It’s time to stop waiting around for that player you had a hunch about to break out for a 20 point week. It’s time to play with your head, not your heart. With that in mind, here are a few running backs that should be riding the bench when you double (and triple) check your lineup this weekend.
Chris Johnson: Despite Johnson being first on the sit list for Week 7, this is not a condemnation of him for the rest of the season. The Titans schedule clears up quite a bit after Week 8 when Tennessee faces the Rams, Jaguars and Raiders in weeks 9, 10 and 12 (and the Colts in Week 11).
However, Johnson is likely to get shut down during Week 7 when the 49ers come to town. The 28 year old running back is off to another slow start in 2013 and only has one touchdown this season. Johnson has only 37 carries in the last three weeks and has also failed to break off a run of over 8 yards in that time.
In Johnson’s defense, these last 3 weeks have been tough for Titans after tussles with the Jets, Chiefs and Seahawks. As we said, Johnson’s best chance to turn things around won’t come until Week 8.
Le’Veon Bell: The NFL can be a tough place for a rookie running back and the Baltimore Ravens will surely be looking to prove that this week when they face Le’Veon Bell and the Pittsburgh Steelers. Eddie Lacy was able to muscle his way through the notorious Ravens defense last week, picking up 120 yards, but he was the first rusher all season long to break the 100-yard mark against Baltimore.
To make matters worse for Bell, the Bills Fred Jackson is the only running back to score against the Ravens this year. Bell is coming off a tough Week 6 against the Jets, when he ran for just 34 yards on 16 carries. Mike Tomlin has been pleased with the 21-year-old out of Michigan State, but he’s likely to get an NFL reality check during this tough Week 7 matchup.
Stevan Ridley: The New England Patriots running back shocked the fantasy world last week when he ran for 96 yards and 2 touchdowns against the Saints. However, that flash in the pan doesn’t mean you should count on Ridley this week against a hard-hitting New York Jets. The Jets are giving up less than 76 yards a game to opposing running backs.
Last week’s breakout game was the first time Ridley rushed for more than 53 yards in a game and also was the first time he scored. Unless Ridley and the Patriots have developed some new formula to break through the Jets defensive line, you should let Ridley ride the pine for Week 7.