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FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

Running Back Watch - Week 10
Mike Courter
November 9, 2004
Top Ten Fantasy RB’s To Own Comment
1 KC Priest Holmes Priest suffered what’s described as a knee contusion in the third quarter of Sunday’s loss to the Buccaneers. Holmes said it did not involve any twisting or tearing of the ligaments so he’ll wait to see if it tightens up again over the next few days, according to the Kansas City Star. He still managed to add to his league leading touchdown total, now 15, before his injury. A juicy fantasy match up awaits in New Orleans if he can heal in time.
2 NYG Tiki Barber Added 72 yards rushing, 59 yards receiving and two more touchdowns (tied for third in the NFL with eight) to his ever-impressive 2004 totals in the 28-21 home loss to the Bears. Tiki now heads to the Valley of the Sun this week where the Cardinals D has been feisty and unwelcoming towards visitors.
3 SEA Shaun Alexander Alexander ran roughshod over host San Francisco carrying 26 times for a dominant 160 yards and two touchdowns. His 12 total touchdowns puts him a scant three behind Priest Holmes once unapproachable, NFL-leading 15 scores. St. Louis is his destination this Sunday, where the Lams defense has given up nine touchdowns on the ground and 4.6 yards per carry to opposing RBs.
4 IND Edgerrin James James submitted a solid but scoreless effort in Monday night’s Colts win over the Vikings with 123 yards on 26 carries and five catches for 56 yards. Indy hosts the Texans this Sunday and James could be in for another big yardage day but might be hard pressed to find the end zone as Houston is yielding 4.5 yards per carry but only three rushing scores to opponents.
5 SD LaDainian Tomlinson LT owners will be pinning all of their fantasy hopes on the Week 10 bye’s ability to rest Tomlinson’s problem groin so that the pattern of Drew Brees throwing four touchdowns per game and Jesse Chatman’s fourth quarter production thievery will stop in Week 11 and things can return to normal.
6 NYJ Curtis Martin As expected, Buffalo once again put the clamps on Martin for the second time this season, limiting him to 67 yards on 19 carries. The downward spiral should continue as Chad Pennington’s shoulder injury will keep him out 2 to 4 weeks allowing defenses, starting with Ray and the Ravens this Sunday, to put eight men up to box Martin in.
7 GB Ahman Green Green welcomes the Vikings to Lambeau Field after a full two weeks of rest for his aching Achilles. In his last game against Minnesota, he averaged 6.5 yards per carry, rushing for 137 yards on 21 carries to go along with five catches for 52 yards and a receiving touchdown.
8 NO Deuce McAllister McAllister put forth a yeoman’s effort in the Saints abysmal 43-17 loss in San Diego, rushing for 63 yards and a touchdown on only 16 carries but at the end of the day he was done in by Aaron Brooks and the rest of the Saints incompetent play on both sides of the ball. The fantasy panacea arrives in New Orleans on Sunday in the form of the Chiefs defense, which usually allows all opposing players to go home happy.
9 DEN Reuben Droughns Droughns heads into his bye this week on the heels of his fourth 100 yard game in his last five contests with 120 yards on 29 carries in the 31-13 victory over the Texans. In week 11, he should rumble over a Saints defense that’s in disarray.
10 TEN Chris Brown Brown has endured ankle, shoulder and toe injuries on his way to amassing 810 yards on 166 carries, which currently ranks him second in the AFC in rushing and all-purpose yards. He is now out of the walking boot that protected his turf toe injury thanks to the week nine bye and looks to launch a strong second half surge starting with visiting Chicago this week.

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

Climbing Up The Ladder

Domanick Davis (HOU) – Davis appears in the “Climbing Up” section for a second week in a row due to his strong performance in the Texans lopsided 31-13 loss in Denver last Sunday. His 71 yards on the ground on only 19 carries, coupled with two rushing touchdowns in a game where Houston was in catch up mode for most of the duration, is the kind of performance Davis owners are hoping to see more of as the fantasy playoff stretch approaches. He should continue to build upon his productive mojo with a trip to Indianapolis this week.

Michael Pittman (TB) – Pittman’s performance the last two weeks has him living up to his self-proclaimed “Black Superman” title tattoo on his bicep. He followed up his 164 total yards effort (109 rushing) and a touchdown against the Bears two weeks ago with a brilliant effort against the Chiefs last Sunday carrying only 15 times for 128 yards and three touchdowns, including a 78 yard blazer, propelling the Bucs to a stirring 34-31 victory. He travels to Atlanta this week where last season he flourished more as a receiver but now returns as a featured runner as well.

Clinton Portis (WAS) –As Mark Brunell and the Redskin passing attack became bogged down in typical Washington gridlock last Sunday in Detroit, Joe Gibbs turned to Portis and received a super stud response in the form of 33 carries for 147 yards and a 15 yard passing touchdown. The Skins host Cincinnati this week and the favorable matchup with a weak road team offers Portis a chance to regain Top 10 list consideration.

Corey Dillon (NE) – Dillon’s 25 carries for 112 yards and a touchdown in New England’s 40-22 road triumph marked his third consecutive 100 yard effort (also scoring three touchdowns), all Patriot wins. In New England’s only loss of the season, on the road in Pittsburgh, Dillon did not play due to injury. His 100 yard game streak will be tested against a stout Bills defense on Sunday night.

Sliding Back

Kevin Jones (DET) – Three weeks ago in Detroit’s 28-13 win at Giants Stadium, it appeared that Jones had his coming out party when he rushed for 65 yards on 13 carries and scored his first touchdown. Since that game, he’s averaged a meek 2.4 yards per carry and caught one touchdown in his last two games while carrying only 11.5 times per contest, despite numerous Steve Mariucci press conferences singing the rookie’s praises and repeating his desire to make Jones a bigger part of the offense. Jones faces another stiff challenge this week as the Lions head to Jacksonville.

Jamal Lewis (BAL) – Last season in Baltimore, Lewis rampaged through the Cleveland defense to the tune of 295 yards on 30 carries and two touchdowns. This year, in what was supposed to be his triumphant Sunday night return from a two game felony drug suspension handed down by league brass, Lewis under whelmed against a very similar Browns defense from last year with 81 yards on 22 carries and a single score. Jonathan Ogden’s inconsistent health and the distractions of pending prison time seemed to have taken a toll on the 245 pound bruiser.

Eddie George (DAL) – After just missing the 100 yard markin week eight’s home win over the Lions with 99 yards on 31 carries, many fantasy aficionados projected a rosy points output for George against the timid Bengals run defense in Cincinnati. Lesson learned as the nine year back sputtered for 23 yards on eight carries with no touchdowns.

Brad Hoover / Nick Goings / Joey Harris (CAR) – The Stephen Davis backup ensemble combined for a grand total of 30 rushing yards on 16 carries (1.88 yds per touch) in the 27-24 home loss to pathetic Oakland. John Fox, who has always featured a power running game as a staple in his offense, took little solace in Hoover and Goings registering receiving touchdowns in the losing effort.