Rush Hour

It is in fantasy as it is in the real world: When the postseason approaches, the running game rules
November 22, 2010

A fantasy owner can never have enough depth at running back, so as the regular season winds down, it's time to stockpile talent at the most physically punishing position on the field. These runners have been largely quiet to this point in the season, but any one of them could emerge to become a key player in the quest for a fantasy championship.

Shonn Greene, RB, Jets Last year New York tried to save veteran Thomas Jones's legs by giving Greene the ball more in November and December. This season it's LaDainian Tomlinson seeing his workload shrink in favor of Greene, who had more carries than Tomlinson last week in Cleveland (20 to 18). Greene also has averaged more yards per carry than LT in five straight games. Tomlinson retains his status as a high-end third running back or flex option, but Greene moves up to a No. 2.

Javarris James, RB, Colts Signed from the Redskins' practice squad in October, James is following in the footsteps of his cousin and fellow Miami alum Edgerrin James, Indianapolis's alltime leading rusher. Javarris, a rookie, has become an important contributor the last two weeks in a backfield crippled by injuries to Joseph Addai (neck) and Mike Hart (ankle). He has gained only 42 yards on 17 carries but scored three short touchdowns, displaying drive and tenacity. James could even retain those goal line duties when the Colts return to full strength.

Jason Snelling, RB, Falcons In his fourth year, Snelling has successfully replaced the injured Jerious Norwood as Atlanta's third-down, change-of-pace back behind the similarly built Michael Turner. In fact, even in that role he's become a borderline fantasy starter in PPR leagues, averaging five catches over his last three games. Snelling may be the NFL's best backup runner: He erupted for 186 all-purpose yards and three touchdowns when Turner was injured in Week 2 against the Cardinals. Those numbers make him a must-have insurance policy for all Turner owners.

Mike Goodson, RB, Panthers With DeAngelo Williams, Jonathan Stewart and Tyrell Sutton sidelined last Sunday, Goodson became the first Carolina back to run for triple digits this season, gaining 100 yards on 23 carries against the Buccaneers' 30th-ranked rushing defense. With the Ravens, Browns, Steelers and Falcons (twice) coming up, it would be a shock to see many repeat performances from the second-year man from Texas A&M, but the 1--8 Panthers don't have many other options. Walk, don't run to pick him up.

Chester Taylor, RB, Bears A longtime backup, Taylor has emerged as a bigger part of Chicago's attack, getting more than 10 touches in back-to-back weeks while spelling starter Matt Forte. As the weather gets colder and windier at Soldier Field, the Bears will rely more to the ground game, which means even more action for the 31-year-old Taylor. And should Forte go down with an injury, the carries would be all his—though he'd be working behind one of the league's weakest offensive lines.

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PHOTODAVID BERGMANFRESH LEGS Greene made his name as a late-season relief rusher in '09 and is reprising that role this year.

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)