Divisional Playoffs RB Player Rankings
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1. BenJarvus Green-Ellis (vs NYJ)
The Jets have a tough rush D for sure, but that hardly stopped The Firm in their last battle. Everyone knows to expect the unexpected with Bill Belichick, so just when the sporting world thinks it's Brady’s time to shine, watch the Pats coach call on his hard-nosed RB to lead the way. One touchdown is nearly a given, but I’m expecting even more this Sunday afternoon.
2. Michael Turner (vs GB)
The Packers rush D is actually pretty good despite their ranking in yards allowed/game, as they let up just six rushing TDs on the year. They held Philly’s two jitterbugs, Vick and McCoy, in check last week, but Turner is a whole different story. In fact, I believe his legs alone weigh more than Vick and McCoy combined. That said, “The Centaur” had 110 yards with a TD in their meeting earlier this year, which looks to be pretty close to what he should be able to get again this Saturday.
3. Rashard Mendenhall (vs Bal)
The Ravens rush D is second only to the Steelers in terms of domination, so Rashard will have his work cut out for him this weekend. However, unlike Rice on the opposing sideline, Pittsburgh won’t stray from using Mendy, so you know he’ll at least get the touches to produce. Earlier in the season, Mendenhall scored two TDs against them and even though it’s not likely to happen again, he’s still the goal-line back, so there’s a chance.
4. Matt Forte (vs Sea)
Forte was awesome over the last half of the season and will be counted on to produce some tough first downs this weekend. With the Bears wanting to control the clock on offense, Matt will have every opportunity to shine and should put up some real nice numbers come Sunday.
5. James Starks (@ Atl)
I was sure there was no way in hell the Packers would utilize a rookie running back the way they did last weekend, but holy crap, was I wrong. Starks definitely has the tools necessary to do what he did to a middling Eagles defense, but who knew he’d be able to withstand the playoff pressure after garnering just 29 carries the entire season? Well, he’ll have a chance to prove he’s for real this weekend, as the Falcons D isn’t much better than Philly’s, so look for Starks to get another 15-plus carries in this one and maybe even 20 or more.
6. LaDainian Tomlinson (@ NE)
The Jets split the workload between Tomlinson and Greene last Saturday, but ended up getting LT21 two TDs by putting their faith in the 10-year veteran around the goal-line. Expect more of the same against the Patriots this week, as the Jets will have to win the time-of-possession battle if they want to win this game.
7. Danny Woodhead (vs NYJ)
Danny Woodhead should be a household name by this point. Period. Everybody knows the story of how the Jets released him after just one week of play this season and that the inter-division Patriots signed him less than a week later. Others may realize that the 5'8", 195-pound (both generously listed) running back rattled off almost 1,000 total yards and six TDs in just 14 games as well. Whatever the case, Rex Ryan has to be pretty bummed out for letting the little guy go and I expect nothing less from Belichick than to rub it in this weekend.
8. Marshawn Lynch (@ Chi)
Hasselbeck wasn’t the only Seahawk to play out of his mind against the Saints last Saturday. Marshawn Lynch (a.k.a. Fugly) rattled off one of the most impressive runs in recent playoff history en route to a 131-yard effort in Seattle’s first-round victory. Can he do it again? Not a chance. The Bears are simply too good and quick for him to handle, as they showed earlier this year when they held Lynch to just 44 yards on 17 carries (2.6 YPC). Seattle will try to get him going, but they may turn to Forsett a bit in this game when they find themselves in need of some speed.
9. Shonn Greene (@ NE)
Greene will get his fair share of carries and could end up with some decent numbers in this one, but with the Jets deciding to go with Tomlinson around the goal-line, his fantasy potential is limited to the possibility of him breaking off a long TD.
10. Ray Rice (@ Pit)
Rice did pretty well last week against the Chiefs, but was completely shut down against Pittsburgh during the season. In their two games combined, Ray managed just 52 yards on 17 carries (3.1 YPC), as well as three receptions for 27 yards, and accounted for zero points on the board. The Steelers know that one of the keys to beating the Ravens is stopping Ray Rice, and you can believe they’ll be doing everything they can towards that end once again this weekend.
11. John Kuhn (@ Atl)
Kuhn’s worth comes mostly along the goal-line, as the Packers can use either his 6’0”, 250-pound frame to bust in the one-yard TDs or his receiving ability to catch play-action passes in the flat. Other than that, though, don’t expect much.
12. Willis McGahee (@ Pit)
McGahee actually had more carries against the Steelers this year than Rice did (21 to 17) but ended up with fewer yards in the stat-sheet as well (46 yards, 2.2 YPC). He did manage to rattle off a nine-yard TD in those games and will likely be used as the goal-line back this Saturday, but the chance of him doing much else is nil.
13. Brandon Jackson (@ Atl)
Once again, Brandon has been passed on the depth chart by a bigger, more talented back, and this time I think it’s for good. Jackson will still get a few carries and dump-offs on third down, but his chances of putting up fantasy-worthy stats aren’t too good.
14. Justin Forsett (@ Chi)
Forsett doesn’t normally see enough action to make a difference, but being the faster, more explosive, and better RB in the passing game might give him more of an opportunity against this Bears D. I still wouldn’t expect much, but you never know with these scat-backs who can take it to the house at any given moment.
15. Jason Snelling (vs GB)
Snelling turned in a nice season, putting up over 600 total yards and five TDs as Turner’s backup, but the only way he’ll do anything worthwhile this weekend is if Turner goes down to injury early.
16. Chester Taylor (vs Sea)
The Bears didn’t get nearly what they were expecting when they signed Taylor this past off-season, as his 2.4 YPC was the worst in NFL history for a running back with 100 or more carries. He’ll get a few touches here and there in order to give Forte a rest, but not enough to make a difference.
17. Fred Taylor (vs NYJ)
Taylor is a complete afterthought at this point and won’t see more than maybe a few touches in this one.