In running back news this week, local Buffalo media is reporting that running back CJ Spiller did not practice Tuesday; it was first reported that he did. The ankle injury suffered against the Ravens will probably keep him out of their Thursday night match with the Browns. Fred Jackson should be ready to go with Tashard Choice getting some touches. The Browns, who last year were an easy mark for fantasy running backs allowing 118 yards a game on the ground, are giving up just 79 yards a game in 2013 (2.9 yards a carry).
This Sunday the Packers will use the running back tandem of Eddie Lacy and Jonathan Franks with James Starks hurting, against the 20th ranked run defense of the Lions. In 2012 the Packers rushed for 235 yards against Detroit, one of the few teams they ran well against last year.
They are surprises every year in the NFL, and two of them are fairly recent Super Bowel participants, The Steelers and Giants, each still searching for their first win of 2013.
You have to go back to 1979, Phil Simms’ rookie season, to find the last year the Giants started this bad in a non-strike season. They started 0-5 in route to a 6-10 fourth place finish. It was former Baltimore Colt Ray Perkins first year as Giant head coach.
As for the Steelers, you have to wind the clock back to 1968, the year before Chuck Noll took over in Pittsburgh, for the last time the Steelers started a season this badly. They would lose their first six games that year, during a 2-11-1 season which earned them a last place finish in the Century division of the NFL’s Eastern Conference.
Under The Radar Players You Want This Week
Terrelle Pryor – Raiders vs. Chargers
Pryor should be cleared to play Sunday after sitting against the Redskins. He faces the 29th ranked pass defense in football, as the Chargers are allowing 311 yards pergame in the air and have surrendered eight scoring throws. Enemy quarterbacks have a combined passer rating 108.8 while facing them, fifth worst in the NFL. Pryor is completing 65% of his passes, and is averaging more than sixty five yards a game rushing, making him just one of 16 players in the NFL on pace to rush for 1,000 yards this season. In week 17, 2012, Pryor faced the Chargers and threw for two scores.
Daryl Richardson – Rams vs. Jaguars
The Rams have been awful the last two weeks in losses to the Cowboys and 49ers, but the only team in football to have played worse those weeks is the Jaguars. Richardson has yet to get untracked and the Rams need a solid day from him to take some of the offensive pressure off of quarterback Sam Bradford. The Rams could not have found a better match up for this week. The Jaguars are last against the run, allowing 164 yards a game and 5.2 yards per carry. Richardson will not have a better fantasy match up this season.
Willis McGahee – Browns vs. Bills
With the trade of Trent Richardson to the Colts, the Browns are using a rotation of McGahee, Bobby Rainey, and Chris Ogbonnaya at running back. Even after facing the Ravens woeful rushing attack Sunday the Bills are still near the bottom of run defenses, allowing 122 rushing yards per game. The Browns are playing better, but do not have a rushing score this year. McGahee may be over the hill but for now he is the Browns’ goal line back. He was last week, and had fifteen carries. They will get a rushing touchdown eventually and this week they have a good match up to do it. With McGahee being the short yardage back, he will get the goal line carries. For this week, McGahee is a solid fantasy play.
Terrance Williams – Cowboys vs. Broncos
Williams led the Cowboys with seven receptions Sunday, for 71 yards. Miles Austin will be limited at best this week with his hamstring injury. The Cowboys can throw on any team, and the Broncos are the 30th ranked pass defense allowing 316 yards a game. Most of this has to do with the fact teams have to throw to try and keep pace with Peyton Manning, which will probably be the case this week. In any event this is favorable fantasy match up for Williams.
Brandon LaFell – Panthers at Cardinals
The Cardinals have allowed 266 yards per game in the air and given up eight passing touchdowns. They are not getting to the quarterback, as they have just seven sacks. LaFell scored a pair of touchdowns last game and is sharing the second wide receiver spot with Ted Ginn Jr. LaFell is the better pure receiver and back on opening day 2011, the only game he faced the Cardinals, he caught four passes for 70 yards. Cam Newton threw for 422 yards that day, so there should be plenty of fantasy points for all the Panther receivers this week.
Jermaine Gresham – Bengals vs. Patriots
The Patriots are a middle of the pack pass defense, allowing 241 yards per game and just four scoring throws. They are doing their part to take away the outside receivers as they did Sunday against the Falcons, when they contained Julio Jones and Roddy White. By taking them away though they played the TE with single coverage and Tony Gonzalez caught 12 passes and two touchdowns. The Patriots will try and do the same this week, they want to contain and limit big plays from wide receivers AJ Green and Mohammad Sanu. By doing this they leave Gresham in man and single coverage. Andy Dalton will have to spread the ball around to win, and while Gresham is sharing receptions with fellow TE Tyler Eifert he is still the better all-around TE on the team. He will find the end zone this week.