As a whole, last week was a surprising one as Chris Johnson was the only preseason marquee name to be in the top 5 list at week’s end. The rest of the top 5 was filled by:
Arian Foster (HOU) didn't gain all that many yards, but his two touchdowns kept owners happy. This week, Foster has a bye, but the Texans get Indianapolis in week 8, a team he obliterated earlier this year. You lucky owners out there, prepared to be ecstatic.
LaDanian Tomlinson (NYJ) continued his return party last week with two more touchdowns. Shonn Greene will continue to fade into the background when the Jets face the Packers and their mediocre run defense in week 8, following their bye this week.
Chris Ivory (NO) exploded, just as I foresaw in my week 5 column. Who knows how long this flash-in-the-pan will sizzle, but you've got to like the matchup against the Browns this weekend.
Ryan Torain (WAS) was stellar against Indianapolis last week, but I give you my pessimistic expectations for this week later in the post.
All these guys made experts out of the savvy owners who started them. At the same time, Michael Turner, Jahvid Best and several other highly touted players made fools out of their owners.
If you want to be the one bragging come this Monday and Tuesday, read on. We’ll begin with whom you should start in Week 7:
|Marshawn Lynch @ ARI
||Lynch only netted 44 yards last week, but he did score a touchdown in his first game as a Seahawk. More than that, I was impressed by the 17 carries he received, a sign that the Seahawks expect Marshawn to be the guy at Running Back. Also, the ex-Bill added three receptions.
This week, Lynch and Seattle go up against Arizona. The Cardinals are 29th against the run in terms of yards per game, and have given up the 9th most rushing touchdowns despite having their bye week already. Arizona has also given up a lot of 20+ yard plays on the ground. Marshawn Lynch will continue to grasp the offense and improve in his second start for the Seahawks. If you are in need of a fill-in, start Lynch.
|Knowshon Moreno vs OAK||Moreno didn’t do much last week against a staunch Jets D, but he was just as good as the other RBs on the team, if not better. Moreno will continue to get re-acclimated to the playing field and will begin to see a larger workload. I expect I major jump in production this week as Oakland comes to town. The Raiders have given up the 3rd most rushing yards per game this year, so Josh McDaniels should use Moreno to exploit the enemy’s weakness.|
|Felix Jones vs. NYG
|Felix seems to have control over the #1 RB spot in Dallas and has averaged 100 yards from scrimmage over the last two weeks. While the Giants, this week’s opponent, have been good against the run, Jones has torched them in the past. He averages nearly eight yards a carry against the G-men. With the ‘Boys facing adversity, Wade Phillips will be conservative this week, and Felix Jones will prosper.|
|Frank Gore vs. CAR||While Gore didn’t quite bust out against the Eagles in week 5 as I predicted, he did have a monster game last week against Oakland. Coming off the 150 yard performance, Gore will likely excel again this week against the Panthers. Carolina is 26th against the run. However, the Panthers haven’t given up many rushing touchdowns and Gore hasn’t scored many. I think Gore will have a solid week, but don’t expect anything huge.|
|Darren McFadden vs DEN||Before getting hurt, McFadden was on the top of his game and rattling off 100 yard performances to begin the year. This week, he comes back and will regain a lion’s share of the carries. The 3rd year back will be greeted by a bad run-stop unit. If he is healthy, he’ll have a big game, so keep an eye on his progress this week.|
And here is who to sit in Week 5:
| Maurice Jones-Drew @ KC
||Outside of a nice game against rival Indianapolis, MJD hasn’t done much this year, and that trend continued last week against Tennessee. Jones-Drew only mustered 57 yards on Monday night. The star RB hasn’t been aided by anyone else on the offense; David Garrard has been awful and Mike Sims-Walker is nowhere to be found, certainly not on the football field.
This week, the situation isn’t going to improve. There is no starting QB ready for the weekend, and the Chiefs will be focusing solely on the Jags’ run. And Kansas City is well prepared. They have a top 5 rush defense and have stopped other stud runners. I haven’t given up all hope for Maurice to turn it around, but you need to sit him this week.
|Ryan Torain vs. CHI||Ryan Torain had a career game last week against Indianapolis, one of the worst run-stop units in the league. While he helped you last week, don’t be afraid to sit him this week. The Bears are 3rd best against the run and you should have a couple more well-known backs on your team with more favorable matchups.|
|LeSean McCoy @ TEN||LeSean McCoy may look like a premier back thus far, but he’s really been up and down all year. Shady has topped 100 yards thrice but has only rushed for a max of 64 yards in the other three games. He’s going to have one of those low weeks this week as his Eagles face the Tennessee Titans and their top 10 rushing defense.|
|Beanie Wells @ SEA||Chris “Beanie” Wells may be the featured back in the Desert, but I’m not convinced. Wells got 20 carries in the Cardinal’s last game, but only averaged 1.8 yards per attempt. If he doesn’t produce, Tim Hightower will regain some of the workload. I’d be hesitant to go with Wells until he can prove workhorse worthy.|
|Ryan Mathews vs. NE||Coming into the year, Mathews was considered to be the most NFL-ready running back. Thus far, he hasn’t lived up to the billing and Mike Tolbert came out of nowhere to steal more than a hand few of goal line carries. Norv Turner insists that Mathews will continue to see more carries each week, but he’s not quite startable in most leagues.|