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Start/Bench List Week 3

Running Backs

Studs

Matt Forte, Chicago vs. Green Bay
LeSean McCoy, Philadelphia vs. N.Y. Giants
Darren McFadden, Oakland vs. N.Y. Jets
Ray Rice, Baltimore at St. Louis
Michael Turner, Atlanta at Tampa Bay
Adrian Peterson, Minnesota vs. Detroit
Peyton Hillis, Cleveland vs. Miami
Maurice Jones-Drew, Jacksonville at Carolina
Frank Gore, San Francisco at Cincinnati
Chris Johnson, Tennessee vs. Denver

Start

Fred Jackson, Buffalo vs. New England: Jackson has rushed for more yards in the first two games of the season than any other RB in the league.  He’s surpassed 100 yards in each of the first two games and scored twice on the ground.  This week, he faces a New England team who allowed 64 yards rushing to Ryan Mathews, but more importantly, 135 receiving yards to Mathews and Mike Tolbert combined.  Expect Fred Jackson to have success in the running game, but it will be his receiving yards that separates him from the pack of running backs this week.

Daniel Thomas, Miami at Cleveland: After sitting out Week 1’s game with a hamstring injury, Thomas played last week against the Texans and rushed for 107 yards in his debut on just 18 carries.  You can expect Thomas to receive the majority of the carries again this week against the Browns who have allowed an average of 124 yards rushing after the first two games.  Reggie Bush will steal some receiving opportunities on third down and in passing situations, but Thomas will prove to be the workhorse that Miami wanted Bush to be.

Rashard Mendenhall, Pittsburgh at Indianapolis: Fear not, Mendenhall owners.  I know you expected more from a running back you took in the first two rounds, but this is the week he starts rewarding you for your patience.  The Colts have allowed an average of 136.5 yards rushing and four TDs on the ground so far.  Their defense is built for speed and to play with a lead.  The Steelers will pound the ball down the Colts’ throat this week and there is nothing Indy can do about it.  Big day in store for Mendenhall.

Bench

Felix Jones, Dallas vs. Washington: Is there anyone healthy in Dallas right now?  Jones played sparingly last week against the 49ers with a shoulder injury joining Tony Romo, Miles Austin, and Dez Bryant as Dallas stars who didn’t take long to loose their shimmer.  The Redskins have defended the rush well this season and with the Dallas offense in such disarray and Jones’ lingering shoulder injury, it’s best to keep him on your bench until the stars in Dallas are in full force.

Cedric Benson, Cincinnati vs. San Francisco: Benson couldn’t repeat his 100-yard performance from Week 1 against the Broncos last week as he rushed for just 59 yards on 16 carries.  The QB situation isn’t helping Benson as teams will load up eight in the box and just dare Andy Dalton to beat them.  The 49ers had success stopping the Dallas running attack and they’ll find similar success this week at home against the Bengals.  Don’t expect much from Benson as the Bengals offense will flounder this week.

Tim Hightower, Washington at Dallas: Hightower has started the season strong rushing for a total of 168 yards in the first two games as the main man in Washington.  The test this week will be to try and repeat this success against a Dallas defense that shut down Frank Gore last week and has only allowed a total of 119 yards rushing after the first two games.  The Redskins will find some success in the air this week, more than they will running the ball.  Hightower may get a few extra chances for pass receptions this week, but the amount of time Roy Helu played last week is concerning for Hightower’s production.

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