Fantasy Football Week 15: Five Stud Running Backs to Bench and Their Replacement
Making it to your fantasy football playoffs is a rewarding experience. Once you make it, there's a sense of obligation to the players who brought you along the way. And I'm sure you've heard the saying, "Dance with the one who brought you."
Well, it's time to cheat on your girlfriend.
When it comes to the playoffs, each week is a separate season in and of itself. Sure, Michael Turner and these other four guys brought you to the playoffs, but they're not who will take you home.
It's time to let these five guys know that "It's not you, it's them."
When you're ready to have that talk with them, click below.
Michael Turner vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
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If Atlanta Falcons running back Michael Turner seems like a solid play this week against a forgiving Jaguars defense, it only seems that way.
Turner's burner has flamed out.
Over the past three games, Turner is averaging 3.3 yards per carry and has failed to score a single touchdown.
Even worse, Turner only managed 3.6 yards per carry against a Carolina Panthers offense that even made Colts' Donald Brown look decent.
Playing Turner against the Jags this week will make your playoff flame burn out, just like Turner has.
Alternative: Ben Tate vs. Carolina Panthers
Some call Texans running back Ben Tate a backup to starter Arian Foster. Technically, that's correct. Now's not the time to be technical; it's time to win.
Winning in fantasy football follows a simple formula: the more points you have, the better your chance of winning.
Tate will most assuredly notch more points than Turner this week. Texans quarterback T.J. Yates has proven that defenses need to respect the pass.
Between a legitimate passing attack and one of the strongest offensive lines in the league, the Texans will run all over an undersized Panthers defensive front.
Pass the torch from Turner to Tate.
Steven Jackson vs. Cincinnati Bengals
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St. Louis Rams running back Steven Jackson is a wasted talent behind one of the league's most ineffective offensive lines. If you take a look at his previous four games, Jackson hasn't been able to move much beyond breaking from the huddle.
This week, against the seventh-ranked Cincinnati Bengals run defense, Jackson will disappoint every single fantasy owner. If he averages three yards per carry, then it will be an improvement based on his last four games.
Please. I'm begging you. Sit the man.
Alternative: John Kuhn vs. Kansas City Chiefs
Green Bay Packers running back John Kuhn has only hit the fantasy radar as the goal-line vulture from time to time. Things have changed for the cheeseheads. James Starks went down with an ankle injury and, as of Thursday, has not even made it on the practice field.
With Starks sidelined against the Oakland Raiders in Week 14, Kuhn's role expanded. Kuhn's number was called just as many times (10) as starter Ryan Grant. Kuhn responded with 46 yards on his 10 carries.
There's little doubt as to which team will win this matchup. This one could literally be decided at halftime. The Packers may begin to rest Aaron Rodgers in the second half. If that occurs, Kuhn will have plenty of opportunity to rack up fantasy points against the Chiefs 26th-ranked run defense.
If you want to be like the Packers and remain undefeated in your playoffs, sit Jackson and start Kuhn.
Frank Gore vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
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San Francisco 49ers running back Frank Gore is playing hurt. It's evident. Against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 14, Gore played only 39 of 63 snaps. Gore repeatedly took himself out of the game.
Afterwards, head coach Jim Harbaugh let it be known that Gore has some nagging injuries.
Now sit back and picture Gore running against the Pittsburgh Steelers. It's not a pretty sight.
Unless you like to see your running back tap his helmet to signal that he's had enough and needs a break, look elsewhere.
Alternative: Kevin Smith vs. Oakland Raiders
Detroit Lions running back Kevin Smith was doing his best impression of a coach potato in Week 9. Come Week 10, he's on the football field. Enter Week 11, he's visiting the end zone three times with over 200 total yards of offense.
His is an amazing story.
While Smith has been suffering from an ankle injury, it appears that he is on the mend. As of Thursday, Smith was seen participating in team drills, according to beat writer Anwar Richardson.
If Smith suits up against the 29th-ranked run defense Oakland offers running backs each week, then he's a more viable start than Gore.
Be sure to check the injury reports leading up to kickoff, however.
Marshawn Lynch vs. Chicago Bears
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If you have Marshawn Lynch on your team, chances are you're in the playoffs. Over the past six games, only the St. Louis Rams have kept Lynch under 100 yards.
Over that span, "Beast Mode" has beasted his way into the end zone six times. He's been as steady as they come.
The Chicago Bears will tame the beast.
The Bears have given up only one rushing touchdown over the past five games, and have held running backs to 3.2 yards per carry. Lynch will be ambushed on Soldier Field by linebacker Brian Urlacher.
Sit Lynch if you really want a taste of the rainbow.
Alternative: Reggie Bush vs. Buffalo Bills
Miami Dolphins running back Reggie Bush is a guy that is hard to insert in your lineup. I get it—he's been a bust so long, it's hard to recognize that he can actually be relied on to produce for your fantasy team.
This week is the week to look past his bustness and let him take you deeper into the playoffs.
This week's performance should mirror last week's performance: over 100 yards rushing and at least 25 yards receiving. Against the battle-worn Bills, he'll also find his way into the end zone.
Dolphins quarterback Matt Moore is on track to play against the Bills, as well. This will only open things up a little more for Bush.
Use the Bush to climb the playoff tree.
Rashard Mendenhall vs. San Francisco 49ers
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I hesitate to use Rashard Mendenhall here. The title of the slideshow was about studs to sit. I'm not so sure I can consider Mendenhall a stud.
Because he was a first-round pick, and has played just well enough to stay on fantasy rosters, I'll go ahead and slam him here.
I don't have to do much to slam Mendenhall. In fact, he's done it to himself. The Steeler running back has yet to rush for 100 yards in a game this year and has only one 20-carry game. His self-implosion culminated against the Cleveland Browns, when he couldn't push it into the end zone on four consecutive carries at the goal-line.
If that's not rock bottom, it's close.
Mendenhall's meeting with the San Francisco 49ers means one thing: Pittsburgh better have a good night throwing the rock. On Sunday, their ground game will be like James Harrison: non-existent.
Alternative: Felix Jones vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Owner/GM Jerry Jones of the Dallas Cowboys came out and called running back Felix Jones a Transformer. He said that Jones will assume the role of injured back DeMarco Murray.
After Murray went out with an ankle injury against the New York Giants in Week 14, Jones' transition into the lead back was seamless. Jones gained 106 yards on 16 carries and looked good gaining each yard.
Against a Tampa Bay defense that has packed it in for the year, Jones will produce admirably for your fantasy team. You can safely expect over 100 yards and a touchdown.