All of the hours spent searching for sleeper picks, researching lineups and staring at fantasy advice has come down to this.....championship week! And hopefully you're reading this because you are in the championship, and not just battling for third or fifth place. But no matter what you're playing for, hopefully this week's list of running backs to sit/start carries you to victory.
Arian Foster @ Denver: A string of excellent games for Foster finally came to a screeching halt last week against Tennessee when he was held to just 15 yards on 11 carries (he did add 46 rec. yards). But Foster is almost a guarantee to bounce back this week since he faces the struggling Broncos run defense. In fact, the Broncos have nearly caught up to Buffalo in terms of horrendousness as they are now giving up 158.4 rushing YPG. Foster should score at least once and rush for anywhere between 125 and 150 yards.
Darren McFadden vs. Indianapolis: McFadden has had a revival over the last few games after rushing for 339 yards and three touchdowns. His revival will reach a peak against a Colts team that is ranked 28th against the run and giving up 4.7 yards per carry. They are also giving up 24.4 points per game, which means McFadden has a good chance to get into the end zone.
Maurice Jones-Drew vs. Washington: The top three running backs this week are pretty clear-cut choices as Jones-Drew faces a reeling Redskins team that is giving up 134.4 rushing YPG and allowing opposing running backs to rush for 4.8 yards per carry. The Skins are also allowing 24.5 points per game, so it's a safe bet that Jones-Drew will score a TD this week as the Jaguars battle for a playoff spot.
Rashard Mendenhall vs. Carolina: The Steelers can pick any way they want to beat the Panthers, but you can bet that the running game will play a heavy part in the Pittsburgh attack; Carolina is ranked 23rd against the run and they're giving up 25 points per game. And Mendenhall will be the big beneficiary of the Steelers sticking with the run this week.
LeGarrette Blount vs. Seattle: Blount has ran for 747 yards and five touchdowns in the last nine games, and has a shot at a 1,000-yard season. Blount should close the gap towards 1,000 yards after he's done with the Seahawks and their 21st ranked run defense (giving up 117.7 YPG).
Peyton Hillis vs. Baltimore: Hillis has had an excellent season after topping 1,100 yards with two games remaining. Hillis also ran for 144 yards on Baltimore earlier this season in a breakout performance. But this week, you can be sure that the Ravens and their improved run defense (giving up 93.6 rushing YPG) will be ready for Hillis.
Cedric Benson vs. San Diego: Congratulations to Benson for topping the 1,000-yard mark after rushing for 150 yards last week against the Browns. The celebration will be short for Benson though when the Chargers bring their second ranked rushing defense into town (allowing 89.2 rushing YPG). The Chargers are battling for their playoff lives, and they're not going to let Benson stand in their way.
Matt Forte vs. New York Jets: Forte is another casualty of running into a tough run defense (Jets are allowing 92.7 rushing YPG) when teams are fighting for the playoffs. New York-Chicago should be a very good game, but it won't be Forte keeping things close.
Jonathan Stewart @ Pittsburgh: Just when people thought Stewart was done after an injury-plagued season, he came back with 450 yards over the past four games. Unfortunately, the feel-good story for Stewart is going to hit a roadblock as he travels into the teeth of a defense that's giving up just 63.2 rushing YPG.
LaDanian Tomlinson @ Chicago: If you're stuck with Tomlinson as a starter this week, sorry about your luck. Tomlinson continues his free fall as he's still splitting carries with Shonne Green and hasn't rushed for over 57 yards since Week 5. Oh yea...he faces Chicago this week too (allowing 89.8 rushing YPG).