Chris Wesseling

Goal Line Stand

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Updated Week 1 Rankings

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Week 1 Running Backs

Rank Player Name Opponent Notes
1 Darren McFadden vs. SD -
2 LeSean McCoy at CLE -
3 Ray Rice vs. CIN -
4 Chris Johnson vs. NE -
5 Matt Forte vs. IND -
6 DeMarco Murray at NYG -
7 Steven Jackson at DET -
8 DeAngelo Williams at TB -
9 Doug Martin vs. CAR -
10 Arian Foster vs. MIA -
11 Jamaal Charles vs. ATL -
12 Fred Jackson at NYJ -
13 Ahmad Bradshaw vs. DAL -
14 Stevan Ridley at TEN -
15 Kevin Smith vs. STL -
16 Michael Turner at KC -
17 Frank Gore at GB -
18 Darren Sproles vs. WAS -
19 Peyton Hillis vs. ATL -
20 Ronnie Brown at OAK -
21 Marshawn Lynch at ARZ Questionable(back)
22 Trent Richardson vs. PHI -
23 Ben Tate vs. MIA -
24 Toby Gerhart vs. JAC -
25 Rashad Jennings at MIN -
26 Cedric Benson vs. SF -
27 Willis McGahee vs. PIT -
28 Shonn Greene vs. BUF -
29 Reggie Bush at HOU -
30 Alfred Morris at NO -
31 Michael Bush vs. IND -
32 Adrian Peterson vs. JAC Questionable(knee surgery)
33 Donald Brown at CHI -
34 Mark Ingram vs. WAS -
35 BenJarvus Green-Ellis at BAL -
36 Maurice Jones-Drew at MIN -
37 Pierre Thomas vs. WAS -
38 Ryan Williams vs. SEA -
39 C.J. Spiller at NYJ -
40 Jonathan Dwyer at DEN -
41 Mike Tolbert at TB -
42 Isaac Redman at DEN Probable(ankle)
43 Robert Turbin at ARZ -
44 Evan Royster at NO -
45 Roy Helu at NO -
46 Beanie Wells vs. SEA Questionable(hamstring)
47 David Wilson vs. DAL -
48 Montario Hardesty vs. PHI -
49 Jacquizz Rodgers at KC -
50 Kendall Hunter at GB -
51 Brandon Jackson vs. PHI -
52 Chris Rainey at DEN -
53 LeGarrette Blount vs. CAR -
54 Felix Jones at NYG Questionable(ribs)
55 Daniel Thomas at HOU -
56 Alex Green vs. SF Probable(knee)
57 Bilal Powell vs. BUF -
58 Vick Ballard at CHI -
59 Taiwan Jones vs. SD -
60 Isaiah Pead at DET -


RB Notes: Look for the Raiders to lean heavily on McFadden with so many injury question marks in the passing game. It's no minor detail that McFadden is now the goal-line horse with Michael Bush in Chicago. ... Rice averaged 25.5 touches, 173 scrimmage yards and a pair of touchdowns in two games versus the Bengals last season. ... The matchup couldn't be better for Forte and Michael Bush in a home opener versus an undermanned, rebuilt Colts defense. We're philosophically opposed to relying heavily on a low-carry touchdown vulture because your starting lineup is screwed when they don't plunge into the end zone. This is one week, however, when Bush is a better option than a handful of starters facing stingy defenses.


The Panthers continue to express optimism on Stewart's ankle, but they won't have a good read on his status until Friday afternoon. If Stewart sits out, Williams is a good bet for 15-20 touches against one of the league's weaker run defenses. I wouldn't bother with FB Mike Tolbert regardless; Cam Newton is the primary goal-line option. ... Yet to practice this week, Lynch is staring at a game-time decision. Coach Pete Carroll's concern about Lynch getting his "football legs" back suggests a carry limit even if he does suit up.


Don't let Bill Belichick's backfield history scare you off Ridley as a Week 1 starter. Already set to replace BenJarvus Green-Ellis on early downs and at the goal line, Ridley should be in for a consistent workload with Shane Vereen's (foot) status in doubt. Vereen hasn't practiced in two weeks. As Matchups guru Evan Silva points out, the Titans were an underwhelming 24th in run defense last year, and the defensive front is even lighter this season.


The Chiefs couldn't have made it clearer that Charles and Hillis are entering the season in a 50-50 timeshare. There's plenty of value to go around in a run-heavy attack. Picture the 2008 Titans backfield with Charles in the explosive Chris Johnson role and Hillis as the LenDale White goal-line vulture and "keep the lead" back. ... Don't hesitate to roll with Ronnie Brown if Ryan Mathews (fractured clavicle) sits out. Brown's legs have looked fresh in preseason action, and he's a good bet for 17-22 touches in the feature back role. ... Gerhart and Jennings are set for 15+ touches after Adrian Peterson and Maurice Jones-Drew missed August practices. The latter two can't be trusted for double-digit touches and should be benched in a "prove-it" capacity until Week 2.


Richardson is on track to start versus the Eagles after an impressive showing in early-week practices. The Browns are expected to play his workload by ear, leaving Montario Hardesty and Brandon Jackson as poor flex options. We would put the over/under on Richardson's touches at a dozen. ... With Mendenhall, Redman, Dwyer, Rainey and Baron Batch all seeing first-team reps in Wednesday's practice, the Steelers backfield is as clear as mud. We remain skeptical that Mendenhall will suit up, leaving Dwyer as a sneaky flex option. The problem is that this game is on NBC Sunday night. ... The Redskins backfield is hands-off until one of the trio emerges as the clear-cut lead back.

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Chris Wesseling is a senior football editor and Dynasty league analyst for The 2011 NFL season marks his fifth year with Rotoworld and his third year contributing to He can be found on Twitter @ChrisWesseling.
Email :Chris Wesseling

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