INDIANAPOLIS, IN - SEPTEMBER 18: Peyton Hillis #40 of the Cleveland Browns carries the ball against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium on September 18, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

Fantasy Football News, Week 3: Peyton Hillis Might Lose Carries To Montario Hardesty

We take a look at the latest fantasy football news that might affect your sit/start decisions for Week 3 of the 2011 NFL season. For more on fantasy football, check out Fake Teams.

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Packers Fantasy RB Situation: Ryan Grant Back In The Lead Over James Starks?

The Green Bay Packers running back situation continues to remain blurry as running back Ryan Grant appears to have regained the lead dog role. The team has mixed and matched Grant with James Starks but week three against the Chicago Bears was the first game in which Grant had the majority of the carries and also the first time he went into double digits. Grant finished the game with 92 yards on 17 carries while Starks had five yards on 11 carries.

On Tuesday, head coach Mike McCarthy seemed to reinforce the idea that Grant would continue getting more of the carries moving forward. He referred to Grant as an "attempt runner" who gets better as the game moves forward and needs to have the ball a bit more than some of the more explosive backs in the league.

For fantasy owners, this just creates a mess at the position given James Starks supposed upside. He struggled against the Bears, but he's still a very talented back. However, if Ryan Grant is returning to form, it could mean Starks will be slotted back into more of a complementary role, rather than even a co-starting role. This is not a sign that you should dump Starks. I could see the situation remaining in a bit of flux. However, barring injury, Starks is not a guy to start this Sunday against the Broncos.

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Jonathan Stewart, DeAngelo Williams RB Committee To Continue For Carolina Panthers

Carolina Panthers head coach is apparently sticking to his guns as he said in his Monday press conference that he will continue to split carries between DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart. Through three games, Stewart has been the more effective running back on the ground and through the air. Stewart is averaging 6.38 yards per touch while Williams is averaging 3.14 yards per touch.

Why continue a platoon when one player has such a decided advantage? When the other player just got a new contract with $21 million in guaranteed money, these things tend to happen. It won't last forever if this keeps up, but for now the committee remains in place.

I've never been a fan of the Panthers running back approach from a fantasy perspective and this only continues the problems. When both are playing well it is great for the Panthers. For now though you've got two potentially quality running backs cutting into each other's time even as one of them is struggling immensely

If you have Williams, you're in a tough bind right now. The Panthers travel to Chicago on Sunday followed by home against New Orleans and on the road at Atlanta. Not exactly a cure for what ails him. It might be time to start considering the bench for Williams. If you're winning in spite of his struggles then go ahead and keep him in the lineup. But if you're needing more production, you may have to start benching him until he gets out of his funk.


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Cedric Benson Suspension: The Fantasy Impact

Thursday afternoon, Michael Silver of Yahoo! Sports reported that Cincinnati Bengals running back Cedric Benson was informed he will be suspended three games for violating the league's personal conduct policy. The suspension follows his involvement in two assault cases. Benson is appealing the suspension with the appeal set to be heard next Tuesday.

The Tuesday appeal means Benson will play this weekend against the San Francisco 49ers. It is not a great matchup for Benson as the 49ers rush defense is among the league leaders. Nonetheless, when healthy and not suspended, Benson remains a consistent start every week. If Benson is unable to get the suspended lifted or reduced, he'll miss games against the Buffalo Bills, Jacksonville Jaguars and Indianapolis Colts.

If Cedric Benson misses any of those games, his backups are Bernard Scott and Brian Leonard. Through two games thus far, Scott has six rushes for 13 yards while Leonard has two rushes for 15 yards and four receptions. Scott would appear to be the primary backup, but if somebody has already grabbed him, Brian Leonard might be worth adding for now. I would imagine we'll see more of a running back by committee approach, but if you're looking for another temporary running back option, you might as well roll the dice on one of these two.


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C.J. Spiller Fantasy Update: Bills RB To Get More WR Time Due To Roscoe Parrish Injury

Sources have told Pro Football Talk that Bills running back C.J. Spiller is expected to see more time at wide receiver now that Roscoe Parrish has gone on injured reserve. Spiller is already serving as the team's starting punt returner and was the primary backup to Fred Jackson. This role only adds to his developing fantasy value. Spiller is coming off an impressive performance in which he rushed for 63 yards on only four carries.

The Bills placed Roscoe Parrish on injured reserve this week. Although Parrish had struggled to start the season, his injury could be a boon for Spiller. If you own Spiller in a point per reception league, his value could improve tremendously. And even if you don't play in a PPR league, the more time Spiller sees on the field, the more opportunities for big plays. He showed his big play ability against the Raiders and likely will earn more playing time thanks to that.


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Peyton Hillis Fantasy Update: Montario Hardesty Might Start Getting More Carries

Cleveland Browns coach Pat Shurmur indicated on Tuesday that he is hoping to get more carries to backup running back Montario Hardesty (h/t Rotoworld). Shurmur looks at Peyton Hillis' bruising style and recognizes the need to get him some relief on occasion. Hardesty received three carries on Sunday against the Colts and it sounds like Shurmur is hoping to get him some more:

"This is something I need to do a better job of," Shurmur said. "I wanted to get [Hardesty] in the game at some point, [but] I wish we could have got him in the game sooner because he needs to play. Peyton [Hillis] is a bruising-style runner that needs a little bit of relief at times, and I think that's what we'll try to do a better job of next time."

Hillis is currently on a four-game streak of fewer than four yards per carry and a five-game streak of fewer than 100 rushing yards. Of course, against the Colts he did manage to snap six-game scoreless streak. Part of Hillis' value early last season came in his ability to punch the ball in. If he's not getting touchdowns, his fantasy value takes a fairly sizable hit given his recent fairly low yardage total.

For now, Hillis remains a worthy start each week, but you definitely should pay close attention to his numbers these next couple weeks. His upcoming schedule is actually not too bad for fantasy matchups, although Oakland and San Francisco bring some stout rushing defenses. Keep him in your starting lineup for now.


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