Besides the elite running backs there aren’t a ton of great starts this week, especially if you are looking for some FanDuel value, but there are a few and you can find some of them down below these words I am typing right this very second.
DeMarco Murray: Murray just continues to play well no matter who he faces. It made plenty of sense that he played well against the poor rush defenses of St. Louis and Philadelphia, but to gash Seattle, one of the better rush defenses in the league, for 139 yards is pretty amazing. So even if he were playing San Francisco I wouldn’t say to sit him, but thankfully he’s at home against the Bills. Buffalo hasn’t been awful against the run, but they also haven’t been good. They are ranked 23rd in rush defense DVOA, 29th in rushing TDs allowed, 22nd in yards per carry and 20th in yards per game. Start Mr. Murray.
Maurice Jones-Drew: The Colts offensive woes should be a huge boon to Jones-Drew this week. Indianapolis leads the league in number of rushing attempts allowed each game with 31.4. They are also giving up the second most yards per game to running backs with 134. There is little chance the Colts will get a large lead on the Jaguars whose defense has played well of late and with Blaine Gabbert averaging less than 100 yards passing the last 3 games the team is going to have to get on MJD’s back. The Colts will know this as well, but with an almost assured 20+ carries I just don’t see him not having a good overall game.
Steven Jackson: He has 289 yards rushing in the last two games and gets a Cleveland run defense that just gave up 100 yards to two separate running backs in the same game. After that game they moved to the back of the class and are last in rushing yards given up per game to running backs (or is it first?) with 135 yards. With the Browns offense being offensively challenged opposing teams are rushing 29 times a game on average since they don’t need to pass and the Browns pass defense is pretty good.
Willis McGahee: The guy just keeps on chugging along. In 6 starts he has four 100+ yard games. That’s not too shabby. The Chiefs haven’t been an overly poor rush defense but they are ranked 27th in fantasy points given up per game to running backs. Tim Tebow may take away some of his goal line looks, but he’s producing when called upon.
Ben Tate: The Texans’ offensive line is playing out of it’s skull right now. If we can guarantee even ten rushing attempts for Tate he would be an automatic flex start. His attempts in the last 4 games have varied from 9, 15, 5 and 12. So he is somewhat risky, but each time he has topped ten attempts in the last 4 games he’s had 100 yards. Tampa Bay has been giving up 132 yards a game and 5.3 yards per carry in the last 5 games. The Texans most likely won’t have Andre Johnson back and will likely go run heavy again. Tate should get his ten carries.
Chris Johnson: Is it possible to be fooled again? Do I dare? Yes I dare. Fool me once, shame on you, fool me 10 times, shame on CJ2K. Well, here we go again. Last week Johnson totaled 110 yards when it looked like he was going to be splitting carries with Javon Ringer. Running backs are averaging 172 total yards a game against Carolina and Johnson has been getting a lot of receiving targets. I don’t expect a huge game from him, but another 100+ total yards is very plausible.
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.