Underperforming running backs

Posted: November 01, 2013

ONE OF THE themes to this season is the underperforming running back. Like loud ties and bad breath, they are impossible to hide. LeSean McCoy, admirably taking responsibility even though his offensive line can't open a can of tuna right now, is on the list. But he's certainly not alone.

Let's look at the top consensus running backs entering the season and how they've fared halfway through.

Adrian Peterson, Vikings: The tragedy he has endured with the murder of his son makes criticizing his inconsistent fantasy production heartless.

LeSean McCoy, Eagles: He has one 100-yard effort and one touchdown in his last five games. The 184-yarder in the opener against the Redskins, like much of the Eagles offense, seems like 10 years ago.

Arian Foster, Texans: Injuries have been problematic lately as Foster has just one rushing touchdown through seven games. He had 15 last year. Looks like he'll be a game-time decision this week because of hamstring concerns.

Ray Rice, Ravens: A hip problem going back to September and a Super Bowl hangover going back to February have added up to Rice averaging 2.8 yards per attempt and 40.3 yards per game.

Trent Richardson, Browns/Colts: Trade to Colts was supposed to make him the team's next Edgerrin James. Instead, the Browns will laugh all the way to next year's draft with that first-rounder they fleeced off Indy.

Marshawn Lynch, Seahawks: Has been good, but not great. Six rushing touchdowns take the sting out of having just one 100-yard game and three others in the 90s.

Jamaal Charles, Chiefs: Also has just one 100-yard game, but scored a touchdown in each of the first seven games until last week. Needs just five catches to surpass his career best of 45. Has been the best RB thus far.

Doug Martin, Buccaneers: Another guy who needs a bloodhound to find the end zone. Compounding his disappointment is that he's likely to miss his second consecutive game with a shoulder injury.

Alfred Morris, Redskins: Has put up RB2 numbers (four TDs, 80 ypg) and the emergence of Roy Helu is disturbing.

C.J. Spiller, Bills: Has been battling injuries all season and ought to change his name to "C.J. Killer" for what he's doing to fantasy teams.

Name drop of the week

Detroit wide receiver Kris Durham is coming off the best month of his career. The third-year pro out of the University of Georgia had 20 catches on 35 targets in the Lions' last four games. He entered October with 16 career catches. With Ryan Broyles now out for the year with an Achilles' tear, Durham could get some run alongside Nate Burleson as Detroit's No. 2 wide receiver. Burleson may be back next week from the broken arm he suffered in a September car accident.

Saints alive

More than 71 percent of New Orleans' quarterback Drew Brees' completions are to his tight ends and running backs. Marques Colston (27) is the only wide receiver with more than 13 catches. Tight end Jimmy Graham has as many receptions (40) as Colston has targets. Graham continues to be nagged by a foot injury, but is healthy enough to be in fantasy lineups this week.

Position watch 

* Quarterback:Josh McCown, who is starting for the Bears at Green Bay on Monday night, made one of his two starts in 2011 at Lambeau Field on Christmas night. He threw for 242 yards, one touchdown and two picks as the Packers overwhelmed the Bears, 35-21. Brandon Marshall was a Dolphin, Alshon Jeffery was a Gamecock and the Bears' leading receiver that night was Roy Williams. McCown, with better weapons, is a low-end QB1 with so many starters on bye.

Running backs: San Diego's Ryan Mathews deserves consideration as a high-end RB2 after consecutive 100-yard games. He's facing a Redskins defense that has give up nine rushing touchdowns to opposing RBs. Only Jacksonville (10) has surrendered more . . . DeMarco Murray should get a full workload (unless he gets nicked again) this week against the Vikings. Minnesota hasn't given up 100 yards rushing to an opposing back all season, though Reggie Bush ran for 90 and had another 101 in receiving yards in Week 1 . . . The Giants Andre Brown ought to be on rosters ahead of what looks like his activation from injured reserve next week. Peyton Hillis should become droppable shortly after Brown and Brandon Jacobs return after the bye.

Wide receivers: Atlanta's Roddy White (hamstring, ankle) missed practice again yesterday, so keep Harry Douglas active. Douglas has 19 catches in the two games White and Julio Jones went down. That's half of the 38 HD1 had all of last season . . . Move Seattle's Golden Tate up to a mid-level WR3 in light or Sidney Rice's knee injury. Tate leads the Seahawks with 53 targets and should continue as Russell Wilson's favorite receiver even if/when Percy Harvin comes back.

Tight ends: Washington's Jordan Reed has 21 catches over the last 3 weeks, most among TEs.

Just wondering

How is it that the Jets hold Tom Brady without a touchdown pass, yet give up five to Andy Dalton last week and three to Jake Locker in Week 4? Just another reason why Brady owners have been pulling their hair out all season.

Ed Barkowitz has been writing about fantasy football in the Daily News since 2001 and screaming at his teams like Dez Bryant since 1993.

Email: barkowe@phillynews.com

On Twitter: @EdBarkowitz

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