Larry Johnson, Chiefs – Moving Up
Johnson met expectations against the Raiders in week seven, gaining 112 yards and a touchdown on 24 carries, while adding six receptions for 21 yards. It’s these kind of efforts, should they continue through the remainder of 2007, that will restore the luster to Johnson’s elite fantasy status.
Adrian Peterson, Vikings – Moving Up
Peterson, shackled by a limited passing attack, played well, totaling 63 yards and a touchdown on only 12 carries (and one reception for 12 yards) against a tough Dallas run defense in his Texas homecoming. A home game against Philadelphia in week eight holds high promise for his fantasy owners who must start him every week now.
Willis McGahee, Ravens – Moving Down
It’s been a disappointing season so far, but McGahee was able to successfully break out against his former team in week seven, rushing for 114 yards and a score on 19 carries, including an impressive 46-yard TD run. Unlike his favorable match up against a soft Buffalo run defense, his week eight challenge in Pittsburgh on Monday night should put a damper on his week seven excitement and bring McGahee owner’s back down to earth.
Marshawn Lynch, Bills – Moving Up
Lynch has been equally as impressive as Adrian Peterson in his rookie year, the difference being his offensive line lacks the quality of Minnesota’s and Buffalo’s schedule is arguably the most difficult in the NFL this year. Lynch faced another gritty defense in week seven and still managed 84 hard-fought yards and a touchdown to go along with three receptions for 14 yards, powering the Bills to a 19-14 upset over the visiting Ravens. Lynch should be licking his chops for this weekend’s slate against the woeful New York Jets in a rare favorable defensive match up in 2007.
Travis Henry, Broncos – Moving Down
Henry is clearly on his way down. His drug suspension appeal hearing creeps closer (November 5th), and he was limited to 51 yards rushing against Pittsburgh on Sunday night, while bruising his ribs during the game, making him a question mark for week eight. I knew there was a reason I passed on this guy in the early rounds of my drafts.
Marion Barber, Cowboys – Moving Up
Barber took another step forward as an NFL franchise back in week seven, grinding out 96 yards and a touchdown from 19 carries against one of the league’s top run stopping defenses, the Minnesota Vikings. Add four receptions in PPR leagues and you have a really nice day in FFL. Barber rests his delightfully violent running style this week during the Cowboys bye and will face the hated Philadelphia Eagles in week nine.
Clinton Portis, Redskins – Moving Up
By virtue of his two touchdowns against the Cardinals last week and the handful of running backs in front of him on this list being stuck in neutral, Portis climbs a few rungs before week eight’s game against the Patriots. A trip to New England should throw cold water on Portis’ brief success and send him scrambling for one of his goofy costumes to hide his identity on his departing trip from New England.
Brandon Jacobs, Giants – Moving Up
Big Fella has a head of steam heading up to jolly, ol’ England to face the awful Dolphins in week eight after bowling over the 49ers defense with 107 yards rushing and a touchdown on 18 carries, while also showing soft mitts in catching three passes for 16 yards. With the Giants defense playing so well, Jacobs is optimizing his 264 pound frame and wearing down opposing defenses who have been on the field too long. A perfect combination for Jacobs owners and Giants fans alike.
Rudi Johnson, Bengals – Moving Down
Inactive in two of his last three games due to a hamstring injury, Johnson is watching Kenny Watson turn into a star in his place. With the Bengals bye week already passed, Johnson will face an uphill struggle in his recovery the rest of the year.
Shaun Alexander, Seattle – Moving Down
Looking at Seattle’s 33-6 win over the Rams in week seven, one would assume that Alexander had a healthy stat line, as was typical in recent seasons. Not so. The once mighty Alexander the Great managed only 47 yards on 19 carries and NO touchdowns. The flat line seemed to occur so quickly with this guy.
Kenny Watson, Bengals – Moving Up
Watson manufactured a breakout game in fueling the Bengals 38-31 come back win over the Jets. Rudi Johnson’s backup earned top honors for week seven by rushing for 130 yards and three scores on 31 carries. His impressive play has afforded the Bengals the luxury of not rushing Rudi Johnson back from the hamstring injury, as well as demanded a bigger place at the table once Johnson returns to full-time status.
Lendale White, Titans – Moving Up
In week seven, White performed as the workhorse that Titans brass had originally envisioned when they first drafted him, carrying 27 times for 104 yards and a touchdown, while nabbing four balls for 22 yards in Tennessee’s thrilling 38-36 win over the Texans. Rookie Chris Henry was a distant second with 11 carries, solidifying White as the Titans full-time back, at least for the time being.
Kevin Jones, Lions – Moving Up
Based on past experiences, Jones would be the last back that I would envision pulling off this back-from-the-dead Lazarus act. The much-maligned, often-injured ball carrier impressed with 76 yards and a touchdown on the ground and another six receptions for 34 yards, making him a sneaky lineup contributor to those teams who exhibited the patience to hold onto him through the plentiful lean times.
Earnest Graham, Buccaneers – Moving Up
Graham had a statement game against Detroit in week seven, staking his claim to the starting job with 92 yards on 19 carries and a whopping 13 receptions for 99 yards in the Buccaneers 23-16 road loss. If Graham can come close to a repeat of this performance against the nasty Jaguars defensive front seven in week eight, the waiver wire frenzy will ensue.
Ronnie Brown, Dolphins – Moving Down (and Out)
Abrupt ending to a compelling fantasy football story as Brown tore up his knee in the midst of the Dolphins humiliating 49-28 defeat to New England last Sunday. Despite the lopsided score, Brown continued to shine, rushing for 76 yards and catching five passes for 33 yards before exiting with the injury. A jumbled mess of Jesse Chatman, Patrick Cobbs and Lorenzo Booker is set to replace him, leaving Brown’s fantasy owners in a RBBC pickle for the rest of the season.