The Cleveland Browns struggled to get much of a running game going on Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers, and they were not helped by multiple injury issues at the running back position. Peyton Hillis was a scratch for the game as he continues to recover from a hamstring injury. Expected starter Montario Hardesty left the game with a calf issue after only two rushing attempts. Hardesty will undergo an MRI on his calf on Monday to determine the extent of the damage.
After Hardesty went down, Chris Ogbonnaya took over and finished the game with 37 rushing yards on 11 attempts. The 49ers have been dominant against running backs this season and have not given up 100+ rushing yards or a rushing touchdown to a single running back all season. Furthermore, the team has not given up 100+ rushing yards to a running back since 2009. Not a good fantasy matchup week to week.
The Browns travel next week to face a Houston Texans squad that has been a bit inconsistent in defending the run. However, they also will likely have Andre Johnson back and if they run up a big lead, the Browns rushing attack may be negated. Of course, it remains to be seen who will actually be taking the handoffs next week. Peyton Hillis would be the favorite, but we'll know more as the week progresses.