We may live in the age of the pass-happy National Football League, but running backs still rule the roost in fantasy football, as evidenced by the fact that many fantasy owners are in the midst of a panic attack given the injuries that have befallen the position recently.
Whether your fantasy backfield is still intact or you're scrambling to plug a hole in your starting lineup, here's a look at a trio of running backs who should be well on their way to rumbling to a big fantasy score in Week 3.
Jamaal Charles, Kansas City Chiefs
Fantasy football is a game of risks and rewards, and sometimes if you want to post a big score, you have to be willing to roll the dice on a player, which brings us to the case of the Kansas City Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles.
The fifth-year pro has been very quiet since making his return from an ACL tear last year, and after only gaining three yards on six carries, it was revealed that Charles experienced soreness in the knee, although head coach Romeo Crennel told Adam Teicher of The Kansas City Star that Charles should be good to go for Week 3.
“He got banged up a little bit and then (the Chiefs) decided not to put him back in the game,” Crennel said. “He wanted to go back in … but the other guys were doing OK so we left the other guys in. I talked to him after the game. He said he wanted to go back in and he felt OK. He was getting treatment, so I think he’ll be ready to play this week.”
The iffy status of Charles' knee brings with it significant risk from a fantasy perspective, but with a matchup on tap against a New Orleans Saints team that has gotten destroyed by the run this season, it's a risk worth taking assuming Charles plays.
Alfred Morris, Washington Redskins
For the second straight game, rookie Alfred Morris was effective carrying the ball for the Redskins in their Week 2 loss to the St. Louis Rams, tallying 89 yards on 16 carries, and head coach Mike Shanahan spoke very highly of the youngster's skills to John Keim of The Washington Examiner.
"He has a lot of ability," Redskins coach Mike Shanahan said. "He's a guy that can hit the hole extremely hard, but has the lateral quickness to make people miss. That's a good combination."
Fantasy owners who snagged Morris off their league's waiver wire after his strong NFL debut would be advised to consider starting him this week, as the Redskins face a Cincinnati Bengals squad that has allowed the third-most fantasy points to opposing running backs in 2012.
Andre Brown, New York Giants
As I stated earlier, injuries have already hit the running back position hard this season, with such prominent backs as Fred Jackson of the Buffalo Bills and Matt Forte of the Chicago Bears already sidelined.
Those backs were joined last week by Ahmad Bradshaw of the New York Giants, and with Bradshaw's neck injury likely to sideline the sixth-year pro for Thursday's matchup with the Carolina Panthers, the job of lead back will likely fall to third-year pro Andre Brown. According to Ebeneezer Samuel of The New York Daily News, Brown welcomes the opportunity:
“I just needed a shot and took advantage of my shot,” he said. “I just think that it’s just the beginning, and I’m going to continue to work hard and continue to go out here and do whatever Coach wants me to do and be ready whenever my number is called.”
Assuming Brown starts, he should have an excellent shot at building on his 13-carry, 71-yard performance in last week's win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Panthers were a top five fantasy matchup for opposing running backs in 2011 and remain so so far this season.