As the league leans more toward passing it on every down, it seems as though running backs could lose their reputation as the leaders and stars of fantasy football. However, just because the league is passing it more it doesn't mean that the backs are losing all that much value; in some cases they're just adjusting to get included in the passing game.
It also just means that the league's classic backs that can carry it 250-350 times per year are that much more rare and valuable and will still rule the first round of most drafts. These are the biggest impacts from backs in Week 2.
Jamaal Charles against the Bills (SCARY BAD)
It's mostly scary that Charles had just six carries, but also worrisome that he gained only three yards. We probably shouldn't have assumed that Charles would just immediately bounce back from basically missing all of last season and he now just has 22 carries in two games. Charles is likely going to be handled with care and with the Chiefs down 21-0 by half, there wasn't much need to put your star back at risk. Meanwhile, Peyton Hillis had 66 yards on 11 carries.
C.J. Spiller against the Chiefs (SCARY GOOD)
Spiller is the early-season candidate for best value pick in 2012 drafts. He may have been a handcuff to Fred Jackson or maybe just a guy that could still get 70 yards in relief of Jackson, but he's been so much more than that after 123 yards on 15 carries against KC. That's now 292 yards for Spiller on ONLY 29 CARRIES. You can't expect that production but Spiller could easily be a 5-6 YPC back this season and be a stud. Or you could see what kind of a sell-high price you can get for him. He gets the Browns next week.
Trent Richardson against the Bengals (THERE YA GO)
The popular rookie had just 39 yards on 19 carries in Week 1. He had another 19 carries this week and got . . . 109 yards and a touchdown plus 36 yards and a touchdown in the passing game. Richardson is now set as a healthy back you can feel good about starting most weeks.
Adrian Peterson against the Colts (STILL ALIVE)
Well, with 16 carries for 60 yards against Indianapolis, we can confirm that AP is probably not going to see more than 20 carries very often this season. That makes him more of a flex play, and his workload can always increase, but as talented as he is we have to notice if he's carrying it 10-15 times or 20-25 times. There's a big difference there.
Darren McFadden against the Dolphins (BAD, LIKE ALL RAIDERS)
Well, I don't know what to say. McFadden had 22 yards on 11 carries and was taken out of the offensive gameplan as soon as the Raiders were getting blown out. He was targeted seven times but only got two catches.
Reggie Bush against the Raiders (IN THE GAMEPLAN)
On the other side of the coin is the back that's in a great position and that's when his team is on the right side of the blowout. Bush ran all over the Raiders for 172 yards on 26 carries, two touchdowns and 25 yards receiving. Whether or not this was already official: Bush finally looks like the back who was drafted second overall.
Ahmad Bradshaw/David Wilson/Andre Brown against the Bucs (WHO? WHERE? WHAT?)
After Bradshaw left with a neck injury (MRI on Monday) it was Brown and not Wilson who got the majority of carries. While there have been a lot of disappointing rookies this year, Wilson stands out for his fumble last week. He stands out for more negative reasons this week as it was Brown that had 13 carries for 71 yards after Bradshaw left the game while Wilson had just three carries. Wilson was widely drafted and handcuffed to Bradshaw but that doesn't seem to matter right now. It's hard to say that either is worth a start immediately if Bradshaw misses any time.
Pierre Thomas against the Panthers (BETTER THAN INGRAM)
While Mark Ingram had 16 carries and gained 53 yards, it was Thomas that had the bigger impact. He carried it nine times for 110 yards and added 33 yards receiving. Meanwhile, Darren Sproles had zero carries . . . and was targeted 14 times with 13 catches and 128 yards. The value of the three still goes: Sproles, Thomas, and then Ingram.
Ben Tate against the Jaguars (WHAT A BACKUP)
Tate continues to be the most valuable backup running back of recent memory. Even with Arian Foster running well ahead of him (110 yards and a touchdown), Tate chipped in 74 yards rushing, two touchdowns, and 23 yards receiving. Foster is a running back 1, but Tate is always worth a flex start.
Alfred Morris against the Rams (STILL THE FAVORITE)
Morris came out of nowhere to bypass some much higher profile names and with 89 yards on 16 carries in Week 2 against the Rams, he's fine to list as a flex or potential running back 2.
Steven Jackson against the Redskins (A GROIN PROBLEM)
Jackson will have to be monitored this week after missing the second half of the Rams game with a strained groin. Daryl Richardson had 83 yards on 15 carries and needs to be owned.
Chris Johnson against the Chargers (STILL SUCKS)
Johnson (17 yards on eight carries) still sucks.
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