Chris Wesseling

Goal Line Stand

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Week 8 Rankings

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Week 8 Running Backs


Rank Player Name Opponent Notes
1 LeSean McCoy vs. ATL -
2 Adrian Peterson vs. TB -
3 Jamaal Charles vs. OAK -
4 Willis McGahee vs. NO -
5 Ryan Mathews at CLE -
6 Matt Forte vs. CAR -
7 Marshawn Lynch at DET Probable (back)
8 Chris Johnson vs. IND Probable (ankle)
9 Alfred Morris at PIT -
10 Stevan Ridley at STL -
11 Darren McFadden at KC Probable (shoulder)
12 Frank Gore at ARZ Probable (ribs)
13 Ahmad Bradshaw at DAL Questionable (foot)
14 Reggie Bush at NYJ -
15 Doug Martin at MIN -
16 Jonathan Stewart at CHI -
17 Darren Sproles at DEN Probable (-)
18 Rashad Jennings at GB -
19 Trent Richardson vs. SD -
20 Jonathan Dwyer vs. WAS -
21 Felix Jones vs. NYG Questionable (knee)
22 Alex Green vs. JAC Probable (shoulder)
23 Steven Jackson vs. NE -
24 Shonn Greene vs. MIA -
25 Mikel Leshoure vs. SEA -
26 Michael Turner at PHI -
27 Pierre Thomas at DEN -
28 Vick Ballard at TEN -
29 Michael Bush vs. CAR -
30 La'Rod Stephens-Howling vs. SF -
31 Daryl Richardson vs. NE -
32 Phillip Tanner vs. NYG -
33 Kendall Hunter at ARZ -
34 Donald Brown at TEN Questionable (knee surgery)
35 Jacquizz Rodgers at PHI -
36 Montario Hardesty vs. SD Probable (knee)
37 Shane Vereen at STL -
38 Danny Woodhead at STL -
39 Mark Ingram at DEN -
40 Andre Brown at DAL Probable (concussion)
41 Ronnie Hillman vs. NO -
42 Peyton Hillis vs. OAK Probable (ankle)
43 DeAngelo Williams at CHI -
44 Joique Bell vs. SEA -
45 Daniel Thomas at NYJ Probable (concussion)
46 William Powell vs. SF -
47 Chris Rainey vs. WAS -
48 Mike Tolbert at CHI -
49 Mike Goodson at KC -
50 Jamie Harper vs. IND -
51 LeGarrette Blount at MIN -
52 James Starks vs. JAC Questionable (illness)
53 Robert Turbin at DET -
54 Toby Gerhart vs. TB -
55 Ronnie Brown at CLE -
56 Joe McKnight vs. MIA Questionable (ankle)
57 Bryce Brown vs. ATL -
58 David Wilson at DAL -
59 Chris Ogbonnaya vs. SD -
60 Delone Carter at TEN -
61 Evan Royster at PIT Probable (knee)

RB Notes: LeSean McCoy has a made-to-order matchup coming out of the bye week versus a Falcons defense allowing 5.2 YPC. Only the Bills, surrendering a whopping 6.0 YPC, have been more generous this year. … NFL Films’ Greg Cosell’s reaction to Adrian Peterson’s dominating performance against the Cardinals with eight in the box: “UN-believable. He has an unmatched combination of short-area agility, speed, and power. He’s pretty much right back to being the best back in the league … and the most powerful runner in the NFL.” Peterson has forced more missed tackles (29) than any back in the league this year. Even against a Bucs defense allowing the lowest YPC average in the NFL (3.1), Peterson is a good bet to score. He’s among the most frequently targeted red-zone backs in the league in addition to top-five carry volume inside the 5-yard line. His year-to-year consistency has been uncanny.

Willis McGahee is a surprising third among running backs in targets per game, and he’s matched up this week against a Saints defense allowing the second-most fantasy points to opposing backs. … Cosell believes Ryan Mathews is running “extremely well” the past two games. … Forte is averaging 24.5 touches over his last two games, but his matchup might not be quite as attractive as it looks at first blush. Luke Kuechly has been a massive upgrade on an injured Jon Beason at middle linebacker. … Over his last 16 games going back to last November, Marshawn Lynch leads the NFL with 1,593 rushing yards.

The secret to Chris Johnson’s newfound success isn’t just creampuff defenses and improved blocking; it’s also volume. Over the past four games, he’s averaging 19.3 carries for 113 yards for 5.85 YPC. … Is Alfred Morris versus the Steelers a case of the irresistible force meeting the immovable object? Pittsburgh is allowing 4.1 yards per carry, the same average as the much-maligned Panthers run defense. The Redskins have consistently run even against eight in the box, with RGIII leading with play-action/run-action.

Pro Football Focus ranks the Raiders offensive line as the third-worst in the NFL. Darren McFadden hasn’t been getting to the second level because there are no holes against stacked boxes. What’s missing are the big plays, which explains McFadden’s 3.1 yards per carry average -- lowest of any back ranked in the top 40. With Denarius Moore and Darrius Heyward-Bey healthy and Carson Palmer averaging more yards per game than Aaron Rodgers, I think it’s fair to expect McFadden to find more big plays against looser boxes and a soft schedule.

Frank Gore’s 5.8 YPC average is second only to C.J. Spiller. He obviously has plenty left in the tank, the 49ers coaches scheme running plays better than anyone in the league, and the offensive line is the NFL’s best. The Cardinals run defense has been gashed by Adrian Peterson, C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson the past two weeks. … Doug Martin is running with more confidence and violence the past two games, and he could be overtaking a sluggish LeGarrette Blount for goal-line duties … Don’t let anyone tell you that Rashad Jennings can’t play because the Raiders held him to 2.1 YPC last week. Pro Football Focus rates Oakland as the fourth-most effective run defense in the NFL.

You may be once bitten twice shy, but you can’t blame yourself for going with Trent Richardson in a plum matchup last week. T-Rich took a hard shot on the Browns’ first play of the game and never looked the same afterwards. He’s a high risk/high reward play this week. … Felix Jones will draw a second straight start in what is shaping up as a decent matchup. The Giants defense has allowed 5.0 yards per carry this season, good for third-worst in the NFL.

The Panthers have had no base run game this year, as 66 percent of their runs have come out of the shotgun. Coach Ron Rivera planned to go with Jonathan Stewart as the featured back in Week 7 and suggested more changes are in store going forward. If Rivera does commit to Stewart in the base offense, we could see a top-five talent at the position. Only LeSean McCoy, Adrian Peterson, and Maurice Jones-Drew earned higher running grades from Pro Football Focus last season, and no back forced more missed tackles in the passing game. Stewart has also graded out as PFF’s most elusive back of the past three seasons.

The Steelers should give Rashard Mendenhall (Achilles) and Isaac Redman (ankle) another week to rest up for the Giants. Thanks to a whopping 114 (of 122) yards after contact at Cincinnati last week, Jonathan Dwyer is second only to C.J. Spiller in Yards After Contact per attempt on the season. … We were told before the season that Michael Turner was losing leg drive, which should have been obvious when the coaches went away from him on a pair of crucial fourth downs versus the Giants in the playoff blowout. It’s no surprise, then, that Turner is a league-worst 1-of-6 in converting short-yardage touchdowns.

Update: CBS Sports' Jason LaCanfora confirms Mendenhall will not play Sunday versus the Redskins.

We’re tentatively expecting Vick Ballard to start one more game in place of Donald Brown, but check the news scroll Friday afternoon for a better read on this backfield. … Cliff’s Notes version of Alex Green’s game versus the Rams: missed open hole, slip, trip, dropped pass. Green makes Chris Johnson look good at reading the proper hole.

Chalk me up as a La’Rod Stephens-Howling skeptic. The Vikings essentially let LSH run underneath, daring him to beat them. The Cardinals went into the game planning a rotation with William Powell. There’s no guarantee that won’t be the plan this week against a shutdown 49ers defense. … Mark Ingram was finally used on a pair of effective play-action passes last week. Those crafty Saints have been setting up that play for two years.


Sunday Update: Alex Green up for matchup reasons. Donald Brown down with Vick Ballard drawing the start.

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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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