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Joseph Hutchins | Archive | Email
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The Shot Caller's Report - Running Backs
Your Weekly Guide To Fantasy Lineups: Week 15
Positions: QBs | RBs | WRs

Bye Weeks:

Grab a Helmet

Jamaal Charles

The only fantasy option in KC.

Jamaal Charles @ OAK: Many expected the former Longhorn to resume his role as dangerous everyman for the Chiefs in 2012 after missing out on most of the 2011 campaign. And, for much of the season, heís done exactly that, registering triple digits in total yards eight times despite Kansas Cityís overall struggles. When heís failed to reach that mark, however, heís failed in catastrophic fashion. Here are his point totals for the five weeks in which heís failed to exceed 100 yards rushing/receiving: 8.7, 6.6, 4.7, 2.2, and 1.0. Yeesh. That one-point outing occurred in Week 8 against Oakland, by the way, Charlesí opponent in Week 15. How much you wanna bet he tallies significantly more than that this coming Sunday? He might actually be good for TWENTY times that amount if the Raidersí front continues with its recent disappearing act. Theyíve given up nearly 150 yards per contest in the last six, so unless something changes fast, Charles is one of your best bets in Week 15.

Mikel Leshoure or Joique Bell @ ARZ: Speaking of giving up, Larry Fitzgerald Sr. took to the Twitterverse last Sunday after Arizonaís 58-0 shellacking at the hands of Seattle, alleging his sonís squad has quit this season. It wasnít terribly diplomatic, granted, but the numbers back him up. After allowing just a single 100-yard rusher through the first 11 weeks of the season, the Cards have now allowed five of them just three weeks later. Do the math on that and then consider that two of those century club members are named Shonn Greene and Robert Turbin. Nope, not exactly a whoís who of stud rock-toters. Papa Fitz might be cranky but heís got a point. Hereís mine: Either LeShoure or Bell (or both) is going to go off this weekend. Merry Christmas just a tad early if you own one of them.

David Wilson @ ATL: Apparently, it takes a l-o-n-g time to get out of Commandant Coughlinís doghouse. Wilson, the freakishly talented rookie from Virginia Tech who excited Giants fans in the preseason, fumbled his second professional carry way back in Week 1 and rarely saw the field after that, let alone the football. In fact, he never tallied more than 10 touches from scrimmage in a game until last week. Last week was Week 14, by the way. What Wilson did with those double-digit touches (100 rushing yards and two scores) has everyone buzzing again and now, at long last, heís in position to earn his redemption. Ahmad Bradshaw is highly questionable for the Week 15 showdown with the Falcons and Wilson stands to inherit most of his work should the Giantsí main man sit this one out. That could be special for Wilsonís owners because Atlanta is good at lots of thingsÖbut slowing down opposing ball carriers isnít one of them (4.9 yards/carry yielded, 31st in the league).

Grab a Gatorade

Chris Johnson v. NYJ: Heís become the prototypical love/hate running back at this point, a guy who can net you 20 fantasy points one week and then 5 (or worse) the next. Accordingly, Iíve been all over the map with him this year, running the gamut from strong start recommendation to equally strong sit recommendation. Though Iíve mostly been spot-on to date (toot, toot!), I always feel uneasy about calling the shot on C2K. Hereís why Iím willing to do so next Monday night: Itís obvious heís less valuable with Jake Locker under center. Need evidence? In the eight games heís played with Locker running the show, Johnson has averaged a modest 8.7 fantasy points per game. In the five tilts heís played with Hasselbeck at the helm, heís averaged almost double that (15.7). Hmmm. I didnít even include Week 4, incidentally, when Johnson racked up most of his points after Locker departed. Iíll leave the whys to people smarter than me, but itís plain the young triggerman has been bad for Chris Johnsonís bottom line. Thatís bad for yours if youíre still alive and own him.

Vick Ballard @ HOU: Ballard has been quite a bit less mercurial than Johnson since stepping into the Coltsí lineup but thatís not necessarily a good thing. Because heís young, rarely merits 20 carries, and plays in a pass-happy offense, his ceiling is much lower to begin with. Accordingly, even on his best days, heís not likely to get you more than 10-12 points. Thatís nice if youíre grinding out a midseason W against one of your leagueís bottom feeders but not so much when you start facing the cream come playoff time. And just as youíre taking a step up in class, so is Mr. Ballard. The Colts havenít faced the Texans yet this year but draw them twice in the final three weeks. This would be the same Texans team which has allowed the fewest fantasy points to running backs this year (161.1). Donít count on the up and coming rook this Sunday against a team that can be more easily dissected by air.

Any New Orleans RB not named Darren Sproles v. TB: I didn’t have the gumption to recommend a sit-down of Bryce Brown last week but I sure tossed the idea around quite a bit. Easy for me to say in hindsight, right? Understood. Regardless, I’d like you to know why I was even considering it: Almost nobody runs the ball well against the Bucs. That includes white hot rookies coming off consecutive 30-point outings. Indeed, only Alfred Morris and Adrian Peterson have notched more than 75 yards on the ground against Tampa this year and most backs end up in the 30-50 yard range...or worse (Brown managed 6). Expect prolific numbers from the New Orleans passing attack this Sunday (of which Sproles is an essential contributor) but not much from the muddled committee of Mark Ingram, Pierre Thomas, and Chris Ivory.

Wide Receivers