The Shortened 8: Top 10 Drafts for Fantasy Football Running Backs for 2011-12

This has been one of the most inconsistent years for NFL teams last season, but it has also shown that a balanced attack can lead to wins.  One of the portions of that attack is the rush.  Like every year, making one this early and the short life span of most running backs makes this list more of a wish list than an actual guideline to follow.  And with a shortened season, it should benefit most of these running backs although this list is early and should be taken with a grain of salt.  And well, Cleveland Browns running back Peyton Hillis has to contend with the Madden Curse, but more on that later…

Must-Haves

  • Pittsburgh Steelers Rashard Mendenhall.  With Steelers coach Mike Tomlin at the helm, as long as he runs Mendenhall instead of relying on Ben Roethlisberger’s arm generally, Mendenhall should have another great season ahead of him.
  • Minnesota Vikings Adrian Peterson.  He is still a consistent part of this defense.  Since Brett Favre has retired, the new quarterback will be forced to rely on the run. Leslie Frazier should benefit him as he recognizes Peterson’s talent.
  • Tennessee Titans Chris Johnson.  He is still a Titan, but without Jeff Fisher, who knows how this will affect the running game? I am bit of a pessimist on him returning to form with a new coach at the helm.
  • Detroit Lions Javhid Best. Although prone to injury, a shortened season could potentially benefit this running back in terms of statistics and his career span.  He was a bust last season, but he should be able to produce RB1 numbers early this upcoming season.
  • Houston Texans Arian Foster.  The only consistent part of the Houston Texans offense last season seemingly.  He should still be capable of putting up RB1 numbers.
  • New York Giants Ahmad Bradshaw.  He’s great when he’s healthy, and with a shortened season, he should be capable of producing strong numbers into the regular season.
  • Atlanta Falcons Michael Turner.  He has matured into one great running back since leaving LaDanian Tomlinson‘s shadow.
  • St. Louis Rams Steven Jackson.  As long as he can still run, he can put up RB1 yardage but he’ll pan out with RB2 or less touchdowns for the most part.
  • Oakland Raiders Darren McFadden.  He does get inconsistent, but he’s grown into his running back shoes.  If he gets a full head of steam early on this upcoming season quickly, he should be considered a must-start easily.
  • Kansas City Chiefs Jamaal Charles.  He’s part of an offensive machine that’s quite productive.  And with his new contract last season, he should still be fighting for his starting position this upcoming season.

Avoid

  • Seattle Seahawks Marshawn Lynch.  Pick him only if you’re desperate.  He will never overcome his sluggishness and his talent.  Although the Seattle Seahawks went into the playoffs last season, it certainly wasn’t because of him.
  • Philadelphia Eagles Jerome Harrison.  Unless both Michael Vick and LeSean McCoy are injured, then you should pick him up.  Until then, he shouldn’t be an integral part of the Eagles offense in this upcoming season and into the future.

Potential X-Factors

  • Philadelphia Eagles LeSean McCoy. Although an effective running back, he’s essentially the second running back with quarterback Michael Vick at the helm.  At best, he’s going to be low-end RB2.
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers LeGarrette Blount.  He has the power and athleticism.  Now he needs the experience…
  • Cleveland Browns Peyton Hillis.  Can he escape the Madden Curse even with a shortened season?  I don’t know about that.  If he can remain healthy, he is still a must-start.  If he can’t, don’t say I didn’t warn you.
  • New England Patriots BenJarvus Green-Ellis. His stock will continue to rise on the New England Patriots.
  • Carolina Panthers Jonathan Stewart.  Although productive when healthy, I don’t know how the offense will change with a defensive-minded coach.  He could be phased out as the Panthers seek a power back instead.
  • Denver Broncos Knoshown Moreno. I like his versatility, but whether he can continue with John Fox, that remains to be seen.
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New York Jets vs. Pittsburgh Steelers: AFC Championship Pre-Game Analysis

The New York Jets did the unexpected in the playoffs, and they won against the New England Patriots at Foxboro nonetheless.  However, they will face their own shadow in the shape of the Pittsburgh Steelers.  Both of these defenses have been incredibly stiff in the post-season.  The Jets defense have conquered two elite quarterbacks, Indianapolis Colts Peyton Manning and New England Patriots Tom Brady, in the playoffs.  The Steelers Ben Roethlisberger is below that caliber, but he is physically harder to bring down than either Peyton Manning or Tom Brady.  Meanwhile, the Pittsburgh Steelers defense held its own against Joe Flacco, Ray Rice and their rival the Baltimore Ravens.

Now to the pre-game analysis:

Quarterbacks

In the post-season, so far, the Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger had 226 yards passing, 2 touchdowns and a 101.8 quarterback rating.  He is currently ranked 5th overall in terms of quarterback rating in the post-season. During the regular season, Roethlisberger had 3,200 yards passing, 17 touchdowns, 5 interceptions.  On the other side of the ball, in the post-season so far, the New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez currently has 383 yards passing, 3 touchdowns, 1 interception and a 91.6 quarterback rating.  During the regular season, Sanchez had 3,291 yards passing, 17 touchdowns, 13 interceptions and a 75.3 quarterback rating. Roethlisberger and the Steelers get the edge, but both quarterbacks should be harassed constantly in this game. 

Running Backs

The Pittsburgh Steelers Rashard Mendenhall was brutally effective during the regular season. During the regular season, he had 1,273 yards rushing, 13 touchdowns and averaged 3.9 yards per carry.  He was ranked 7th in terms of rushing yardage and 2nd in terms of touchdowns overall in league.  However, he has fallen in the playoffs, as Mendenhall is only ranked 11th in terms of overall rushing yardage at 46, but he currently tied with New York Jets running back LaDanian Tomlinson in terms of touchdowns at 2. The New York Jets tandem of LaDanian Tomlinson and Shonn Greene were not as powerful during the regular season.  During the regular season, LaDanian Tomlinson had 914 yards rushing, 6 touchdowns and averaged 4.2 yards per carry; and his partner Shonn Greene had 766 yards rushing, 2 touchdowns and averaged 4.1 yards per carry. In the off-season, however, both Jets running backs have been surprisingly effective.  LaDanian Tomlinson currently has 125 yards rushing, 2 touchdowns and averaging 4.8 yards per carry. Shonn Greene meanwhile has 146 yards, 1 touchdown and averaging 4.1 yards per carry. Tomlinson is currently ranked 4th in rushing yardage in the post-season while Greene is ranked 2nd.  The New York Jets get the slight edge in this one, but all three running backs will have difficulties establishing themselves.

Wide Receivers

The New York Jets wide receiver tandem of Braylon Edwards and Jerricho Cotchery have exploded in the post-season.  Edwards is currently ranked 4th overall in the post-season in receiving yardage at 114, averaging 19.0 yards per reception and 2 touchdowns to his name.  Cotchery is currently ranked 5th overall at 113 receiving yards and 16.1 yards per reception.  During the regular season, Edwards had 904 yards receiving, 7 touchdowns and averaged 17.1 yards per reception; and, Cotchery had 433 yards receiving, 2 touchdowns and averaged 10.6 yards per reception.  On the other side of the ball, the Steelers duo of Mike Wallace and Hines Ward haven’t been making many waves this post-season yet.  During the regular season, however, Mike Wallace had 1,257 yards receiving, 1o touchdowns and averaged 21.0 yards per reception; and he was ranked 5th in terms of receiving yardage overall when the season ended.  His partner Hines Ward had 755 yards, 5 touchdowns and averaged 12.8 yards per reception.  The receiver corps of the Pittsburgh Steelers is a bit more effective ounce per ounce, and they get a slight edge. But the Jets have the more versatile group.

Tight Ends

The New York Jets tight end Dustin Keller has been slightly more effective in the post-season so far. In the post-season, Keller has 57 yards receiving and averaging 9.5 yards per reception. During the regular season, he had 687 receiving yards, 5 touchdowns and averaged 12.5 yards per reception.  On the opposite side of the ball, Steelers tight end Heath Miller currently has 39 receiving yards and averaging 7.8 yards per reception.  During the regular season, Miller had 512 yards, 2 touchdowns and averaged 12.2 yards per reception. Given these numbers, Dustin Keller and the New York Jets get the slight edge.

Defenses

This is the litmus test for both teams — and how they will test their opposing quarterbacks.  Both have had playmakers on their defenses throughout this season so far.  Now they will be put to the test…During the regular season, the stalwart New York Jets defense was 6th against the pass and 3rd against the run, and they were ranked 4th overall in the league. The Jets defense has found playmakers in the off-season.  The Jets David Harris and Eric Smith are both ranked 1st and 2nd at tackles in 21 and 20 respectively.  Jets linebacker Calvin Pace is currently ranked 4th in sacks at 2 in the post-season.  During the regular season, the Pittsburgh Steelers defense was ranked 12th against the pass and 1st against the rush and was 2nd overall in the league.  In the post-season, linebacker James Harrison is 2nd in the league in interceptions at 3, and safety Ryan Clark has had one interception and is currently tied for second. The New York Jets gets the slight edge, as it has conquered two tough opponents in the New England Patriots and the Indianapolis Colts successively.

Coaches/Intangibles

New York Jets coach Rex Ryan had played mind games through talking trash.  When he first performed this tactic against the New England Patriots, his team was destroyed in week 13.  However, in the past divisional game against the New England Patriots, he defeated the New England Patriots with his defense.  Rex Ryan has demonstrated flexibility in using his resources. This past week against the New England Patriots, he used his defense to win the game, and the previous game against the Indianapolis Colts, he used his two running backs LaDanian Tomlinson and Shonn Greene to win the game for him.  On the opposite side of the ball, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin tends to rely on Ben Roethlisberger’s arm more often than not.  He tends to give up on the run easier than Rex Ryan does.  The edge goes to Rex Ryan and the New York Jets because he has faced two elite opponents of past seasons in the Indianapolis Colts and the New England Patriots.  More importantly, he defeated his rival Bill Belichick, and the Patriots defeat has given his team a boost in morale. 

The Edge

The edge goes to the New York Jets 27-24.  The New York Jets balanced approach has paid off in the playoffs, and it should give them the time for the last field goal to win the game.

New England Patriots vs. New York Jets: AFC Divisional Pre-Game Analysis

This is one of those battles in which both teams have axes to grind against one another — whereas one team has been consistent and dominated much of the year, the other team has been inconsistent at times and scraping by.  This is a battle of Jets coach Rex Ryan and Patriots coach Bill Belichick, cornerbacks Antonio Cromartie and Darrell Revis against the talented and versatile corps of Patriots wide receivers, and the dominating quarterback this season Tom Brady against the dominating New York Jets defense.

This game is a rubber-band match where the New York Jets won 28-14 in week 2 and the New England Patriots routed 45-3 in week 13.

Quarterbacks

The New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady had a spectacular regular season.  He had 3,900 yards passing, 36 touchdowns, 4 interceptions and a quarterback rating of 111.0.  He ranked 9th in terms of passing yardage, and he ranked 1st in the league in terms of overall quarterback rating during the regular season.  Brady is a force to be reckoned with.  On the other side of the ball, the New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez had 3,291 yards passing, 17 touchdowns, 14 interceptions and a quarterback rating of 75.3 during the regular season.  He declined slightly against the Indianapolis Colts in their wild card game, passing 189 yards, 1 interception and a 62.4 quarterback rating.  Tom Brady and the Patriots get the edge.

Running Backs

The Patriots running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis had 1,008 yards rushing, 13 touchdowns and averaged 4.4 yards per carry. His partner Danny Woodhead had 547 yards rushing, 5 touchdowns and averaged 5.6 yards per carry during the regular season.  It should be noted that during the regular season that Green-Ellis was ranked 2nd in terms of rushing touchdowns overall in the league.  The Jets running back LaDanian Tomlinson only had 914 yards rushing, 6 touchdowns and averaged 4.2 yards per carry.  Although he started strong early in the season, he has declined during the regular season, although he did have 82 yards and 2 touchdowns against the Colts during their wild card game.  His partner Shonn Greene had 766 yards rushing, 2 touchdowns and 4.1 yards per carry.  From these statistics, Green-Ellis and the Patriots have the edge in this game.

Wide Receivers

The top two receivers of the Patriots, Wes Welker and Deion Branch, have a combined total of 1,554 yards receiving, 12 touchdowns and averaged 12.3 yards per reception.  For the Jets, the tandem of Braylon Edwards and Santonio Holmes have a combined total of 1,650 yards receiving, 13 touchdowns and averaged 15.7 yards per reception. From the looks of it, the Jets get the edge as they are slightly more effective, but both teams have versatile weapons at their disposal.

Tight Ends

The New England Patriots had a combination of tight ends during the regular season, and both have been surprisingly effective.  During the regular season, tight end Aaron Hernandez had 563 yards receiving, 6 touchdowns and averaged 12.5 yards per reception; meanwhile, Rob Gronkowski had 546 yards receiving, 10 touchdowns and averaged 13.0 yards per reception.  For the Jets, tight end Dustin Keller had 687 yards receiving, 5 touchdowns and averaged 12.5 yards per reception.  The Patriots tight ends get the edge by a large margin.

Defenses

This is one interesting battle.  The New England Patriots defense was ranked 30th against the pass and 11th against the rush during the regular season. However, Patriots cornerback Devin McCourty was ranked 2nd in interceptions overall in the league with 7 by season’s end. The stellar New York Jets defense was ranked 6th against the pass and 3rd against the rush during the regular season.  They were ranked 3rd overall by season’s end. The New York Jets defense gets the edge by a large margin.

Coaches/Intangibles

This battle of the words and accusations does lead to some interesting drama in the Northeast Corridor, but let’s get down to business.  Patriots head coach Bill Belichick had always kept the team competitive and at a top-tier level for the past 10 years, having at least 10 wins during the regular season each year.  He favors the pass although this year, he has shown that he is capable of using the rush to balance out this offense. Jets head coach Rex Ryan had only coached the Jets for two years, but he was quite successful this year with 11 wins.  I give the edge to Belichick in that he has more post-season experience, and he has more available weapons at his disposal.  And the talking may benefit him as before in his domination of the New York Jets in week 13 of 45-3 at home at Gillette Stadium.

The Edge

The edge goes to the Patriots, although it won’t be quite as easy as week 13, in my honest opinion.  It should be closer 35-20 New England Patriots.  Brady and his consistency will find ways to beat this defense again.


Fantasy Football Running Back Quick Picks for NFL Week 17

The Must-Starts for the last game of the final fantasy football season, the Ultimate Championship game:

Now to the rest of the running backs in their final game of the regular season:

Jonathan Stewart (Carolina Panthers vs. Atlanta Falcons): Solid RB1.

Michael Turner (Atlanta vs. Carolina): High-end RB1.

Donald Brown/Joseph Addai (Indianapolis Colts vs. Tennessee Titans): Solid RB2.

Peyton Hillis (Cleveland Browns vs. Pittsburgh Steelers): In the battle of the defenses, it favors the Steelers.  Low to mid-RB2.

Ronnie Brown/Ricky Williams (Miami Dolphins vs. New England Patriots): Low-end RB2s.

BenJarvus Green-Ellis (New England vs. Miami): Solid RB1

LeGarrette Blount (Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. New Orleans Saints): Solid RB1.

Chris Ivory (New Orleans vs. Tampa Bay): Solid RB1.

Fred Jackson (Buffalo Bills vs. New York Jets): Low-end RB1.

LaDanian Tomlinson (New York vs. Buffalo): High-end RB2.

Cedric Benson (Cincinnati Bengals vs. Baltimore Ravens): RB2.

Marion Barber/Felix Jones (Dallas Cowboys vs. Philadelphia Eagles): Solid RB2s.

LeSean McCoy (Philadelphia vs. Dallas): High-end RB2.

Brandon Jacobs (New York Giants vs. Washington Redskins): Solid RB1.

Ryan Mathews (San Diego Chargers vs. Denver Broncos): Low-end RB1/high-end RB2.

Correll Buckhalter/Knowshon Moreno (Denver vs. San Diego): Solid RB2.

Tim Hightower/Beanie Wells (Arizona Cardinals vs. San Francisco 49ers): Low-end RB2.

Brian Westbrook/Anthony Dixon (San Francisco vs. Arizona): High-end RB2.

Steven Jackson (St. Louis Rams vs. Seattle Seahawks): Favorable RB1.

Marshawn Lynch (Seattle vs. St. Louis): Low-end RB2.

Toby Gerhart/Adrian Peterson (Minnesota Vikings vs. Detroit Lions): Solid RB1.

Maurice Morris/Javhid Best (Detroit vs. Minnesota): Solid to high-end RB2.

Maurice Jones-Drew/Rashad Jennings (Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Houston Texans): High-end RB1 for either of them.

Fantasy Football Running Back Quick Picks for NFL Week 16

These Six Must-Starts are, in force, for the fantasy football Super Bowls, but the last two carry caveats:

Now to the rest of the players:

Jonathan Stewart (Carolina Panthers vs. Pittsburgh Steelers): Solid RB2.

Felix Jones/Tashard Choice/Marion Barber (Dallas Cowboys vs. Arizona Cardinals): Solid RB2s.

Ray Rice (Baltimore Ravens vs. Cleveland Browns): Solid RB1. Should have a solid day against this 25th-ranked rushing defense.

LaDanian Tomlinson (New York Jets vs. Chicago Bears): Low-end RB2.

Matt Forte (Chicago vs. New York): Low-end RB2.

BenJarvus Green-Ellis (New England Patriots vs. Buffalo Bills): High-end RB1.

Fred Jackson (Buffalo vs. New England): Solid RB2.

Anthony Dixon/Brian Westbrook (San Francisco 49ers vs. St. Louis Rams): Solid RB2 options.

Steven Jackson (St. Louis Rams vs. San Francisco): Solid RB1.

Javhid Best/Maurice Morris (Detroit Lions vs. Miami Dolphins): Low-end RB2.

Jamaal Charles/Thomas Jones (Kansas City Chiefs vs. Tennessee Titans): Charles is a mid to high-end RB1, but Thomas is a low-end RB2.

Knoshown Moreno/Lance Ball (Denver Broncos vs. Houston Texans): RB1.

Mike Tolbert/Ryan Mathews (San Diego Chargers vs. Cincinnati Bengals): Low-end RB1.

Cedric Benson (Cincinnati vs. San Diego): Low-end RB2.

Donald Brown (Indianapolis Colts vs. Oakland Raiders): Low-end RB2.

Marshawn Lynch (Seattle Seahawks vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers): Potential RB1, but aim for solid RB2.

LeGarrette Blount (Tampa Bay vs. Seattle): Low-end RB1/high-end RB2.

LeSean McCoy (Philadelphia Eagles vs. Minnesota Vikings): Solid RB1. This might be a game where he gets more rushing yardage than Michael Vick. Maybe.

Pierre Thomas/Reggie Bush (New Orleans Saints vs. Atlanta Falcons): Solid RB2.

Michael Turner (Atlanta vs. New Orleans): Solid RB1.

Ryan Torain (Washington Redskins vs. Jacksonville Jaguars): Low-end RB1.

Maurice Jones-Drew (Jacksonville vs. Washington): Low-end RB1.

Fantasy Football Running Back Quick Picks for NFL Week 10

I will reiterate these are Must-Starts, or The Big Five:

I know Cleveland Browns running back Peyton Hillis had a big weekend last week against the New England Patriots.  In the same vein, Patriots running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis had a dismal showing but should have had Hillis’ numbers against the Browns defense. For the most part, the Big Five have been relatively consistent, so you can trust these guys.

Now onto another crazy week in the NFL:

Ray Rice/Willis McGahee (Baltimore Ravens vs. Atlanta Falcons): Rice has potential RB1 status. McGahee is a solid RB2 in my opinion.

Michael Turner (Atlanta vs. Baltimore): Low-end RB1/high-end RB2.

Matt Forte (Chicago Bears vs. Minnesota Vikings): Potential RB1 status, as always, but falls into a RB3 or flex status always.

Peyton Hillis (Cleveland Browns vs. New York Jets): Low-end RB1. After the embarrassment of the New England Patriots, the Jets defense will stiffen a little.

DeAngelo Williams (Carolina Panthers vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers): RB3 or flex.

Ronnie Brown/Ricky Williams (Miami Dolphins vs. Tennessee Titans): RB3 or flex.

Jamaal Charles (Kansas City Chiefs vs. Denver Broncos): RB1. But this could potentially turn into a passing affair. Chiefs wide receiver Dwayne Bowe and Broncos wide receiver Brandon Lloyd could be in for one heck of a game.

Cedric Benson (Cincinnati Bengals vs. Indianapolis Colts): Could potentially have a big game, but realistically, count him as RB2.

Donald Brown (Indianapolis vs. Cincinnati): Could potentially have a big game, but again, he’s a low-end RB2 or RB3.

Javhid Best/Kevin Smith (Detroit Lions vs. Buffalo Bills): Should potentially have a big game for both, but play conservative as RB2.

Fred Jackson (Buffalo vs. Detroit): Should potentially have a big game, but play conservative again as RB2.

Maurice Jones-Drew (Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Houston Texans): RB3 so far.

Marion Barber/Felix Jones (Dallas Cowboys vs. New York Giants): Seriously? The Cowboys should be more worried about Jon Kitna getting knocked out and added to the Giants list of quarterback KOs.

Ahmad Bradshaw (New York vs. Dallas): Play him if you got him. This should be a good outing for him.

Steven Jackson (St. Louis Rams vs. San Francisco 49ers): Low-end RB1 against one of the surprising stiffer defenses.

Frank Gore (San Francisco vs. St. Louis): Tough. RB2.

Marshawn Lynch/Justin Forsett (Seattle Seahawks vs. Arizona Cardinals): Should be a breakout game, but don’t count on it. Forsett still has the higher upside, based on pure talent not on touches.

BenJarvus Green-Ellis/Danny Woodhead (New England Patriots vs. Pittsburgh Steelers): Tough. RB2, maybe RB3, considering the showing last week.

LeSean McCoy (Philadelphia Eagles vs. Washington Redskins): Low-end RB1. The potential for Michael Vick to rush again in this matchup may hurt this running back’s stats.

Ryan Torain/Clinton Portis (Washington vs. Philadelphia): Low-end RB2s.

Fantasy Football Running Back Quick Picks for Week 8

Must-Starts until they have a severe injury or otherwise told not to.  Otherwise known as The Big Five:

Here’s a quick review of all the other running backs for week 8 of the NFL regular season:

Ryan Torain (Washington Redskins vs. Detroit Lions): RB2, with potential to be RB1 against this defense.

Javhid Best (Detroit vs. Washington): Low-end RB2. Realistically, he’s a RB3 with the way he’s been performing as of late.  However, don’t give up on this running back, yet.

Fred Jackson (Buffalo Bills vs. Kansas City Chiefs):  Tougher sledding than before. RB3/flex option at best. Waiver wire fodder at worst.

Jamaal Charles/Thomas Jones  (Kansas City vs. Buffalo): RB1s. If they can’t get you touchdowns in this matchup, they sure as heck will gain you yardage.

Knowshown Moreno (Denver Broncos vs. San Francisco 49ers): RB2 for now. Now that Denver has a running game, it might help other facets of Denver.

Frank Gore (San Francisco vs. Denver): RB1. If Darren McFadden with a hurt hamstring can burn Denver, a healthy Frank Gore can do much better.

Ronnie Brown/Ricky Williams (Miami Dolphins vs. Cincinatti Bengals): Low-end RB2, until the Dolphins get their act together.

Cedric Benson (Cincinnati vs. Miami): Low-end RB2, with this inconsistent offense.

Brandon Jackson (Green Bay Packers vs. New York Jets): RB3 or flex at best.  Keep him on the waiver wire for this matchup.

Jonathan Stewart (Carolina Panthers vs. St. Louis Rams): RB2.

Steven Jackson (St. Louis vs. Carolina): Potential RB1; realistically still an RB2. He’s got the will to do it.

Maurice Jones-Drew (Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Dallas Cowboys): Solid RB2/High-end RB3.

Felix Jones/Marion Barber (Dallas vs. Jacksonville): RB3s.

Cadillac Williams (Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Arizona Cardinals): Waiver wire fodder.

Tim Hightower/Beanie Wells (Arizona vs. Tampa Bay): Both RB1s, but Hightower gets the starting nod.

Ryan Mathews (San Diego Chargers vs. Tennessee Titans): Low-end RB2/solid RB3 at best. Good luck and best wishes.

BenJarvus Green-Ellis (New England Patriots vs. Minnesota Vikings): Some tough sledding, but a potential low-end RB1.

Marshawn Lynch/Justin Forsett (Seattle Seahawks vs. Oakland Raiders): Low-end RB2s for now.

Darren McFadden (Oakland vs. Seattle): High-end RB1.  He’s running pissed, and he’s motivated. A volatile combination in a running back.

Chris Ivory (New Orleans Saints vs. Pittsburgh Steelers): Low-end RB2. With Drew Brees acting up, Ivory is going to have a target on his chest.

Joseph Addai/Mike Hart (Indianapolis Colts vs. Houston Texans): Low-end RB2 right now. Not against this defense, but as much as Peyton Manning may be desperate to re-establish himself as the best quarterback in the NFL, particularly against their rival.

Fantasy Football Running Back Quick Picks for Week 5

Maurice Jones-Drew (Jacksonville vs. Buffalo Bills): Potential for this one.  I opt for borderline RB1.

CJ Spiller/Fred Jackson (Buffalo Bills vs. Jacksonville): Either of them should have been released from your roster by now, but if you still have them, keep them on your bench.  They’re not even worth a flex position on your bench at this point.

Cadillac Williams (Tampa Bay vs. Cincinatti): He could be worth a gamble as a RB2, but it’s a high-risk gamble.  Before you put him there, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Cedric Benson (Cincinatti vs. Tampa Bay): Rashard Mendenhall tore through them last week. Same style runner, but with less talent.  Still he should have a viable day as a RB2/borderline RB1.

Michael Turner (Atlanta vs. Cleveland): Still a solid RB1, but Cleveland defense have been playing better than they look in the mirror.

Peyton Hillis (Cleveland vs. Atlanta): Low-end RB1/solid RB2  in my opinion in this matchup.  Atlanta’s defense is more annoying than aggressive.

Steven Jackson (St. Louis vs. Detroit): Battered and bruised, he’s going to be a low-end RB1 realistically, even against Detroit.

Javhid Best (Detroit vs. St. Louis): He’s recovered quit fast considering.  He’s also a low-end RB1, but remain well-aware he still has turf toe.  It may not bite him in this game but in the future.

Thomas Jones/Jamaal Charles (Kansas City vs. Indianapolis): Both should be qualified as solid RB1s.  Thomas Jones gets the upside for the mere fact he’s a tank. Admit it.

Joseph Addai (Indianapolis vs. Kansas City): Tough matchup. He’s at best a RB2, but realistically, he should be a RB3 or reserve.

John Kuhn (Chicago vs. Carolina): John Kuhn is obviously favored over Brandon Jackson for Green Bay. Against Carolina, he could have a good outing. Solid RB2.

DeAngelo Williams (Carolina vs. Chicago): Tough sledding. Low-end RB2.

Correll Buckhalter (Denver vs. Baltimore): He should be on the waiver wire by now.

Ray Rice (Baltimore vs. Denver): He’s a RB1 despite facing a tough defense.

Ahmad Bradshaw (New York Giants vs. Houston): Easily ranks into low-end RB1/high-end RB2 territory.

Arian Foster (Houston vs. New York Giants): Ride the horse on this one. RB1.

Adrian Peterson (Minnesota vs. New York Jets): RB1, but he could potentially end up as high-end RB2 against this defense.

LaDanian Tomlinson (New York Jets vs. Minnesota): Low-end RB1. I’m not quite buying the hype just yet.