Running backs are a bit of a mess this year. Anyone that drafted Ray Rice, Doug Martin, Arian FosterTrent Richardson, C.J. Spiller or Stevan Ridley early might find themselves looking for something else to do on a Sunday afternoon instead of not looking at their fantasy team. If you're still alive, here are some guys that might be in for interesting days:
C.J. Spiller - Spiller had one of his best games of the season on Sunday, but it didn't come without it's negative spin. He did sustain an ankle sprain in the game, but came back from the injury and was able to return. He even had a big run after the injury and has been practicing this week, so he's fine.
For a guy that fantasy owners took in the first round, there sure is a lot of risk with Spiller. He's going to have to duel it out with Fred Jackson for carries and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense isn't too shabby.
It really comes down to one thing for Spiller: Will he break a big run. The Bucs rank fifth in the league in 40-yard runs and are just 10th in yards per carry, so Spiller has a decent chance. He's not a must-play option by any stretch, but the upside will make it very tough to bench him in almost any league.
Lamar Miller - Daniel Thomas is questionable to face the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday, but that might be irrelevant. Lamar Miller had one of his better looking games of the year against the league's toughest run defense last week. The New York Jets allowed 72 rushing yards to Miller -- his highest total since October.
It won't get much easier this week against the Steelers, but the Dolphins will be handing him the ball a lot. They have been able to put up some points against some tough defense, so the tough matchup shouldn't dissuade Miller owners too bad. It really comes down to how the Phins can protect Ryan Tannehill. He's been sacked more than any other player in the league and the Steelers will be blitzing him until defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau gets blue in the face. The Dolphins simply have to get a running game going to keep the pass rush honest.
Miller should get his 20 carries, and that's all fantasy owners in 12-team leagues can ask for in most cases.
Steven Jackson - Just when Jackson was left for dead, he breaks out against the Buffalo Bills. He had his best game of the season with 84 rushing yards and two scores in the 34-31 victory. His 3.7 yards per carry average is far from impressive, but he's been able to score three times in the past two weeks.
He gets an outstanding matchup this week against the Green Bay Packers. This is the same Packers team that was just shredded by the Detroit Lions for 211 rushing yards and gave up 40 points. It wasn't much better two weeks ago, either. Adrian Peterson and the Minnesota Vikings for 237 rushing yards. They also have allowed 150 rushing yards or more in four of the last five weeks. Obviously, this is a great matchup.
Jackson is a high-end RB2 and his sub-par offensive line should be able to get some push and open up some running lanes.
Ray Rice - It's too bad Rice has been a ghost this year because he has a fantastic matchup. The Vikings are coming in giving up huge days to Matt Forte in Week 13, Eddie Lacy in Week 12, Marshawn Lynch in Week 11 and Alfred Morris in Week 10. The problem is that those are some outstanding backs and Rice really isn't.
He and the Ravens have the second-fewest rushing yards on the season and are dead last at 2.9 yards per carry. There are 23 teams that have a YPC higher than the Ravens and that might be one of the worst stats for an offense this side of Geno Smith's passer rating.
The Vikings have some holes in their secondary and they might be more inclined to pass the ball around. Rice isn't a must-sit player, but there is a good chance there's a better option on your bench.
Joique Bell - It's great when the Lions can go up big and they can just hand the ball to Bell. That's what happened last week and Bell blew up against Packers with 94 rushing yards and a score. Most of those yards came in garbage time and the Lions had that game won by halftime.
The probably won't be going up big in Sunday's game at Philly. The Eagles should have some success against the Lions leaky pass D, so this game could turn into a shootout quickly. It'll be the Reggie Bush show, meaning there will only be table scraps for Bell in this game.
Bobby Rainey - After bursting on the scene three weeks ago, Rainey has gone back to being a ghost.
If he was a high-proflie player, the Bucs might just keep keep feeding him. After two games of falling on his face, they might keep him on a short leash. Rainey did get every RB carry last week, but could only account for 63 yards. This comes on the heels of a 35-yard game against the Lions in Week 12.
The Bills aren't terrible in stopping the run and they Bucs might want to let Mike Glennon get some extra reps. Rainey is more of a flex that carries a lot of risk.