Wild Card Weekend RB Rankings: Multi-Dimensional Backs on NFL Center Stage

Jeremy Alpert@@pyroman1acSenior Analyst IIJanuary 8, 2011

BALTIMORE, MD - OCTOBER 10: Ray Rice #27 of the Baltimore Ravens celebrates a touchdown against the Denver Broncos at M&T Bank Stadium on October 10, 2010 in Baltimore, Maryland. Players wore pink in recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The Ravens defeated the Broncos 31-17. (Photo by Larry French/Getty Images)
Larry French/Getty Images

Wild Card Weekend RB Player Rankings

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Also, check out the rankings for QBs, WRs, and TEs

1. Ray Rice (@ KC)

Rice has an extra gear when it comes to playoff-time, as evidenced by his 159-yard, two-TD performance against New England and 127 total yards against Indy in last year’s postseason.  The Chiefs have shown they can be beaten on the ground (teams averaged 140.6 rushing yards/game against them over the last five weeks), so expect a healthy dose of Ray Ray in this one with a possible 160+ total yards and a TD as a result.

2. LeSean McCoy (vs GB)

McCoy has a variety of skills he uses throughout a game, and all he needs are enough touches to make them work.  The Eagles have already vowed to use the running game more this weekend, so McCoy could be in for a nice statistical afternoon despite a strong Packers front seven.

3. Jamaal Charles (vs Bal)

Jamaal really has his work cut out for him this weekend, but he’s one of the more electric players in the league, along with being one of the more well-rested.  The Chiefs did a great job of keeping him fresh throughout the year and now is the time where it could pay off. 

Believe me, he’ll be stuffed for either zero or negative yardage on his fair share of carries, but Charles isn’t a grind-it-out type of back.  All it takes is one open hole, one blown assignment and the kid is gone.  His ability in the passing game will certainly help out with his final numbers as well.

4. Shonn Greene (@ Ind)

Shonn Greene is rested and ready to rumble, which is exactly what the Jets were planning for all year long.  With Greene’s carries being kept on the light side throughout the year, it’s finally “go-time” for the beefy young running back.  Shonn made his presence known on the big stage of the NFL Playoffs last year, and I expect him to do the same with around 20 carries or so this Saturday.

5. Reggie Bush (@ Sea)

With Pierre Thomas and Chris Ivory out, Reggie will have the chance of a lifetime this weekend.  Not only will he get a good 15 carries or so, but he should also see close to 10 catches out of the backfield giving him around 25 touches to do some serious damage with.  If the Saints put up 30+ points, which they should, expect at least six of them to come from Bush.

6. LaDainian Tomlinson (@ Ind)

The Jets counted on LaDainian getting them here but don’t expect him to take on the "feature back" role from here on out.  He’ll still see around 15-20 touches in this game, which should be good for around 100 total yards against a middling Colts defense, but look for LT21 to be sitting shotgun in New York’s RBBC this weekend.

7. Joseph Addai (vs NYJ)

Addai might not have been around much lately (only played in half the games this year), but you can bet the Colts remember just how much his skills are worth to the team.  The offense has been easing him back into action the past couple of weeks with the idea of turning him loose whenever he proved to be ready.  Well, he’s ready, so expect a good 15-20 touches with a good chance of a goal-line TD Saturday night.

8. Brandon Jackson (@ Phi)

The Eagles Rush D is nothing spectacular but neither is Brandon Jackson.  I can see him getting a good 15 touches this Sunday which could net him some decent overall stats, but the chances of him putting up just his second fantasy-worthy game of the season aren’t that high.

9. Marshawn Lynch (vs NO)

I can’t see Lynch being too much of a factor in this one unless Seattle somehow jumps out to an early-game lead.  He’s nothing special in the passing game, so if the ‘Hawks go down early, Marshawn will likely have to split time with the more explosive Forsett.

10. Thomas Jones (vs Bal)

Jones will certainly be used to getting KC some tough yards this weekend, but his heart and ability to take a beating will have to take a backseat to Jamaal’s explosiveness and game-changing capacities this weekend.  Still, he has as good a chance as any to take in a short touchdown if the Chiefs can get inside the Ravens 5-yard line.

11. John Kuhn (@ Phi)

Kuhn may actually have a better chance than Jackson of putting up some good fantasy numbers, as he’ll at least be getting the goal-line carries.  That said, a chance TD is really all you’d be depending on if you’re playing him on your team.

12. Dominic Rhodes (vs NYJ)

The former Indianapolis 1,000-yard rusher was picked up prior to Week 15 due to injuries in the backfield, but Rhodes has played so well that he seems to have found himself back in the mix for the playoffs.  He won’t get a ton of carries, but in this explosive Colts offense, he’ll always have a chance to score a TD.

13. Willis McGahee (@ KC)

McGahee has as good a shot as any backup RB in the league to score a TD, but Rice will run the show this Sunday.  Don’t expect much, as Willis has rushed for just one TD in the past nine games while averaging a mere 19.2 yards/game.

14. Julius Jones (@ Sea)

Julius will get some decent play in this game being the de facto RB2, but I can hardly say he’d do anything with 30 touches, much less the 10 he’ll likely get this weekend.

15. Donald Brown (vs NYJ)

Except for his Week 15 game against the Jaguars, Donald was pretty awful this season.  He still has a ton of potential and is the fastest of the Colts RBs, but he won’t get much of a chance to do anything this weekend unless Addai or Rhodes get injured during the game (which is always a possibility).

16. Justin Forsett (vs NO)

Forsett doesn’t normally see enough action to make a difference, but being the better RB in the passing game might give him more of an opportunity this weekend.

17. James Starks (@ Phi)

Starks has the tools and may have a pretty good future ahead of him, but there’s no way in hell the Pack will use a rookie RB with just 29 career carries under his belt this weekend.

Wild Card Weekend rankings for QBs, WRs, and TEs


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