Fancy fantasy football: Rashard Mendenhall, Michael Turner, Darren McFadden

      October 8, 2012 @ 15:25:06 PDT


Fantasy owners who tucked away Rashard Mendenhall must be thrilled with his 2012 debut. Against the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 5, he rushed for 81 yards and a TD on 14 carries (really, 13 carries and a long lateral) and tacked on two receptions for 20 yards.

Oakland Raiders RB Darren McFadden
McFadden needs the rock

Those owners have to be doubly excited to see the Tennessee Titans next on his schedule. The Pittsburgh Steelers' Week 6 hosts this Thursday night have given up more than 180 total yards and more than one total TD per game to running backs this season.

Mendenhall has a fantastic matchup, but he may be in for a relatively mild letdown performance. How much of a part did adrenaline play in his opening effort? How likely are the Steelers to be directing the show, with Matt Hasselbeck and Chris Johnson leading the Titans' sputtering offense?

Mendenhall came out of Sunday's game in good shape, but he has a short turnaround after playing his first regular season contest since he tore his ACL. If Pittsburgh is on auto-pilot at some point in this one, they'll be tempted to give Mendenhall part of the evening off.

This isn't a reason not to start him, of course. You'd be nuts not to put him in your lineup. He has the look of a good RB2 or great flex player for the rest of the season.

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Michael Turner could be in a similar situation this week. The Atlanta Falcons have the goods to build a nice lead, perhaps quickly, and be in control throughout their contest with the Oakland Raiders at the Georgia Dome. The visitors are awful on defense, in any number of ways, if you haven't heard.

At some point, will the Falcons put the O on cruise control? Hard to say. This week also presents a good opportunity to devote some scrimmage time to their below-average running game. Whether that means a huge day for Turner or a good day for Turner as well as decent contributions from Jacquizz Rodgers and Jason Snelling remains to be seen.

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This season, Atlanta has given up 5.1 yards per carry to running backs. That average against is worse than any other NFL team's, except for the Cleveland Browns', and including the New Orleans Saints'. Although the Falcons haven't given up a ton of points to players at the position yet, they aren't exactly stonewalling them.

As long as Oakland doesn't give up on the run and keeps its lead back involved in the passing game, Darren McFadden should have a nice week.

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About Nicholas Minnix

Minnix is baseball editor and a fantasy football analyst at KFFL. He plays in LABR and Tout Wars and won the FSWA Baseball Industry Insiders League in 2010.

The University of Delaware alum is a regular guest on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio and Baltimore's WNST AM 1570.

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