Fantasy Football: 3 Must-Start Running Backs in Week 14


By Alex Hall (@AlexKHall)

Alright, fantasy managers. It’s Week 14 which means your leagues are either on the cusp of or about to begin your playoff seasons. That means there is no room for error in setting lineups and that leads to hard decisions and multiple hours staring at a computer screen. Fear not though, here are three running backs that you can start with confidence and without worry this week.

Knowshon Moreno, Denver Broncos
Moreno came out of nowhere Week 12 of the NFL season to rush for 85 yards after No. 1 back Willis McGahee went down due to a season-ending injury.
This last week against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers wasn’t as successful with 69 yards on the ground. Still, that’s not exactly terrible considering Moreno was up against the NFL’s top rushing defense.

This week the former first round pick has a much easier matchup against the lowly Oakland Raiders. There was this great tweet I saw a few weeks back, I believe it was Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller who said that the Raiders make every opposing offense look like the 2007 New England Patriots and it’s true.

Oakland has allowed at least 34 points in four of the team’s past five games. BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Ray Rice, Mark Ingram, Trent Richardson and Doug Martin have all scored on the team’s defense in the past five weeks. Martin actually had his breakout game against the Raiders where he ran for 251 yards and four touchdowns.
Given this recent trend and Moreno’s decent ability to run the ball, he’s a great start this week.

Ahmad Bradshaw, New York Giants
The Giants are facing the league’s statistically worst defense in the 2012 season; of course you should start Ahmad Bradshaw. The Saints have not been able to stop much of anything on defense but especially opponent’s rushing attacks which is reason alone to give Bradshaw the nod.

The fact that he’s coming off his first 100-plus yard game since Week 5 is another good reason. The Super Bowl champs handed the ball to Bradshaw 24 times against the Redskins last week which is his highest workload since Week 6.

That 20-plus carry total is encouraging because the Giants are obviously aware of the Saints’ defending woes and will likely give Bradshaw a similar workload this week.

Trent Richardson, Cleveland Browns
Richardson has not run for 100 yards for the Browns in the past three weeks but that should change against the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday. The Chiefs own the No. 26 rushing defense in the NFL and Richardson has received no less than 20 carries in the last five weeks.

With that volume of carries in this game, Richardson should be able to eclipse that 100-yard mark somewhere in the third quarter. He’s been a solid touchdown option on the season as well, with two touchdowns in the last two games and seven overall.

It’s no secret that the Browns’ offense runs through their rookie running back and that won’t change this week. Richardson has been a safe and productive start most of this year so there’s no reason not to play him in this crucial week.

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