Looking Ahead To Your League Playoffs: RBs

Week 12 of the regular season is not too early to start thinking about how to best position your roster for your league playoffs. For most of us, that means taking a look at the matchups for Weeks 14 thru 16, making sure we get the most from the guys currently on our roster, or looking to add the players that can help bring home the Championship.

It goes without saying that if you have Peyton Manning, Adrian Peterson, Calvin Johnson or Jimmy Graham on your team, they will be in your lineup unless hurt, regardless of who their NFL opponent is. But, if you don't have a stud and have been playing matchups all season, now is the time to see if you've got the right players on your team.

Let's take a look at the top two non-stud players with the best playoff schedule at the QB, RB, WR and TE positions (statistics thru Week 11). Next up are the running backs:

Eddie Lacy, Green Bay
Lacy is 8th in the league with 696 rushing yards (4.0 average), five TDs and only one fumble (which came in his very first NFL game). He has also caught 16 passes and could very well have Aaron Rodgers back for the fantasy playoffs.

In Week 14, Green Bay hosts the hapless Atlanta Falcons, whose rushing defense ranks 30th in the league. They are allowing 132.7 yards per game and are the only team yet to record a fumble recovery. The Falcons appear to have given up on the 2013 campaign, yielding 729 rushing yards and six TDs in their last four games.

In Week 15, the Packers head to Big D to face the Cowboys, whose 27th ranked run defense allows 126.8 yards per game and a league worst 4.9 yards per carry. They have also allowed 11 rushing TDs (only Washington, Tennessee, Jacksonville and Pittsburgh have allowed more this season).

Green Bay plays host to the aforementioned Steelers in Week 16. Their 125.2 rushing yards allowed per game is 24th in the league, and their 13 rushing TDs allowed is ranked 29th. But this does not tell the whole story. On the road, Pittsburgh's run defense has allowed an average of 149.8 yards per game with nine TDs.

The Packers will likely be playing for their own playoff lives as the regular season winds down and, even if Rodgers does not return, the team will lean heavily on Lacy. The price to acquire him may be steep, especially in keeper and dynasty leagues, but you don't get what you don't ask for, so make an offer.

DeMarco Murray, Dallas
Despite his high risk of injury, the Cowboys have little else to rely on in their ground game so, as long as he is on the field, Murray is their guy. He is averaging 4.9 yards per carry and has caught 31 passes out of the backfield this season (12th most among running backs).

In Week 14, the Cowboys travel to the Windy City to face the Bears. This once ferocious defense is now ranked 31st in the league against the run, allowing 133.9 yards per game. Weather may also play a factor, forcing Dallas to rely on their ground game even more.

In Week 15, Dallas hosts Green Bay, which may prove to be a difficult matchup for Murray. However, if Aaron Rodgers has not returned from his collarbone injury, the Cowboys defense could give Scott Tolzien fits, creating opportunities for Murray to have a big game.

In Week 16, the Cowboys head to Washington to face the Redskins, whose 18th ranked run defense has allowed 15 TDs, tied for the most in the league. Earlier this season, Murray was en route to a big day against Washington, rushing for 29 yards on seven carries (4.1 avg) and a TD, along with two receptions for 21 yards, before leaving with a sprained left ankle.

Murray owners may wish to move the oft-injured back, allowing you to get him cheap. Keep in mind that he is quietly having the best season of his short career, having already matched his season high of four TDs with six games remaining, and is on pace for his first 1,000 yard season.


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