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FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

Running Back Watch - Week 2
Mike Courter
September 14, 2004
Top Ten Fantasy RB’s To Own Comment
1 KC Priest Holmes After Sunday night’s 26 carries for 151 yards and three touchdown performance in Denver, Holmes remains King of the Running Backs hill
2 SD LaDainian Tomlinson LT’s 121 rushing yards and one touchdown performance on the road was complimented by the pleasant surprise of a functional San Diego passing game and a defense that could actually get the ball back in his hands late in the game.
3 GB Ahman Green The Green machine continues to churn behind one of the league’s best offensive lines. He ran the ball 33 times for 119 yards and three TDs against Carolina’s vaunted front seven on Monday Night and now he welcomes Chicago, a team he has historically gashed over the years, to Lambeau Field this Sunday.
4 SEA Shaun Alexander Alexander’s signature 135 yards rushing and three TDs was dampened by a knee injury in the second half but now appears to be only a bruise and not serious. He’s listed as day-to-day.
5 WAS Clinton Portis Portis won over any remaining undecided votes amongst the Washington faithful with a 64 yard touchdown burst up the middle on his first handoff en route to a 29 carry 148 yard rushing performance. He’ll have a great chance to build on that in Week Two against a woeful Giants defense.
6 IND Edgerrin James 30 carries, 142 yards- good. Two drive-killing fumbles- bad.
7 NO Deuce McAllister Seemingly a victim of Aaron Brooks failure to manage the offense and the Saints defense’s inability to stop Seattle, Deuce should have a strong bounce back game this week when lowly San Francisco arrives in New Orleans.
8 BAL Jamal Lewis Injury-ravaged offensive line (missing Ogden and Flynn) enabled Cleveland’s Dawg Pound defense to treat Lewis (20 carries, 57 yards) as if he were wearing milk bone underwear. Another tough matchup awaits this week as Pittsburgh comes into town.
9 STL Marshall Faulk The addition of understudy Stephen Jackson seemed to buoy Faulk, who appeared spry while gaining 128 yards on 22 carries against the Cards.
10 JAX Fred Taylor After grinding out 61 yards on 17 carries in a tough road win at Buffalo, Taylor should find greener pastures at home this week against a Denver run defense that was trampled by Priest Holmes in Denver last week.

(Note – this listing considers the rankings of RB’s if a draft was held today)

Climbing Up The Ladder

Quentin Griffin (DEN) – Admittedly, the Kansas City run defense could make Ron Dayne look like Jim Brown, however, Griffin’s 156 yards rushing with three touchdowns on Sunday night was a breakout performance and should be the bellwether of great things to come for the diminutive slasher this season. Despite his short stature, he’s powerfully built and has been injury free throughout his career. This week will be a tough test against a stingy Jaguars defense in Jacksonville. If Griffin excels this week, he will be well on his way into the top 10 of these rankings.

Chris Brown (TEN) – Brown owners were teased by his Week One performance in Miami against a rugged Dolphins defense carrying the ball 16 times for 100 yards rushing including a 52 yard jaunt right before exiting at halftime with an ankle injury. It appears Brown will be ready for practice this week and ready to rumble when a suspect Colts run defense arrives in Nashville this Sunday.

Curtis Martin (NYJ) – Martin’s request for more work in the preseason to allow him a running start in Week One was validated with his monster 196 yards rushing, two touchdown (1 run, 1 rec) performance against a befuddled group of Cincinnati defenders. With an improved and healthy offensive line, Martin is poised for his best season in years, barring injury. He should continue to produce at a high level this week in San Diego against a Chargers defense still trying to climb it’s way up from the bottom of the rankings.

Warrick Dunn (ATL) – So much for all the preseason hype about TJ Duckett’s emergence, as long as Dunn is healthy, he appears to be the primary option in the Falcons running game solidifying a solid preseason with a productive Game One outing in San Francisco featuring 19 carries for 63 yards and two scores. This week Atlanta hosts a Rams defense that allowed ancient Emmitt Smith to run for 87 yards and a touchdown on only 16 carries in St. Louis last Sunday.

Brian Westbrook (PHI) – Westbrook ran with impressive speed and power against the Giants carrying 17 times for 117 yards rushing and added three receptions for 42 yards. The 5’10” 205 pound glider lowered his shoulder several times to break tackles and then turned the corner using his breakaway speed. His substantial skills will be called upon often in this week’s Monday Night showdown with the Vikings in Philadelphia in what should be a fantasy football points feast.

Sliding Back

Charlie Garner (TB) – While the passing game struggled, Garner was unable to provide a spark in the run game carrying the ball 11 times for 25 yards in Washington, D.C. last week. Garner exhibited a noticeable lack of his usual burst through the line of scrimmage compounded by continuing troubles on the Tampa Bay offensive line. This week things don’t get any easier as he’ll face a Seahawks defense that stymied Deuce McAllister in New Orleans last Sunday to the tune of 16 touches for 57 yards.

Eddie George (DAL) – Unfortunately for George, he’s seen a continued decline in productivity that started in the preseason now extend into the regular season. His eight carries for 25 yards against the Vikings were his total at halftime. He didn’t play in the second half. With injuries rearing their ugly head along the offensive line again and top rookie Julius Jones’ expected return to Parcells running back by committee, the slope is indeed slippery for George’s fantasy outlook for the remainder of the year.