Chris Wesseling

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Updated Week 3 Rankings

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Week 3 Running Backs

Rank Player Name Opponent Notes
1 Arian Foster at DEN -
2 C.J. Spiller at CLE -
3 LeSean McCoy at ARZ -
4 Ray Rice vs. NE -
5 Maurice Jones-Drew at IND -
6 DeMarco Murray vs. TB -
7 Doug Martin at DAL -
8 Michael Bush vs. STL -
9 Marshawn Lynch vs. GB Probable(back)
10 Trent Richardson vs. BUF -
11 Reggie Bush vs. NYJ -
12 Ryan Mathews vs. ATL Questionable(shoulder)
13 Stevan Ridley at BAL -
14 Alfred Morris vs. CIN -
15 Darren McFadden vs. PIT -
16 Adrian Peterson vs. SF -
17 Jamaal Charles at NO Probable(knee)
18 Darren Sproles vs. KC -
19 Frank Gore at MIN -
20 DeAngelo Williams vs. NYG -
21 Chris Johnson vs. DET -
22 BenJarvus Green-Ellis at WAS -
23 Andre Brown at CAR -
24 Willis McGahee vs. HOU -
25 Donald Brown vs. JAC -
26 Cedric Benson at SEA -
27 Shonn Greene at MIA -
28 Pierre Thomas vs. KC -
29 Peyton Hillis at NO -
30 Mark Ingram vs. KC -
31 Steven Jackson at CHI Starting, but limited
32 Michael Turner at SD -
33 Mikel Leshoure at TEN Starting over Kevin Smith
34 Beanie Wells vs. PHI -
35 Jonathan Dwyer at OAK Probable(foot)
36 Kevin Smith at TEN -
37 David Wilson at CAR -
38 Isaac Redman at OAK Probable(ankle)
39 Jacquizz Rodgers at SD -
40 Ben Tate at DEN -
41 Ryan Williams vs. PHI Probable(knee)
42 Daryl Richardson at CHI -
43 Felix Jones vs. TB Probable(ribs)
44 Kendall Hunter at MIN -
45 Bilal Powell at MIA -
46 Knowshon Moreno vs. HOU -
47 Tashard Choice at CLE -
48 Vick Ballard vs. JAC -
49 Lamar Miller vs. NYJ -
50 Evan Royster vs. CIN -
51 Danny Woodhead at BAL -
52 Mike Tolbert vs. NYG -
53 Bernard Scott at WAS Questionable(hand)
54 Chris Ogbonnaya vs. BUF -
55 Roy Helu vs. CIN -
56 Toby Gerhart vs. SF -
57 Javon Ringer vs. DET Questionable(elbow)
58 Bernard Pierce vs. NE -
59 Marcel Reece vs. PIT -
60 Mike Goodson vs. PIT Questionable(hamstring)

RB Notes:
While the Raiders and Titans fail to get their backs in space, Bills coach Chan Gailey is a master of creating room for his runners to operate. It starts with Gailey’s spread offense, which was bolstered by a dizzying array of draws, reverses, fake reverses and Wildcat looks in Week 2. It certain helps that Spiller has that instant second gear and freakish lateral agility that CJ2K once flashed on a regular basis. Reggie Bush is the only NFL back with more total rushing yards than Spiller’s 211 yards after contact through two weeks.

Can we expect Spiller to keep the job once Fred Jackson returns in 3-4 weeks? Spiller is averaging 153.8 scrimmage yards and over a touchdown per game going back to Week 15 of last season. He’s gaining an eye-popping 10.7 yards every time he touches the ball this season. Keep in mind, however, that F-Jax topped 100 yards in 8-of-9 games as a top-three fantasy back before his mid-season injury a year ago. Jackson is also a highly respected team leader and coaching staff favorite. Spiller’s hot start will earn him a significant role the rest of the way, but I wouldn’t expect Jackson to fade away.

Speaking of Bush, how would you like a three-down back with goal-line duties coming off 100 rushing yards in five of his past six games while averaging 149.3 scrimmage yards over that span? Concerns about Joe Philbin and Mike Sherman veering from Tony Sparano’s plan to use Bush as an every-down back appear to be unfounded. “The durability is what amazes me,” Sherman told the Palm Beach Post on Monday. “He’s out there today like he didn’t even play a game yesterday.” Look for more of that same heavy workload going forward.

One small note on Rice: Running backs are averaging just 1.9 yards per on 40 carries versus the Patriots this year. … Martin invites comparisons to Rice based on body type, skill-set and history with coach Greg Schiano, but he doesn’t have Rice’s acceleration. … I wouldn’t hesitate to use Mathews in his first week back. He was physically prepared to play a week ago; the Bolts just opted to hold him out one more week to get him mentally ready. Arian Foster’s 13 red-zone carries lead the NFL. Curtis Brinkley and Jackie Battle of the Chargers have combined for 17 such totes.

What a difference a week makes. Richardson offered no burst and saw no running lanes versus the Eagles. That all changed in Cincinnati, where Richardson exploded through holes and looked even better after the catch. Don’t be overly concerned with Chris Ogbonnaya’s six receptions. Richardson was in the game on passing downs than Obie and offers much more after-catch ability.

Charles is practicing fully this week after leaving the Bills’ blowout late in the third quarter with a knee bruise. If the owner in your league is in panic mode, take full advantage. He has an excellent matchup this week versus a Saints defense that has been bowled over on the ground. … David Wilson operated as the change-of-pace back to Ahmad Bradshaw early in the game and Andre Brown in the second half. He’s not trusted as more than a package-play back. Expect Brown to see 15-20 touches Thursday night. … As Adam Levitan would say, S-Jax is 29, has a soft tissue strain and plays the running back position. It’s not a good mix.

Benson and Greene can be benched against the forbidding run defenses of the Seahawks and Dolphins. … Although Dwayne Bowe was the Week 2 garbage-time king, Hillis also padded his yards per carry rate. He looks like he’s running in quick sand, stutter-stepping too much. … If your local NCAA apologist tells you the NFL is an inferior product because the players “don’t give enough effort,” point him toward Pierre Thomas’ Week 2 tackler-carrying bonanza versus the Panthers.

Rotoworld’s Chet Gresham described Michael Turner this week as a “fat pug trying to roll uphill.” Needless to say, it’s an apt (and vivid) comparison. Turner is done; the sooner the Falcons realize it, the better for their offense. … Kevin Smith took the majority of the first-team reps in Wednesday’s practice, but Leshoure wasn’t far behind. I would expect a fairly even split versus the Titans.

Sunday Update: Moved Steven Jackson down, Daryl Richardson up slightly. S-Jax is active and starting but expected to be limited by the groin injury in a tough matchup. Moved Mikel Leshoure up, Kevin Smith down after Lions announced LeShoure as the starter.

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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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