Week 2 Fantasy Football Running Back Report
Week 2 in the National Football League has some interesting matchups and a few of them are ripe for some good old fashion butt kicking. And the best kind of butt kicking in the NFL is when you line your team up against that other team and run it into their teeth until they are gumming their Gatorade straw. So let’s see what matchup plays are going to get you to fake football greatness shall we? We shall.
Cedric Benson: The Broncos run defense continues to be on the down side of not so good. They were beat fairly easily by Darren McFadden and gave up 191 yards rushing at a 6 yard per carry clip. Cedric Benson isn’t going to make too many people miss and his yards per carry is going to be south of 3.5 for the most part, but you have to love his matchup this week.
Jahvid Best: Jahvid Best didn’t put up huge numbers against Tampa Bay, but looked healthy and was running strong without much dancing around. That should serve him well against a Chiefs defense that gave up 180 yards to Fred Jackson and company at 4.4 yards a carry. With Stafford most likely scorching the Chiefs de-Berryed secondary Best should have plenty of room to roam and may end up getting a goodly amount of work with a lead.
Peyton Hillis: The uninjured Peyton didn’t put up huge numbers against the other Ohio team last week, but he was the no doubt workhorse in the game and got his usual pass targets and carries. This week he faces an Indianapolis defense built for maintaining leads, not stopping the run. After getting down big to the Texans they had no way to stop Ben Tate even though they knew the run was coming. They gave up 37 attempts for 167 yards and the Browns should take note and run it down their gullets.
James Starks: Against the Saints Jim Starks was on the field for 47 plays while Ryan Grant was only there for 17 and after the game Coach McCarthy said they needed to get Starks the ball more. So Starks will get his opportunities and thankfully he shouldn’t have much resistance from the Panthers who just lost Jon Beason for the season, which is a good reason to like Starks. Plus they gave up 4.8 yards a carry to Beanie and friends and are just not that good.
Tim Hightower: The Cardinals shipped Hightower off to the Washington Redskin wasteland. Usually it’s so barren that nothing grows. Some seeds are scattered and many large, healthy plants are bought and planted, and still there is only yellowed leaves and cracked, dried earth, but somehow Mr. Hightower was given a little Miracle Grow and a good offensive line and is flourishing. The chances are he will be cut down by some shannanigans, but for now he faces his old team and will want to exact some revenge (insert attacking vegetative monster metaphor). Oh, and the Cardinals rush defense is not as good as their numbers against Carolina. They didn’t need to do much on the ground while Cam Newton went all rookie of the year on them.
Ahmad Bradshaw/Brandon Jacobs: St. Louis comes to town after being put in the infirmary by the Eagles and the Giants are going to be trying desperately to not go 0-2 on Monday Night Football. And that shouldn’t be too hard if they effectively use their 1-2 punch of Bradshaw and Jacobs against a rush defense that gave up 149 yards rushing on only 23 carries. Let me do that math in my head really quick, yep, as I suspected that’s 6.5 yards per carry. With no Steven Jackson, Sam Bradford with a bum finger, no Scrappy Amendola, and what seems to be a team not quite able to execute Josh McDaniels’ playbook quite yet (it helps when you catch the ball), I see the Giants having a lead in this one which is always good for rushing.
Darren McFadden: Yeah, this guy is elite. There is no doubting how fast and powerful he is. He does not shake and samba around, he just goes, but then makes cuts at full speed! He’s really fun to watch. Now only if you didn’t have to watch the Raiders to watch him! He destroyed the Broncos poor run defense last week and this week he gets the Bills poor run defense. That’s nice for his stat collection. The Bills whooped up on the Chiefs and they still ran for 108 yards on only 18 carries against them. The Bills were near the bottom in every rush defense category there was last year and I think they invented a couple more to keep up with their horribleness.
Mike Tolbert: I like Ryan Mathews better than Mike Tolbert. He has better vision, better speed, better balance, better cutting ability, and still Tolbert just out plays him on the field. That may change at some point, but probably not right after a 3 touchdown performance. Tolbert isn’t going to average 5 yards a carry and out run people, but he did see the ball a crazy 11 times in the red zone last week and is the passing down back for the most part. They face the Patriots in Foxboro and most likely will be behind and Tolbert will be in there and will see the ball a lot.
Willis McGahee: McGahee is just not that good anymore. So why is he on your list here? Well, if you’d give me a half a second I would tell you. Knowshon Moreno hasn’t practiced and McGahee should get the majority of the non Lance Ball TD carries/receptions. They seem to trust him in blitz pickup and he should be in for most of the plays. Cincinnati is a middle of the road rush defense and they’ll be at Mile High. He should be an ok flex play.
Cadillac Williams: Like I said earlier I think the Rams will get down in this one and will be playing catch up. That fits right into the receiving hands of Caddy Williams. He had 9 passing targets last week and should see similar numbers this week with Jackson and Amendola out. He will be very good in PPR leagues.
Besides Fanduel.com, Chet has written for the N.Y. Times: Fifth Down Blog, Rotoworld and his own site Razzball. He is extremely/obsessively active on Twitter and will answer your questions as best he can if you throw them @ChetRazzball.
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