Fantasy baseball is over, so football is the only game in The Land of Make Believe. There are quite a few story lines going on in the league right now, especially for running back. Therefore, this week is going to be a little bit different as we'll discuss and analyze the happenings in fantasy's most coveted position. Analyze and adapt.
Frank Gore and Kendall Hunter- Kendall Hunter scored San Francisco's only touchdown last week. Frank Gore is now gimpy (as usual) with his ankle, but looks to play. The news came out today that Gore and Hunter are going to be in a time-share situation at tailback.
The Niners are struggling to move the ball quite a bit and they've been able to win games based on their absolutely breathtaking defense. That thing is good. Teams with good defenses tend to run the ball more and their younger O-line should be able to work out the kinks at some point. Hunter should really be owned in every league given Gore's injury history and Hunter's impressive preseason.
Peyton Hillis and Montario Hardesty- Head coach Pat Shurmur said yesterday that Hardesty "can handle more carries" after his solid outing on Sunday. Hardesty was widely considered as a sleeper for last season before he tore his ACL. This year he looks very healthy and has clearly shown he is a capable NFL back.
The Browns are running the West Coast offense which is predicated on short passes and a running game. Their offense won't be a powerhouse or anything, but they could be in the top half of rushing yards in the league. Hardesty should be owned in just about every league and this might even become a 50-50 split in due time.
Ryan Grant and James Starks- Coach Mike McCarty said that Grant was an "attempt runner" and was going to be a bigger part of the O. However, things changed quickly now that Grant is not expected to play with a renal issue. When a running back plays with a bruised kidney, it's like playing with fire. This isn't a medical journal, so we won't get into it too much.
James Starks is all set for a big game on Sunday and should be started in just about every league. Although, keep in mind this will be a hot-hand approach and he is a sell-high guy after Sunday (assuming Grant doesn't play and he has a big game).
Trade tip- When you know you're going to sell high on a guy, don't include him in your first offer. Offer another player, then hopefully your trade partner counters, then offer Starks. Sure, this move is slightly transparent to experience owners, but I've pulled it off more times than I care to count.
Beanie Wells and Alfonso Smith- Ken Whisenhunt said that the Cardinals won't be taking the reigns off Beanie Wells just yet. Wells is expected to be close to 100 percent, but Smith looks like a decent source of around 10 touches. He had 17 carries on Sunday and looked pretty good between the tackles. Wells is fairly safe to start this week (ranked at 26). However, Smith is likely worth owning since Whiz didn't give Wells a vote of confidence and his nickname is Weanie Bells.
Thanks for reading! You can get more running back info all week on Twitter and I'll be providing instant analysis on Sundays.