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Player Trends Report - Running Backs - Week 8
Michael Courter
October 21, 2008
Quarterbacks  |  Running Backs  |  Receivers
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RISING

LenDale White, Titans - With super-fast rookie Chris Johnson’s rise to prominence within the Titans offense, it was first thought that veteran big back LenDale White would suffer in lost touches and production.  But the doughboy-shaped veteran has defied the odds and found a job-preserving role as a power back complement to the explosive rookie.  White provided plenty of body-blow’s to the Kansas City defense in the Titans 34-10 pounding of the Chiefs in Arrowhead, piling up 149 yards rushing and three touchdowns, including an unlikely 80-yard scoring burst.  And it wasn’t as if starter Chris Johnson took a back seat, further gashing the pathetic Chiefs with 168 yards rushing and a 66-yard score on only 18 carries.

Ryan Grant, Packers - Grant fantasy owners had to be tickled watching their 2008 first round pick finally look like he did in 2007, notching 105 yards and a score on 31 carries in the Packers 34-14 home win over Indianapolis.  If Grant is truly past the hamstring injury that has plagued him since the beginning of the season, the fantasy future is bright for the remainder of the year, especially since the passing game seems to have stabilized under Aaron Rodgers, and there’s a lot less uncertainty about his long-term success replacing Brett Favre.

Stephen Jackson, Rams - Interim coach Jim Haslet has breathed new life into this struggling Rams franchise, who looked lost in the weeks prior to Haslet taking over two games ago. The Rams now boast a two-game winning streak (quality wins over vaunted NFC East opponents- Redskins and Cowboys), impossible to imagine a month ago, and suddenly Stephen Jackson’s flagging ffl profile is now back, and rising fast.  The Edward Jones Dome partied like it was 1999 last Sunday as the Rams administered a beating on the now-struggling Cowboys, 34-14, largely due to Jackson’s 160 yards and three touchdowns on the ground.  Like the rest of the Rams offense, Jackson has recaptured his swagger and his fantasy owners can breathe a lot easier moving forward.

Dominic Rhodes, Colts - Despite the Colts being on the wrong end of 34-14 loss in Lambeau last Sunday, Rhodes continued to be highly effective as a scorer, registering two rushing touchdowns to go with 114 total yards (73 rushing, 41 receiving).  After scoring a touchdown last week in his first game replacing the injured Joseph Addai, Rhodes has now established himself as a very capable fill in over the next few weeks while Addai’s hamstring heals.

FALLING

LaDainian Tomlinson, Chargers - It just feels like its never going to happen this year for LT and his fantasy owners.  Last Sunday’s 23-14 road loss to the Buffalo Bills was like most weeks this year, another barely noticeable outing by the back that used to electrify the fantasy football world.  After Tomlinson’s 41 yards rushing (on 14 carries) and 26 yards receiving and no scores  against a Bills defense missing several key contributor’s, owner’s with RB depth and the courage of their conviction have to consider using other options in that lineup spot, at least until Tomlinson can demonstrate that he is completely over the sore big toe, which will likely not happen this year.

Reggie Bush, Saints - The week before the 30-7 road loss to the Carolina Panthers, Saints head coach Sean Payton kept Bush out of most practices after revealing that his somewhat troublesome knee had a recurrence of swelling, but insisted Bush would receive his normal Sunday workload come game-time.  This is never good.  When a player doesn’t get a decent week of practice in, they usually don’t fare that well during the game, and lo and behold, Bush further injures his knee during the game (a meniscus tear).  It’s already been projected that he will miss three to four weeks, running backs Deuce McAllister and Aaron Stecker will fill the void in Reggie’s absence.

Ronnie Brown, Dolphins - I know Baltimore is one of the more challenging run defenses that Brown will see this season, but the former Auburn product, whose shown flashes of dominance this year, came up particularly small in the Dolphins 27-13 loss, gaining only 27 yards on 13 carries, while being less effective on the ground than his aging quarterback, Chad Pennington, who finished with 25 yards on four carries.

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