Last week I put it all on the line by recommending that fantasy owners bench Adrian Peterson against the Bears (assuming they had other strong running backs with good matchups). Needless to say, plenty of insults were sent my way (“stupid” and “idiot” are a couple that I remember). Thanks to the Bears defense, it didn’t turn out to be such a bad call; Peterson had just 51 yards on 17 carries along with four catches for 24 yards.
In any case, I’ll be sticking to more conservative calls this time around since Week 11 looks to be a little more cut-and-dried. And this is a big change considering Week 10 was anything but cut-and-dried since a lot of backups outscored their starting backfield mates. Here’s a look at some of the stat oddities in Week 10:
- Atlanta’s Jason Snelling (3 car., 11 yds.) caught six passes for 56 yards and a TD to outscore Michael Turner (17 car., 39 yds.) by almost 10 points (more than 10 points in PPR leagues).
- In a big surprise, Pittsburgh’s Melwelde Moore (4 car., 14 yds.) caught five passes for 79 yards to put up more points than Rashard Mendenhall (11 car., 50 yds.).
It will be interesting to see if any more backups step up like this in Week 11. If so, you’d better hope that you don’t own the starter ahead of them!
Jamaal Charles vs. Arizona – The situation between Charles and teammate Thomas Jones is always difficult to figure out since the carries go back and forth. But last week, the Chiefs fell behind early, and they relied on the receiving talents and explosiveness that Charles brings to the table. Charles only had 14 carries for 41 yards, but he did add five catches for 80 yards and a touchdown. Don’t expect him to play as big of a part in the receiving game this week against Arizona; however, you should expect him to triple his rushing total against the Cardinals’ 28th ranked run defense.
Cedric Benson vs. Buffalo – Benson played poorly against the Colts porous run defense as he gained just 24 yards on 14 carries and lost a fumble. But he has one thing going for him this week – Buffalo’s run defense is twice as bad as the Colts (ranked last, allowing 166.9 rushing YPG). And don’t let what Buffalo did to rookie Jahvid Best (17 car., 35 yds.) scare you away from using Benson this week, who just so happens to be in a contract year.
Peyton Hillis @ Jacksonville – Hillis played well against an excellent Jets run defense after gaining 82 yards and scoring a touchdown on 19 carries. This week he has a much easier task against the Jacksonville Jaguars since they’re ranked 19th in rushing defense (allowing 115 YPG). Expect another solid game from Hillis this week along with a score.
Rashard Mendenhall vs. Oakland – After falling behind early to the New England Patriots, the Steelers abandoned the run game. This certainly hurt Mendenhall’s productivity because, as mentioned earlier, he got outscored by his backup. Don’t expect the Steelers to fall behind against Oakland though, and they should lean on Mendenhall quite a bit more this week.
Felix Jones vs. Detroit – If you’re not overloaded with stud running backs, Jones is a good start this week. He’s coming off of a good game against the shell-shocked New York Giants (51 rushing yds., 71 rec. yds., 1 TD), and he plays the Lions’ 30th ranked run defense this week (allowing 130.4 rushing YPG). It’s a good bet that Jones will get in the end zone again this week in addition to piling up some yardage.
Darren McFadden @ Pittsburgh – Nothing against McFadden, who is having an excellent year, but he’s going against a nasty Pittsburgh run defense. Sure they got shredded by Tom Brady and the Patriots last week, but that was through the air. They still stand pat in the run department (1st in the NFL, allowing 63.2 YPG), and those numbers don’t look to waver against McFadden and the Raiders.
Jahvid Best @ Dallas – After gaining just 35 yards against the horrid Bills defense, Best has truly hit the rookie wall. In fact, Best has failed to gain 50 rushing yards in his last four games. And while the receiving yards are there, Best’s receiving stats aren’t enough to counteract his lack of rushing productivity. Sit Best until he breaks out of this funk…..assuming he ever does this season.
Fred Jackson @ Cincinnati – Congratulations to Fred Jackson who torched the Lions for 170 total yards and two touchdowns last week in the Bills’ first win of the season. But before you go jumping on the Fred Jackson bandwagon, keep in mind that he was averaging just 64 total YPG before last week. And while the Bengals’ run defense isn’t stellar (allowing 116 rushing YPG), it’s good enough to shut down Jackson.
LaDainian Tomlinson vs. Houston – After a great first five games to open the season, Tomlinson has been pretty quiet and is back into a timeshare role with Shonn Greene. In fact, Tomlinson hasn’t gained over 57 rushing yards in the past four games. Considering the fact that most teams choose to attack the Texans through the air (allowing a league worst 301.3 passing YPG), don’t expect Tomlinson to get any more than 12-15 carries this week.
Thomas Jones vs. Arizona – As much as I want to suggest starting Jones this week against the Cardinals (allowing 132.4 rushing YPG), I want to sit him even more. He has just 35 yards on 19 carries over the past two games, and it finally looks like the Cardinals are giving the keys to Jamaal Charles. Sure Jones will get some carries this week, but if you have other decent options at running back, use them.