Week 9 Start 'Em, Sit 'Em: Beanie Wells and 5 Running Backs You Must Start
Week 9 of the NFL season is just two days away and like usual, fantasy owners across the country are having their questions about who to start and who to sit.
Owners without the luxury of having those four guys, among others, are scrambling to figure out who to start and who to sit at the running back position.
For those with questions, here is why Beanie Wells and four other running backs are players you must start on Sunday.
Mike Tolbert, San Diego Chargers
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For much of 2011, Mike Tolbert has played second fiddle to the rising star in Ryan Mathews. Though he has been a backup and a situational player, Tolbert has been effective near the goal line and in the passing game.
Ryan Mathews didn't practice Thursday and there is a good chance that he may not be able to go on Sunday. Even if he is able to suit up, his role will likely be limited and Tolbert will be the featured back.
We haven't seen much of Tolbert this season and some may feel he is a risky play—understandably so. However, inside the 5-yard line, Tolbert is good for a touchdown.
In the passing game, he has 28 receptions this season for 231 yards and has been more than impressive throughout his career after the catch. Against the Packers linebackers, who have had their criticisms in pass coverage, expect some receptions and yards coming Tolbert's way.
Beanie Wells, Arizona Cardinals
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After an up-and-down rookie season, Beanie Wells took a step back in 2010 and paralyzed fantasy owners who invested an early round pick on him. He rushed for just 397 yards and two touchdowns in an injury-shortened season.
Before the 2011 season, fantasy owners were again skeptical when evaluating Beanie. Though many took the risk hoping to reap the benefits of Beanie being the feature back in Arizona.
Despite missing a game-and-a-half, he has rushed for 506 yards and seven touchdowns. He has had knee troubles in 2011 and has publicly stated that it will likely bother him the remainder of the season, but does not expect to miss any action.
The one downside to Beanie's game is that he is not a threat in the passing game, which can hinder his fantasy impact if he cannot find running lanes.
Fantasy owners shouldn't have to worry about his pass-catching ability this Sunday since Beanie and the Cardinals will have a field day against the Rams, a team that boasts the worst rush defense in the NFL.
Shonn Greene, NY Jets
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Shonn Greene is another one of those players that can furiously frustrate fantasy owners. He has continually been a highly rated running back by various fantasy football sources and has yet to deliver.
In 2010, his second NFL season, Greene saw his carries slowly diminish due to his fumbling issues in key situations.
2011 has been much better to Greene and he has not fumbled, leading to increased confidence by the Jets coaching staff.
In his last three games, Greene has carried the ball 20-plus times. He has eclipsed 100 yards just once in those three games, but the opportunities certainly have proven to be there.
The Buffalo Bills are below average against the run and rank 20th in the NFL. Greene will get his touches. Look for him to rush for over 100 yards for a second consecutive game.
BenJarvus Green-Ellis, New England Patriots
BenJarvus Green-Ellis, an Ole Miss product, broke out in 2010 when he rushed for 1,008 yards and 13 touchdowns. He is not on pace for 1,000 yards this season but is still averaging over four YPC and on pace for another double-digit touchdown season.
He will be available this Sunday, but with his toe injury and the return of Kevin Faulk, owners have questioned his fantasy value for this weekend. His value may have dipped, but it is hard to believe that Bill Belichick will keep Green-Ellis on the sideline in a big game.
The Giants are 28th against the run and running lanes will be open for Green-Ellis due to the Giants defense focusing so much on Tom Brady and the Patriots passing offense, which ranks second in the NFL.
Cedric Benson, Cincinnati Bengals
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Cedric Benson has been one of the most talked-about players in the NFL in 2011 but for all the wrong reasons. He served his one-game suspension last week but will be available this Sunday against the Titans.
Prior to his suspension, Benson was second in the NFL in touches, but struggled to find the end zone. Although, he is bound for a breakout game and this Sunday's game against the Titans seems like the right time for that to happen.
Benson has seen 15-plus carries in every game this season, which also includes games with carries of 24 and 25.
After serving a suspension, owners should expect to see Benson come out on Sunday with a little fire against a 27th-ranked Titans run defense.