The Good, the Bad, the Ugly: Preseason RBs (Week Two)

Michael WhooleySenior Writer IApril 6, 2017

We’re half way through the preseason and as everyone knows Week Two and Week Three are prime weeks to get good looks at lot of the players you will be drafting in your fantasy football leagues.

You still have to keep in mind that it’s the preseason, but you can get a good sneak peak at what to expect with most teams playing their starters for the first half in Week Two and Week Three of the preseason...Let’s take a look at the good, the bad and the ugly” running backs from the second week of the preseason.


Michael Turner (Atlanta Falcons) – Just like in Week One, Turner the Burner was able to score and put up a 40-yard scamper. As I said last week, he needs to slow down and save those scores for when they matter on your fantasy team.

Everything seems to be good to go with Turner, and while it remains to be seen if the 370 curse will plague him this year, there’s no signs yet to pass up on this guy with your first-round pick.

James Davis (Clevland Browns)Jamal Lewis isn’t getting any younger, and the Cleveland Browns may have found his predecessor in James Davis. Against the Detroit Lions last week, Davis rattled off 116 yards (one on an 81-yard run) on 12 carries and found the end zone. His counterpart, Lewis, also hit pay dirt, but only notched 23 yards on seven carries.

Let’s not kid ourselves; Lewis will be the featured back to start the season. But Davis is somebody to keep on your radar as a possible waiver wire pickup in case something happens to Lewis. It was an encouraging effort by Davis last week, but Lewis should still see the bulk of the carries.

Ryan Grant (Green Bay Packers) – Here’s a guy I’m sure a lot of you out there have been following closely during the offseason and training camp. Will we see the 2007 Ryan Grant or the 2008 version? In Week Two vs. the Buffalo Bills, Grant rushed for 43 yards on 10 carries with a touchdown.

An extraordinary performance? Of course not, but how many of those do you see in preseason action? At the same time, it wasn’t a poor performance either. Maybe getting into the endzone will give this guy some confidence.

Keep in mind; this is his backfield right now. You won’t be getting a stud if you draft him, but you will be getting somebody will see the bulk of the workload in arguably the NFC’s best offense.

Javon Ringer (Tennessee Titans) – Two weeks in a row now Javon Ringer has looked impressive. Last week against the Dallas Cowboys, it seemed like the Cowboys were having a real hard time bringing him down. On paper, his outing doesn’t look that great (five carries, 33 yards).

I’m a little surprised that Jeff Fisher only gave him five carries since Chris Johnson nor Lendale White weren’t getting involved much. Nevertheless, when you see Ringer busting through the line, he looks like a force to be reckoned with. Unfortunately, with the tandem of Johnson and White still in tact, Ringer will most likely have little draft value in 2009. You might want to take his name down for 2010, though.

Glen Coffee (San Francisco 49ers) – Talk about a guy who’s taking advantage of playing time. Preseason games or not, Glen Coffee has been very impressive for the San Francisco 49ers. He racked up 129 yards rushing on 16 attempts, including a 35-yard rush against the Oakland Raiders.

I said it last week and I’m saying it again right now—keep a close eye on him because if Frank Gore gets hurt again, I would highly consider taking the risk of picking up Coffee of the wire. Something to keep in mind for the final two preseason games is the fact that the Niners head to Dallas and San Diego.

There’s a good chance Coffee may not have as much luck against those imposing defenses, but I think he’s already left his mark for what he’s capable of. 

Matt Forte (Chicago Bears) – The New York Giants’ defense is dealing with a little bit of the injury bug right now, but still, Matt Forte put up an impressive 58 yards on nine carries with a touchdown against one of the league’s top-ranked defenses. Forte also posted a 32-yard run.

I ranked this performance in the “Good” category especially because there’s been some doubt about Forte with the minor injury at camp and the talk about the sophomore jinx. I wouldn’t worry about that minor injury now, and I especially wouldn’t worry about the supposed sophomore jinx. He’s a top-five draft pick.


LeSean McCoy (Philadelphia Eagles) – I thought this guy was great after Week One. After Week Two, the rookie came back down to Earth. Against the Indianapolis Colts last week, LeSean McCoy was only able to muster four yards rushing on five carries.

I don’t think five carries is really enough to judge how somebody does in a game, and that game shouldn’t take away from the role he could play in the Philadelphia Eagles’ offense. I would put McCoy in the same category as Glen Coffee.

McCoy has great potential and just needs Brian Westbrook to go down with one of his predictable injuries and he could be a nice asset to your fantasy football team as a waiver wire pickup. This guy may get drafted in deeper leagues, but in my opinion only take that chance if you drafted Westbrook earlier. 

Steven Jackson (St. Louis Rams) Donnie Avery is hurt. Marc Bulger is hurt. Steven Jackson has a history of being hurt. The St. Louis Rams just can’t keep their players off the medical tables. Jackson is healthy right now, but the lack of a decent passing attack could possibly hurt his fantasy value.

Last week against the Atlanta Falcons, Jackson tallied 10 yards on three carries. He only got the ball three times because of course the Rams can’t risk their cornerstone going down again. In the regular season, however, they will have no choice but to feed the ball to him constantly.

That sounds great, but as long as Bulger and Avery are hurt, defenses will only have to keep their eyes on Jackson. In addition, the more Jackson is forced to carry the offense, the more he’s liable to get hurt again. He’s still a first-rounder in my opinion, but Jackson owners need to cross their fingers that Avery and Bulger make speedy recoveries. 

Darren McFadden (Oakland Raiders) – Like LeSean McCoy, Darren McFadden’s another guy who impressed me in Week One, but not so much last week. McFadden rushed for five yards on four carries against the San Francisco 49ers last week.

I’m still confident that he will surpass Justin Fargas as the team’s lead back, maybe not by the season opener, but shortly thereafter. The fact that he only got four carries last week is a good sign that the Oakland Raiders want to make sure nothing happens to him because he could be in line to become the starter.

I’m curious to see how McFadden does in the last two preseason games. We’ve seen the good and the bad from him so far. I still like him as an RB2, but given the fact that the Oakland Raiders always seem to use their key players improperly, he may frustrate you this season sometimes.


Jonathan Stewart (Carolina Panthers) – How could I put Jonathan Stewart in the “Ugly” column when he didn’t even play last week? Well, that’s actually exactly why I’m putting him here. Stewart’s battling an achilles injury, in case you haven’t heard, that’s probably going to keep him out of the entire preseason, but he said he’s confident that he’ll be ready for Week One.

Of course he’ll get back in the mix when he returns, but how long will it take him to get up to speed? The end result of this could potentially be John Fox giving an increased workload to DeAngelo Williams, making the Carolina Panthers’ backfield less of a 50-50 split in carries. 

LaDainian Tomlinson (San Diego Chargers) – LT isn’t doing anything to change my mind about moving him higher up on my cheat sheets. Last week against the Arizona Cardinals, the former ultimate fantasy football stud posted 18 yards rushing on eight carries. Darren Sproles didn’t do any better, but Sproles isn’t LT.

A running back the caliber of LT, or the caliber that he used to be, should be able to get at least 20 yards rushing on eight carries against any defense, preseason or not. If you want LT on your team, I highly advise not putting into consideration what he’s done in the past.

You have to think about the present and what he’s capable of doing in 2009. Despite the fact that he did end up having a pretty good fantasy season in 2008, you got your warning last year that the tide may be beginning to turn.

Willie Parker (Pittsburgh Steelers) – The good news about Willie Parker’s game against the Washington Redskins last week is he scored a touchdown. The bad news is he only totaled 13 yards rushing, half of which came on one carry.

This isn’t breaking news if you’ve been doing your homework and following the articles of everyone here with the Bruno Boys, but Willie Parker is not a low-end RB2, more like an RB3. I’m not a big fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ backfield in general, except for maybe Rashard Mendenhall as a late pickup for your RB3, since he does have some sleeper value.