Running Backs to Add
Jonathan Stewart, Carolina Panthers
If talent was the lone deciding factor in fantasy moves, Stewart would be the No. 1 addition in all fantasy leagues this week. But alas, circumstances and matchup dictate a player's value, too. Stewart proved healthy and more productive than DeAngelo Williams this week, so we should expect Stewart to get more and more of the touches going forward. Williams is older and less explosive, and Stewart is a physical runner who might even be able to do his own work inside the 10-yard line.
The problem with trusting him in lineups, in addition to the timeshare with Williams and goal-line back Mike Tolbert, is the 49ers still have one of the run defenses of which fantasy owners need to be wary.
Chris Ivory, New York Jets
Apparently 32 percent of CBS Sports leagues didn't see Ivory becoming the Jets' full-fledged feature back. Well, after another 139 yards and a touchdown, he should be considered just that now. He has fully distanced himself from Bilal Powell, who had just nine carries for 29 yards.
The Jets are a lot livelier than anyone anticipated, and the running game is going to be a No. 1 priority going forward. Ivory should be owned and active in all leagues after their Week 10 bye.
Andre Brown, New York Giants
He is returning from the Designated for Return IR this week and has a special "package of plays" waiting for him in Week 10, according to Dave Hutchinson of The Newark Star-Ledger. You should bank on the Giants running with Peyton Hillis and Brandon Jacobs this week in a power running game, but Brown will be the feature back once he is back up to speed. It might be by the second half of this Sunday's game against the Raiders.
Brown told Hutchinson:
The coaches just told me to be ready. ... They threw me some special plays out there. They want to get me back in football shape. They want to kind of ease me into this thing. That's what they plan on doing and we'll go from there.
Mike James, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
We are not willing to degrade a Seahawks defense that has given up back-to-back big games on the ground, so we have to like the potential of James now. The rookie pounded out 158 yards in Seattle and draws the Dolphins in Week 10. Miami has given up the second-most points to fantasy running backs to date. The matchup makes James a start in all standard leagues.
Rashad Jennings, Oakland Raiders
Darren McFadden (hamstring) is likely headed for another game-time decision, so the Raiders could be giving the ball to Jennings more against the Giants this Sunday. Jennings was his best yet against the Eagles, rushing for 102 yards and a touchdown—albeit mostly in a blowout. Jennings won't have much value if McFadden is healthy, but how often is anyone expecting that?
James Starks, Green Bay Packers
As much as Eddie Lacy has become a fantasy star, Starks is still in the mix for touches and touchdowns with the now-run-heavy Packers. Starks will become even more important if Aaron Rodgers (non-throwing shoulder) is out for any period of time. Starks should be good for around 40 yards and a touchdown in any given week—plenty of production for back-needy owners—especially Week 10 against the Eagles.
Ben Tate, Houston Texans
Arian Foster (back) has another injury to add to his resume, and Tate might be looking at maintaining a large role in what should still be a run-friendly Texans offense. Arizona is not a great matchup in Week 10 (second-best against fantasy backs), but Tate is a must-add in all leagues for his potential workload, regardless of whether Foster winds up on the right side of his likely game-time decision.
Running Backs to Monitor
Bryce Brown, Philadelphia Eagles; Kendall Hunter, San Francisco 49ers; and Robert Turbin, Seattle Seahawks
This trio are all mere handcuffs right now, but with the bye weeks settling down, you would be wise to stash these premium backups in some of the better offenses in football. They might even prove starter-worthy in the right matchup down the stretch, regardless of the veteran back ahead of them on the depth chart.
Shonn Greene, Tennessee Titans
Chris Johnson's touchdown vulture is healthy again, which puts Jackie Battle off the fantasy radar. Greene is not quite an add in most fantasy leagues yet, though, unless you need a CJ2K handcuff. Johnson is going to get the bulk of the duty and fantasy points, while Greene will be left with scraps. If you're desperate for a running back starter, though, Week 10 vs. Jacksonville stands to be a decent matchup to expect a short touchdown run or two.
Mike Tolbert, Carolina Panthers
We are still bullish on Tolbert as an addition in fantasy, despite another short touchdown Sunday. Stewart (ankle) is back and will continue to get more of the pie, and D-Williams isn't going away either. Sure, Tolbert looks capable of one one-yard touchdown per week, but the Panthers face a good defense in the 49ers this Sunday, so Week 10 is a bad time to bank on it.
Running Backs to Ignore
Darrel Young, Washington Redskins
If you need a reason to ignore the fact that this fullback went off for three touchdowns—much to the dismay of Alfred Morris owners—just look at the production of Roy Helu after his own three-touchdown game a few weeks ago. Helu has barely totaled three fantasy points in the two games since, much less sniffed a touchdown.
Young was a circumstantial contributor in Week 9 and cannot be counted on going forward. Morris is still big enough to do his own goal-line work when Mike Shanahan's team chooses to allow him to.
Jeremy Stewart, Oakland Raiders
A fullback with a garbage-time touchdown in an offense that doesn't scare anyone is not worth considering.