2012 Playoff NFL Fantasy Football: Running Back Wild Card Rankings

Sean E. DouglasSenior Writer IIIJanuary 2, 2012

PITTSBURGH, PA - DECEMBER 24:  Isaac Redman #33 of the Pittsburgh Steelers runs with the ball in the second half against the St. Louis Rams during the Christmas Eve game on December 24, 2011 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

 Isaac Redman at Denver Broncos

Now that the news is official that Rashard Mendenhall has a torn ACL, we can go ahead and label Isaac Redman the top running back in Pittsburgh’s backfield throughout the playoffs. Redman has played well when called upon this season, and his 19 carries for 92 yards and a score last week against the Browns is encouraging for his prospects going forward.

While Redman was Mendenhall’s backup throughout the year, he was a trendy hold late in the season for fantasy owners because, if you paid attention, it was clear he would translate into a solid RB-2 if Mendenhall fell to injury.

Listed at 6'0", 230 pounds, Redman has the ideal size to touch the football over 20 times a game, and his 27 receptions and two receiving touchdowns on the year should be a clue that this guy is more than just a north-south type of tailback.

The Broncos have struggled in recent weeks against smaller tailbacks like C.J. Spiller and Dexter McCluster, but I suspect that the Steelers will dominate the time of possession in this game, as Tim Tebow is clearly having problems adjusting to recent defensive scheme changes designed to attack his weaknesses.

If the Steelers can shut down Willis McGahee, this could be an easy victory, and in the end Pittsburgh should be the team advancing into the second round of the playoffs. While John Clay will get some work in the backfield, look for Redman to be the main go-to running back as Pittsburgh should be holding onto a lead throughout the second half.


Arian Foster vs. Cincinnati Bengals

The Texans were smart to rest Arian Foster last week and I suspect they will be looking to give him up to 35 combined touches this week, as they lean on their stud in hopes of winning their first playoff game in franchise history. At the end of the day, I expect the Texans to come out on top against a young Bengals team, as the home crowd will be rocking.

After the Bengals gave up two touchdowns of over 50 yards to Ray Rice last week, Foster should be a shoo-in for over 150 total yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns. Whatever the price is for Foster in your playoff fantasy league, pay it, as he’s by far the best running back to start this week.


1 Arian Foster Bengals
2 Ahmad Bradshaw Falcons
3 Isaac Redman at Broncos
4 Darren Sproles Lions
5 Michael Turner at Giants
6 Willis McGahee Steelers
7 Chris Ivory Lions
8 Cedric Benson at Texans
9 Kevin Smith at Saints
10 Brandon Jacobs Falcons
11 Ben Tate Bengals
12 John Clay at Broncos
13 Bernard Scott at Texans
14 Pierre Thomas Lions
15 Lance Ball Steelers
16 Maurice Morris at Saints

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