NFL Divisional Playoff Showdown: Running Back Fantasy Rankings

Shaun McPartlinCorrespondent IIIJanuary 10, 2011

GREEN BAY, WI - JANUARY 02:  Matt Forte #22 of the Chicago Bears carries the ball after making a catch against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on January 2, 2011 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

In a wild weekend filled with surprises, both in fantasy and on the gridiron, what can we expect next week? Marshawn Lynch's huge performance along with Ray Rice's rather pedestrian day showed us just how unpredictable this game really is.

For those of us addicted to fantasy sports and partake in a fantasy playoff challenge on either ESPN or, here are some players to add to your roster.

A few big names were eliminated this week at the RB position.  No longer do we have Jamaal Charles, one of my favorites for next year, or LeSean McCoy. We can gladly wave goodbye to Joseph Addai and Reggie Bush whom both had lackluster performances this weekend.

So if you had any of those guys on your roster and need to fill a void, here are my divisional round rankings.


1. Matt Forte

All year the Seahawks have been burned by the run.  The Saints truly missed both Pierre Thomas and Chris Ivory. Julius Jones is not even a poor man's version of either of these two and he still found pay dirt twice.

Now cue in Matt Forte. Even with a porous offensive line, Forte finished the year strong racking up nearly 100 yards in each of his last three games. He did this up against some notoriously strong rush defenses—Jets, Vikings and Packers.

The Seahawks might be the Cinderella story of this year's playoffs, but midnight is right around the corner.


2. LaDainian Tomlinson

Tomlinson is known for his inability to show up in the playoffs, but put up good numbers against a Colt's defense who has improved against the run. The Pats are a young team with some playmakers and have the best coach in the league, but stopping LT might be a problem.

Tomlinson faded off during the end of the season, but with Shonn Greene playing up to his potential, the burden is not solely on LT's shoulders any longer. Also, LaDainian gets the goal line carries and has a knack for finding the end zone.

As much as picking a Jet makes me sick to my stomach—being a Giants fan, I have to put my loyalties aside and use fantasy judgment.

LT should be a nice play this weekend.


3. Rashard Mendenahll

The Ravens D is tough and they will be out for blood in this matchup. But they are old and not as agile as they once were. Mendenhall is a tough runner and the Steeler's offensive line is taking shape at the right time. Rookie Maurkice Pouncey has is a beast on the line and will be able to create some nice holes for Rashard to dash through.

This game will come down to the wire, and I think Mendenhall with come through with a late score.


4. Ray Rice

Rice had trouble against the Chiefs defense this weekend and the Steeler's are far more capable. Rice's sure hands and playmaking ability makes him someone hard to account for. Flacco loves looking for him in the flat and he has the skill set to turn a short pass into a big gain.

Rice won't get you 100 yards on the ground. Maybe not even 50. But his hands will help even out the fantasy blow as he'll reach 100 total yards for the game.


5. Michael Turner

I am, as always have been, a huge Turner the Burner fan, but this matchup spells trouble. The Pack eats up the run game with Clay Matthews and B.J. Raji, and Turner can't catch a ball if his life depended on it. Yes, the Falcons will never give up on their run game and have an extremely balanced attack, but lets be realistic here.

Turner might have led the NFC in rushing yards this season, but this could very well be his last game of the year.