Fantasy Football Week 3 Running Backs: Who to Pick Up, Drop and Ignore

Patrick Scott PattersonContributor IISeptember 20, 2011

Jamaal Charles is just one of a metric ton of Week 2 injuries with extreme fantasy impact
Jamaal Charles is just one of a metric ton of Week 2 injuries with extreme fantasy impactDave Reginek/Getty Images

After only two weeks into the NFL season, a lot of team injury reports have more names on them than Santa's shopping list.

I'm off to an 0-2 start in one league due in large part to injuries.  Had to watch in horror the past few days as I watched my quarterback, one of my starting running backs and one of my starting wideouts all leave games with injuries.  

I feel even worse for one of my friends sharing a league with me.  He has both Michael Vick and Jamaal Charles and there's not a whole lot on the wire at either position in that league.  

This week's series of articles may be the most interesting ever for this early in the season.  Today, I look at running back possibilities, with wide receivers and quarterbacks coming across the next couple of days.


Pick-Ups (go grab 'em)

Thomas Jones and Dexter McCluster (Kansas City Chiefs): I only put these two up here because with Jamaal Charles tearing up his knee, these are the two guys most people are looking at.

I'm not totally convinced they are the best fit for Charles owners or for anyone else who might be looking to upgrade or grab some fill-ins for other injured players.  The Chiefs have more problems right now than a lime green 1972 Gremlin that's been stored in a creek.  It's possible neither choice will be what you need them to be.

Jones has posted great seasons in the past and even ran for 896 yards last year in a backup role.  At 33 he's not young as springtime anymore, either, and his average yards-per-carry has dropped badly.

Thomas Jones might still have it in him, but McCluster might be the guy, too.
Thomas Jones might still have it in him, but McCluster might be the guy, too.Rob Carr/Getty Images

McCluster has some upside with his speed and the fact that most fantasy football leagues are allowing him to be placed in either the RB or WR spot.  However, he's got a bad case of fumbleitis and is rather small at 170 pounds.  He might be a home run hitter or he might be a splatter spot on the field next week.

Best advice here is to pick up whichever one is on your wire.  If both of them are I'd suggest Jones in standard leagues and McCluster in PPR.


Ben Tate (Houston Texans): Arian Foster saw more "anti-awesomeness" show up in his hamstring and Tate came in off the bench and broke the century mark in rushing yards for the second week in a row.  Almost 30 percent of Yahoo! leagues still have him on the wire, likely due in large part to the numbers that dumped him before the start of Sunday's game with Foster returning.

Such a move was premature, the situation is ironic.  Last year it was Tate that was high on a lot of fantasy football draft boards and Foster who came in to light up the field when Tate went down injured. This year it looks to be the other way around.

Grab Tate if you can.  If you get him, keep him.  If you have him, keep him.  There's no telling when Foster will be right again and even if he gets there it's looking more and more likely that Tate will still get his carries.


Daniel Thomas (Miami Dolphins): Might be life in this guy after all.  Following a dreadful preseason, Miami announced Reggie Bush as the main go-to guy in the running game.  This weekend it was Thomas getting the touches instead, and racking up 107 yards.  

Tate will be the guy in Houston for now and maybe longer.  Get him and keep him.
Tate will be the guy in Houston for now and maybe longer. Get him and keep him.Marc Serota/Getty Images

DeMarco Murray (Dallas Cowboys): Felix Jones is one of the thousands of Dallas Cowboys on the injury report (slight exaggeration for effect).  While it's said he'll play with a separated shoulder this Monday night, I can't imagine he'll be very effective.

Murray is big, healthy and young.  He can run and he can catch.  I expect that he, not Tashard Choice, will be the guy getting most of the touches by the end of the game this week and likely beyond that.


Ignores (calm down, be patient)

Chris Johnson (Tennessee Titans): I can't believe I have to put this here, but I've seen a lot of owners flipping out over Chris Johnson's numbers so far.

Don't.  This should have been expected.  Between the lockout, his holdout and his fatigue from carrying all those big moneybags full of gold coins to the bank, CJ's slow start is nothing to sweat. Don't be one of those guys who trades a guy like this off after Week 2 only to watch him pound your team to death in Week 14.


Drop (cut 'em, dump 'em, un-friend them on Facebook)

Jamaal Charles (Kansas City Chiefs): Painful thing to do, I know.  Never easy to have to dump one of your top picks, especially so early in the year, but he's out.  You have to do it.

Marion Barber (Chicago Bears) - He's still hurt and Matt Forte still exists.  Barber should be cut (see what I did there?  Har Har)


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