RB Roundup: NFC
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Football > Preseason > RB Roundup: NFC

RB Roundup: NFC

Our look at all current and future backfield scenarios for your NFC teams
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NFC North

Chicago Bears

Matt Forte (starter); Michael Bush (handcuff); Armando Allen; Michael Ford

Current scenario: Forte is a stud and should be in your starting lineup no matter. The big question with Forte the past few years has been just how many games he'll be available for owners. When healthy he has great hands out of the backfield and hits the hole hard in the run game. Forte's only knock comes in short yardage situations. Look for Michael Bush to step in for short yardage plays and to possibly vulture a few touchdowns.

Future scenario: If Forte has to miss time, Bush will slide into the starting role. Bush is a top 24 RB should Forte miss time and is an obvious handcuff.

Green Bay Packers
Eddie Lacy (starter); Johnathan Franklin; John Kuhn; James Starks

Current scenario: The Packers have been in need of a quality back ever since Ahman Green and Ryan Grant left. In fact, Grant is Green Bay's last 1,000-yard rusher (2009). Lacy has won the starting job in Green Bay and if healthy should be a solid start for fantasy owners.

Future scenario: Durability has been an issue with Lacy, which is why Green Bay used a 4th round pick on Johnathan Franklin. It would not surprise us to see Franklin getting a look now and again to see what he can do. Rookie backs in a starting position tend to wear down around week 12. If Lacy looks like he's wearing down, it wouldn't be a bad idea to have Franklin on your roster. Starks might poke his head up in this case or if the Green Bay coaches want a veteran involved, but worry about him then.

Minnesota Vikings
Adrian Peterson (starter); Toby Gerhart; Matt Asiata; Joe Banyard

Current scenario: Just when we though Peterson might be human, he returned to action in 2012 after tearing his ACL the previous season only to rush for the second most yards in a season. We'd like to say having another Vikings back on your team could pan out, but that's not likely to happen.

Future scenario: The only way Peterson doesn't play is if he tears another ACL. If that's a concern of yours then adding Gerhart to your roster will give you some protection. Gerhart is serviceable, but won't replace the numbers Peterson posts. Then again, he proved viable when used following Peterson's injury in 2011.

Detroit Lions
Reggie Bush (starter); Joique Bell/Mikel Leshoure (handcuff); Montell Owens

Current scenario: In PPR leagues, Bush is a must have and arguably an RB1. With 12-15 carries and 5-8 receptions a game, Bush can easily hit 100 all-purpose yards. Every time he touches the ball, he's a threat to take it to the house. The big question week 1 is how will Detroit use him. One concern for fantasy owners should be Mikel Leshoure stealing a few goal line carries from Reggie.

Future scenario: The pass-catching Bell gives Detroit a similar dual threat to Bush if the starter ever misses action. Leshoure ran for nearly 800 yards last year and would be the goal line threat. In other words, this would veer into RBBC territory. FFToolbox ranks Bell higher in season rankings.

NFC South

Atlanta Falcons

Steven Jackson (starter); Jacquizz Rodgers; Jason Snelling; Antone Smith

Current scenario: Jackson leaves an offense which struggled for years and lands in one of the league's most prolific attacks. Some are concerned that S-Jax will slow down now that he's 30. Fair enough, but in this offense Jackson won't be the centerpiece and that should help him stay on the field all season. Poised for a top-12 RB season.

Future scenario: Rodgers is going to see some playing time here and there to spell Jackson, but since he did little with touches last season, don't get excited. Until we see how Jackson is used, it may be best to hold off on adding any Atlanta backup.

Carolina Panthers
DeAngelo Williams (starter); Jonathan Stewart (PUP); Mike Tolbert; Kenjon Barner; Armond Smith

Current scenario: The Panthers' backfield has been split between Williams and Stewart the past few years. This however will change at the start of the 2013 season. Jonathan Stewart will begin the year on the PUP list and can't return to action until at least week 7. This leaves Williams to carry the load, but he'll have to fight Cam Newton and (in short yardage situations) Mike Tolbert for carries. Until we see just how Williams will be used in this new single back offense, it may be best to leave him on your bench or as a Flex/RB3 start.

Future scenario: If Williams is getting enough carries, he could become a valuable RB2. Every time he touches the ball he can break one and take it to the house. It will be interesting to see just how DeAngelo is used this season. Tolbert has sneaky value in PPR or TD-heavy formats. Barner offers an explosive option, but the rookie is dealing with an injury.

New Orleans Saints
Mark Ingram (starter); Darren Sproles, Pierre Thomas; Travaris Cadet

Current scenario: We hope you can say platoon because that's exactly what you're going to see in New Orleans' backfield again this season. Ingram will get some early down carries and Sproles will see a few carries and a lot of receptions, leaving Thomas to pick up a carry or reception every now and again. We'd like to see one of these guys getting enough touches to make him a valuable fantasy back week in and week out in standard, but it doesn't appear this will be the case. Sproles is a weekly start in PPR formats.

Future scenario: Unless someone in this backfield steps up and shows why he should be the only back in the backfield, fantasy owners are going to be frustrated by what they get in standard. There has been some talk of Ingram finally getting a larger work. We'll see...

Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Doug Martin (starter); Brian Leonard; Mike James; Peyton Hillis

Current scenario: Until further notice this backfield is the Doug Martin show. There's no competition here and no reason for fantasy owners to doubt Martin's ability. If Freeman can open the run game with some down field completions, Martin will be a beast this season.

Future scenario: The only way something changes in this backfield is if Martin misses some playing time. If this happens look for Leonard to get the majority of the action. Until we see some production from someone other than Martin, there's little fantasy help here.

 
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