Last week in our strategy against the run defenses, we included the stats from the last 7 games from the 2010 season so that we could have more than just one week’s worth of stats to analyze. However, this week I have pulled together the stats from just the first two weeks of this season to look at how some of these stats are skewed and some are a fairly good indication of what your running back can expect this upcoming weekend.
Sitting at the top of our chart are the 49ers of San Fran and that would indicate that they are the roughest and the toughest bunch against the run. And, so far this year, they certainly are. They’ve allowed the least amount of yardage, yards per carry, touchdowns, and fantasy points to running backs. However, we also need to remember that in their first game this season, they faced a Seahawks team who has a young, inexperienced O-Line and also only managed to run for 95 total yards in the last two games. I’m not hating on Lynch’s Beast-mode, but it’s hard to get things going in the run game when you’re often behind in points and can’t find any holes. That being said, San Francisco has a stout defense against the run yes, but I wouldn’t sit my top-tier RB against them just because they are on the top of this board. It’s all relative.
Moving on down the chart, you’ll see that the Steelers fall somewhere right in the middle of our board. This is also evidence of the skewed representation due to only accounting for the first two games of the season. If you’ll remember, Ray Rice and Co. shredded Pittsburgh the first week of the season for 170 yds rushing. The following week however, the Steelers came back to reality and held the same Seattle offense to barely 30 total rushing yards; ouch.
So, you see, this chart you have below is not a direct indication of how your RB will do against said defense because it is such a skewed representation and such a small pool of games to create a reliable average. However, it is a great start to a curve that should eventually become a perfect guide to how well your team will do against a certain run defense. So let’s look at some favorable matchups for the week.[table “38” not found /]
Ahmad Bradshaw vs. PHI
As we look on the run defense chart, Philadelphia ranks pretty low on the totem pole. But this is not the only reason why Bradshaw has a great matchup this weekend. A combination of Philly’s revamped secondary and injuries on the WR front in New York will cause the G-Men to rely heavily on their platoon in the backfield to move the ball. Although it appears that Bradshaw has been evenly splitting carries with Brandon Jacobs, Bradshaw has the speed and elusiveness to break the big one like RBs have done in each of Philadelphia’s games thus far. Also look for Manning to dump it to Bradshaw when his WRs are covered downfield, adding extra value in PPR leagues.
It seems that things can’t get much worse for Kansas City this year. They’ve lost 3 starters already this year and nothing is happening much on an offensive or defensive front either. The Chiefs are allowing an average of 44.5 points per game while only scoring 5 per game. Now they’re about to face a top notch defense mixed with the explosiveness of the Chargers offense. Not much of an argument here that SD will be up for most of the game, and they’ll choose to run the ball. Tolbert’s seeing the goal line more than Matthews; although both have a very huge upside this week against a decimated Kansas City.
Shonn Greene vs. OAK
Last week I had Greene listed in my caution column, and if it wasn’t for his last ditch TD run against a stingy Jags D, he would have been a real bust. But this week, I like the matchup for Greene a lot better and believe that he could have a really big game. We all know that NYJ like to run the ball and so far this year, Oakland has been one of the most run-friendly defenses, racking up the highest YPC average to RBs. Last week, Buffalo had a field day with Oakland’s Run D and I have faith that the Jets run game will get the Greene light all the way to the end zone.
CAUTION!! CAUTION!! CAUTION!!
Dallas has only allowed an average of 59.5 yards rushing a game this year, so use extreme caution when dishing out the Washington Tower this weekend. I expect Hightower to be called upon a lot this week, but you have to remember that Grossman threw 4 tds against the Cowboys at the end of last season. That combined with the health issues of the Dallas secondary could net big yards through the air for Washington.
Steven Jackson/Carnell Williams vs. BAL
Jackson is supposedly on his way back this week, but I wouldn’t put money on it. It also seems that Cadillac Williams is listed as day-to-day with a hamstring issue also which puts the Rams running game in limbo this week. Either way, they are both facing a Baltimore defense that is notorious for stopping the run. Ray Lewis and the Ravens held CJ2K to a pitiful 53 yds on 24 carries and shut down Mendenhall in week 1 and look for a similar appearance in this matchup. If either of these guys is healthy to go this week, I would think twice about putting them in your starting lineup.
Team: The team that is being evaluated for their defensive strength.
Opp: The team with your fantasy players
Y/G: Total rushing yards given up per game
FPA: Fantasy points allowed to running backs
YPC: Yards Per Carry Ranking
TD: Rushing Touchdowns Allowed Ranking
Average: The average of each each individual ranking.