Well it's official, Larry Johnson is finally out in Kansas City. Jamaal Charles and Kolby Smith are in. So what does that mean for fantasy owners? Hard to say after a game where three running backs had a total of 12 rushing attempts for 57 yards. The jury will be out for at least another week, but if the team isn't going to give the guys the ball, it doesn't mater who gets the rock. What was apparent was the Chiefs seem intent on using both Charles and Smith until one emerges as a top threat. Not what owners who raced out to nab Charles were hoping for. Sorry gang, but at this point neither guy is viable or valuable.
For Clinton Portis owners, it's deja vu all over again. Another mid-season injury bug hits. Portis, who has not played all that well for owners who drafted him in the second round this season, now has a concussion which forced him out of the week nine game against Atlanta, and lists him as doubtful in week 10. Enter Ladell Betts. Every time Betts plays he gets the job done. His week nine line over three quarters: 15 carries, 70 yards, one TD and 4.7 YPC. I think it's time they let him run with it. If nothing else he'll make a nice plug and play option for Giants and Texans RB owners this week when the Redskins face Denver. Yes, Denver is tough against the rush, but Betts is one of those hard yardage type of backs.
The big question for many fantasy owners heading into week 9 action was how things would shake out in the Texans backfield. If one game answer can answer the question, then we are looking at a Saints type RB split, with Ryan Moats playing the Pierre Thomas/Mike Bell role, and Steve Slaton playing the part of Reggie Bush (when he was still a good play).
The Titans' Chris Johnson had another outstanding two score week, and has pretty much made Lendale White dispensable for fantasy purposes. Meanwhile the Jaguars Maurice Jones-Drew has now become the league's top fantasy RB. For those of us who bagged on Cedric Benson this season, he once again left us with egg on our face. After being the first RB in what seems like years, to put up 100 rushing yards against the Ravens defense, Benson did it again Sunday. Ray Lewis is now officially contemplating retirement.
In a quick look back at my calls for last week, 9 of my 11 Starts scored a TD, and 8 of 11 ended in the top 10 in scoring. Only Brandon Jacobs and Kevin Smith missed the endzone vs. very weak run defenses. Both had 67 yards rushing. On a side note, I somehow managed to miss Michael Turner completely, who had his most complete performance of the season.
Of my Sits, only Steve Slaton scored, but he had only 17 yards rushing and 12 receiving. Mendenhall defied the odds and rushed all over the Broncos to the tune of 155 yards. My Sit of the week, Cadillac Williams, had 56 yards rushing and no scores. He ranked 31st for the week. I can also beat my chest and pat my back for calling the Portis/Betts switch in last week's Start/Sit. I'll take the small victories.
Heading into Week 10, the Byes are mercifully almost over, with only two teams down for the count; the New York Giants and Houston Texans. Fantasy owners will be without Brandon Jacobs, Steve Slaton, Ahmad Bradshaw and Ryan Moats.
Week 10 – RB Start of the Week – Chris Johnson, TEN
|This may be the no-brainer play of the week. Johnson has four of his seven touchdowns in his last two games. He is now second among running backs in fantasy scoring, and first in yardage. Add to that a week 10 match-up against the league's worst rush defense, the Buffalo Bills, and you have a fantasy match-up made in Madden heaven. I think Johnson will make it three weeks in a row with two touchdowns.
A Few More Fantasy Studs Who Should Rumble to the EndZone in Week 10
|Ray Rice, BAL vs. CLE
|Rice has a chance to have another fantasy productive week against a team he beat up on earlier in the season. Look for at least 130 total yards and two scores.
|Adrian Peterson, MIN vs. DET
|He could just as easily be the start of the week, but I could say that most weeks about Purple Jesus. This week he gets to chew up the Lions, who made Julius Jones look like a real NFL running back last week.
|Jamaal Charles, KCC vs. OAK
|Charles only had six touches in his first week as the starter. This week he gets the woeful Raiders rush defense. If he is truly the feature back, and not in a RBBC with Smith, he should have a very nice week. IF!
|Steven Jackson, STL vs. NOS
|Jackson has been a quiet monster this season. His only drawback has been a lack of TDs. This may come as a surprise, but over the last three games, no team has been worse vs. the rush, giving up 7 TDs and 547 yards. Jackson got his first TD against the Lions before a week 9 bye. This week I think he'll get his second.
|DeAngelo Williams, CAR vs. ATL
|DeAngelo was an animal last week. This week Williams faces the Falcons who have given up an average 128 yards and a TD a week to RBs. Williams should get a 100 yards and at least one TD.
|Michael Turner, ATL vs. CAR
|Turner has been an enigma this season. Every time I write him off, he surprises me. Last year Turner had a four TD game against Carolina. I think this week 100 yards and a score will be about the mark.
|Pierre Thomas/Mike Bell, NOS vs. STL
|This is such a nice match-up for the New Orleans running game, I think both guys we'll find the endzone in this match-up. Reggie Bush may even get in on the action.
|Marshawn Lynch, BUF, vs. TEN
|This could be a nice breakout game for Lynch against what has so far been one of the league's easiest rush defenses to score on. While Tennessee has won two in a row, they've still been allowing RBs to score.
|Ronnie Brown, MIA vs. TB
|Despite their big win against the Packers in Week 9, the Bucs are still poor vs. the rush, and the Dolphins have a great one two punch, in Brown and Ricky Williams. I think both may score this week, but I'd bet the farm Brown scores at least once and adds 100 yards or better.
|Justin Fargas, OAK vs. KCC
|Much like Julius Jones last week, I don't like the player as much as I can't ignore the match-up versus one of the league's worst rush defenses. Be warned, Fargas could get the yards, and Michael Bush could steal the score.
Studs You Have to Play Despite Questionable Match-ups in Week 10
|Maurice Jones-Drew, JAX vs. NYJ
|MJD has been truly consistent all season and I expect another solid day from the pocket rocket, however, New Jersey is the 23rd overall rush defense, and over their last two games, they've been second best in the league.
|Rashard Mendenhall, PIT vs. CIN
|Mendenhall became the first running back all season to hit the century mark vs. the Broncos defense. In fact he put up 155 rushing yards. Cincy has been fairly stingy against RBs this season as well, but I expect a strong day from Rashard. he and the Steelers seem to be firing on all cylinders now.
|Cedric Benson, CIN vs. PIT
|The league's 100 yard a game rusher vs. the league's number one rush defense. It's gonna be a long day for one side or the other. My money's on the Steelers, but Benson keeps proving me wrong.
|Frank Gore, SF vs. CHI
|Gore just continues to get the job done each week regardless of who he's playing. This week he gets a shot at the soft Bears rush defense.
|Thomas Jones/Shonn Greene, NYJ vs. JAX
|What makes this questionable is which RB will do the most damage. Jones is the starter, but Greene is the better back. Against Jacksonville they could both find the endzone.
Week 10 – RB Sit of the Week – Kevin Smith, DET
|After two weeks in which Kevin Smith should have feasted on opposing teams, he now faces the harsh Minnesota Vikings rush defense. He shouldn't be playing this week unless you don't have another reasonable option. Smith has high upside but I think a poor offensive line and a lingering injury are hampering his abilities.
The Sits and the Coin Flip Kids for week 10:
Joseph Addai, IND vs. NEP - Addai's been coming on, but the Patriots rush defense has been coming on too.
Ryan Grant, GB vs. DAL - This match-up looks decent on paper but don't expect much yardage, and as the tiles suggests, a score is flip of a coin.
Marion Barber, DAL vs. GB - Barber hasn't had a big game recently and I don't see it happening against the Pack. Sit if you can afford to.
Beanie Wells, ARI vs. SEA - The only thing in his way is playing for a pass first team and splitting carries with Tim Hightower.
Matt Forte, CHI vs.SF - He has a decent match-up but he's got no drive this season.
Ladell Betts, WAS vs. DEN - He gets the start but he faces the Broncos. If Mendenhall can bust 100 yards...
Knowshon Moreno, DEN vs. WAS - Sit him unless you have to play him.
Cadillac Williams, TB vs. MIA - Not a great match-up, but the Bucs could surprise.
Laurence Maroney, NEP vs. IND - Not a good match up at all. Bench him if you can afford to.
Julius Jones, SEA vs, ARI - Sit him, drop him, his fantasy worth this season ended last week.
LaDainian Tomlinson, SD vs. PHI - I think his career has reached an end for fantasy purposes. Sit him against the Eagles.
Brian Westbrook, PHI vs. SD - If Westbrook can go he is a solid play against a weak rush defense. if he can't go, LeSean McCoy is a serviceable play.
Jamal Lewis, CLE, vs BAL - Yeah, you can flip this coin all day and it always comes up tails. Sit him!
Did I forget anyone important? Probably.