The Backfield Report: Week 9, Jamaal Charles, and “Eighth Man in the Box”


Since the season started I’ve done Tuesday rundowns of all the NFL backfield situations. I’m doing the same thing this week. Also, since I’m not omniscient, check out RotoViz’s Buy Low Machine and RB GLSP Projections. Here we go.

Chiefs RBs
Let’s say that you think the Chiefs are good enough to go 16-0 in the regular season. Now, we all know that the only team to go undefeated in a 16-game regular season was the 2007 Patriots, and they lost the Super Bowl. It follows, then, that historically 100% of the teams that go 16-0 in the regular season don’t win the Super Bowl, and so if the Chiefs in fact go 16-0 we should expect them not to become champions. Furthermore, one can reasonably assume that RBs on championship teams are better than those not on championship teams, and in fantasy you really want only the best RBs in your starting lineup. Thus, with this information, one can reach only one logical conclusion: Jamaal Charles should be kept on your fantasy bench until the Chiefs lose their first game. Boom! #FoolproofFullProofAdvancedMetrics

Falcons RBs
In Week 9, Steven Jackson almost looked like the guy from last year. By that, I mean that he rushed for fewer than 75 yards and didn’t score a TD.

Eagles RBs
Nick Foles is about to make LeSean McCoy a winner. I’m not sure if I’m joking.

Raiders RBs
As I said last week, “Darren McFadden is on the Raiders. Sometimes he plays on the Raiders. When he plays, sometimes he’s good.” And, other times, he gets injured.

Buccaneers RBs
How do you replace Josh Freeman and Doug Martin? With the same player. The only way Mike James’s jumping halfback TD toss could’ve been more sneakily legit is if Mike Vrabel had come out of retirement to catch it from LaDainian Tomlinson.

Rams RBs
Zac Stacy: The poster child for RB Zero. Daryl Richardon: The poster child for RB Never. Really.

Saints RBs
Mark Ingram: Another poster child for RB Never.

[Alternate version] In the first quarter of Week 9’s game against the Jets, Drew Brees threw the ball to Mark Ingram. The pass was incomplete, but the Saints gained 15 yards and a first down on a roughing the passer penalty. Who said that Ingram couldn’t be effective in the passing game?

Bengals RBs
With Andy Dalton in Week 9 playing like 2013 Weeks 1-8 Tom Brady, the Bengals ran the ball 30 times, and Mini McCoy took two of his nine carries to the house. Built almost exactly like Barry Sanders, Gio elicited comparisons to Sanders with his 2nd TD, a 35-yard multiple-cutback weaving scamper. Still, even though he has Sanders’ quickness, Gio lacks his speed, which is why he should be thought of as a shorter LeSean McCoy instead of a slower Barry Sanders—that would be like saying “a talentless Prince” or “a small-dicked Dirk Diggler.” Mini McCoy deserves a comparison that doesn’t strip the original of its defining feature. Giovani Bernard is top-5 legit. The sooner BenJarvus Green-Ellis retires, clearing the way for Gio to be a workhorse and Rex Burkhead to be a perfectly competent backup, the better.

Titans RBs
I have issues with Chris Johnson. I don’t mind that he’s mediocre most games and then explodes with huge games when no one expects it. I simply mind that I drafted him in one league.

Dolphins RBs
In Week 9, Lamar Miller rushed for over 100 yards for the first time in his career—and he also fumbled. I’m not sure if we can trust him yet, especially with Daniel Thomas still getting double-digit carries. Yes, Miller outscored Thomas this weekend—but so did Darrel Young.

Washington RBs
Any time that you can give goal-to-go carries in a close game to a FB who 1) has only 1 rushing TD in his career, 2) doesn’t handle the ball on a regular basis, 3) is a converted inside linebacker, 4) runs with the subtlety of Refrigerator Perry, and 5) blocks for one of the best red-zone RBs in the NFL—any time you can do that, don’t you have to do it multiple times? [Full disclosure: I wrote that sentence after Darrel Young’s first TD. I just felt it wasn’t going to be a one-shot thing.]

Don’t hate Alfred Morris. It’s not his fault. What the Lord giveth, the Shanahan can taketh away. ALF is like the Max Bialystock of RBs: “Who does he have to fuck to get a break in this stinking town?!” I look forward to witnessing in 2 weeks the triumphant 3-TD return of Evan Royster. Two working theories: 1) A month ago Alfred Morris told Dan Snyder what he thought about the team’s name, or 2) Snyder recently walked into Shanahan’s office and said, “The fewer TDs ALF scores, the cheaper his next contract will be. Do what you do, understand?” I mean, it’s not like Darrel Young is Mike Tolbert, right?

Panthers RBs
Before the season started, I said that Mike Tolbert would be a Waiver Wire Wonder. After being ignored by his offense in Week 1, the big guy has averaged 9.2 standard pts/game. He’s not an RB1, but he’s a solid and cheap flex option. If you had to start only one Panthers RB on any given week, wouldn’t Tolbert be the guy?

Chargers RBs
Danny Woodhead is the Mike Tolbert of small RBs. He came into Week 9 averaging 9.8 pts/game in standard leagues. In Week 9, he accumulated exactly 9.8 pts. It’s almost too easy. By the way, for at least Weeks 1-9, I was right.

Browns RBs
Willis McGahee had 21 rushes and 0 catches for 1.1 pts. Fozzy Whittaker had 2 rushes and 3 catches for 2.4 pts. Chris Ogbonnaya had 0 rushes and 5 catches for 3.9 pts. Do you see that? It’s almost a perfect line—straight to nowhere.

Patriots RBs
Stevan Ridley: 0, 23, 11.3, 13.9, 22.4. This is what an emerging pattern looks like—after its emerged.

Steelers RBs
Your mother looked better this weekend, and so did Le’Veon Bell. They both get the job done.

Bills RBs
Fred Jackson’s recent (lesser) string of double-digit performances has ended. He managed only 9.9 pts this weekend.

Side note: I can’t wait to see Ronnie Wingo score his first professional TD, just so I can bust out the obvious phrase while pretending to have spontaneously made it up: “The Wingo ate’ch your baby!” But in all fairness, I just now did spontaneously make it up, so that should count for something.   

Vikings RBs
Here’s what I hypothesized last week: “Adrian Peterson sucked with Josh Freeman as his QB in Week 7, and he didn’t suck with Christian Ponder in Week 8. With either guy, the Vikings will lose games, but if they can lose while keeping their RB looking good, that’s the preferable option. Never did I think I would say, ‘Peterson’s value is tied to Ponder—he needs Ponder,’ but I guess that’s what I just did.” Week 9 proves my hypothesis. It’s science.

Cowboys RBs
The formula goes something like this: 4 RBs + 8 Rushes + Vikings Defense + Tony Romo = Last-Second Cowboys Victory. It’s a little like organic chemistry, except for morons.

Jets RBs
I choose to hold my vomit-on-my-vomit gag in abeyance for at least another week. [Did you get it?]

Bears RBs
Matt Forte submits double-digit production each week. It’s his forte, and his Week 9 was a thing of beauty. As William Carlos Williams might say, this is just to say:

Matt Forte
he is delicious
so sweet
and so cold

Packers RBs
You already know what I’m going to say.

Texans RBs
Does anyone really know what to say?

Colts RBs
In Week 9 Trent Richardson was on bye. Oh, he wasn’t? My mistake.

Cardinals RBs
Andre Ellington is the Denarius Moore of RBs.

Ravens RBs
R.E.M. said it best.

Seahawks RBs
I once tried to draft a fantasy team based on a name. I was able to select Shonn, Knowshon, LeSean, DeSean, and the Shauns Hill and Suisham. Naturally, this team sucked, but I believe that if only I had gotten the one that got away my team would’ve been a powerhouse. Marshawn Lynch, you are the one who got away.

[Alternate Version] Do you know that the Seahawks pay Texas A&M in order to continue using the phrase “12th Man”? Here’s what I think the Seahawks should do: In honor of their “Legion of Boom” defense and the city’s storied musical legacy, they should commission Alice in Chains to re-record their first hit, only this time it would feature modified and gridiron-centric lyrics and be entitled “Eighth Man in the Box.” The fans and definitely the band would jump on this. Yes, I spend all day sitting around thinking of ideas like this. What do you do at work?

Interested in WRs? Here’s my Week 9 WR Report.

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By Matthew Freedman | @MattFtheOracle | Archive


  1. chillermonster
    November 6, 2013 at 2:18 pm —

    I was guessing that the Raven’s backfield song would be “It’s the End of the World”, but that would be too upbeat, your selection is better.

    • mefreedman
      November 6, 2013 at 4:30 pm —

      chillermonster Yeah, I think the intro to “Everybody Hurts” really matches in tenor the pain that owners of Ray Rice are feeling on a weekly basis. There’s almost something grand in the way that Rice is immolating himself each week.

  2. mefreedman
    November 6, 2013 at 4:27 pm —

    joshyjosh49 Thanks for reading!

  3. mefreedman
    November 7, 2013 at 6:00 pm —

    skhorror I’m not sure of the cause, but the threads do seem to “evaporate” after a few days. 
    I wouldn’t trade Graham. He’s outscored Calvin Johnson on the season, and Johnson is the #1 WR in points. Think about that. You are getting Calvin production at the TE position. That advantage is huge. I love Forte, but I think Graham has more keeper value than Forte, and because of the turnover at the position usable RBs are generally easier to find than many believe (Andre Ellington for instance).
    I think this lineup still works very well: 
    RBs: Morris and Ridley
    WR: Megatron and Gordon
    TE: Graham
    RB/WR: Vereen/Harvin
    WR/TE: T. Williams/Harvin
    If you can get Jordan Cameron in the deal, that makes it better, but Cameron seems to be cooling off, and lots of his early-season production has been funneled to other players (mainly Gordon). But Graham is the Saints offense. I like Forte, but I just like Graham more. And I think Vereen and Ridley could be fine together. They essentially play different positions, and both could be productive.

  4. skhorror
    November 7, 2013 at 7:02 pm —

    mefreedman skhorror 
    yeah graham has been a beast.  
    i look at it similarly in that i would be trading a WR1 for a RB1 and WR3 (Cameron)
    i picture vereen being my every week starter and ridley being the flex.  with all the weapons in NE healthy, i think they will be spreading the ball around to cause some inconsistency.
    Not sure I agree about Cameron cooling off – he had a rough game last week, which im not sure why, but he still producing mostly consistent WR3 type numbers.
    Thanks for the feedback…will have to make a call by tonight prob.

    in another thought, i could stay put with graham, and give up a pick for decker or cameron to give me more depth.  maybe thats a better play

  5. skhorror
    November 7, 2013 at 7:14 pm —

    mefreedman skhorror 
    shoot – my reply didnt post.
    gist of it was that yeah graham is a game changing beast.  its basically trading a WR1 for RB1 + WR3.
    ridley does concern me given that i see NE spreading the ball around with a healthy amendola, and vereen limited the upside.
    i think cameron hasnt cooled that much, though not sure why he only got 1 catch last week.
    may look into the alternative of trading a pick for decker or cameron to get more depth.  
    thanks for the comments!

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