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Running Backs Movin' Up - Week 3
Tim Van Prooyen
September 22, 2009
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Quarterbacks  |  Running Backs  |  Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

Backups Movin’ Up

Breakdown:  These are guys who are likely on rosters, but are on the bench for the most part unless in deep leagues.  Circumstances are favorable for them to move into the starting lineup for your fantasy team, at least for the coming week.

Willis McGehee (BAL) – McGehee suffered what very well may have been one of the greatest single season drops from draft day to draft day I’ve ever witnessed.  In some leagues he wasn’t even drafted.  The reasons varied, but for the most part it was because of the basic believe that Ray Rice was going to take over as the primary back and that Le’Ron McClain would grab a bunch of goal line and change of pace work.  Both backs have been active, but it has been McGehee who has been the headline grabber.  He’s rushed only twenty-five times in two games, but has three touchdowns (plus another receiving) and is averaging over five yards per carry.  The team has opened up its passing game significantly over last year and it is having quite an impact.  McGehee should be in all starting lineups.

Correll Buckhalter (DEN) – Popular thought was that Buckhalter would only keep the spot warm for the hotshot rookie for a week.  What is becoming clear is that the team is going to use the two backs in a bit of a rotation.  Of course, CB isn’t going to get the bulk of the carries, but he’s going to get in enough to have solid fantasy value.  These days, backs that are on the field for any significant time are of high value, and he fits the bill.  With the passing game finally settling down a bit and finding itself, look for the running game to get more and more effective, helping both CB and Moreno.  With bye weeks around the corner, grab him if he’s available to solidify your bench and give you an edge when the stars are taking a week off.

Ahmad Bradshaw (NYG) – Bradshaw was drafted in most deep leagues as primarily Brandon Jacobs insurance.  This remains his primary role, but his use so far this season has been significant – especially when compared to some big name backs who have under produced so far.  Backs like Steve Slaton, Willie Parker, and Matt Forte (just to name a few) have put up lesser stats than Bradshaw after two games.  It is unlikely that this last fact will stay that way for too many more games, but when added to the usual Jacobs worries, Bradshaw becomes a very enticing option.  The Giants bye week is late this year, so Bradshaw gains value next week as bye weeks begin.  If he’s still available, grab him now.  If you have him and you’re ‘studs’ aren’t playing the part, look at the situation and matchups and consider a start against Tampa Bay this week.

Pierre Thomas (NOS) – Biggest fantasy football bust of the year?  We’ll begin to get a feel for that this week as Thomas will likely get the start with the resurgent Mike Bell sidelined for at least a week.  Thomas’ average draft position this year was the ninth pick of the third round, or the thirty-second pick.  He was drafted as high as the second round, but not lower than the fourth round with little exception.  Sure, he was a little banged up, but to have no points in two weeks even after seeing a play or two is a bit worrisome.  Thomas is a must start this week, simply due to his start with Bell on the shelf.  Will one week tell the tale, no, but it will give owners a pretty good feel on how to proceed with Thomas going forward.

Waiver Wire Radar

Breakdown:  These are guys who more than likely are not residing on many, if any, rosters.  They are in situations that are favorable for possible fantasy impact in the not too distant future.

Justin Forsett (SEA) – Julius Jones had a nice week last week, but he isn’t likely to ever become a true number one back, he’s had too many opportunities and has yet to really come through.  Edgerrin James, brought in to primarily be a goal-line back, doesn’t bring much to the table at this point in his career.  Enter Forsett.  The team has increased his usage two weeks in a row, and he’s been used in the passing game with success.  He is on a track to be the possible starter by midseason or before, but even if he isn’t, he’s going to be heavily active in the offense in Seattle.  This is the week to grab him, because in a couple of weeks he won’t be found on many free agent lists in fantasy land.  While no reports are forthcoming at the time of this writing, there are appearances that Jones may be banged up, and if so, this would increase Forsett’s upside even more.  This only solidifies that he should be on your roster, if not your starting lineup.

Adrian Peterson (CHI) – I put this AP on here for two reasons.  First, to get you to do a double take…which I’m betting worked like a charm.  Second, because of what I read on a report from the game this weekend.  A rapid report from CBS Sportsline said “the hero of the game-tying drive was Adrian Peterson. The Bears RB came off the bench to replace ineffective Matt Forte and gained 16 yards rushing and 13 receiving in the 97-yard, 5:55 drive.”  Now, I must say first that there are few who are bigger Matt Forte fans than me.  In fact, in one league I had the first pick and, while it’s hard to admit at the moment, took Matt Forte over the other AP.  (Forte outscored AP last year by over forty points in that league thanks primarily to PPR…so it was logical.)  So, when I see a report like that, after I drafted Forte in almost every league, I get contemplative.  Peterson has had a few very nice starting stints with Chicago, but has never been able to claim the job.  However, the fact is, Forte has done nothing at all in two weeks, which could be cause for concern.  However, we’ll chalk it up to games against Green Bay and Pittsburgh – two good defenses.  With Seattle and Detroit coming up the next two weeks, Forte should be primed for break out games – but while doing so, it would be very much within the realm of expectations that the ‘other’ AP – from Chicago – would get a good bit of mop up time.  This makes him extremely valuable in week four especially, when Michael Turner, Brian Westbrook and DeAngelo Williams are all on bye and Chicago is facing the Lions.  Yup…grab him now, if nothing else it’s nice insurance for Forte owners.

Tashard Choice (DAL) – Choice hasn’t done much at all this year…yet.  Marion Barber is banged up and had an MRI on his quad on Monday, so we won’t know his status for a day or two, but we know that Barber has had a bit of an issue missing a game or two here or there due to minor injuries.  In those cases last season Choice was able to be quite effective when given the chance.  Even with Felix Jones in the mix, Choice should be on someone’s roster, but the fact is he probably isn’t in most leagues.  The time to grab him is now, not when it is confirmed that Barber will be out for any length of time.

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