If you started either Arian Foster or Peyton Hillis last week, then congrats! Both running backs put up huge numbers as Foster ran for 127 and two touchdowns against the formerly tough San Diego run defense while Hillis bowled over the Patriots with 184 yards and two touchdowns. Other big performances came from:
Michael Turner (ATL) had a very solid day after rushing for 107 yards on 24 carries. He helped put the Falcons up early against the Buccaneers with two scores in the first half, and was the only other player besides Foster and Hillis to top 100 yards in Week 9.
Rashard Mendenhall (PIT) did plenty of damage on his 22 carries against the Bengals as he rushed for 99 yards and a touchdown. Mendenhall is a big reason why the Steelers are atop the AFC North.
Ray Rice (BAL) had the receiving game of his life after catching seven passes for 97 yards; he also ran for 83 yards on 22 carries in a 26-10 win over the Dolphins.
Some players who didn’t live up to their Week 9 expectations include:
LeGarrette Blount (TB) gave fantasy owners a letdown (13 car., 46 yds.) after coming into the Atlanta game with a lot of hype. Blount only received one carry in the first half because the Buccaneers were trying to exploit the Falcons weak pass defense.
Matt Forte (CHI) couldn’t even run the ball against the Bills’ awful rushing defense as he gained just 49 yards on 14 carries.
Fred Jackson (BUF) is in danger of relinquishing his job to rookie C.J. Spiller after gaining just 16 yards on eight carries against the Bears.
Let’s move away from the negative and talk about five running backs that are must-starts in Week 10.
Cedric Benson @ Indianapolis – Benson moves from the Sit ‘Em list to the Start ‘Em list this week since he faces the 29th ranked defense of the Indianapolis Colts (allowing 140.9 rushing YPG). The Colts should be a welcome sight after Benson ran for a solid 54 yards and a touchdown against the Steelers’ first ranked run defense (allowing 58.2 rushing YPG). Start him for sure this week!
LeGarrette Blount vs. Carolina – Yea I know…Blount was mentioned in the disappointing performances from last week, but it wasn’t his fault. As mentioned before, the Bucs went with a pass-heavy attack in the first half that included plenty of Cadillac Williams on the field. But as soon as Tampa Bay went to the run in the second half, Blount was the guy carrying the ball. If it wasn’t for a monumental effort by the Atlanta defense to stop Blount near the goal line on fourth-and-one, he would’ve scored a touchdown and padded his stats. As it stands, Blount should get at least 20 carries against the Carolina Panthers’ 25th ranked run defense (allowing 124.8 rushing YPG) so he’s a must start.
Ahmad Bradshaw vs. Cowboys – Bradshaw makes his second appearance in a row on the Start ‘Em list since he is facing the sinking Cowboys’ 24th ranked run defense (allowing 123.9 YPG). Expect Bradshaw to continue his string of strong performances against the Cowboys by topping the 100-yard mark.
Arian Foster @ Jacksonville – Arian Foster is on the fast track to becoming one of those no-brainer starts at running back. Last week, he shredded the fifth ranked Chargers run defense for 197 total yards and two touchdowns. This week he’s served up a much softer 22nd ranked Jaguars defense (allowing 119.1 rushing YPG). If you have Foster, you’re sitting pretty good going into Week 10.
Rashard Mendenhall vs. New England – After getting run over by Peyton Hillis and the Browns last week, there is no sign of relief for the Patriots as they face Mendenhall on the road this week. Mendenhall should get at least 25 touches, and easily rush for 100 yards or more against the 21st ranked Patriots run defense (allowing 117.6 rushing YPG).
Knowshon Moreno vs. Kansas City – Instead of talking about Moreno this year, people are talking about what a stupid move the Broncos made by trading away RB Peyton Hillis; this certainly isn’t a good sign for Moreno! Neither is the fact that he’s only gained 141 yards on 37 carries since returning from injury. Don’t expect him to break out of this funk against the ninth ranked Chiefs rush defense (allowing 98.4 rushing YPG).
Danny Woodhead @ Pittsburgh – Danny Woodhead is the most dangerous backfield threat for the Patriots from a receiving and rushing standpoint. Unfortunately, this means that he’ll be targeted by the imposing Steelers run defense all game. And just about any running back that goes against the Steelers defense is going to wind up on the Sit ‘Em list.
Matt Forte vs. Minnesota – As mentioned at the beginning of this article, Forte couldn’t even gain more than 50 yards against the league’s worst run defense. So how does Forte’s chances against the Vikings seventh ranked run defense look? Not very good at this point.
Adrian Peterson @ Chicago – It’s easy to pick on the Danny Woodheads and Matt Fortes of the world so here’s to going out on a limb: you should think about sitting Peterson against the Bears’ third ranked rushing defense. Most teams have been much more apt to pass against the Bears, and they are allowing just 83.9 YPG to opposing rushers. Plus Soldier Field isn’t the easiest place for visiting running backs to play at. Of course, if you don’t have an abundance of running backs, you are probably going to have to play Peterson regardless since he’s one of the NFL’s top three running backs.
Peyton Hillis vs. New York Jets – Sitting Hillis against the Jets isn’t as gutsy of a call as Peterson, but it’s still not easy coming off a 184-yard rushing performance. However, Hillis has been hit or miss all season after taking over the full-time running back duties in Week 3 for the Browns. And the misses (28 yards against ATL, 41 yards against PIT) have been ugly! Expect another swing and a miss for Hillis against the Jets’ staunch run defense (allowing 87.4 rushing YPG).