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Fantasy football: Running back leaderboard gets new look in Week 12

Eagles rookie Bryce Brown had big game against Carolinlooks do same against Dallas. | Getty Images

Eagles rookie Bryce Brown had a big game against Carolina and looks to do the same against Dallas. | Getty Images

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Updated: December 29, 2012 6:19AM

Two weeks ago, the quarterback position underwent a seismic shift with seven backups seeing action. Last week, the running backs took their turn.

Whether it was players returning from injury, replacing newly injured players or just finally getting a shot, the running back leaderboard had a different look in Week 12. Here are five of those rushers and their situations going forward:

Bryce Brown, Eagles

The rookie carried 19 times for 178 yards and two touchdowns and caught four passes for 11 yards against the Panthers, giving him a week-high 26 points (he lost four points on two fumbles). LeSean McCoy (concussion) isn’t likely to play this week, giving Brown another good matchup against the Cowboys. They’ve allowed an average of 94 rushing yards to feature backs in the last five games, including two 100-yard performances. He’s the latest must-own player.

Knowshon Moreno, Broncos

Moreno, who hadn’t played since Week 2, ran 20 times for 85 yards and caught four passes for 26 yards, totaling 10 points. With Willis McGahee (knee) out, it was widely believed that Ronnie Hillman and Lance Ball would at least share time. But Hillman had three carries and Ball none. Moreno’s matchups improve greatly after the Buccaneers’ top-ranked run defense this week, so claim him if you can. But given his lack of production since his rookie year, don’t expect a lot.

Jacquizz Rodgers, Falcons

With Michael Turner averaging 1.9 yards per carry in the last three games, expect Rodgers to see more action. He ran 10 times (only three fewer than Turner) for 49 yards with a touchdown against the Bucs. He totaled 13 points, thanks to 30 receiving yards. Turner remains the better goal-line threat, but Rodgers offers a great change of pace, and he has 20 catches in the last five games. He’s a good flex play this week against the Saints’ league-worst run defense.

Shane Vereen, Patriots

He finished third for the week with 19 points, thanks to an 83-yard touchdown pass. Vereen also had double-digit carries for the second consecutive week. Granted, they came in blowout victories and he’s still second fiddle to Stevan Ridley. But the Patriots play the Jaguars in Week 16, which is championship week in many fantasy leagues. Vereen might be a good flex play in another potential blowout. Otherwise, he’s worth having in case Ridley has a blow out.

Beanie Wells, Cardinals

He played his first game since Week 3, and owners who waited out his toe injury were rewarded with 16 points (48 yards, two touchdown runs), tied for ninth at the position. The yards weren’t as encouraging of a sign as the carries. Wells led the Cardinals’ running backs with 17 totes; William Powell was next with three. And check out his matchups in the fantasy playoffs: the Lions’ 21st-ranked run defense in Week 15 and the Bears’ suddenly shaky unit in Week 16.



Saints at Falcons: This battle of top-10 offenses is Thursday. Make sure to have your lineup set.


Cardinals at Jets: This battle of bottom-five offenses is Sunday. There will be other games on.


Giants QB Eli Manning: He snapped his single-digit scoring streak at three, and the Redskins rank second-to-last in pass defense.

Chiefs RB Jamaal Charles: He has two 100-yard games in the last three weeks, and the Panthers have allowed 316 yards to feature backs in the last two weeks.

Dolphins WR Davone Bess: The Patriots have allowed the fourth-most yards to wide receivers, and he has the hot hand.


Chargers QB Philip Rivers: Yes, he’s here again (it’s personal). The Bengals have held quarterbacks to single-digit scoring in three consecutive games.

Rams RB Steven Jackson: He’s coming off a big game, but if you’re in a must-win situation, he’s tough to trust against the 49ers’ fourth-ranked run defense.

Buccaneers WR Mike Williams: He has three consecutive single-digit scoring games, and the Broncos have allowed the fifth-fewest yards to wide receivers.



QB Andy Dalton: 210 yards, 3 TDs

RB C.J. Spiller: 107 yards

WR Larry Fitzgerald: 31 yards


QB Philip Rivers: 228 yards, TD

RB Mikel Leshoure: 32 yards, TD

WR Josh Gordon: 60 yards

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