2011 Fantasy Football Rankings: Running Backs 21-40
These 2011 Fantasy Football Running Backs Rankings will be updated often throughout the summer, so make sure you check back from time to time. Also, be sure to check out my other 2011 Fantasy Football articles, which will include sleepers, busts, tons of 2011 Fantasy Football mock drafts and other material. Follow me @walterfootball for updates.
Tim Hightower, RB, Redskins. Bye: 5. AUG. 26 UPDATE: Tim Hightower is legit. He continued to impress, rushing for 56 yards and a touchdown on just nine carries in the preseason loss at Baltimore. He has now put together great outings against the Steelers and Ravens. More importantly, Roy Helu didn't get a single touch in the first half, as it's clear that Mike Shanahan doesn't trust his pass-protection ability. Hightower, on the other hand, is an awesome backfield blocker, so he'll be on the field on most downs.
AUG. 22 UPDATE: Get Tim Hightower onto your team. The former Cardinal generated 70 yards and a touchdown on just six carries in the preseason win at Indianapolis. Hightower isn't very talented, but he is a perfect fit for Mike Shanahan's scheme. He had a 58-yard run on the opening drive, which was mostly the result of excellent blocking. Hightower also received two goal-line carries later on the possession, converting his second try for a touchdown. Most telling is that Shanahan took Hightower out of the game after seven touches, perhaps preserving him for the regular season.
AUG. 14 UPDATE: Tim Hightower pretty much cemented the starting running back gig for the Redskins with his impressive performance versus the Steelers in the preseason opener. Hightower rushed for 44 yards on 10 carries against nine Steeler starters, running with power and showing a nice burst. Hightower is tailor made for Mike Shanahan's zone-blocking scheme, and since most members in your league won't know about him becoming the starting running back, he could make for a nice mid-round sleeper.
AUG. 10 UPDATE: Tim Hightower looks like Washington's clear-cut No. 1 running back. The fragile Ryan Torain is hurt yet again, while Roy Helu is having issues with pass protection.
If you're into drafting mediocre running backs on terrible teams, Ryan Torain suffered a hand injury and could be out a month. This could open the door for Tim Hightower to rush for 3.5 yards per carry with the Redskins this year. As an added bonus, Hightower is a pretty good receiver out of the backfield.
Projected 2011 Fantasy Stats: 980 rushing yards. 36 catches. 280 receiving yards. 8 total TDs.
Projected 2011 Fantasy Points: 174. Projected 2011 PPR Fantasy Points: 210.
Chris Wells, RB, Cardinals. Bye: 6. SEPT. 2 UPDATE: Chris Wells rushed twice for 11 yards in the preseason finale. More importantly, he was targeted once and caught a 3-yard pass from Kevin Kolb. This is important because he could be a high-end RB2 if he catches 25-30 passes.
AUG. 28 UPDATE: I've written this every single week this preseason: Chris Wells looks really good. He's running with great power and solid speed for a back his size. He's also breaking tackles; early on, he impressively wrestled away a defender in the backfield on what seemed like a sure loss and turned it into a good gain. On another positive note, he saw three targets, though he dropped an easy screen pass in the third quarter.
AUG. 21 UPDATE: Chris Wells deserves a stock-up arrow. Ryan Williams is out for the year with a torn patellar tendon, meaning Wells' job is completely secure. He'll also presumably see slightly more work in the passing attack. Wells ran with power in the exhibition loss at Green Bay, rushing for 44 yards on 11 carries. He also showed impressive speed on a 20-yard screen pass in the second quarter.
AUG. 14 UPDATE: I thought Chris Wells looked really good in the preseason opener at Oakland. He had 22 yards on six carries, including a 15-yard rush where he shoved off Raider corner DeMarcus Van Dyke with a powerful stiff-arm. Wells didn't produce much on his other attempts because three of them came inside the 5-yard line. Wells was unfortunately stuffed twice inside the 1 by Oakland's defensive front, as Arizona's inept offensive line couldn't provide any sort of push. Still though, Wells definitely looks like he's poised for a rebound 2011 campaign.
AUG. 2 UPDATE:
Ken Whisenhunt confirmed that Chris Wells will be the starting running back for Arizona this year. Wells is now healthy and has way more talent around him than he did last year. He's one of my favorite mid-round fantasy sleepers at the moment.
JULY 29 UPDATE: Two things ruined Chris Wells' 2010 campaign: a nagging knee injury and horrific quarterback play. Wells is now healthy, while Kevin Kolb offers a huge upgrade over Derek Anderson, Max Hall and John Skelton. Wells is poised for a bounce-back 2011 season.
Anyone who has previously owned Chris Wells probably won't even think about drafting him this summer. Wells really sucked last year, but here are two things to consider: First, Wells had a knee injury at the beginning of the season that never really healed. And second, Arizona's presumed improvement at the quarterback position (Kevin Kolb?) will force defenses to be more honest. A healthier Wells will have more running room in 2011.
The Cardinals drafted Ryan Williams, but we've seen something like this before. Remember when the Colts drafted Donald Brown? Joseph Addai still got most of the touches. Same thing with DeAngelo Williams (Jonathan Stewart) in Carolina and Thomas Jones (Cedric Benson) in Chicago. If anything, the Ryan Williams selection should motivate Wells. It'll also make him fall during your fantasy draft, so you should be able to pick him late.
Projected 2011 Fantasy Stats: 1,060 rushing yards. 20 catches. 180 receiving yards. 8 total TDs.
Projected 2011 Fantasy Points: 172. Projected 2011 PPR Fantasy Points: 192.
Mark Ingram, RB, Saints. Bye: 11. AUG. 21 UPDATE: Pierre Thomas started for the Saints in their preseason loss at Houston and took his initial carry for 13 yards. However, Mark Ingram entered the game on the third set of downs on the opening drive. He received an attempt on a 3rd-and-1 inside the red zone and was in the backfield on first-and-goal at the 4-yard line. Though he didn't get a carry at that moment, he later converted a goal-line try in the second quarter. It looks like Thomas and Ingram are going to split carries somewhat evenly this year, but Ingram (7-25-TD) will be the one scoring the touchdowns.
AUG. 14 UPDATE: Mark Ingram didn't really do much in New Orleans' preseason opener aside from one carry at the end of the first half. He scored a 14-yard touchdown by making a defender miss and then eluding a second one with a fancy spin move. However, Ingram did this against San Francisco's backups, and his five other carries went for just nine yards. Even worse, he played behind Pierre Thomas when the first-team offense was in the game. Ingram will eventually take over as the starter, but it's no guarantee that this will happen prior to the regular-season kickoff in Lambeau. Like all rookies not named Julio Jones, Ingram has been hurt by this lockout.
I don't really like any rookies this year. It has nothing to do with talent - it's all about the lockout. With no football going on, these rookies are missing out on valuable practice time this offseason.
That said, there are a few plug-and-play guys atop this list, including Mark Ingram. Ingram won't shoulder all of the workload right away - thanks to the lockout, he won't know all the protection schemes - but he'll get early-down carries and goal-line touches in New Orleans' explosive offense.
Projected 2011 Fantasy Stats: 840 rushing yards. 10 catches. 80 receiving yards. 12 total TDs.
Projected 2011 Fantasy Points: 164. Projected 2011 PPR Fantasy Points: 174.
Knowshon Moreno, RB, Broncos. Bye: 6. AUG. 22 UPDATE: Knowshon Moreno started for Denver in its exhibition win against the Bills, rushing for 28 yards on six carries. Moreno will be a big part of the passing attack and should get a 2:1 attempt ratio over Willis McGahee in his favor, but he won't receive any goal-line attempts.
AUG. 13 UPDATE: Knowshon Moreno ran pretty well in the preseason opener at Dallas, as he broke free from several Cowboy tackles. He started and received carries on the first two sets of downs, and then gave way to Willis McGahee for a set. It appears as though Moreno and McGahee will share a 2:1 timeshare, at least for now. Moreno's four attempts went for 23 yards, and he also had an 8-yard reception. The downside is that McGahee saw the only carry inside the 5-yard line, though he was stuffed at the line of scrimmage. It's not yet clear who the goal-line back will be. Stay tuned.
I think Knowshon Moreno is a talented runner, but the Broncos don't agree. They've said that they only see Moreno as a third-down back despite the fact that he was a mid first-round pick a few years ago. Expect Denver to add a running back in free agency. Perhaps DeAngelo Williams.
Projected 2010 Fantasy Stats: 950 rushing yards. 42 catches. 360 receiving yards. 5 total TDs.
Projected 2010 Fantasy Points: 161. Projected 2011 PPR Fantasy Points: 203.
Cedric Benson, RB, Bengals. Bye: 7. AUG. 26 UPDATE: Cedric Benson had a great performance in the preseason victory over Carolina. Playing in shape thanks to his 1-year contract, Benson rushed for 68 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries. He also had one reception for 15 yards. Benson didn't suddenly turn into a stud - as evidenced by Bernard Scott's 63-yard output - but he's going to post RB2 numbers this year because of his offensive line's blocking ability. I never thought I'd say this, but Andre Smith (No. 6 overall pick int he 2009 NFL Draft) is in tremendous shape. The Bengals also opened up huge running lanes at Detroit, so this was no fluke.
One positive note regarding Cincinnati's offense in its preseason debut at Detroit was Cedric Benson. Benson uncharacteristically looked quick and spry, thanks in part to his 1-year contract. Benson, who finished with 37 yards on six carries, ripped off gains of 6, 5, 16, 4 and 4 on the opening drive, all of which were run on the right side behind massive right tackle Andre Smith, who is finally in shape after two wasted years.
Projected 2011 Fantasy Stats: 1,130 rushing yards. 20 catches. 110 receiving yards. 6 total TDs.
Projected 2011 Fantasy Points: 160. Projected 2011 PPR Fantasy Points: 180.
James Starks, RB, Packers. Bye: 8. AUG. 27 UPDATE: James Starks shockingly led the Packers in targets with six at Indianapolis. Starks was the recipient of numerous screen passes, as he took five receptions for 38 yards. Once again, he was far more impressive than Ryan Grant (6 carries, 16 yards), whom he rotated possessions with. At this point, you have to be clinically insane not to believe that Starks won't at least have a 50-50 split with Grant. As the season progresses, expect Starks to shoulder more and more of the workload.
AUG. 25 UPDATE: There were reports indicating Ryan Grant could be a final roster cut in two weeks, but Ryan Grant is guaranteed the $3.5 million. Still, James Starks is likely to take over as the starter sometime in the first half of the season.
AUG. 17 UPDATE: James Starks has missed the past few practices with an ankle injury. His experience is lacking, so he needs all the reps he can get to overtake the inferior Ryan Grant as Green Bay's starting running back. He won't be able to do that if he's hurt.
AUG. 14 UPDATE: James Starks displayed a great combination of power and speed in the preseason opener at Cleveland, and clearly looked like the superior running back. After Starks carried twice for 14 yards during the touchdown drive, he left the game for good. Grant came in afterward despite the fact that Aaron Rodgers and Greg Jennings both were finished.
James Starks has shown up to Packers training camp in great shape, but he's been running with the second team exclusively thus far. Starks is more talented than Ryan Grant and could take over the job at any point during the season, but Grant is definitely the No. 1 back until further notice. One observation: Starks has bulked up to 225, so he could function as the team's goal-line back.
Projected 2011 Fantasy Stats: 900 rushing yards. 27 catches. 200 receiving yards. 7 total TDs.
Projected 2011 Fantasy Points: 152. Projected 2011 PPR Fantasy Points: 179.
Brandon Jacobs, RB, Giants. Bye: 7. AUG. 30 UPDATE: Brandon Jacobs picked up where he left off last week, rumbling for 51 yards on 10 carries. He looks great, and at this point, it'll be shocking if he doesn't get at least a 40-60 split with Ahmad Bradshaw.
AUG. 23 UPDATE: Brandon Jacobs rushed for 48 yards and a touchdown on six carries in the exhibition victory over Chicago. Jacobs looked as healthy as I can remember; he ran with good speed for his size while still maintaining his trademark power. He won't be the starter, but he'll have close to a 40-60 split with Ahmad Bradshaw. He'll also get all of the goal-line work.
The Giants didn't add a running back in the 2011 NFL Draft, so they won't part ways with Brandon Jacobs despite his hefty $4.7 million price tag. Assuming New York retains possible free agent Ahmad Bradshaw, Jacobs will be used sparingly. However, he could reach double-digit scores, so he's definitely worth looking into if you're in a touchdown-only league.
Projected 2011 Fantasy Stats: 880 rushing yards. 10 catches. 80 receiving yards. 9 total TDs.
Projected 2011 Fantasy Points: 150. Projected 2011 PPR Fantasy Points: 160.
BenJarvus Green-Ellis, RB, Patriots. Bye: 7. SEPT. 2 UPDATE: BenJarvus Green-Ellis saw four of the six first-string carries in the exhibition finale. He gained just 10 yards, but scored twice. He's someone to own in touchdown-only leagues.
BenJarvus Green-Ellis totaled 51 yards and two touchdowns on 11 carries in the victory of the Buccaneers. He also caught a pass for six yards. Green-Ellis apparently will continue to serve as the team's starting running back and goal-line option. Rookie Stevan Ridley looks great, but he fumbled in the third quarter. Belichick may not be willing to trust an inexperienced player like Ridley this season when he has such reliable options like Green-Ellis and Danny Woodhead in the backfield.
Projected 2011 Fantasy Stats: 850 rushing yards. 8 catches. 50 receiving yards. 10 total TDs.
Projected 2011 Fantasy Points: 150. Projected 2011 PPR Fantasy Points: 158.
Mike Tolbert, RB, Chargers. Bye: 6. AUG. 10 UPDATE: Norv Turner told the media that he plans on utilizing a two-back system this year. Turner is usually pretty forthcoming about the status of his team, and considering how fragile Mathews is, it's pretty easy to believe him.
AUG. 2 UPDATE: With Ryan Mathews missing practice because he's out of shape, Mike Tolbert will receive even more reps. Tolbert's shaping up to be a solid mid-round fantasy sleeper.
AUG. 1 UPDATE: In addition to being San Diego's goal-line back, Mike Tolbert will serve as the team's third-down specialist. He'll be getting a boost in my 2011 Fantasy Football PPR Cheat Sheet.
Mike Tolbert came out of nowhere to ruin Ryan Mathews' rookie year, rushing for 735 yards and 11 scores. Mathews will handle more of the workload this season, but Tolbert will still be the preferred choice when the Chargers reach the goal line. He'll be a solid back to own in touchdown-only formats.
Projected 2011 Fantasy Stats: 700 rushing yards. 33 catches. 250 receiving yards. 9 total TDs.
Projected 2011 Fantasy Points: 149. Projected 2011 PPR Fantasy Points: 182.
Reggie Bush, RB, Dolphins. Bye: 5. AUG. 21 UPDATE: Reggie Bush has quickly become a fan favorite. He was incredible in the exhibition win against the Panthers, rushing for 48 yards on eight carries and catching two balls for 33 receiving yards. Bush broke tackles on his first carry, made multiple defenders miss on his initial reception, and showed off his trademark quickness throughout the first half. Bush is going late in drafts - even in PPR formats - so he makes for a great value pick.
JULY 29 UPDATE: The Dolphins have promised Reggie Bush that he and Daniel Thomas will be the only running backs touching the football in Miami. Bush is now a really good PPR option. He's still a major injury risk, but he'll rack up tons of catches when he's in the lineup.
Despite all the ridiculous draft-day tweets, Reggie Bush is expected back in New Orleans this season. Bush has stated that he's willing to take a paycut, while general manager Mickey Loomis told the media that he's interested in keeping the former No. 2 overall pick.
Bush has absolutely no value in non-PPR leagues because of Mark Ingram and Pierre Thomas. But if Bush can stay healthy - I know, a big if - he could flirt with 65 receptions.
Projected 2011 Fantasy Stats: 750 rushing yards. 55 catches. 490 receiving yards. 4 total TDs.
Projected 2011 Fantasy Points: 148. Projected 2011 PPR Fantasy Points: 203.
Ryan Mathews, RB, Chargers. Bye: 6. AUG. 28 UPDATE: The good news for Ryan Mathews is that he ran he ball extremely well at Arizona, totaling 69 yards on 10 carries. His big gainer was a 48-yarder in the third quarter in which he made a nice cut and showed great burst through the hole. The bad news, aside from his first-quarter fumble, was that he wasn't targeted a single time by Philip Rivers. Mathews is a non-factor in the passing attack with Mike Tolbert getting all the third-down (and goal-line) work.
AUG. 10 UPDATE: I'm convinced that Ryan Mathews is made out of glass. He's going to miss the preseason opener with a leg strain. What the hell is a leg strain? I think I have those like 20 times a day.
AUG. 2 UPDATE:
Ryan Mathews will miss practice the next few days because of "soreness" after failing a conditioning test. Looks like someone didn't stay in shape during the lockout. Mathews is not taking his NFL career seriously, so you'll want to stay away from him in your fantasy drafts. I liked Mathews as a potential sleeper in the spring, but he's looking like a major bust.
AUG. 1 UPDATE:
Though Ryan Mathews is getting the first-team work, Mike Tolbert is slated to be the passing-down back in San Diego. This means that Mathews will only be on the field for two downs. It's starting to become unclear as to why the Chargers spent the No. 12 pick in the 2010 NFL Draft on him.
Ryan Mathews was selected in the second or third rounds of most fantasy drafts last summer. Thanks to injuries, he didn't do much early on. However, in his final four games, Mathews totaled 296 rushing yards, seven receptions (53 rec. yards) and a whopping five touchdowns.
General manager A.J. Smith didn't spent the No. 12 overall selection on Mathews to keep him on the bench. The Fresno State product will be a big part of San Diego's potent offense in 2011.
Projected 2011 Fantasy Stats: 930 rushing yards. 22 catches. 180 receiving yards. 6 total TDs.
Projected 2011 Fantasy Points: 147. Projected 2011 PPR Fantasy Points: 169.
Jonathan Stewart, RB, Panthers. Bye: 9. AUG. 15 UPDATE: Jonathan Stewart both looked great in the preseason opener against the Giants, but he clearly played behind DeAngelo Williams, as Williams saw all of the action on Carolina's first two drives. Williams will be the primary running back until he suffers his annual injury.
JULY 28 UPDATE: Thanks, Panthers. As if the running back pool wasn't shallow enough, they just had to re-sign DeAngelo Williams. Jonathan Stewart will continue to rot on Carolina's bench until unless Williams gets injured.
Will Jonathan Stewart finally have the backfield all to himself? DeAngelo Williams could be a free agent depending on the new CBA rules. If Williams leaves, Stewart will be a top-10 fantasy back. Opposing defenses will be so worried about Cam Newton's scrambling ability that they won't be able to focus on the talented Stewart.
If, however, Williams stays, Stewart is worth a shot in the fourth round. It's still unclear whom Ron Rivera prefers, and we won't know until the preseason (if there even is a preseason).
Projected 2011 Fantasy Stats: 900 rushing yards. 10 catches. 70 receiving yards. 8 total TDs.
Projected 2011 Fantasy Points: 145. Projected 2011 PPR Fantasy Points: 155.
Marshawn Lynch, RB, Seahawks. Bye: 6. SEPT. 4 UPDATE: This shouldn't be a surprise, but left guard Robert Gallery is going to be out for several weeks because of a sprain knee. Seattle's shaky offensive line just got worse.
AUG. 31 UPDATE: Two reasons I'm dropping Marshawn Lynch: First, first-round-rookie right tackle James Carpenter may have lost his job to some scrub. Second, Lynch hasn't practiced in a while because of an ankle injury. Seattle is a fantasy black hole; avoid everyone on that team.
There are no more excuses for Marshawn Lynch. The Seahawks spent their first two selections in the 2011 NFL Draft on linemen James Carpenter and John Moffitt, both of whom project as powerful run-blockers.
Having said that, I still don't like Lynch. I just don't trust him to give 100 percent all the time.
Projected 2011 Fantasy Stats: 880 rushing yards. 31 catches. 210 receiving yards. 5 total TDs.
Projected 2011 Fantasy Points: 139. Projected 2011 PPR Fantasy Points: 170.
Fred Jackson, RB, Bills. Bye: 6. AUG. 22 UPDATE: Fred Jackson rushed for 34 yards on four carries in the loss to the Broncos, but the major news is that C.J. Spiller started and received the first three attempts. The Bills had Jackson playing well into the second quarter, perhaps an indication that Spiller will be the starter this season.
Fred Jackson did a decent job once the Bills got rid of Marshawn Lynch. He finished with 927 yards despite not seeing much action until Week 5. However, C.J. Spiller should see more of a workload this year. I mean, the Bills drafted Spiller with the No. 9 overall pick for a reason, right?
Projected 2011 Fantasy Stats: 775 rushing yards. 28 catches. 230 receiving yards. 6 total TDs.
Projected 2011 Fantasy Points: 136. Projected 2011 PPR Fantasy Points: 164.
Joseph Addai, RB, Colts. Bye: 11. SEPT. 8 UPDATE: Yet another downgrade for Joseph Addai because Peyton Manning could have a third neck surgery soon.
JULY 31 UPDATE: Joseph Addai re-signed with the Colts. He'd be injury-prone wherever he went, but his fantasy potential is obviously highest on Indianapolis because of the touchdown possibilities.
Joseph Addai may or may not be a free agent this offseason depending on the new CBA rules. This makes it difficult to have any sort of projection for him. If he remains with the Colts, he'll likely be the featured back early on, but could eventually be replaced by Donald Brown or Delone Carter once he's inevitably banged up. Meanwhile, If Addai searches for a new home, he probably won't find a starting job.
If you want my advice, I'd stay away from Indianapolis' backfield entirely until further notice.
Projected 2011 Fantasy Stats: 780 rushing yards. 32 catches. 210 receiving yards. 7 total TDs.
Projected 2011 Fantasy Points: 135. Projected 2011 PPR Fantasy Points: 167.
Willis McGahee, RB, Broncos. Bye: 6. AUG. 22 UPDATE: During Denver's preseason triumph over the Bills, Willis McGahee managed only six yards on five carries. However, his low YPC average can be attributed to the multiple short-yardage attempts he received. McGahee is Denver's goal-line back, and he'll get about a third of the rushes and some receptions. He's definitely worth owning in all leagues, as Moreno isn't the most durable running back in the NFL.
AUG. 4 UPDATE: Willis McGahee is now Denver's short-yardage back in the wake of Kyle Orton taking over the starting quarterback gig. No more Tim Tebow carries inside the five - not early in the season anyway.
Willis McGahee was brought in to be Knowshon Moreno's backup, but I'm not sure that'll be the case by the end of the year. Moreno is injury-prone and lazy, while McGahee should still have plenty left in the tank because he hasn't carried the ball much in the past few seasons.
Projected 2011 Fantasy Stats: 630 rushing yards. 30 catches. 220 receiving yards. 8 total TDs.
Projected 2011 Fantasy Points: 133. Projected 2011 PPR Fantasy Points: 163.
Danny Woodhead, RB, Patriots. Bye: 7. AUG. 19 UPDATE: Danny Woodhead saw New England's first carry and ultimately rushed for 63 yards on only five attempts in the win over Tampa. He was also targeted twice. Despite the selections of Shane Vereen and Stevan Ridley, Woodhead remains a solid flex option in PPR leagues.
I really have no idea what to make of Bill Belichick's running back situation. Danny Woodhead should continue to be a big part of the offense, but I have to wonder if Shane Vereen will eat into his workload, especially later in the season once Vereen is more familiar with the protection schemes.
Projected 2011 Fantasy Stats: 540 rushing yards. 44 catches. 470 receiving yards. 5 total TDs.
Projected 2011 Fantasy Points: 131. Projected 2011 PPR Fantasy Points: 175.
C.J. Spiller, RB, Bills. Bye: 6. AUG. 28 UPDATE: C.J. Spiller had just four carries, most of which came at the end of the first half. He was definitely more electric than Jackson, bursting for a pair of 7-yard gains on the team's fourth drive. The Bills spent such a high pick on Spiller, so common sense would suggest that he'll be a bigger part of the offense this year. Still though, Chan Gailey's overuse of Fred Jackson in this contest is a concern.
The Bills didn't spend the ninth pick in the 2010 NFL Draft on a guy who'll carry the ball 74 times per season. C.J. Spiller will get more work in 2011, but I'm not really expecting much because it doesn't seem like the Bills have any sort of plan regarding this situation.
Projected 2011 Fantasy Stats: 700 rushing yards. 38 catches. 290 receiving yards. 5 total TDs.
Projected 2011 Fantasy Points: 129. Projected 2011 PPR Fantasy Points: 167.
Ryan Grant, RB, Packers. Bye: 8. AUG. 25 UPDATE: There were reports indicating Ryan Grant could be a final roster cut in two weeks, but Ryan Grant is guaranteed the $3.5 million. Still, James Starks is likely to take over as the starter sometime in the first half of the season.
AUG. 17 UPDATE: Ryan Grant gets an arrow up because James Starks is missing practice time. Starks will unseat Grant as the starter at some point this year, but that date may have been pushed back.
AUG. 14 UPDATE: I'll be shocked if James Starks isn't Green Bay's starting running back before long. Starks is the better running back, and Mike McCarthy apparently didn't seem to care about Grant's health, as he trotted the veteran running back out with Matt Flynn and all of the backups against the Browns. Grant had 13 yards on three attempts to go along with a 5-yard reception.
Ryan Grant has been running exclusively with the first-team offense during training camp thus far. Grant is still a risky proposition because the more talented James Starks could unseat him as the starter, but the upside here is tremendous.
Projected 2011 Fantasy Stats: 750 rushing yards. 16 catches. 110 receiving yards. 7 total TDs.
Projected 2011 Fantasy Points: 128. Projected 2011 PPR Fantasy Points: 144.
Jason Snelling, RB, Falcons. Bye: 8. AUG. 14 UPDATE: Michael Turner's inexplicable new-found burst in Friday night's exhibition game against the Dolphins means that Jason Snelling won't receive as much work this season. Snelling was Turner's direct backup and Atlanta's third-down specialist versus Miami, rushing for 27 yards on six attempts and catching one ball for another eight yards.
Jason Snelling has re-signed with the Falcons. Michael Turner has led the NFL in carries two of the past three years, so he'll almost certainly miss some action in 2011. Once he gets hurt, Snelling will receive most of the workload.
Projected 2011 Fantasy Stats: 600 rushing yards. 40 catches. 300 receiving yards. 5 total TDs.
Projected 2011 Fantasy Points: 120. Projected 2011 PPR Fantasy Points: 160.