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Fantasy football

Running on empty?

The Bears, who haven’t had success running near the goal line, are turning to Chester Taylor. The Bears, who haven’t had success running near the goal line, are turning to Chester Taylor. (File/Jonathan Daniel/ Getty Images)
By Ed Ryan
Globe Staff / November 5, 2010

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If your fantasy draft was anything like mine, then nearly half of the players taken in the first round are off this weekend. And all of them are running backs.

Chris Johnson, Frank Gore, Steven Jackson, and Maurice Jones-Drew have byes. In addition, Knowshon Moreno and waiver-wire gem Ryan Torain are also idle.

Last week some valuable quarterbacks were off, but it’s much easier to find a quarterback in a pinch as opposed to a running back. Jay Cutler and Eli Manning have byes? Fine. Throw in Jon Kitna or Chad Henne and you’ll probably fare just as well, at least for one week.

Running back, though, is the toughest position to replace. Here’s some help in that regard for this weekend and beyond.

Three up:
Chester Taylor, RB, Chicago: The Bears’ offense is 0 for 10 from the 1-yard line and Taylor has been asked to remedy this disaster as the team’s goal-line back. He’s likely available and worth a look against Buffalo, which allows the most rushing yards in football — by far.

Kevin Smith, RB, Detroit: The Lions draw the Jets and that is bad news for any back. But Smith earned 12 carries against the Redskins and shared time with starter Jahvid Best, who hasn’t accumulated double-digit fantasy points since Week 2 and is consistently plagued with nagging injuries.

Clinton Portis, RB, Washington: As usual, Portis has been injured. But he’s back at practice (reports indicate he’s “cutting’’ in practice) and as long as Mike Shanahan thinks Portis is in shape, he’ll likely earn carries after Washington’s bye this weekend. Meanwhile, sell high on Torain.

Three down:
Felix Jones, RB, Dallas: A few weeks ago everyone wanted Jones because Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said Felix needed to be more involved in the offense. When Jones gets going, he is explosive, but when does he ever get going? Leaving him in your lineup is a huge risk.

Marshawn Lynch, RB, Seattle: Lynch didn’t have a chance against Oakland once the Seahawks fell behind, but he has yet to produce and he’s facing the Giants. Like Felix Jones, Lynch is another guy who could keep you waiting all season.

LeGarrette Blount, RB, Tampa Bay: You’d expect Blount to be on the “three up’’ list, but I don’t trust him to consistently carry the load. Plus, he’s on the road facing an underrated Falcon defense.

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