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Joseph Hutchins | Archive | Email |
Staff Writer

The Shot Caller's Report - Running Backs
Your Weekly Guide To Fantasy Lineups: Week 12
Positions: QBs | RBs | WRs

Bye Weeks:
Buffalo, Cincinnati, Philadelphia, Seattle

Grab a Helmet

Zac Stacy v. CHI: If you had told me in early September that Stacy would be a major player come fantasy playoff time, I’d have directed you to the nearest psychiatrist. If you’d have further informed me he’d be performing so well with Kellen Clemens and not Sam Bradford under center, I’d have urged you to skip the psychiatrist and head straight for the loony bin. There’s no logical explanation for Stacy’s success, but there’s no logical explanation for lots of things that happen in this crazy league. The bottom line is that he’s produced solid (and occasionally spectacular) numbers against some very good teams for a month solid now and just got two weeks off to recuperate and prepare for a very questionable Bears defense. I think Stacy might be the best RB option in a week missing the top two fantasy performers at the position (Marshawn Lynch and LeSean McCoy).

Ben Tate

Last week against the Raiders was just a warm up for Ben Tate.

Ben Tate v. JAX: I gave Tate an enthusiastic endorsement last week and he didn’t completely disappoint (19 carries for 88 yards and four catches for another 29). That’s another way of saying he didn’t completely amaze, either, but there were certainly some extenuating circumstances. For starters, Houston trailed almost immediately thanks to some early turnovers and had to play catch-up all game long. Then, for some absurd reason, Coach Kubiak replaced Case Keenum with Matt Schaub in the third quarter, hoping to spark a stagnating offense. Unsurprisingly, it didn’t. Keenum’s back under center in Week 12 and that, coupled with a juicy matchup (Jacksonville’s league-worst rush defense), should provide stability and opportunities galore for the stud-to-be. Last week was just an appetizer, methinks, and Tate should score at least once (and maybe twice) this Sunday. Keep him in your lineup as we head into the fantasy postseason.

Shane Vereen v. DEN: The Pats indicated they were going to ease Vereen back into the rotation last Monday night. Maybe they just meant they weren’t going to HAND him the football much? The Woodhead-esque hybrid back commanded only one official carry on the evening, but he was targeted a whopping 11 times in the passing game and turned 8 of those targets into receptions (for 65 yards). In other words, there wasn’t a lot of easing going on and you should never ever trust Bill Belichick et al. The Pats ultimately lost the battle in Charlotte and now welcome the NFL’s most explosive squad to Foxboro, Denver’s Broncos. If New England intends to match scores with Peyton Manning and Co., Vereen’s going to have to be an even bigger part of the game plan. Expect more rushing attempts, more targets, and more production all the way around in his second game back from injury.

Grab a Gatorade

Bobby Rainey @ DET: You already know this, but I watch a lot of football. I mean a LOT of football. Saturday and Sunday sunup-to-sundown marathons used to be SOP when I was younger and less responsible, but they’re still not completely a thing of the past. Imagine how surprised I was, then, to discover just yesterday that Bobby Rainey and Chris Rainey are actually two different people. Ha! What gave it away, Shot Caller, the fact they don’t play for the same team or the fact they don’t have the SAME FIRST NAME? It’s difficult to sit down a guy who just notched 163 yards on 30 carries, but if I’d been astute enough to grab him and start him last week (I’m not), that’s exactly what I’d do in Week 12. He’s facing a tough Lions’ front that’s allowed the fifth fewest rushing yards this season and Rainey won’t be sneaking up on anybody this time around. Resist the urge, folks.

Lamar Miller v. CAR: Miller hasn’t been the breakout candidate most expected him to be this season, but through nine weeks, he wasn’t a terrible option at the position. Save for an inauspicious debut against the Browns (1 point) and a Week 5 dud against Baltimore (1.5), the former Hurricane actually hit double digits four times through his first nine games despite never tallying more than 18 carries. That all changed in Weeks 10 and 11 when Miller recorded a total of 19 yards on 11 carries. Man, you’d think the Dolphins lost half their offensive line or something. One of them is a creep and the other an enigmatic “weirdo,” but both Richie Incognito and Jonathan Martin are better linemen than the guys who replaced them. The damage in South Florida, to put it another way, is more than just collateral. The product on the field is suffering too.

Trent Richardson @ ARZ: We’re almost done talking running backs and that can only mean one thing: It’s time for my weekly thrashing of the phenomenally disappointing Richardson. Nothing much changed in the Week 10 win over Tennessee as he rushed for just 22 yards on eight carries, almost right on his YPC average since joining the Colts. Though he added five receptions and 31 more receiving yards, Richardson failed to score for the sixth consecutive game, a failure made all the more glaring when his unsung backfield mate, Donald Brown, scored TWICE in the contest, including the game-clincher with three minutes left. Brown averages almost twice as many yards per tote than Indy’s “prized” acquisition and that’s ultimately going to be what condemns him to part-time (or less) duty. You can’t have made it this far starting Richardson and if you did, you’re probably so loaded elsewhere it doesn’t matter whether he plays or not.

Wide Receivers