It's decision time for a lot of fantasy owners out there. Some owners are just biding their time until the playoffs, and those are the owners who should be focusing on making their bench count. The bye weeks are over, so there's little reason to keep that consistent, low-upside guy on your roster. Here are seven running backs who might make a big splash with a couple breaks going their way.
Brandon Bolden (owned in 5 percent of leagues)
It might be a while before we see Stevan Ridley again. He had a really bad, lazy fumble in the first quarter against the Denver Broncos. Ridley tried to evade a tackle and put the ball way too far away from his torso, a problem that has been persistent in much of his career. Ridley finished with just 14 rushing yards on four carries.
Brandon Bolden got most of the work out of the backfield with 13 carries for 58 yards and one score on the ground. He contributed one catch for 11 yards through the air to help lead the Patriots to a thrilling comeback victory. What's more, Shane Vereen wasn't effective in this game, rushing for 31 yards on 10 carries. Vereen has been used in the slot more than anything and there will be plenty of chances for Bolden to run the ball, assuming Ridley is indeed in the doghouse.
It's probably just a good idea to make the add, keep him on the bench and take a wait-and-see approach before Week 14. Although, the Patriots might be up a lot against Houston and could have 30 carries as a team. He'd still be nothing more than a flex, though.
Daryl Richardson (owned in 18 percent of leagues)
Obviously, fantasy owners are going to be flocking to the waiver wire to pick up Benny Cunningham, but let's not forget about the opening-day starter. Of course, he was a healthy scratch for Week 12, so he's got a long way to go to be a factor in the backfield rotation. He hasn't even played since Oct. 28 against the Seahawks, but wasn't too bad in that game with 39 rushing yards on eight attempts. Of course, Zac Stacy had a breakout game with 134 yards in that one.
This is a desperation pickup and his owners will need a couple of things to happen before he's in the mix for a double-digit workload. Again, this is a hope-and-pray stash.
Christine Michael (owned in 4 percent of leagues)
The Seahawks look like the class of the NFC and they're going to clinch the division at some point -- one would think. That would mean the team would give Marshawn Lynch a little rest. He has appeared on the injury report for much of this season and has a bit of a bad back, so the extra rest would do him some good.
Michael is a big-play runner and was a revelation in the preseason. He's also looked good in picking up yards in garbage time.
Jordan Todman (owned in 0 percent of leagues)
He got 11 carries on Sunday, rushing for 31 yards in Jacksonville's win over the Texans. Todman has clearly emerged as the backup to Maurice-Jones Drew, but MJD is kind of rolling right now. In fact, the starting back put up 84 rushing yards and 60 receiving yards with a score on Sunday.
The extra work makes MJD a little more vulnerable to injury, so Todman could get a better chance to take over. He's a mere handcuff, but it's nice to see the Jags put up points.
Knile Davis (owned in 2 percent of leagues)
The Chiefs are basically going to be locked in as the No. 5 seed or the bye in the AFC playoff seeding. The loss to the Broncos will likely cost them the tiebreaker, so there's a good chance they might have nothing to play for in Week 16.
Davis is the clear backup at running back. He has just 21 carries on the season, but it's nice that he's at least used in the passing game a la Jamaal Charles. Like everyone else on this list, he's just a stash in deep leagues.
Brandon Jacobs (owned in 9 percent of leagues)
The Giants have a horrible passing attack. It's hard to believe Eli Manning, who has been a complete disaster in finding his receivers, was considered a better quarterback than his brother by a few misguided folks out there. The team knows it and the Giants continue to run the ball 30 times a game as a unit.
Sure, Andre Brown carried the ball 21 times for 127 yards on Sunday, but Jacobs earned nine carries and turned them into 75 yards. He also gets some goal-line work and that makes him almost like an improved version of Carolina Panthers running back Mike Tolbert.
The Giants get the Washington Redskins this week. The Skins are one of the worst defenses in the league and the G-Men should be able to put up some points. He's worth a look in TD-heavy leagues.
Toby Gerhart (owned in 2 percent of leagues)
The Vikings have never been a pass-happy offense while Adrian Peterson is around and lately they've been working Toby Gerhart more into the mix.
In the last two weeks, Gerhart totaled 15 carries for 158 yards on the ground with two catches for 12 yards in the passing game. One of those games was an ugly blowout, but they tied the Packers on Sunday. Plus, Gerhart saw plenty of work in the fourth quarter and in OT.
They get what is now shaping up to be a dream matchup against the Bears. Chicago just gave up 258 rushing yards to the Rams, so Gerhart and AD have to be licking their chops. Additionally, Peterson has been a little banged up, so if he ever missed time, Gerhart would likely become a must-start guy with the lack of competition behind him.