The Helucopter is officially off the ground. Where does he rank in this week's Running Back Rankings?
Several fantasy owners get a welcomed sight this week as they will see that all of their players don't have a "***BYE***" next to their names. Four teams still have byes coming up next week (Steelers, Colts, Saints and Texans), so we're not completely out of the bye-week woods just yet. Football fans in general also get a nice little gift as we get football on three nights of the week with the addition of Thursday Night Football. Woohoo! The Chargers take on the Raiders and there are already some major injury implications (which will be tackled later). Before you check out these rankings I would highly encourage you to go over my Waiver Wire Scoops and Rest of the Season Rankings that I posted Tuesday morning. I ranked 200 guys for the rest of the season and it should prove helpful in making trade offers and evaluating the waiver wire.
Injury News and Notes
Darren McFadden- Run DMC has just about been ruled out for Thursday's game against the Chargers. Hue Jackson wouldn't officially make the move and there's a good chance he will do so on Wednesday. The good news is that he gets the first game of the weekend, so his owners won't be put in a pickle. Michael Bush needs to be starting in all leagues.
Delone Carter- In case you were wondering why Delone Carter had such a large hiatus from his second and third carry in Sunday's game, Jim Caldwell confirmed that he was benched for the fumble on that second carry. Caldwell said he doesn't have any further plans to punish him at this time. Carter had 16 carries in the game and is easily the best option on the worst team in the league. He should be owned in most leagues, but it'll be tough to start him in most standard formats.
Shonn Greene- The Iowa Hawkeye passed his concussion tests and it appears that he is ready to roll in the enormous matchup against the Patriots. The Pats give up the most offensive yards in the league and Greene was doing a much better job running behind his pads and hitting the hole. If you were able to buy low, go ahead and pat yourself on the back.
Patriot Games- Danny Woodhead surprisingly led the Patriots in snaps on Sunday with BenJarvus Green-Ellis coming in at number two. The Patriots turned to the passing game pretty quick, which may have been a bit of a mistake with the Giants coming in at 27th in rushing defense. Stevan Ridley only played four snaps and it looks like he would need an injury to BJGE to have fantasy value. It's also worth noting that Kevin Faulk did not suit up. I would avoid this murky situation for now.
Beanie Wells- Weenie Bells didn't get going with his usual allotment of carries with only 10 to tally 20 yards. Arizona Republic writer Kent Somers thinks that Wells is hurt and I'd be inclined to agree with him. Wells had a dream matchup against the Rams (32nd vs. the run) and laid an absolute egg. Chester Taylor picked up the slack a bit, but I'm not so sure Alfonso Smith (only one snap) wouldn't be the lead back if Beanie misses time. Don't bother with owning Taylor and there are about 55 other backs I'd own over Smith.
Kevin Smith- The Lions signed their former starting tailback Silent Bob on Monday. This isn't really big news as far as picking him up goes, but if we read between the lines it's certainly not good news for Jahvid Best. Best has not yet officially been ruled out for Sunday's game though (highly doubtful). Switching gears back to Smith, the Lions originally had no immediate interest in the former UCF stud, but he reportedly looked so good that they had to sign him. Smith is currently behind Keiland Williams on the depth chart and you'd have to be crazy to start him in any format. However, I do like his chances to climb the depth charts and possibly unseat Maurice Morris for the starting gig. Obviously deep-league owners need only apply.
Frank Gore- The X-rays on Gore's gimpy ankle were negative on Monday and he is expected to play. Gore looked pretty spry on Sunday for the duration of the game and the Niners were likely just taking a precaution. He should have himself quite a game on Sunday against a soft NYG rushing defense. On a side note, Kendall Hunter is one of the best handcuffs to own in the league.
Tashard Choice- Mike Shanahan said he expects Tashard Choice to practice on Wednesday and is not sure if he'll be able to suit up for Sunday's game against the Dolphins. You're more than welcome to grab Choice in deep leagues because everyone's favorite flip-flop coach could make Choice the next DeMarco Murray. Roy Helu should be owned in every single league.
Felix Jones- Jones is back at practice and could play as soon as Sunday against the Bills. The Cowboys said that they intend to ease Jones back into the mix. DeMarco Murray has run away with the job and Felix sound not be started in anything but a deep league until he shows he is capable of being trusted. Murray is a must-start back this week.
Ryan Mathews- Mathews was a full participant in practice on Tuesday and he is fully expected to suit up for Thursday's game. He'll be in some sort of time-share situation with Mike Tolbert, but the attractive matchup makes him a decent RB2 against the Raiders and their rush D ranked at 29.
Burnt Brownies- Peyton Hillis and Montario Hardesty have been ruled out for their matchup against St. Louis. Chris Ogbonnaya is scheduled to get the start after his horrendous game on Sunday. He toted the rock 13 times and was absolutely horrible in getting positive yardage. Sure, you could blame it on the blocking, but OGB was a dead duck on only two carries by my count. Backfield mate Thomas Clayton wasn't much better with just 10 yards on five carries, however, the blocking on his carries was non-existent. I wouldn't be surprised at all to see Clayton usurp some carries in a 50-50 split or even get a bigger chunk. Clayton should be owned in deeper leagues for now. Similarly, Montario Hardesty is a decent stash due to Ogbonnaya's foibles.
You can follow me on Twitter @MikeSGallagher for updates throughout the week and plenty of instant analysis on Sunday. These rankings are for standard scoring, so you're also more than welcome to ask me things like, "Mike, should I start Reggie Bush or Jackie Battle in my PPR league?"
Thanks for reading! You can post your questions or comments below or send them to me on Twitter.