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Joseph Hutchins | Archive | Email
Staff Writer

The Shot Caller's Report - Running Backs
Your Weekly Guide To Fantasy Lineups: Week 13
Positions: QBs | RBs | WRs

Bye Weeks:

Grab a Helmet

Bryce Brown @ DAL: Two weeks ago, the leading point-getter at the running back position was a guy, Marcel Reece, who didn’t even play the position in college (he was a receiver) and isn’t even officially listed as a tailback in the pros (he’s a fullback). Last week, the leading point-getter was Mr. Brown, a guy who hadn’t started at the position since high school and who scored a whopping three touchdowns at the collegiate level. Am I wrong to wonder what actually qualifies a player to carry the football regularly in the NFL anymore? A 200-pound-ish frame, decent wheels, and a pulse? Brown ran all over the Panthers Monday night (178 yards and two scores) and looks to keep things going against a Dallas defense that’s been reeling of late. Provided he doesn’t cough up a couple more fumbles and end up standing next to Andy Reid most of the day, he may do exactly that in Week 13.

Rashad Jennings

Good news for Jennings: The Bills allow 150 rushing yds per game.

Rashad Jennings @ BUF: The Jalen Parmele experiment was exceedingly short-lived in Jacksonville (balky groin), so Jennings gets yet another opportunity to carry the load in MJD’s absence. He wasn’t very impressive in that role the first time around (hence, Parmele) and, thus, it’s pretty tempting to just recommend a blanket sit of Jags backs until the main man returns to the lineup. Here’s what holds me back, however: Buffalo’s atrocious run defense. The Bills are yielding five yards a carry and almost 150 per game. Plus, prior to this season, Jennings was a fairly efficient back, averaging over five yards a pop in his brief career. Now that Jacksonville has a somewhat functional QB under center, I’m interested to see what the former Liberty star can do. Keep him in mind if you’re short on meal tickets this weekend and don’t forget – especially if you’re in a PPR league – that he’s an above-average receiving option out of the backfield.

C.J. Spiller v. JAX: Speaking of Buffalo and above-average receiving options out of the backfield, Spiller has excelled in that hybrid role (part running back, part slot receiver) since entering the league back in 2010. Luckily for his owners, Chan Gailey seems to trust him more and more as just a running back carrying the rock this season, rewarding Spiller with a career high in carries…and counting. All Spiller’s done to reward Gailey, in turn, is average an absurd 6.7 yards per tote, the best per-carry mark in the league this season for all players (not just running backs). Indeed, if he keeps up that torrid pace, Spiller could conceivably eclipse the all-time mark for yards-per-carry in a single season by a running back (6.402), most recently challenged by Jamaal Charles in 2010 and owned by none other than the greatest running back who ever set cleats on a football field, Jim Brown (back in 1963). If you didn’t know he’s been extra special this year, consider yourself duly notified.

Grab a Gatorade

Michael Turner v. NO: Spiller’s teammates may be really bad at slowing down opposing ball carriers, but they aren’t technically the worst such unit in the league. That distinction still falls to New Orleans’s Saints, Turner’s opponent this weekend, a group that’s yielded 156.5 rushing yards per game to this point. That figure is actually down from the stratosphere thanks to a three-game patch of significantly stiffer defense that began in Week 10 guessed it: Turner and his Falcons. Atlanta’s main man (for now) managed a mere 15 yards on 13 carries in that one, the third time in his last four meetings with the Saints he’s failed to top even 50 yards. Add to that the fact he’s now clearly (and finally) sharing the workload more evenly with sidekick Jacquizz Rodgers and you can see why I’m not terribly high on Turner this weekend, despite the seemingly juicy matchup. There’s always the chance he’ll score (he has six TDs on the year) but if you’re looking for big yardage on top of that, look elsewhere.

Knowshon Moreno v. TB: What. The. Heck? John Fox channeled his inner Shanahan last weekend, making an eleventh hour decision on Sunday morning to start Moreno instead of rookie Ronnie Hillman against the Chiefs, ostensibly because he trusted him more as a pass blocker. This would be the same Knowshon Moreno not even deemed worthy of A UNIFORM the preceding eight games (he’d been inactive since Week 3). Sigh. This prognostication business is difficult enough, I tell you, without having to account for the seeming whims and last-minute hunches of the league’s various shot callers. Fortunately, Coach Fox has committed to Moreno a bit earlier this week. Unfortunately (for him and Moreno), the Broncos square off against Tampa’s stellar stop unit, a miserly crew surrendering only 3.4 yards per carry and 81.5 per game, best of show in both categories. Don’t get overly excited about last week’s surprise star. He could be back in street clothes before you know it.

DeAngelo Williams @ KC: There’s a fair amount of buzz building around Williams this week, one-third of Carolina’s three-headed rushing attack. Jonathan Stewart is looking pretty iffy with a bum ankle (what’s new?), so Williams, the thinking goes, stands to gain more looks. There are three things wrong with this line of thinking. First, even when he was unquestionably first in line in Carolina, Williams rarely touched the ball more than 15 times a game. Here’s what he did with the 11 carries he received this past Monday night: 21 yards. Second, the Panthers still have Mike Tolbert in the mix. Though he hasn’t done much of anything this year, wouldn’t he see an increase in looks, as well? Finally…why are we even talking about this? We all know who the Panthers’ best running back is. He wears #1, can be seen routinely leaping into the end zone on goal-line plays, and doesn’t even qualify at the position. Don’t buy the DeAngelo Williams hype this week.

Wide Receivers