The best rushing defenses always cause me the most consternation when making decisions about who to start at RB, but scanning this week's top defenses doesn't worry me as much. There are only three top RBs facing top rush defenses this week.
The Miami Dolphins face the fearsome Baltimore Ravens defense. RB Ronnie Brown could struggle, but he has pass catching ability, and, in the Wildcat, passing throwing ability. Those extra sources of production keep Brown as a starter barring the most favorable of options i.e. RB Steve Slaton against the Detroit Lions and RB Chris Johnson against Kansas City.
The more intriguing match-up for elite RBs is the Minnesota Vikings/Chicago Bears game. Each team features an elite option at RB. The Minnesota Vikings have the slightly-disappointing Adrian Peterson, and the Chicago Bears have Matt Forte. With the opposing defense stout against the run, either back is likely to see a 20+ carry day and 60-70 yards. Throw-in a TD and that would qualify as a "productive" day. However, don't be surprised to see a less traditional aerial attack by both teams.
The Vikings rank in the middle of the pack in passing yards allowed, and the Chicago passing game has been surprising potent in recent weeks. QB Kyle Orton, WR Devan Hester and TE Greg Olson could be in line to extend that streak.
For the Gus Frerotte/Bernard Berrian-led Vikings passing game, the Chicago defense causes salivation. The Bears have ranked amongst the worst teams in the NFL in PYA by any time period measured. The rank over the last three games? 25th. Over the entire season? 30th. For those looking for surprising WR production, look no further than Berrian who could post his third consectutive 100+ yard receiving game.
Top Ten Rushing Defenses: