We live in a strange new world of running backs sharing carries, running wildcats and not murdering their ex-wives.  This ain’t your older brother’s NFL!  So in fantasy football we do our best to decipher who will be the work horse in the running game. Now that we are 4 weeks into the season we have a little hard data to sink our teeth into, no, don’t bite into that flash drive!

Steven Jackson: 44% of team’s overall plays, 43% of red zone plays: So Mr. Jackson is on a team with absolutely no weapons besides himself so almost half of all the plays run through him.  Hmmm, I wonder who the defense might look to stop? Keenan Burton? No! What are you thinking?  SJax, even though the defenses key on him, still gets his yardage.  And as long as he is healthy, Bulger or Boller or the Bay City Rollers couldn’t keep him from putting up decent fantasy points.

Michael Turner: 39% of team’s overall plays, 36% of red zone plays: The Burner is still getting his share of work and will be useful, but we can already see a decline from last year when he got 43% of red zone plays.  Does this mean you trade him? Maybe, but his value is pretty low right now and he is still one of the rare backs who gets the ball on 39% of their plays.

Matt Forte: 38% of team’s overall plays, 42% of red zone plays: This is why we kept preaching to buy low on Forte.  He is their guy no matter how bad either he or the offensive line rots.  And take into account the play of Cutler and the play of Forte and he is still getting these kinds of looks and you have yourself an every down back with nobody vulturing carries from him.

Ronnie Brown: 29% of team’s overall plays, 48% of red zone plays: So you were worried about Ricky Williams stealing carries? Well, you were right! But he hasn’t taken away red zone carries where he is only getting 20%.  Ronnie is set up perfectly.  He gets a good chunk of the looks outside the red zone, but he’s not overloaded which should help him stay healthy and then he gets half the red zone looks! Run Ronnie run!!!

DeAngelo Williams: 27% of team’s overall plays, 50% of red zone plays: These numbers look a lot like Ronnie Brown’s, but DeAngelo hasn’t been getting into the endzone as much.  DeAngelo is going to get a lot of work and that is good news for owners especially if he continues to see the ball in the red zone.

Knowshon Moreno: 24% of team’s overall plays, 36% of red zone plays: He leads Denver running backs in red zone looks and this was while he was hurting and learning the playbook.  Now Buckhalter is hurt and these numbers will go up from here. Moreno is the full time back on a pretty good team with a good defense. It may be late to trade for him, but he’s worth trying.

Donald Brown and Joseph Addai: So, Addai has 66 looks to Brown’s 44 looks and that breakdown has stayed fairly consistent game to game.  Addai has 38% of the red zone targets while Brown has had 30%, but Brown has had more opportunities inside the 5 yard line with 5 to Addai’s 3.  If this exact 2/3 to 1/3 split keeps up I’d be surprised and I’d also start looking into some kind of conspiracy theory perpetuated by the Oreo company.

Willis McGahee and Ray Rice: Rice has seen 23% of the looks to 17% for McGahee. Of course McGahee is seeing the ball more when they get into the redzone, but only 33% to 25%.  The total looks are in favor of Rice 73 to 49. Now those are a lot of numbers and my brain is starting to leak out my left ear, but when it comes down to it Rice is worth starting, often.

Thomas Jones and Leon Washington: They are almost in a dead heat when it comes to targets.  Jones is slightly ahead of Washington, but not enough to mean much.  It doesn’t look like that will change too much in the near future. I was a big proponent of Leon and still am, but he isn’t pulling away like I thought he would. They are canceling each other out and until an injury occurs I don’t think either will be much more than flex players.

  1. p0rk burn says:

    Mmmmm, Oreos. Second only to useful fantasy football advice on the list of things I like to put in my head.

  2. Doc

    Doc says:

    @p0rk burn: I always have trouble getting them in my ears, but it’s worth the work!

  3. ryan says:

    WR options: TO, Housh, and Burleson..Start 2 SEA WRs?? Or pick up a free agent among: Holt, Caldwell, Austin Collie, Stucki, Bruce, K.Washington, M Clayton, Jenkins, Hakeem Nicks, Miles Austin, Gaffney?
    NOT A PPR League !

    Rbs pick two: Slaton, Hightower, S. Jackson, J. Harrison

  4. Doc

    Doc says:

    @ryan: If you are going to Jacksonvilee would be the team to do it against. I really like Austin this week so I could see dropping Burleson for him, but I like Burleson more long term as long as Roy Williams comes back healthy.

    SJax and Slaton

  5. Trevor says:

    Just cashed in my TE depth for a nice RB when I moved heath miller for Donald Brown. This news was very nice to hear. Although if celek breaks down i may regret this.

  6. ryan says:

    My thoughts almost exactly on the SEA situation, as well as picking up Austin out of the FA pool. I could drop Tashard Choice and pick up Austin to plug in, but who do I sit…Housh or Burleson?? I like Burleson’s chemistry if Hasselback is starting, but Housh did have a nice game last week..decisions decisions.

    Also, I really want to sit SJax this week..I don’t see him scoring or accumulating many yards in a blowout against MIN..and Slaton looks doomed again against a stingy ARI run D. Thinking I might go Harrison/Hightower or SJax/Harrison…It’s going to be a tough week.

  7. Doc

    Doc says:

    @ryan: Yeah, I understand your thinking. I just have a feeling Beanie is going to get more looks this week and who knows how Mangini will use Lewis. You can count on SJax and Slaton getting their work in.

    Burleson has more potential for a big game while Housh for receptions. I like Burleson between the two.

  8. hideousmutants says:

    Hi all,

    Am looking to buy low on Turner and trade Grant for him but have to throw in Mark Sanchez to do it. I have Schaub and Palmer (backup) at QB and Slaton, MJD, Mendenhall at RB. Grant is currently way ahead of Turner in our league RB rankings. Am I giving up too much?

  9. tenken says:

    assuming you are playing a 1qb, 2rb, 1 flex league, I would love that trade for you. slaton, mjd, turner with mendenhall for backup would be an awesome rb core and you already have good qb depth. just hope that schaub stays healthy.

  10. hideousmutants says:

    thanks for the advice! We don’t have flex so I’m always faced with choices at RB but I’m done with Grant. Mendenhall might go back behind Parker and Slaton still hasn’t convinced me he’s going to bust out. Plus, if Turner goes off, I could trade him or Slaton for some other need.

  11. G says:

    PPR League..who do you start Ray Rice or Mendenhall. They both have mouth watering matchups but it’s possible that Mendenhall will get benched early if Pitt gains a big lead before the half. Who do you like?

  12. anon says:

    I’ve got to drop Torry Holt.

    Roy Williams, Johnny Knox, Devery Henderson, Kelly Washington, and Earl Bennet available.. Who do you like the best moving forward?


  13. cleaver596 says:

    @G: I say you go for Mendenhall. He looked too good against the Chargers last week. I know Rice is looking awesome also, but Mendenhall ran with a passion and drove his legs like he was Fred Flintstone.

    @anon: Williams, even though it pains me to say it. I do not like williams. I am glad that he is not on any of my teams this year. That being said, I think Ole Roy has to get his shit together. T.O. caught many TD passes while in Dallas. No reason Roy can’t at least grab some TD’s.

  14. cleaver596 says:

    I’ve been flip flopping on my lineup all week, and I know I have all ready asked opinions, so I’m sorry for asking again. I have most of my starters set, but I can’t decide on these last two. Give me two between Welker, Fred Jackson, Slaton, or Jerome Harrison. I’m for sure going with Steve Smith NYG, Andre, Wayne, and Ronnie Brown. I’m leaning towards Harrison and Slaton as the other two. I can’t believe I might sit Welker in PPR league, but I think I might wait at least one more week with him. It’s supposed to be cold and snowy and just awful for that game tomorrow. And even though I like Jackson’s matchup with the Browns, he’ll be splitting carries with Marc Singer, the Beastmaster. If only I could play Kodo and Podo, I would be all right.

  15. matthole says:

    @Doc: .5ppr league which 2 RBs would you start: Turner, portis, hightower, harrison, caddy


  16. charlie says:

    What do you guys think.

    Start Steven Jackson or LeSean McCoy? I am leaning towards McCoy.


  17. Doc

    Doc says:

    @G: I like Mendenhall

    @anon: Roy Roy

    @cleaver596: I agree with Harrison and Slaton

    @matthole: Portis has a great matchup so I’ll go against my better judgment and say him and Turner.

  18. Doc

    Doc says:

    @charlie: McCoy may split carries with Westbrook, but that would be the high end of the spectrum. It’s more likely that he’ll get around a third. I’d go with SJax.

  19. Howie says:

    Dilemma…non PPR league

    Start two RBs from the following six:

    DeAngelo, Coffee, Moreno, Ronnie B, Burner, Lynch…


  20. Doc

    Doc says:

    @Howie: First thought, you need to trade some of these RB’s! I really like DeAngelo and Coffee this week, but you’ve got some good RB’s there! I think sitting Ronnie Brown is an abomination!

  21. Howie says:


    You’re right… with Big Ben and Cutler at QB, Steve (Carolina) Smith, Roddy White, Sims-Walker, and Driver at WRs, and Vernon Davis at TE… I could probably stand to upgrade in each of the other areas.

  22. danimal35 says:

    I have AP, Ronnie Brown and Mendenhall starting right now and I have Portis and Rice on the bench…am I starting the right guys this week. It is also a .5 pt per carry league.

  23. Schlitzy says:

    Flacco or Romo today?

  24. Doc

    Doc says:

    @Schlitzy: Romo

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