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These two running backs can help some fantasy teams
By John Dietz | Daily Herald Columnist

New England Patriots running back Fred Taylor

 

Associated Press

Cincinnati Bengals running back Bernard Scott

 

Associated Press

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Published: 9/16/2010 12:15 PM

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By now, everybody in your fantasy football league has added Packers RB Brandon Jackson. Colts WR Austin Collie and Eagles QB Michael Vick are gone too. Still others are hoping Week 1 was no fluke for Eddie Royal, Mark Clayton, Legedu Naanee and Mike Thomas.

That's all good and fine because it's easy to have knee-jerk reactions to players who have big openers or who will be obvious starters the rest of the season, as Jackson will be.

But the key to big-time success is to identify waiver-wire fodder before the rest of your leaguemates and before players explode.

And I have two players you should seriously consider.

First up is New England running back Fred Taylor, who is available in more than 33 percent of cbssportsline leagues. With Laurence Maroney now on the Broncos via trade, the Patriots will likely hand the keys to the running game to Taylor. And while, at 34, Fragile Freddy is ancient in running back terms, he's only two years removed from a 1,202-yard campaign.

For those Ryan Grant owners who missed out on Jackson, or if you are reeling from that C.J. Spiller pick, take a good look at Taylor. He won't always light up the stat sheet, but as the season wears on, you can bet his workload will increase, especially when you consider New England's brutal "weather schedule" down the stretch: vs. Jets, at Chicago, vs. Green Bay and at Buffalo.

The other back to seriously consider is Cincinnati's Bernard Scott. He's owned in only 29 percent of cbssportsline leagues and is showing far more explosiveness than Cedric Benson. Mike Lombardi of NFL.com wrote that Scott is the team's best back. "His talent cannot be denied," Lombardi wrote.

I've loved Scott since last season and was out-bid for him in one of my leagues.

Stash him on your bench because the dividends he may pay later could lead to a playoff berth ... and more.

My teams: It was a so-so start as my unit-league team won a "barnburner" 43-27. It's sad when a kicker (Rob Bironas) is your highest scoring player. In my regular league, I fell 105-93 despite Matt Forte's monster game. Matt Schaub killed me.

Good bets

• Ravens QB Joe Flacco at Cincinnati. Against a tough Jets defense, Flacco didn't have a good fantasy day but was respectable in the yardage category with 248. Sunday against the Bengals you can expect something like 2-3 TD passes and 300 yards.

• Falcons QB Matt Ryan vs. Arizona. Much like Flacco, Ryan's yardage number was nice (252), but he never found the end zone against a tough Steelers defense. Back in the Georgia Dome for his home opener, watch Ryan light it up.

• Eagles QB Michael Vick at Detroit. In not even a full game last week, Vick piled up 23 fantasy points in standard scoring leagues. And that was against a good defense. Trust me when I say Vick may be a top-5 QB play this week.

• Packers RB Brandon Jackson vs. Buffalo. Watch for 80-100 yards and a probable score as Green Bay pummels the Bills 38-10.

• Bucs RB Carnell Williams at Carolina. Caddy had 24 touches in a win over the Browns and he managed 9 fantasy points (the same as Adrian Peterson). Watch for similar production in Week 2.

• Raiders RB Darren McFadden vs. St. Louis. With or without Michael Bush, McFadden will batter the Rams.

• Texans QB Matt Schaub at Washington. You won't see another 107-yard day out of Mr. Schaub all season.

• Jaguars QB David Garrard and WR Mike Sims-Walker at San Diego. If you own Sims-Walker, don't go hitting the panic button and inserting some second-rate stiff who had a nice opener. This will be a high-scoring game, and both of these players will give you solid points.

• Giants RB Ahmad Bradshaw at Indianapolis. All pregame eyes will be on the Manning brothers, but Bradshaw may steal the show against the sieve-like Colts defense ... which is now without safety Bob Sanders.

Bad bets

• Bengals RB Cedric Benson and WR Terrell Owens vs. Baltimore. How bad do I see things getting for Cincy? Well, I own Owens in a league and will be starting Vikings TE Visanthe Shiancoe over him (we don't split out TEs).

• Bears QB Jay Cutler at Dallas. I'm tempted to put Matt Forte in this spot too, but that seems ludicrous after his Week 1 performance. Still, that came against the hapless Lions. The Bears now go into Dallas' den and will be facing a team desperate for a win. Cutler is a decent bet to throw 3 picks, and he probably won't finish with more than 230 yards.

• Lions RB Javid Best and WR Calvin Johnson vs. Philadelphia. With 2 TD runs, Best had a nice fantasy day last week. But don't overlook this nugget: He managed just 20 yards on 14 carries. The Lions' offense is in big trouble without Matthew Stafford at quarterback, meaning the rest of their players will suffer.

• Patriots QB Tom Brady at New York Jets. It's tough to sit Tom Terrific, so only do so if you have a viable backup. (But let's make a bold prediction here, just for fun: Vick and Ryan will both outscore Brady this week).

• Jets RB Shonn Greene vs. New England. Looks like reports of LaDainian Tomlinson's demise were premature. LT outcarried Greene 11-5 and outgained him 62-18 against the Ravens. Greene, who fumbled twice in the opener, is a risky start until Rex Ryan shows more trust in him.

Week 1 grades

How John Dietz's picks fared:

Good bets

Player, position, team Output Grade

Matt Forte, RB, Bears 50 rushing yards, 151 receiving, 2 TDs A+

Ronnie Brown, RB, Dolphins 65 rushing yards, 20 receiving, TD B

Carnell Williams, RB, Bucs 75 rushing yards, 23 receiving C

Terrell Owens, WR, Bengals 7 catches, 53 yards D

Joseph Addai, RB, Colts 44 rushing yards, 29 receiving D

Malcolm Floyd, WR, Chargers 3 catches, 48 yards D

San Francisco defense Sack, interception, 31 pts. allowed D

Jacoby Jones, WR, Texans 2 catches, 29 yards D-

Bad bets

Player, position, team Output Grade

Joe Flacco, QB, Ravens 20-for-38, 248 yards, INT A

Marion Barber, RB, Cowboys 39 rushing yards A

Felix Jones, RB, Cowboys 38 rushing yards, 26 receiving A-

Mike Wallace, WR, Steelers 2 catches, 62 yards B

Tony Romo, QB, Cowboys 31-for-47, 282 yards, TD C+

LeSean McCoy, RB, Eagles 35 rushing yards, 47 receiving, TD D+

Hines Ward, WR, Steelers 6 catches, 108 yards D+

Anquan Boldin, WR, Ravens 7 catches, 110 yards D+