Warrick Dunn, Buccaneers - In the week prior to the Buccaneers visit to Detroit, featured back Ernest Graham was declared out for the season due to injury, handing the starting assignment to the venerable veteran Dunn who, once again, proved he’s a gamer, delivering on expectations with 90 yards rushing and a touchdown while also adding 37 yards on five catches in the Buccaneers 38-20 win over the Lions to contribute a meaningful day to fantasy owners who needed an appropriate second running back production.
Marshawn Lynch, Bills - Last two games, Lynch has given opponents an ample helping of “Beast-Mode”, a self-appointed description of when the second-year back inflicts his will on the defense trying to stop him. Partly fueled by Trent Edwards long-ball hang-ups that started in the Monday Night game against Cleveland two weeks ago, Lynch has been on a production tear, both as a runner and receiver, and that continued this week in Buffalo’s 54-31 dismantling of Kansas City, carrying 25 times for 79 yards and a touchdown and 25 more on five receptions.
Matt Forte, Bears - Running backs rise on rankings list when they receive a favorable match-up and squeeze every ounce possible out of it and that’s exactly what Forte did this week against the hospitable St. Louis Rams defense, carrying 20 times for 132 yards and two touchdowns. It’s was a veteran running back performance from the rookie from Tulane, and the resulting double-digit scoring output in fantasy contests provided the difference between winning and losing in this past weekend’s contests.
Darren McFadden, Raiders - Who would have thought McFadden’s reappearance on the fantasy radar screen would be as a short-yardage, goal line back, but that’s what his long-awaited return to action translated to when Oakland put a surprise 31-10 beating on the favored Broncos. A pair of one-yard touchdown runs by McFadden after backfield mate Justin Fargas (24 carries for 107 yards) did the heavy lifting in between the 20’s will satisfy any point-starved fantasy owners looking for help as playoff weeks approach. Forget about style points, McFadden owners who’ve waited patiently all season for signs of life finally got some in week twelve.
Michael Turner, Falcons - Though this year has been a verifiable success for those that chose Michael Turner in the top third of their fantasy drafts, Turner had been pigeon-holed as somewhat of an opportunist, only producing great games against soft defenses when the Falcons played at home. Turner showed us in week twelve that he can be much more, providing the engine to the upstart Falcons 45-28 statement win over the division-leading Carolina Panthers. In one of the more impressive outings by a running back this season, “Burner” dropped 24 carries for 117 yards and FOUR touchdowns over what was considered one of the better defenses in the league.
Derrick Ward, Giants - Brandon Jacobs highly productive understudy finally got his chance to shine against the Arizona Cardinals when Jacobs was a surprise scratch from the late afternoon contest. Ward was good, not great, in the start, gaining 69 yards rushing and a touchdown with 30 receiving (on four catches) in the Giants highly-contested 37-29 road win.
Maurice Morris, Seahawks - Now with starter Matt Hasselbeck providing some semblance of a passing attack in the Seahawks offense, perhaps Morris has a chance to produce more games like he did last Sunday against the Redskins. The seven-year veteran produced an unlikely, based on how this season has gone, stat line of 14 carries for 103 yards on the ground and 10 yards and a touchdown as a receiver in the Seahawks 20-17 defeat at the hands of the visiting Redskins. No guarantees, of course.
Jamal Lewis, Browns - With his team and rookie quarterback (Brady Quinn) desperately needing him to step up his game and put the Browns offense on his back, Lewis has not been up for the challenge. For a No.1 fantasy back, it doesn’t get more promising than a home game against the Texans …..10 carries for 58 yards and no touchdowns (check the last few weeks too)
LenDale White, Titans - Granted, the New York Jets run defense has become one of the best in the league, but one carry for -1 yards in the Titans 34-13 home loss to the New York Jets, their first defeat of the season, is kind of inexcusable. It’s the type of performance that takes a large bite out of a fantasy owner’s trust in a player when filling out their lineup. White has been persona non grata in the yardage department thanks to talented rookie Chris Johnson, and in the touchdown department, which has been White’s domain all season, he has registered just one score in the last four games.