAK
One of the biggest surprise RBs this year gets to face a Raiders run defense that is simply atrocious. Oakland ranks 31st in the league, giving up 162 yards per game. They’ve allowed 5 TDs, the highest yards per carry average at 5.3, the most big plays, and the fifth-most points per game at just under 27. So it stands to reason that Tolbert, who is averaging 5.5 yards per carry, will run up and down the field padding his 281 yards (13th in the league), score at least once to add to his 3 TDs, and basically get you a lot of points this week.

Beanie Wells vs. NO
Wells still has to share carries with Tim Hightower, but Hightower’s production has dwindled the last couple of weeks, so this seems like a good time for Wells to re-establish himself as the Cardinals’ featured back. New Orleans is 26th in the league in run defense, giving up 138 yards and 1 TD per game. Now this play could go either way: it could be successful due to the poor Arizona passing game and revolving quarterback situation, or it could go bad for exactly the same reason. If the Saints stack the line, then we’re in trouble. But I think it’s more likely that Arizona will throw well enough to keep the Saints run defense honest.

Cedric Benson vs. TB
Tampa Bay’s 28th-ranked run defense has been giving up 4.8 yards per carry (the fourth-highest average in the league) and 141 yards per game—one of just five teams to allow an average of over 140 yards on the ground. Benson is averaging only 3.3 yards per carry and just 66 yards per game, but I look for the Bengals to try to even out their offense more after last week’s loss to lowly Cleveland, despite having a huge passing day (finally) for Carson Palmer and an equally huge receiving day for Terrell Owens.

Jamaal Charles @ IND
The last undefeated team in the league—the Kansas City Chiefs—take on the angry Colts, who lost last week on a last-second 59-yard field goal. Charles is currently tenth in the league in rushing, while his teammate Thomas Jones is right behind him at 11th. This type of committee approach drives fantasy owners crazy trying to figure out if it’s safe to start their player each week. Against the Colts and their 29th-ranked run defense, it really shouldn’t matter—both running backs should do well. But I’m going with Charles to tear up the Colts defense with his league-high 7.0 yards per carry

Bench 'Em:
Running Backs Who Will Under Perform Relative To Their Draft Position And Recent Hype

DeAngelo Williams vs. CHI
The New York Giants’ Ahmad Bradshaw may have exposed the Bears run defense last week, but I’m thinking that sort of manhandling doesn’t happen to Chicago two weeks in a row. Plus, with Jimmy Clausen leading the team and Steve Smith hurting, the Bears can focus and tee off on the running game. Even after last week’s torching (Chicago gave up 191 yards and 2 TDs on the ground), the Bears still have the sixth-best run defense, giving up just 77 yards per game. Add into the mix that Williams is averaging only 66 yards per game this year, with just 1 TD, and it looks like a good matchup for the Bears and a good time to put DeAngelo on your bench.

Joseph Addai vs. KC
Addai faces a Chiefs defense coming off a bye and sporting the fifth-best run defense in the league. Giving up just 75 yards per game and allowing just 1 TD all year to go with their low 3.2 yards per carry allowed, I look for Kansas City to stifle Addai this week, especially assuming an annoyed Peyton Manning will come out throwing and throw all day. Addai is averaging less than 4 yards per carry and only 57 yards a game. He does have 2 rushing TDs, but they both came last week.

Shonn Greene vs. MIN
There was a Shonn Greene sighting last week against the Bills. Greene finally did something worthy of his draft position, rushing 22 times for 117 yards after totaling just 88 yards the previous two weeks. Still, he was outperformed by LT, which if nothing else reminds us that there is a committee approach being used. This week Greene (and LT) face a much harder test in the Vikings and their ninth-ranked run defense. Minnesota is allowing just 3.6 yards per carry and 87 yards per game and has given up only 1 rushing TD all year. Don’t get too caught up in a Shonn Greene “resurgence” just because of one good week against Buffalo.

Brandon Jackson @ WAS
My most disappointing free-agent pickup so far this year has been Brandon Jackson. All the excitement of snatching him off waivers when Ryan Grant was lost for the year has dissipated. He’s barely outperforming the team’s fullback, John Kuhn, and is averaging 3 yards per rush and only 34 yards per game, with just 1 TD to his credit. This weekend he travels to Washington, where the Redskins are giving up 101 yards per game and a 3.7 yards per rush average and have allowed just 2 TDs on the ground. They might not be the greatest run defense in the league (in fact they’re barely above average), but considering how Jackson has struggled so far, there’s no reason to think he’ll break out of that slump this week in D.C.

Wide Receivers