by Ray Kuhn
Depending on how you spent your early round draft choices, this has been a very stressful beginning of the season. Injuries and poor performances have become common occurrences, but there is still a lot of season left.
Let’s take a look at how the running backs stack up for this week.
|1. Adrian Peterson – Minnesota Vikings – vs. Pittsburgh|
|2. Jamaal Charles – Kansas City Chiefs – vs. New York Giants|
|3. Matt Forte – Chicago Bears – at Detroit|
|4. Trent Richardson – Indianapolis Colts – at Jacksonville|
|5. LeSean McCoy – Philadelphia Eagles – at Denver|
|6. Alfred Morris – Washington Redskins – at Oakland|
|7. DeMarco Murray – Dallas Cowboys – at San Diego|
|8. Doug Martin – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – vs. Arizona|
|9. Marshawn Lynch -Seattle Seahawks – at Houston|
|10. CJ Spiller – Buffalo Bills – at Baltimore|
|11. Chris Johnson – Tennessee Titans – vs. New York Jets|
|12. Reggie Bush – Detroit Lions – vs. Chicago|
|13. Arian Foster – Houston Texans – vs. Seattle|
|14. Darren Sproles – New Orleans Saints – vs. Miami|
|15. Lamar Miller – Miami Dolphins – at New Orleans|
|16. Bernard Pierce – Baltimore Ravens – at Buffalo|
|17. Darren McFadden – Oakland Raiders – vs. Washington|
|18. Maurice Jones-Drew – Jacksonville Jaguars – vs. Indianapolis|
|19. Bilal Powell – New York Jets – at Tennessee|
|20. Frank Gore – San Francisco 49ers – at St. Louis|
|21. Stevan Ridley – New England Patriots – at Atlanta|
|22. Knowshon Moreno – Denver Broncos – vs. Philadelphia|
|23. Giovani Bernard – Cincinnati Bengals – at Cleveland|
|24. Jacquizz Rodgers – Atlanta Falcons – vs. New England|
|25. Ryan Matthews – San Diego Chargers – vs. Dallas|
|26. David Wilson – New York Giants – at Kansas City|
|27. Joique Bell – Detroit Lions – vs. Chicago|
|28. Willis McGahee – Cleveland Browns – vs. Cincinnati|
|29. Daryl Richardson – St. Louis Rams – vs. San Francisco|
|30. Rashard Mendenhall – Arizona Cardinals – at Tampa Bay|
|31. Fred Jackson – Buffalo Bills – vs. Baltimore|
|32. Ahmad Bradshaw – Indianapolis Colts – at Jacksonville|
|33. Montee Ball – Denver Broncos – vs. Philadelphia|
|34. Jonathan Dwyer – Pittsburgh Steelers – at Minnesota|
|35. Pierre Thomas – New Orleans Saints – vs. Miami|
|36. Daniel Thomas – Miami Dolphins – at New Orleans|
|37. Branden Bolden – New England Patriots – at Atlanta|
|38. Ben Tate – Houston Texans – vs. Seattle|
|39. Danny Woodhead – San Diego Chargers – vs. Dallas|
|40. BenJarvus Green-Ellis – Cincinnati Bengals – at Cleveland|
- In his debut with the Colts, Trent Richardson wasted no time getting involved in their offense. He played on 28 snaps, only two less than his backfield mate Ahmad Bradshaw, but I would expect to see that number increase. The Colts are facing Jacksonville, so the matchup is also more favorable. He has another week to learn the playbook, which has its similarities to the one he was familiar with from Cleveland, and also become more comfortable with the team in general. Richardson only gained 35 yards rushing on 13 carries, but he did find the end zone which gave him some value. This is the ideal situation for Richardson.
- I understand Houston wanting to keep Arian Foster healthy, but enough is enough. The Texans have a stud running back and need to use him as such. Foster only got 12 carries this week, and gained 54 yards while looking good doing it. Part of the problem was that Houston fell behind early so they were forced to abandon the run. That said Ben Tate also had 12 touches, proving that this is more of a time share than it should be. At least Foster has looked healthy and explosive. The problem is that this week Houston takes on Seattle and their defense, so it is not the easiest matchup for Foster.
- Chris Ivory’s loss is Bilal Powell’s gain. And Powell certainly ran with it this week. He gained 149 yards on 27 carries against Buffalo, cementing his role as starting running back for at least one more week. The Jets’ offensive line did a very good job of opening holes for Powell, who was able to explode through them. He can help ease the pain of injury or poor performance to one of your starters.
- I really thought Marshawn Lynch would have done better this week against the Jaguars than he did. Lynch gained 69 yards on 17 carries, but was not able to find the end zone. However, he did come close to two touchdowns which would have made his day look a whole lot better. Plus, the fact that he was pulled in the third quarter due to Seattle’s lead didn’t help. Don’t let this downgrade Lynch for you as he is still an RB1.
- Darryl Richardson appeared to be healthy, but that only lasted for two plays before he injured himself against the Cowboys. He said his foot will be fine for Thursday’s game against the 49ers, but I’m not sure that is an attractive matchup for the running back. I think there will also be some type of timeshare between Richardson and Isaiah Pead that could very well decrease both of their values. Try to stay away from this situation, if possible, as neither is much of a rushing threat.
- Even though he only signed with the Browns a few days earlier, Willis McGahee lead the team in carries. However, even though Cleveland won, he only carried the ball eight times gaining nine yards. I don’t think that changes anything as McGahee will still be the Browns number one running back, and he should improve as he finds his legs and gets more comfortable with the offense. Until he proves himself, McGahee should only be started as a last result.
- Another running back who is only worth a desperation start is Jonathan Dwyer. He gained 39 yards on 12 carries, but 25 of those yards came on one carry. Felix Jones is also in the picture, and neither appears to have much value. Le’Veon Bell will back soon, and until then the Steelers will try to win with Ben Roethlisberger’s arm.
Make sure to check out all of our Week 4 Rankings:
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