The main feature here at Solomon's Lines is going to be the triweekly ranking of running backs. The focus is going to be on schedule analysis of the weeks from now until the end of the fantasy season. This should be helpful for making trades as there should be some undervalued and overvalued guys. To repeat what I said in February schedules don't mean the same thing to each back. In short form, primo backs would like to see a schedule with as few E and D matchups as possible; they can exploit a C matchup and even a D isn't that scary. Your spot starter type rbs are more useful if they have a lot of A and B matchups.
1. Chris Johnson-Titans
0E 1D 4C 4B 3A
CJ lit up the Texans, put in a solid performance against the Jets and was shut down by the Steelers. The rest of his schedule looks a lot more like the Texans than the Jets or Steelers. That's right, the current points leader has faced the hard part of his schedule.
2. Adrian Peterson-Vikings
2E 3D 5C 1B 3A
In contrast, Peterson has already gone through the easiest part of his schedule. Now, he is still Adrian Peterson, schedule neutral , he is far and away the schedule-neutral number one back and he ran well on a D matchup already.
3. Maurice Jones-Drew-Jags
2E 2D 3C 2B 3A
MJD has shown he can exploit a good matchup and he has got a few of them coming up. So far he has been the crux of the Jag offense, his part of the passing game should keep him putting up numbers even when they're behind.
4. Pierre Thomas-Saints
1E 1D 5C 2B 3A
All we've seen from the frenchman is one half against a B matchup. Somehow, I have more questions about just about everyone else. He also benefits from a schedule that looks a lot easier than it did in February(thanks destruction of panther and buc defense). What makes it more interesting is that his two toughest matchups are coming up. After week 7, he should be at a buy low.
At this point I'm going to abandon the rankings and just discuss the schedules. Everyone has issues, be they injuries, threats to playing time, or poor performance. Weight those factors how you like, or just grab espns basically schedule neutral rankings, and I'll help with the schedules.
Marion Barber and Felix Jones-Cowboys
1E 2D 5C 3B 1A
The Cowboys have put up yards against everyone this year A matchups and Es alike. The question as always, will be who will run and how much. With injuries to Barber and Jones, its tough to be confident and either. Tashard Choice will be a good play on occasion as well. Barber looks like he will be healthier first and he remains the best play. The schedule reamains unfriendly to the two if they are splitting time. Not enough A matchups where there are enough numbers for the both to be big.
Questions:health, time split
1E 3D 5C 3B 0A
The Giants have a good schedule for Jacobs, but there are really no primo games where you'd feel comfortable starting Bradshaw. You are TD gambling with him. Against the Bucs their only A game on the schedule, Bradshaw did get a big chunk of the yards, Jacobs ran efficiently in the other two games. Those middle matchups make up the entirety of the Giants remaining fantasy schedule, Jacobs is a clear top 10 guy.
Question:low current point total
2E 2D 4C 3B 1A
Portis looked good at the beginning of the year but his health has rapidly deteriorated. The schedule isn't accommodating to a partial strength Portis. That and the Redskins offense mean that Betts will never be a good play. Sadly, the best two matchups remaining are immediate, when Portis will be the least healthy. Unhealthy, even the Rams were too much of an obstacle.
Question:health, team offense
2E 2D 4C 3B 1A
Same old Westbrook played well when he was in, and already missed a game. McCoy seems capable of filling in if Westbrook can't perform. Not too bad a schedule for the Eagles starter, as C matchups are no problem, and Ds are manageable.
1E 5D 3C 0B 3A
The bad news, Forte has looked bad. The good news, Forte mostly looked bad in week 1 and against the Steelers. He broke a century all purpose yards against an A matchup. So you can take heart that he has some more good matchups left. The problem is that he will most likely be ineffective in those 5 D matchups. You are hoping Cutler takes him to the red zone in those games. This is not what I and everyone else foresaw going into the season. At least there are no credible threats to his playing time. I think they get the running game together as the season progresses. The Lions and Falcons should help him build confidence.
Question: Current totals, poor performance
2E 4D 1C 0B 5A
So far, it looks like Grant puts up numbers against bad teams and is sketchy against good defenses. They have a pretty bizarre schedule coming up without any middling matchups. Pretty good actually if you think of Grant as a second/third, and have another option to play. He makes a pretty poor first back in deep leagues.
3E 3D 3C 0B 3A
Somewhat similar to Grant, he's performed well in good matchups, but he has fewer of them remaining. A dependable 2/3 I guess.
Dangelo Williams and JStewart-Panthers
2E 2D 5C 1B 2A
Williams should never have been drafted as highly as he was. Stewart continues to get a share of the carries and these matchups just don't bode well for the pair. Bail as you never have before.
Question: schedule, time split, schedule
Derrick Ward and CWilliams- Bucs
1E 3D 5C 2B 1A
Two backs, splitting time, that have been shut down two games straight, on a bad team. That schedule isn't doing them any favors.
2E 5D 1C 2B 2A
Turner has been mediocre so far, against the easiest part of his schedule. If he is under 4 ypc against B matchups, what is he going to do against all those Ds. Sell sell sell.
1E 2D 3C 0B 3A
Gore is missing two really good matchups while he's out but he's got some more left. If you have starters lined up for the next few weeks, maybe you could trade for him now.
Question: injury, at least 3 games
0E 2D 5C 0B 5A
Looks like I've slept on Jones, who has shown he can exploit a good matchup. As a third back, he has 5 matchups you would love to play him in. Might even be worth a trade if you can Jones and a receiver for an overrated back like Turner.
Question:team health, limited playability
1E 4D 4C 1B 2A
Jackson has put up solid yards, without a score, against some weak defenses. His schedule is somewhat harder from here on out. The problem is, that offense never gets him into the red zone and scoring will always be a problem.
Tim Hightower and BWells-Cardinals
2E 3D 0C 2B 5A
Hightower has proven ineffective in the run game and useless against good defenses. His value had been in the passing game, but his poor running could cost him his job. If it does, there's good matchups for Wells to exploit as an actual runner.
Question:current performance, playing time threat
Joseph Addai and Donald Brown-Colts
3E 2D 2C 1B 4A
The Colts have run the ball poorly against mediocre defenses so far. They've got good and bad matchups coming up. One back could play those Ds and Cs. Backs in a split will have to be satisfied with the primo games. With that passing game, if one of them becomes the goal line back, it could make for big points.
Questions: split time, current performance
1E 2D 5C 3B 2A
Like Tennessee, the Texans have already gone through the toughest part of their schedule. In their one decent matchup, Slaton put up good numbers. It is too soon to give up on him. He should likely have only one more game like weeks 1 and 2. Definite buy low.
Question: touchdown vulture
Fred Jackson and Marshawn Lynch-Bills
2E 1D 5C 2B 2A
Jackson put up good numbers against an A matchup and decent numbers against mediocre matchups. The return of Lynch complicates things. Even solo, he'd barely be a starter, so there's not a lot of value here.
Fred Taylor and crew-Pats
2E 2D 6C 2B 0A
Not a lot to like in the schedule, but the multiple back situation is too messy anyways.
Question:time split, schedule
Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams-Dolphins
2E 2D 3C 3B 2A
Dolphins have put up solid ground numbers against medium defenses. Pretty much what they'll continue to face. Problem is, there aren't enough touchdowns to go around.
Question: time split,
Thomas Jones and Leon Washington-Jets
0E 2D 5C 4B 1A
Jones was effective only in his A matchup. Washington was solid against both an A and a C. The remaining schedule is actually pretty usable for Washington. He'll never be a preferred option because of the timesplit, but he could be good in a spot.
Willis McGahee and Ray Rice-Ravens
4E 2D 3C 1B 2A
Huge sell high here, the Raven backs have put up big numbers against 2 Bs and an A. When they get into the difficult part of their schedule, there won't be enough numbers to go around for two backs. Throw in McGahee's TD luck and you have two overvalued guys.
Question: time split, schedule
Willie Parker and Rashard Mendenhall-Steelers
3E 1D 4B 3A
There's some upside here, the Steelers backs have been obliterated, but by three good defenses. Better matchups are in store, and even though the Steelers have more than one back, there seems to be a clear pecking order so that there will be a goto guy for each game. The Steeler starter should be a great spot start for seven matchups.
Question:health, offensive line
Jamal Lewis, Davis and Harrison-Browns
4E 2D 1C 4B 1A
The Browns starter(whoever it is) was never going to be a more than a spot starter. Looks like its Harrison for now, and he has a few Bs left where he will be playable.
Question: time split, health
3E 2D 0C 3B 4A
Cedric Benson has looked good against everyone, and he hasn't played any spectacular matchups yet. His schedule is mixed ahead, perfect for the spot starter which he was in the beginning. Its still around the strength that he has faced so far. Expect what we've seen so far, a top ten guy.
Darren McFadden and Michael Bush-Raiders
2E 3D 1C 3B 3A
Expect a little better than what we've seen from the Raiders. McFadden as the number one guy. Bush as a solid chunk of carries. 6 more good matchups. Russell can't possibly play as bad as he has and there should be more red zone opportunities.
Question: time split, offense quality
Darren Sproles and LTomlinson-Chargers
3E 2D 2C 4B 1A
The Chargers haven't run the ball well, though Sproles has had success in the passing game. That type of success isn't that reliable or schedule dependant. The return of Tomlinson and his giant fork further complicates things.
Question: time split, current performance
2E 1D 3C 5B 1A
A favorable schedule down the line, but the Chiefs have not run the ball well at all. They're not likely to be up in the second half against anyone. Just an out and out disaster of a situation.
Question: current performance
Knowson Moreno and Corell Buckhalter-Broncos
3E 1D 4C 4B 0A
Both backs have run well against an A and a B. There's a few more Bs and they should be good enough to put up numbers against Cs. Its the split that looks like the problem to starting either. I like Moreno to put up good numbers down the line.
Question time split