Best of the RB2s

I am disgusted, appalled, and embarrassed by Missouri’s performance yesterday. They lost to Baylor at home. They gave up 40 points to Baylor, a team that had scored a maximum of 10 points in any conference game. The North Division was up for grabs, so much so that last year’s 6-6 Vanderbilt squad would have taken it with ease. Missouri could finish 5-7. It’s possible. And if it does, Pinkel is a fraud. He’s a fraud who could put on a Burger King crown, declare “I’m the Lizard King!” and the school would give him an extension and a raise. Is he the best coach in team history? I’m going to poke out my eyes now.

I have a major decision of great importance to make. It will determine my level of happiness for an entire week. If I do this correctly, I will be a contented man and nothing will be able to deter me. If I fail, I will be in a pit of despair so deep that even Vince Young won’t be able to rescue me.

I have to decide on a starting running back. The candidates: Matt Forte, Kevin Smith, Cedric Benson, Jonathan Stewart. I feel like I have four number two running backs, but two could perform like number ones.

Forte’s numbers are down across the board so far this year. He’s on pace for fewer than 1000 yards. He’s averaging 3.5 yards a carry, or about half of what Chris Johnson’s doing. In seven games he has four sub-ten point games. In three games he’s failed to rush for 30 yards. Last week he crushed a demoralized Browns team. He still didn’t average four yards a carry. I would not be confident about this week’s start. The only aspect of his game that’s good is that he catches a lot of passes. Even that’s not consistent. He has more than two catches in four out of seven games. That’s a coin toss. Last year you could depend on ten points from Forte. This year it’s not the case. The Cardinals are generally not a good rushing matchup.

At halftime of last week’s game, Kevin Smith had almost 100 total yards. He was on pace to have his game of the year. Then a mysterious shoulder injury occurred, and Maurice Morris had 66 second-half yards. Smith is supposedly OK, but so far this year he has not performed well. The Lions suck and often have to pass in the second half of games. Smith should catch some of these passes. If you thought that Forte’s yards per carry was bad, Smith’s is worse. He averages 3.1 yards per carry. His receptions are lower as well, with only three 40+ yard efforts. One constant is that he has at least 15 carries per game. Sadly that projects to about 50 yards. He did score a safety last week. I didn’t get credit. He’s playing the Seahawks, a team that has given up lots of yards this year.

Jonathan Stewart has almost as many yards as the first two guys, albeit in much fewer carries. His first three games were horrible, with 23 carries for 99 yards and no touchdowns. Since then he’s scored four touchdowns in four weeks. He’s scored 10, 18, 3, and 21 points in those weeks. If you’re shooting for a longshot, he’s the player to start. The Panthers play the Saints, which projects to be a blowout. The Saints have given up more than 130 rushing yards in three of their last four, including 161 to the Falcons on the Monday night. Oh, if the Panthers could throw. At ten carries a game, I don’t know if I can take the chance.

The last guy is Cedric Benson. A few weeks ago he matched up with the Ravens. All the “experts” told me to bench Benson. The Ravens were monsters on the football field, incapable of giving up positive yards to a running back. I did not believe them. Or I forgot to change my lineup. Either way, he scored 21 points in that game. He has a season low of nine, and has 20+ points in two of the past three games. I could see him getting shut down, although the last time he was shut down he still scored a TD and salvaged the week. He’s a starter.

I’m benching Smith since he plays for the Lions, who hide their injuries so much that Belichick is impressed. Forte needs 20 touches to be a fantasy starter. He’s made that number four out of seven weeks.

I think Stewart’s the guy. I could get crushed but I’m swinging for the fences.
Next starter dilemma: Peyton Manning or Jake Delhomme? Tune in.

One Response to Best of the RB2s

  1. Brian Henry November 9, 2009 at 1:13 pm #

    Ouch. I love JStewart in 2010 and beyond, but this year I'd stick with Kevin Smith if I was in your shoes.

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