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NFL fantasy football: 4 RBs who could save your poor draft

Rams running back Daryl Richardsis speed demhe’ll get most carries Week 1 against Cardinals. | AP

Rams running back Daryl Richardson is a speed demon, and he’ll get most of the carries in Week 1 against the Cardinals. | AP

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WEEK 1 OUTLOOK

GAME OF THE WEEK

Falcons at Saints: Both finished in the top 10 in scoring and yards last season, and the Falcons actually improved with the addition of running back Steven Jackson.

GAME OF THE MEEK

Dolphins at Browns: Both finished in the bottom 10 in scoring and yards last season. Only running backs Lamar Miller and Trent Richardson are worthy of starting.

PLAYS OF THE WEEK

WR Danny Amendola, Patriots: If he indeed is Wes Welker’s replacement, know this: In his last four games against the Bills, Welker had 37 catches for 471 yards and two touchdowns.

QB Matthew Stafford, Lions: In his last four games against the Vikings, Stafford has thrown for more than 300 yards three times with seven TDs.

RB David Wilson, Giants: The Giants could exploit a Cowboys defensive line that is dealing with injuries and inexperience.

PLAYS OF THE MEEK

RB Chris Johnson, Titans: In five career meetings with the Steelers, he has averaged 60.4 rushing yards with two touchdowns.

RB Eddie Lacy, Packers: There are better matchups for an NFL debut than the 49ers, who ranked fourth in run defense last season and third overall.

WR Steve Smith, Panthers: The Sea-hawks allowed the second-fewest touchdown passes last season, and their secondary remains first-rate.

Updated: September 4, 2013 10:26AM



So did you heed my advice last week about taking a running back in the first round? It wasn’t exactly a solution to silence the loudmouth at work or get your kids to listen to you the first time, not the 10th. But it was sound advice, and you were better off for it.

For those contrarians in the audience, there’s still hope. Despite your best efforts to sabotage your team, you can save yourself by making sure you have one or more of the running backs below. They’re not ranked among the studs you could have acquired, but they have enough potential to save your bacon.

Ahmad Bradshaw, Colts (No. 23): He moves from the Giants (No. 14 in total offense last season) to the Colts (No. 10). Plus, he was No. 2-running-back material last season, finishing 18th in standard scoring at his position. Granted, he has had numerous foot and ankle surgeries, but with a career high of only 276 carries, there’s still tread left on the tires. He’s the lead back of a timeshare with Vick Ballard, and to top it off, he’ll face the dreadful Raiders in Week 1.

Daryl Richardson, Rams (No. 25): Richardson is the starter for an up-and-coming offense. The addition of speedy rookie wide receiver Tavon Austin figures to help stretch defenses, which already have been bent by wideout Chris Givens. Richardson doesn’t have the size to pound defenses into submission, but he’s another speed demon. He also will see almost all of the carries in Week 1 against the Cardinals with backup Isaiah Pead suspended for a game.

Shane Vereen, Patriots (No. 29): In the last three seasons, the Patriots have led the league in touchdowns twice and finished third, averaging 64.3 TDs. That raises everyone’s value, including the backups. With Danny Woodhead now a Charger, Vereen figures to be the regular pass-catching running back, and there will be plenty of work for him. Woodhead had 116 touches last season; Vereen had 70. Woodhead had seven touchdowns; Vereen four.

DeAngelo Williams, Panthers (No. 30): Don’t expect his 2008 version (20 touchdowns, 1,515 rushing yards) to reappear, but with Jonathan Stewart on the PUP list after offseason surgery on both ankles, the stage belongs to Williams. Most of the touchdowns likely will go to quarterback Cam Newton and goal-line back Mike Tolbert, but at least between the 20s, Williams will get the ball. And as his 210-yard outing in Week 17 last season showed, he has something left.

Email: jagrest@suntimes.com

Twitter: @JeffreyA22



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