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Fantasy Football Playoffs – RB’s to target 

Fantasy Football Running backs are your most stable performers, the foundation of your team.  Without stable HBs you can be in for a long season.  I know that every pre season when I look back on the way my roster finished up, I am always surprised.  The Tashard Choice and LeRon McClain pick ups can win your league.  One of the most important pieces of advice I can give you during these last couple weeks in regards to HBs, know your depth charts and be ready to pounce if someone goes down.

Most standard leagues use weeks 14,15 and 16 as playoff weeks, with a single elimination format.  (Side note: In my league (WCFFL) we start in week 13 and the games are two weeks long, if you want to know why just ask).

I do have a really scary looking excel document that gives the break down on this stuff, but sometimes you just have to realize that may be TMI for the masses.  With that in mind, I’m keeping this simple.

HBs that face the softest schedule for the fantasy football playoffs (Weeks 14,15,16)

Running Backs Week 14 Week 15 Week 16
New England CAR (25) BUF (32) JAX (22)
Kansas City BUF (32) CLE (30) CIN (6)
Arizona SF (12) DET (26) STL (29)
Clinton Portis OAK (31) NYG (23) DAL (13)
Michael Turner NO (19) NYJ (14) BUF (32)
Chris Johnson STL (29) MIA (7) SD (28)
New Orleans ATL (21) DAL (13) TB (27)
Thomas Jones TB (27) ATL (21) IND (11)
Miami JAX (22) TEN (16) HOU (20)
Jamal Lewis PITT (1) KC (24) OAK (31)

*HBs listed with weekly opponents (ranked by fantasy points allowed vs. HBs)

New England HBs – Two problems with this….1.  The Patriots are a pass first team.  2.  Good Luck having the correct HB on that day.  Maroney?  Morris?  Let’s not forget Kevin Faulk and Fred Taylor should be back by then as well.

Kansas City HBs – Jamaal Charles has put together a couple solid games since the release of LJ.  I’m not sold that Charles is a solid play yet, but he is a good flex play until he stops producing.  (UPDATE)  Charles is a solid HB2 play and with his match ups could be a big play down the stretch.

Arizona HBs – I know the fantasy world is waiting and hoping that Wells will break out.  This is a pass heavy offense, until Beanie Wells learns how to catch the ball and pick up blitzes he will be looking at 5 – 10 carries a game.  With that said.  Tim Hightower is still a solid flex play.  He is not only a solid pass catcher, but he is the goal line guy.  I don’t beleive that the coaching staff is sold on Wells even after a few solid outings, but with Warner going down, it’s safe to say that the Cardinals will be looking at a more balanced offense.

Redskins HB – (UPDATE) Portis (concussion), Betts (Torn MCL) Welcome Rock Cartwright!  With the Brian Westbrook situation fresh in the minds of HB’s every where expect Portis to take his time coming back.

Michael Turner – The Burner!  Only one game in which he hasn’t scored a TD this season.  If you don’t have this guy, go get him!  One word to summarize Turner……MVP!  Fantasy MVP that is.  I know he has a high ankle sprain, Snelling will replace Turner, but don’t worry Turner will be back for a playoff run. (UPDATE)  I think the Falcons should have waited on having Turner come back.  This injury is very tough for HBs to rush back from.  Hopefully they sit him for a couple weeks and bring him back around week 15.

Chris Johnson – My concern with Johnson is that 2/3 of his fantasy points this season were scored in only two games.  Would that stop me from getting the guy?  Absolutely not, he is a 25 point game waiting to happen.

New Orleans HBsPierre Thomas/Mike Bell are both getting plenty of touches.  I lean more towards Pierre, but I would keep Bell in my back pocket.

Thomas Jones – Kudos to Jones!  The man is running like he wants to get paid…..and make no mistake, he does want to get paid.  My concern with Jones is that he had a great year last year but faded in the later weeks.  Make sure you hand cuff this guy with Greene.  (UPDATE)  Rex Ryan is running Jones into the ground right now.  I suggest if you own Jones you pick up Greene.

Miami HBs – Who needs a passing game when you have Ronnie Brown? You don’t have Ronnie Brown?  My childhood friend Ricky Williams has revived his fantasy career this season.  (UPDATE) Ricky will get more touches, but he is 32 now and was a guy that didn’t enjoy getting smashed 25 times a game before he crossed over the age of 30.  Expect him to produce well, but the game vs. Carolina was more the exception than that rule.  Lex Hillard could be a huge play in the fantasy super bowl, keep him close.

Jamal Lewis – At least when Tiki Barber announced his retirement mid season, the guy was awesome.  Lewis looks as though he is just going through the motions on a Browns team that should probably just move to LA and start over again in Cleveland.  Hopefully Harrison gets in the mix, if he does I would keep a close eye on the situation.  Keep an eye on Chris Jennings, the Browns may start taking a look at the future now.

HB’s that face the hardest schedule for the fantasy football playoffs (Week 14, 15, 16)

Running Backs Week 14 Week 15 Week 16
Matt Forte GB (4) BAL (8) MINN (3)
Maurice JD MIA (7) IND (11) NE (10)
Kevin Smith BAL (8) AZ (15) SF (12)
LaDainian Tomlinson DAL (13) CIN (6) TEN (16)
Carolina NE (10) MINN (3) NYG (23)
Ryan Grant CHI (18) PITT (1) SEA (17)
New York G PHI (9) WASH (2) CAR (25)
Oakland WASH (2) DEN (5) CLE (30)
Philadelphia NYG (23) SF (12) DEN (5)
Indianapolis DEN (5) JAX (22) NYJ (14)

*HBs listed with weekly opponents (ranked by fantasy points allowed vs. HBs)

Matt Forte – If you are in San Diego, look me up and I will buy you a beer.  You deserve it.  It’s been a rough year and even though he has had some flashes of 2008.  At this point Forte has scored in single digits four of the seven games.  If you can still get value for him, I move him.

MJD – Living up to the hype!  I still go with MJD, no doubt.  The issue here is that the Jags fall behind which cuts into his carries.  MJD is great out of the backfield though and will continue to produce.

Kevin Smith – If Kevin Smith was a pitcher he would be a great innings eater.  In football getting carries doesn’t account for much if you aren’t producing.  Flex play at best.

LaDainian Tomlinson – All year fantasy owners have waited and hoped to see the LT of years past.  Tomlinson couldn’t even break 100 yards vs. Oakland, not the back he once way, but a solid HB2 play, because of his ability to get into the end zone.  I don’t think this really effects Darren Sproles because most of his points are on passing downs anyway.  (UPDATE)  LT is getting goal line carries, but he’s not looking good otherwise.  It’s clear he has lost a step and Norv is trying to limit carries to have LT for the playoffs.

Carolina HBs – I stick with DeAngelo, what are the Panthers going to do…..throw!?  LOL

Ryan Grant – The Pittsburgh match up is the only game that would make me nervous about Grant.  He’s a solid running back and will have consistent touches the rest of the season.

Giants HBs – Can you believe that Bradshaw is ahead of Brandon Jacobs in fantasy points?  Although Bradshaw did score 1/3 of his points in one game.  Jacobs is a still a solid HB2 and Bradshaw reliable FLEX.  The only thing holding back the Giants running game right now is the coaching staff.  (UPDATE)  With Eli hurt the Giants will need to lean on the run much more, keep that in mind if you have Jacobs or Bradshaw.

Raiders HBJustin Fargas looked good vs. the Chargers, but then again so have most backs.  Darren McFadden should be back soon, and could be had for pesos on the dollar, yes pesos.  Fargas or McFadden could be a strong play week 16.

Eagles HB – Another pass heavy offense.  My money is on Brian Westbrook missing the rest of the season.  Will McCoy be able to perform?  Who is Leonard Weaver?  A lot of questions here and some tough match ups.  PROCEED WITH CAUTION  (UPDATE)  McCoy looks solid, I would feel good about him as a flex and possibly a HB2 if you are not solid at HB.

Colts HBs – Word is that Donald Brown is healthy and the platoon is back in action.  Joseph Addai has been a a decent HB2 and a solid Flex play.  If the Colts continue to win and clinch early expect to see an increased work load for Brown.

I know it’s a lot of info, but do your best no too over analyze the match ups.  Your feedback and questions are always welcome.