by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
Who broke out? Who got hurt? Who appears to be buried on the depth chart? Let’s breakdown the AFC backfields from yesterday’s action to try and determine who we should target and who we should ignore:
- Ray Rice – 13 carries for 36 yards
- Bernard Pierce – 19 carries for 57 yards and 1 TD
According to Jeff Zrebiec (via Twitter), “Ray Rice has hip flexor strain. Not scheduled for MRI at this point.” At this point he’s no lock to play in Week 3, though we’ll have to see how things progress in the coming days. If you are a Rice owner, or are in need of a back, Pierce is well worth owning as the Ravens are set to take on a Texans team that allowed 119 yards on the ground in Week 2.
- C.J. Spiller – 16 carries for 103 yards
- Fred Jackson – 12 carries for 30 yards and 1 TD
Both backs caught 4 passes with Spiller getting 26 yards and Jackson 23 yards. Wasn’t this supposed to be the season that Spiller was “the man” in Buffalo’s backfield? If the results this week were any indication, Jackson’s carries should start to decline in the coming weeks. While it’s frustrating for Spiller owners, don’t do anything dramatic. His time is coming and he should prove that the first round pick you spent on him was well worth it.
- Trent Richardson – 18 carries for 58 yards
Richardson added 5 catches for 21 yards, but it’s hardly the type of numbers owners have hoped for. After posting 13 carries for 47 yards in Week 1, he’s still failed to break a run for more than 10 yards. He’s going to continue to be among the focuses of the Browns’ offense, so we have to think that there will be better days ahead.
- Knowshon Moreno – 13 carries for 93 yards and 2 TD
- Montee Ball – 12 carries for 16 yards
- Ronnie Hillman – 1 carry for 3 yards
Ball lost a fumble early and, while he split carries with Moreno, watched Moreno rack up the yardage while Ball could barely get going. Ball may have the higher upside, but it is looking like Moreno is going to be the better option for at least a little while. Just keep Ball stashed and hope he can find his value before long.
- Arian Foster – 19 carries for 79 yards and 1 TD
- Ben Tate – 9 carries for 93 yards
So much for the split of carries being closer, huh? Despite Tate continuing to be electric when he gets the ball in his hands, he just isn’t getting the ball enough. Over two weeks he’s been given 18 carries, amassing 148 yards. In Week 1 he averaged 6.1 yards/carry, which he followed up with a 10.3 mark yesterday. While Foster is one of the elite running backs in the game, you have to think Tate is going to see his role expand before long, don’t you? With the way he’s running he has the potential to be a FLEX option, especially if he starts seeing around 12-14 carries per week.
- Ahmad Bradshaw – 15 carries for 65 yards and 1 TD
- Donald Brown – 7 carries for 30 yards
Bradshaw added three catches for 19 yards as well. With Vick Ballard lost for the season there’s little doubt who the go to running back is going to be in Indianapolis at this point (assuming Bradshaw can stay healthy), it may just take a week or two to get there. Brown has long been a bust and isn’t worth owning.
- Maurice Jones-Drew – 10 carries for 27 yards
- Denard Robinson – 1 carry for 0 yards
Jones-Drew did get one target, which he caught for one yard. Over his first two weeks Jones-Drew has gotten 25 carries for 72 yards. According to Ryan O’Hallaran (via Twitter), “Gus on MJD’s ankle: “It’s a little loose in there from the sprain. They’ll re-evaluate him tonight and tomorrow.” We should also throw in the concern that maybe he’s not fully healthy from the Lisfranc injury that ended his 2012 campaign, though there has been no talk of that. Keep your fingers crossed that he’s healthy and can rediscover his form, but owners need to start planning in case things don’t get better.
Kansas City Chiefs
- Jamaal Charles – 16 carries for 55 yards
Charles added 8 receptions for 48 yards and a touchdown. While he hasn’t reached 100 yards on the ground, yet, he remains one of the elite running backs in the league.
- Lamar Miller – 14 carries for 69 yards and 1 TD
- Daniel Thomas – 8 carries for 30 yards
Neither running back played a major role in the passing game. While this was still a bit of a timeshare, Miller obviously was the more productive back and could be quickly emerging. We all know that’s ultimately going to be what happen, so hopefully you didn’t do anything dramatic after his Week 1 debacle.
- Darren McFadden – 19 carries for 129 yards
- Rashad Jennings – 4 carries for 32 yards
- Marcel Reece – 2 carries for 15 yards and 1 TD
McFadden added four receptions for 28 yards. Obviously it was a huge rebound from last week’s struggles and has to give fantasy owners hope moving forward. Of course, there’s always the risk of injury but we can’t worry about that.
San Diego Chargers
- Ryan Mathews – 16 carries for 73 yards
- Danny Woodhead – 9 carries for 27 yards
- Ronnie Brown – 3 carries for 15 yards
Woodhead had a heavy role in the passing game, with 8 receptions for 37 yards, so don’t just look at the carries and assume Mathews has regained the bulk of the playing time. While he should be the most productive back, this remains a bit of a sticky situation because of the rotation. Consider Mathews more of a FLEX option moving forward, with Woodhead being too inconsistent to trust.
- Chris Johnson – 25 carries for 96 yards
- Jackie Battle – 6 carries for 13 yards
There’s no questioning who the go to back is in Tennessee, as Johnson has already amassed 50 carries over the first two weeks. While he hasn’t posted big numbers, yet, he’s going to continue to get opportunities and that’s half the battle. Continue to view him as a low-end RB1/high-end RB2 in all formats.
What are your thoughts of the running back situations around the league?