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Fantasy football

He never runs out of them

Choosing a running back for your team from one of coach Mike Shanahan’s teams can be a hazardous undertaking. Choosing a running back for your team from one of coach Mike Shanahan’s teams can be a hazardous undertaking. (Tony gutierrez/Associated Press)
By Ed Ryan
Globe Staff / October 14, 2011

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Redskins coach Mike Shanahan does not like fantasy football.

That’s just an educated guess on my part, and that sentence probably should be rephrased to read, “Fantasy football owners do not like Redskins coach Mike Shanahan.’’

Shanahan’s teams - whether in Denver or Washington - always seem to begin the season with a supposed No. 1 running back who is eventually displaced by one or two unknown backups.

This year’s top back in Washington was supposed to be Tim Hightower. In anticipation of Shanahan’s go-with-the-hot-hand style, fantasy owners stashed Redskins rookie backup Roy Helu on their rosters, just in case. But two weeks ago, another one of Shanahan’s backups, Ryan Torain, carried 19 times for 135 yards and a touchdown.

Helu has barely played and Hightower’s carries have decreased each week.

Of the three, Torain seems like the guy you want to own at this point, but there’s an easier solution: avoid them all.

Three up:

San Francisco defense: I’m in two leagues, and this defense - ranked second in fantasy points - was available in both as of last week. Baltimore’s defense is back to being the gold standard in terms of racking up fantasy points, but the 49ers have amassed three defensive touchdowns, eight interceptions, and 12 sacks.

Jake Ballard, TE, NY Giants: Finding a productive starting tight end for your lineup is difficult enough, and the situation worsens when bye weeks arrive. Ballard has produced touchdowns in the Giants’ last two games and should be available to plug in if your starter has the week off.

Keiland Williams, RB, Detroit: Williams is a second-stringer for the Lions, behind Jahvid Best. But if you hoard running backs, then stash Williams, if only because of the description you typically see in front of Best’s name: “oft-injured.’’

Three down:

Peyton Hillis, RB, Cleveland: Hillis keeps making headlines because he is whining about his contract. Patriots fans know how good Hillis can be; he rumbled through New England for 184 rushing yards and two touchdowns last season. But his relationship with the Browns seems shaky. Hillis still has the ability to put up big numbers, but pick up his backup, Montario Hardesty, just in case attitude or injuries derail his season.

Brandon Marshall, WR, Miami: Marshall will be catching passes from Matt Moore and be matched up against Darrelle Revis. Consider other options.

Reggie Wayne, WR, Indianapolis: Colts quarterback Curtis Painter loves throwing to Pierre Garcon, but Wayne has just 11 catches and no touchdowns since Painter took over.

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