Week 12′s predictions didn’t come to light in the slightest. More backs within my Extra Points section made more noise than my actual top five. Any given Sunday. You did however see some of the usual suspects atop the RB fantasy charts. Knowshon Moreno had a hell of a showing against New England in the swirling winds. He set a career high personal record for rushing yards on the ground and led all running backs in fantasy points. Jamaal Charles was just behind him and ran all over the Chargers despite the loss. I mentioned Lacy as a valuable start, but wasn’t sold on him making the top five, but alas, there he is at number three. He broke the century mark and contributed a touchdown as well. A name we haven’t heard much of all season in MJD came it at number four with a solid performance on the ground, and of course, Adrian Peterson did what he does, nearly hitting a buck fifty. Let’s give Week 13′s picks a whirl as we head into the holidays. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
5. Chris Johnson
Chris Johnson is a feast or famine type of back this year and hasn’t been reliable at all. Chances are, when you start him, he lays an egg. When you bench him, he makes a lot of noise. Perhaps this week you should give him a shot in your starting lineup. I believe the Colts are on downward spiral and aren’t quite ready yet to surge back into the mix. They can’t afford to stay in this mode with a pretty competitive AFC and several quality teams in the hunt for a playoff spot. His output wasn’t terrible against Oakland in Week 12. It’s the lack of touchdowns that hurts his owners. He’s had only two games in which he’s scored, but in each of the two games, he had two touchdowns. One of those victims just so happened to be Indy in Week 11. He’s averaging 21 touches a game. Johnson should provide you that extra push to get you or keep you in the playoffs.
4. LeSean McCoy
I like going with backs coming fresh off of a bye week. I especially like backs who have a quarterback that must be respected. Nick Foles is turning out to be something special for Philadelphia, and has officially taken the starting role over Michael Vick, despite number seven returning back to health. It’s a risky move putting McCoy up here being that Arizona provides quite the challenge, as they are not too generous to opposing backs. Due to the fact that he’s coming off of a stellar performance against Washington, followed by a bye week, I like his chances. His touches and production all year have been there, and it’d be hard not to start him regardless of the competition.
3. Marshawn Lynch
After a bye week for Seattle, it’s time to reactivate ‘Beast Mode’ into your starting lineup. The prey: New Orleans. This is my most anticipated game of the week under the bright lights of Monday Night Football. It will be at the loud and proud CenturyLink Field, where the Seahawks appear to be unbeatable. This bodes well for Lynch, but not so much New Orleans. While I do think that this is a trap game for Seattle, I do believe that despite a great defense with Rob Ryan as defensive coordinator, Lynch will indeed go ‘Beast Mode’ on the opposition. Despite New Orleans’ much improved defense, they have allowed six touchdowns to backs in the last six games. I look for Lynch to have a big night under the lights.
2. Matt Forte
For this week, I look at Minnesota’s defense as Matt Forte’s turkey just waiting to be plucked. The Vikings provide opposing running backs the sixth most fantasy points. His carries and yards are consistent on a weekly basis. It’s the touchdowns that owners count on for an automatic win in their match-ups. Should he find the endzone this week, you’re looking at double fantasy digits for Forte, and well over the century mark in yards rushed. Don’t forget the air assault too. Josh McCown has proven to be a great stand-in with Jay Cutler still out.
1. Adrian Peterson
This should be a good week for AP as he faces the Bears. Chicago’s defense is weak in the middle, and the ability for Peterson to reach the second level is his best attribute. He reached nearly 150 rushing yards last week, and faces a defense that has allowed a little over five yards per carry. If Peterson was in the Hunger Games this week, the odds would be ever in his favor.
The chances are high in Oakland the Darren McFadden makes his way back into the lineup. Even with that being said, Rashaad Jennings had solidified his place within the Raiders running game. I give Jennings the edge out of the two, but either may be a good start with Dallas struggling on the defensive side of the ball.
It’s always a challenge when deciding who to start within New England’s running back core. Ridley is having some fumbling issues as of late, and I feel that his chances are running out. Brandon Bolden took on the bulk of the carries after Ridley coughed it up. I’d like Shane Vareen more if he didn’t have that cast on his wrist/forearm area. It was apparent that catching the ball was far more difficult with the cast. LeGarrette Blount is ruled out in my book, as he coughed the ball up as well. Belichick is most likely done fooling around with backs that have ball security issues.
Reggie Bush still remains a must-start in your lineup. His production hasn’t been terrible, and he actually produced quite well on the ground vs the Bucs. It’s the lack of touchdowns that hurts his numbers. Green Bay has allowed five running back touchdowns in their last five games. That’s a relieving stat for Bush as well as his owners. We’ll see if Bush can get back on the right track this week on Thanksgiving.
Despite a tough defense in Cincinnati, Danny Woodhead is a solid RB2/Flex option. We know that he works great in PPR leagues, and he’s shown consistency and capability at finding the endzone. It gets better for him as the probability of Ryan Mathews (hamstring) being out are high. He’ll be the main back and should get plenty of touches. Start ‘em if you got ‘em.
Atlanta is a terrible defense, as is their injury-plagued offense this year. With C.J. Spiller being a 2013 flop, this is a most opportune time to insert Fred Jackson into your lineup. In the last five games, the Falcons have given up 166 yards on the ground. Don’t be alarmed by Jackson’s numbers lately. He’s played some good defenses lately (Chiefs, Steelers, Jets). You can feel lots easier in starting him with the Falcons limping into town.
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Sports-Kings Down and Distance Contributor Austin Peat @PistolPeat187