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Running Backs Movin' Up - Week 8
Tim Van Prooyen
October 27, 2009
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Quarterbacks  |  Running Backs  |  Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

Movin’ Up

Breakdown:  These are guys who are on the rise, moving up from where they’ve been over the first few weeks of the season.  They may or may not be on a roster, but likely are, and may even be starting here and there.   They are listed here because circumstances are favorable for them to move up in their overall ‘stature’ from a fantasy standpoint.  With bye weeks now in season, these are guys who can help you in the coming week, and sometimes beyond!

Frank Gore (SFO) – Gore didn’t have a very good return outing, but that was partially due to playing a very solid run defense.  It may take a little bit for Gore to return to his regular numbers, but he is back and on the field, something owners who drafted him in the first round this year are happy to hear.  Indy is on the schedule this week, and if the Niners can keep it close Gore should get a decent amount of action to put up a solid day fantasy speaking.  He will, however, also continue to share some time with Glenn Coffee, who seemed reasonably up to the task as the starter for a couple of weeks.

Shonn Greene (NYJ) – It is never good to see someone get hurt the way Leon Washington did this weekend, but with the injury came opportunity for Greene, who made the absolute best of it.  His 144 yards and two touchdown outing was a huge statement, announcing to the league that he is capable of very big things in the NFL.  The Jets now have no option but to put him on the field and while he’ll still split time with Thomas Jones, it would be logical to think that Greene will start getting a few more carries a game more than Jones as the team continues its youth movement at the skill positions.

Ricky Williams (MIA) – I’m not sure there’s another team out there that could do it effectively, but the Dolphins have figured out how to use Ricky Williams, at age 32, very successfully.  He’s on pace for over 1,000 yards and 13 touchdowns, and that is in a time sharing roll with Ronnie Brown.  His schedule going forward isn’t a cakewalk, but the Dolphins seem to be getting it done against just about everyone, so there’s not a lot of reason to think his success will dissipate soon.  It still wouldn’t be wise to hold on to him in a keeper league, running backs over thirty are too risky for that, but he’s a must start every week this season barring injury. 

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.

Jason Snelling (ATL) – Snelling is gradually and quietly increasing his productivity each week over the past month, and has pretty much cemented himself as Michael Turner’s primary back up over Jerious Norwood.  While he’s not a great option to start most weeks, this week sees Clinton Portis, Cadillac Williams, Derrick Ward, Kevin Faulk, Laurence Maroney, Rashard Mendenhall, Willie Parker, Larry Johnson and Cedric Benson all on a bye, so many owners will be scrambling for a running back to simply put in the roster that has any kind of upside, and Snelling fits that bill to a ‘T’.  The Falcons play the Saints on the road, so it should be a fairly high scoring game, and a division game that the Falcons really need to win, so they’ll be pulling out all the stops, meaning possibly more touches for Snelling.  A good start if you need help this week, and a must grab if you own Michael Turner.

Mike Bell (NOS) – Bell was making a case to be the lead running back for the Saints prior to his injury a couple of weeks ago.  He’s back now and looks to be getting his legs back under him, and he’s again looking to be the best back on the team.  Of course, the Saints aren’t going to become a one back team any time soon, but Bell appears to be whom the team is most comfortable with at the goal-line, a good thing for fantasy owners regardless of the scoring system you’re in.  If he’s been residing on your bench, it’s time to activate him.  If he was dropped when he got hurt…grab him now if you can.

Beanie Wells (ARI) – Wells hasn’t done much for most of the season, but had a fairly good outing on Sunday.  While it will continue to earning him playing time, his fumbling problems persist and for the moment are keeping him in the back up roll.  However, the split time setup that the team planned to use from the get go this year seems to be developing, a little late, but developing nonetheless.  The Cardinals have a few decent match ups coming in the next few weeks that should offer up plenty of opportunities for both Hightower and Wells to have solid outings.  With two more weeks remaining with six teams on bye, running backs will be at a premium, so Wells’ skyrockets at least for that period, and if he gets the right opportunity he may be a must start in the weeks after that as well.  Make sure he’s on your roster and in your lineup at least in the short term.

…And On The Slide – Quick Hits

Breakdown:  With the season in full swing and bye weeks about to begin, we felt it time to add a bit of the ‘flip side’ to our movers review.  These are guys who are relatively well known, but whose stock is most definitely not moving in the right direction – with just a quick hit as to my personal thoughts on the matter.

Matt Forte (CHI) – There isn’t too much to like about Forte right now and no clear explanation as to why, other than the sophomore slump.  The same back that ran for over twelve-hundred yards and twelve touchdowns last year has just over three hundred yards and only one touchdown so far this season through six games.  There was hope that his early struggles were just due to the change in quarterback and the adjustments that were taking place, but it has become a nasty trend now and one that has a lot of fantasy owners livid.  Forte’s average draft position was four…over all…not a spot you want to see struggling as he is this deep into the season.  He’s not a bench candidate by any means, he’s still one of the few backs in the league that has the job all to himself, but he’s definitely not going to carry a team anytime soon.

Tashard Choice (DAL) – Regardless of what Jerry Jones says, the data is in, and the fact is that when Felix Jones and Marion Barber are both healthy and playing, Choice becomes little more than bench fodder.   He’s great to keep on a roster if you can afford the spot, just to have him ready in case one of the other two experience another of their regularly occurring injuries and has to miss some time.  Meanwhile, he’s really not worth having on your starting lineup unless you’re desperate because of byes.

Michael Bush (OAK) – Michael Bush seems to be in the doghouse again and his wave may have crested.  With Darren McFadden starting to get healthy and eyeing a return in another week or two, Justin Fargas has taken the lead and Bush is being pushed to the background.  You may have to start Bush this week because of so many teams on bye, but if you don’t have to, don’t…he’s not going to do much against San Diego in a limited role.

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