This has been the most difficult position to nab consistently week to week. It’s all fine and dandy to look at the lowest rated rushing defenses and the teams that have given up the most fantasy points to running backs and then select backs that face those particular defenses. This can also be a trap if you’re not careful. It’s not a bad thing to do, you almost have to as a starting point in assessment, but those stats are skewed by so many factors that may no longer be all that relevant on a particular week. When it comes right down to it, even the “worst” run defense can usually shut down the ground game if they completely sell out to stop it. I feel the biggest correlating factor to success is number of carries. Not that what’s happened in the past is guaranteed to repeat, but it’s a starting point.
Zac Stacy ($7,400) – has received 88 touches the last three weeks. He’s averaging just over 4 yards per carry and has 3 touchdowns over that span. It doesn’t hurt that the Bears visit St. Louis, giving the rookie a nice matchup on paper.
Bobby Rainey ($6,500) – toted the rock 30 times against the Falcons. In Week 10, Tampa starter Mike James had 5 carries before giving way to Brian Leonard (20 carries that game) due to an injury. In Week 9, James carried the mail 28 times. Tampa has got it going on, on the ground.
Reggie Bush ($7,700) – wasn’t benched for fumbling, if you believe the Detroit Lions coaching staff. Fact is he had only 12 carries (2nd lowest total of the year) and will likely have a little extra motivation this week, plus Joique Bell is supposedly a little dinged up.
Wes Welker ($7,400) – is making progress in his recovery from a concussion last week and is on track to play Sunday night. His divorce from the Patriots wasn’t on the warmest of terms, despite what the PR machines might say. I expect a chip on his shoulder when he enters Gillette Stadium, making him an attractive play.
Nate Burleson ($4,500) – is not for the risk averse. He has been out for weeks and could be on a limited snap count, but the somewhat injury prone wideout is on track to return this week while Megatron draws Darrelle Revis. In Week 11, Revis shadowed Roddy White and Harry Douglas caught 6 passes for 134 yards and a score. In Week 10, it was Mike Wallace getting all the attention while Rishard Matthews turned 14 targets into 11 catches for 120 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Emmanuel Sanders ($5,600) – is another number two that could benefit from a number one shadow. Joe Haden will focus on Antonio Brown this week. Marlon Brown had two TD receptions in Week 9 while Haden blanketed Torrey Smith. Check the injury reports Sunday morning as Sanders had to leave Week 11 against the Lions due to a foot injury and he may not be 100%.
Peyton Manning ($11,000) is clearly the best play this week but you have to pay through the nose to get him. A lot of people will roll with Mike Glennon ($7,100) due to weaknesses in the Lions secondary. That might work out, but keep in mind Tampa has been running a lot more lately. Eli Manning ($6,300) is cheap and gets the Cowboys. Case Keenum ($6,100 vs. JAX) and Scott Tolzien ($6,000 vs. MIN) are options for players looking for a true blue light special.