(Doc’s Note: Frequent commenter Calogera gave us a nice look at some running backs in the comments who might be worth getting your Yukon Cornelius prospector’s pick out for. I thought I’d share it with the rest of ya’ll.)

Picking the right speculative RB is very important. I found this out when I got BJax before Week 1 when Grant got hurt and his value skyrocketed (and I flipped him) and Torain before Week 4 when Portis got hurt. I also found it out when Tashard Choice and Bernard Scott occupied bench spots for 1/4 of a season with no value whatsoever.

A play on a speculative RB is really maybe 70% a play AGAINST the current starter. The other 30% comes down to ability and the quality of the other secondary options on their team, a.k.a. the role they would play if an injury DOES occur to the starter.

However, sometimes it’s hard to tell ahead of time who will get an opportunity and run with it (Arian Foster, Charles and Harrison in 09) and who will only kind of tread water (BJax, Maroney, etc). But here’s how I handicap it:

1. Bernard Scott – Benson is as good a bet as any RB1 right now to not play in all 16 games. Couple that with the fact that Scott has shown flashes of serious talent, the Bengals will probably still run a lot even if Benson gets hurt, and his only competition is Brian Leonard (more of a FB/3rd down guy) and he’s a good speculative add. Downside is that Cinci plays a lot of remaining games against Pittsburgh and Baltimore, so there would be some weeks where he’d be a flex at best.

2. Isaac Redman – Mendenhall is young, but has had a few ouchies already in his career so it’s not out of the question that he might get hurt with his current workload. Redman has run tough when he gets the chance and the coaching staff likes him. Compare him to Mike Tolbert. If Mendy goes down, he would likely take over 1st and 2nd downs – 3rd downs already belong to Mewelde, and it hasn’t hurt Mendy so I wouldn’t worry about him.

3. James Starks – He’s an unknown since he hasn’t seen any NFL action yet, but he has been practicing and getting experience in the system over the last few weeks so they might not treat him with kid gloves when he comes off the PUP in Week 7. However, there’s no guarantee he’s a better RB than Brandon Jackson. Even if he is, Jackson would still be the 3rd down back and Kuhn would still see some carries here and there.

If BJax gets hurt however, nab Starks immediately. If the Packers don’t trade for any RB before the deadline, I’d also take that as a sign that they think Starks will be able to contribute. A lot of unknown variables here, but his upside in GB’s offense is up there with anyone on this list.

4. Derrick Ward – Judging from his usage the last 2 games, he’d stand to grab the majority of the work if Foster gets hurt. Slaton would get a bigger share than he’s been getting with Foster hogging carries, but I think Ward would still put up RB2 numbers. The odds of Foster getting hurt aren’t as high as some other feature backs in this league, but hey, every RB is in some danger of injury.

Is there really any reason to think he couldn’t put up 75-80% of the numbers Foster has put up if he became the starter. Sure he’s not as talented, but that line has been beastly and with 17-20 carries per game plus goalline work, Ward would have great value.

5. Deji Karim – he looks good, but he’s got MJD and probably Rashad Jennings to contend with before he can get enough PT to be worth playing. MJD is one of the better bets to get hurt at some point among starters, but the Jags are very inconsistent and his ultimate upside would really be a decent flex option. You could do worse, but I’d definitely rather have anyone above.

6. Mike Hart/Danny Ware – Both are essentially 3rd RB on good offenses. Hart could turn out to be the best short-term option on here if you need a flex starter in Week 6, but Addai and/or Brown will be available most weeks so he’ll never get a comfortable, guaranteed workload. Plus I think his upside is limited since the Colts would probably be willing to throw 60 times a game if Hart is the only RB healthy, giving him upside limited at flex.

Ware might have a little bit higher upside, but he’s also stuck behind 2 guys. Brandon Jacobs isn’t dead yet and Bradshaw has looked good, but I’d be SHOCKED if they didn’t miss 6-10 games between them. I’ve heard a lot of good things about this Ware kid, and who knows what he could do with an opportunity. As of now, it’s a little too remote, but keep an eye on him. If one of those guys goes down, he’d shoot up this list.

  1. Dirt says:
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    Who you like better for the rest of the season..Brandon Jackson or Marion Barber?

  2. MJD Took A Knee says:
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    12 Team NonPPR Record: 2-3 2WR/2RB/Flex

    Big Ben – Cutler
    AJ – Colston – Tate
    SJax – Hillis – Charles – Torain – Lynch
    Hernandez – Finley

    What can I do with this team? Grab Britt and start him over AJ/Colston? Hold for another week? I hate putting all this time into it and being in the bottom rankings.

  3. MJD Took A Knee says:
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    Garcon or Britt in NonPPR rest of year?

  4. johnnypop says:
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    should i trade greg jennings for deangelo williams?
    my wr: randy moss, colston, T.O., holmes, jennings
    my rb: mojo, best, charles, moreno, lynch

  5. Nate says:
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    My Eli Manning and Ricky Williams for their Joseph Addai in a PPR. I have Roethlisberger with a few good backups like Garrard, Hasselbeck and Bradford hanging around on waivers. Fair trade?

  6. Steve Mc says:
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    Is Karim the better handcuff for MJD than Jennings?

  7. Wilsonian says:
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    I posted this in the previous posting about 2010 being crazy as cat shit, but thought I might want to post here, too. It’s really for anyone who wants to help me out.

    Another question…do you see any moves from my team to the available FAs or guys on the waiver wire?

    QB: Rivers
    WR: Wayne
    WR: White
    WR: Marshall
    RB: CJ
    RB: Best
    TE: Keller
    W/R: Hillis
    BN: Boldin
    BN: Holmes
    BN: Tate
    BN: Run DMC
    BN: Moreno
    BN: Big Ben

    Here are the available players:

    Williams (TB), Crabtree, BJax, Britt, Bess, MSW, Steve Johnson, Colston (he’s on waivers through tomorrow), Torain

    Any moves that you see?

    Thanks to anyone out there in Razzball land.

  8. joey joe joe jr shabadoo says:
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    drop (1) sidney rice and (2) devin hester for either (a) amendola or (b) mike jenkins?

    i.e. (1)(a) or (b)?
    (2)(a) or (b)?

  9. stumanji says:
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    @Wilsonian: Are 6 team leagues even fun to play in?

  10. White Lightning says:
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    .5 ppr 14 team league with standard yardage scoring.

    I got offered

    Fitzgerald and S. Jax

    for

    Andre Johnson and Moreno

    Here is my team

    RBs Charles, Moreno, Bradshaw
    WRs Austin, AJ, LLoyd, Sydney Rice, Louis Murphy
    TEs Celek, Keller
    QB Roethy and Cutler

  11. Wilsonian says:
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    @stumanji: actually, it’s an 8 Team league…and yes, it is fun as hell, we’re mostly all friends from high school and my dad (and no, I’m not in high school, we’ve all been friends for 15+ years). Plus it’s $50 a team, so you can win a couple bucks, which is never a bad thing. The biggest issue with it is there are too many decent names out there and you feel like you should pick them all up, if nothing else, to just block someone from being able to add them.

    I’m in a 12 Team league, too, and I don’t get why people say that those leagues are more fun. I think they’re both fun. I like being able, when someone gets hurt or is on BYE, to not freak out about it and trade my team away, or whatnot, just to find a fill-in. I’ve also found in deeper leagues, one big injury to your team and your season can be done. I’m not sure about you, but that’s not all too fun. But it is also fun to find that diamond in the rough in deeper leagues.

    Oh, and the reason Colston is available is because the guy that had him dropped him for some reason before the games Sunday when he had a hole to fill from a BYE week.

  12. Wilsonian says:
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    @White Lightning: I would most likely lean “no” to a deal like that. I for one, don’t trust Fitz with Hall as his QB and SJax can’t find the end zone. I know Moreno is injured and AJ has his ouchies too, but if Moreno can get healthy, he’ll most likely carry the bulk of the, er, carries and could be a good RB2 and AJ is still AJ.

    Just my $0.02.

  13. Doc

    Doc says:
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    @Dirt: Barber

    @MJD Took A Knee: I’d hold. You’re team isn’t bad. Looks like you are getting unlucky.

    @MJD Took A Knee: Tough. Garcon.

    @johnnypop: I would

    @Nate: I’d go for it.

    @Wilsonian: I think I would hold. i could see dropping Tate for some of those receivers, but why don’t you give it a week and see how he is used.

    @joey joe joe jr shabadoo: I would drop Hester for Amendola in a PPR league for sure. Closer in a non PPR league.

    @White Lightning: That’s a tough one. I think you need to keep AJ.

  14. Joel says:
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    Doc, for this week and for the next several till Finley gets back, Heath or Moaeki? non-ppr

  15. Art Vandelay says:
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    Would you try to buy low on either, or both, of Schaub and Cutler? Would you rather have DeAngelo or Best?

  16. Wilsonian says:
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    @Doc: thanks Doc. I was thinking the same thing with Tate as I’m sure if I dropped him he’d be the 2010 Miles Austin. You wouldn’t make a waiver claim on Colston and try dropping Holmes, or are you thinking the difference between the two might be negligible?

  17. Joel says:
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    Hey Doc, would you trade ARod and SJAX for Schaub and AP?

  18. Hacienda says:
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    Who do you like better at TE for the season: Shiancoe or Hernandez? I need to drop one to pick up a backup for Rodgers.

  19. alvaro says:
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    12 TEAM LEAGUE (2 pts per yard 60 pts per TD)

    I get Tolber and Sims walker for Jeremy Maclin or Steve Smith

    I have Ryan Matthews

    Im thinking of pulling the trigger with either WR though I prefer to keep Maclin

    Thoughts?

    Thanks

  20. Calogero says:
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    @Hacienda:

    I’d say Hernandez. Shiancoe gets 80% of his value from TD catches, and with Moss in town I have to think Shank is now option 2 or 3 (behind AP) in the redzone.

    Hernandez will probably get a little more consistent value since he racks up yards. I have to think he’ll get a few TD as well, since they use 2 TE in goalline sets and while Gronkowski’s been getting the freebies so far, it’s only a matter of time til Hernandez tallies a few.

  21. genghis chone says:
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    PPR, point per 25 return yards, who would you rather have: Dexter McCluster or Demaryius Thomas?

  22. Calogero says:
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    @alvaro:

    Also, is that Smith (NYG) or (CAR)?

    Your scoring system seems to be more yardage-friendly than the standard scoring system (0.1 per yard/6 per TD). In your league 30 yards = 1 TD instead of 60 yards in most leagues.

    Therefore, I’d keep NYG Smith easily over Maclin. Dude is going to get 70-80 yards pretty much every week. Maclin and Sims Walker can have bigger days, but can also give you 2 catches for 22 yards. Or 0 and 0 as MSW has shown himself wont to do.

  23. alvaro says:
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    @Calogero Its Carolina Steve Smith

    Yeah I posted the points so you could see its yards friendly

    But would you deal either one of them? both? or non?

    I want to have the handcuff for Matthews and get a WR in return, the other owner is deciding which of the 2 WRs he’ll take

    I’m thinking about doing the trade and Im hoping he wants CAR Steve Smith

  24. Buge Hoobs says:
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    @doc

    Who’s the better use of a ppr bench spot for my WRs and RBs?

    Manningham or Britt
    Sproles or Chest Taylor

  25. Drew Crew says:
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    Brandon Marshall and Beanie for Foster and Welker in ppr league. WHich side do you like?

  26. friar says:
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    Hey Doc, could you rank these receivers for the rest of the year in a 0.5 PPR league?

    Demaryius Thomas, Bowe, Amendola, Bess, Britt, Roy Williams

    I have Thomas and Bowe on my roster (behind A. Johnson and Austin!) and am trying to figure out if I should drop them for any of the other guys (and the order of my waiver claims). Thanks!

  27. Joel says:
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    Doc, one more Q: would you trade Felix Jones and Tony Maoeki for Fred Jackson and Zach Miller? Is Miller a top 5 TE ROS?

  28. hideousmutants says:
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    Would you trade Lynch or Felix Jones for Beanie Wells? I think Beanie’s owner would take either. It’d be purely for depth. I’ve got SJax, Turner and JC ahead of them. It’s a PPR league.

  29. Drew Crew says:
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    @Drew Crew: I was also offered Steve Smith (NYG) and Deangelo williams for foster and welker.

  30. Wilsonian says:
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    This is for anyone out there, I could use a little help. It’s a 0.5 ppr league. I was just offered this trade:

    Brady/Jennings/AP for Rivers/White/Best

    I would still have Wayne, Marshall, Boldin, Holmes, Tate and Big Ben is my backup. Do I do the deal or should I counter? I’m not really wanting to give up 2 of my monsters in Rivers and White, but I’d also be left with a CJ2K/AP combo.

  31. Trevor

    Trevor4 says:
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    Ryan Matthews or Peyton Hillis for this week?

    Hillis seems like he is banged up and he has to run against the Steelers D which could be bad. With Colt McCoy in at QB, it could be a total diaster for Cleveland offense. Ryan Matthews didn’t do much last week and I’m thinking he is still roughed up as well… decisions decisions….

  32. Doc

    Doc says:
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    @Joel: Heath

    @Art Vandelay: Yes on Schaub and Deangelo

    @Joel: Yes

    @Wilsonian: Hmm, I must have missed Colston. I actually would drop Tate for Colston.

    @Hacienda: I like AHer with Moss, Shiancoe will lose looks.

    @alvaro: Sims Walker is just so bluh. I much rather have Maclin and Tolbert’s upside is still fairly low.

    @genghis chone: McCluster

    @Buge Hoobs: Britt and Taylor

    @Drew Crew: Foster side

    @friar: Britt, Roy Williams, Amendola, Bess, Bowe, Demaryius Thomas

    @Joel: i see Jones getting his 20 touches a game as long as he’s healthy. I like Miller, but Jones’ upside is pretty high.

    @hideousmutants: I’d give Lynch

    @Drew Crew: Still Foster

    @Wilsonian: That is tough. Love AP enough to trump most things, but White and Rivers are both top 3 players. I’d see if you can get it down just a little, but if you can’t I think I’d go for it. Your depth at WR and QB is good.

  33. Wilsonian says:
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    @Doc: what do you think I should counter with? Maybe try Ben/Wayne or Marshall/Best for Brady/Jennings/AP? I agree that I really like AP, but I’m really having trouble parting with Rivers and White.

  34. Jason says:
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    Help! 1-4.
    12 Team Non PPR
    1pt every 25RuYd/ReYd and +2pt every 100 RuYd/ReYd
    6pt TD

    start QB/2RB/2WR/1TE/1FLEX-RB-WR-TE

    QB: Drew Brees/Kyle Orton
    RB: Chris Johnson/Michael Bush/Beanie Wells/Tim Hightower
    WR: Roddy White/Mark Clayton/Louis Murphy/Kevin Walter
    TE: Kellen Winslow/John Carlson

    Waiver Wire
    WR: Roy E. Williams,Gaffney,Britt, Steve Johnson, Bess, A. Armstrong, Jacoby Jones, Amendola, Mike Thomas,
    RB: betts, blount, earnest graham, mike hart, deji karim, derrick ward
    TE: Pettigrew, Scheffler, B. Watson

    Obv dropping Clayton and picking up Britt and thinking about dropping Walter for Williams or Gaffney. Going to give Bowe one last shot. Other than that I don’t see too much i can do. I’m 4th in the league in scoring but have had the 2nd most points dropped on me. Disgusting. I’m going to go hug the toliet now.

  35. Clodbuster says:
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    I’d do my best to trade a QB(Brees will net much more than Orton) for a stud WR/RB. Perhaps throw Bush into the deal to get a stud WR/RB and an above average WR/RB(Someone with higher upside than Bush).

    Drop Clayton for Amendola, Bess, or Britt in that order IMO. If you have Bowe, offer him up with Brees instead of Bush depending on the dynamic of the squad you’re dealing with that needs an upgrade at QB.

    If you have a Broncos fan in your league(most leagues have one) offer up Orton.

  36. Doc

    Doc says:
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    @Jason: That will make you want to start a cumulative scoring league! I think you should go with Britt in non-ppr. I could see trying to trade a QB, whichever one that gets you the best value.

  37. Hitts1 says:
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    Instead of using Best at RB2, should I use K Britt or L Moore at flex? Or should I go with Brandon Jacobs at RB2?

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