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News-Herald Assistant Sports Editor Kevin Kleps doesn’t just write headlines and stories. He also checks on his fantasy sports teams. A lot. See if the moves and news from the world of sports affect your fantasy teams.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Fantasy football: No-huddle offense for Week 4

Coach Dick Jauron was kind enough to say the Bills would bring running back Marshawn Lynch "along slowly" in the latter's return from a three-game suspension. Translation: Fred Jackson owners, enjoy your last week of freedom.

I would expect Jackson -- who has thrived in Lynch's absence, totaling 425 yards in three games -- to get the majority of the carries Sunday at Miami. In Week 5, it should be more of a 50-50 split, a prospect fantasy owners detest more than playing against Santana Moss during his one huge game a year.

Jackson is averaging 4.8 yards per carry and is a No. 2 back in point-per-reception leagues, as his 15 catches trail only Arizona's Tim Hightower among all running backs. I would play him even against the Dolphins, who rank third defending the run, allowing only 66 yards per game and 3.0 yards per carry.

By Week 5, when the Bills face the always accommodating Browns defense, Lynch -- a 2007 first-round pick who rushed for more than 1,000 yards in each of his first two NFL seasons -- should be much more involved.

At that point, you know the drill. Play the matchup game, as you do with almost every back who shares carries, and hope you see "Cleveland," "St. Louis," "Tampa Bay" or Houston" in the schedule column next to your player.

On to the no-huddle ...

-- More sharing: In the last two games, Colts running back Joseph Addai has 23 touches (19 rushes and four receptions). Rookie Donald Brown has 20 (18 rushes and two receptions). Addai has generated 110 total yards and one touchdown, and Brown has 162 yards and a TD.

I'm not an offensive coordinator, and I don't play one on the Web, but that doesn't seem to bode well for Addai owners. At best, it's another split. At worst, Brown will take Addai's job by midseason, whether it's by injury or performance.

Addai should stay in your lineup this week against the Seahawks, who rank 25th against the run, but I wouldn't say the same for a Week 5 matchup at Tennessee.

-- Finally, less sharing:
For those keeping score on their laptops, there has been some separation between DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart, one of the few backfield timeshare's that actually has worked from a fantasy standpoint.

Williams has 50 touches in three games -- 20 more than Stewart. He has received 64 percent of the rushing attempts between the two (41 of 64), compared to 59.7 percent last season. Stewart, who was limited throughout the preseason by an Achilles injury, has only 12 carries in Carolina's last two games.

Williams owners can feel better about their first-round pick getting more of the workload. The problem is he's still getting less work than he did in 2008 because Jake Delhomme has been awful, and the Panthers have been forced to throw more in their 0-3 start.

Williams should break out soon, however. Following a bye this week, the Panthers play at home against Washington (No. 21 vs. the run), at Tampa Bay (No. 31) and at home against Buffalo (No. 18).

-- Less sharing, Part II: LenDale White had one of the best lines of training camp when he said he lost weight after cutting Patron -- a high-priced tequila, for those of you who don't watch "The Hills" -- out of his diet. Maybe he did all that hard work for nothing.

The Titans, smartly, have given Chris Johnson 53 carries to White's 21, and the slimmer, faster second-year back has generated 457 yards on 64 touches, to White's 85 yards on 22 touches.

White was useful in fantasy last season, strictly because of his 15 touchdowns. Now he's no better than a reserve, one who is most valuable as an insurance policy for owners who have Johnson.

-- And the winner is: The 2008 Pierre Thomas made a belated appearance in Week 3, rushing for 126 yards and two touchdowns in the second half for the Saints. With Mike Bell missing practice again this week because of a knee injury and Thomas saying his knee is close to 100 percent, all signs point to Thomas being a valuable asset the rest of the way.

Reggie Bush, who is averaging only 10 carries per game, is a flex play at best in PPR leagues. The player we once thought could be the next Marshall Faulk is now more of a slot receiver, and Thomas, an undrafted third-year back from Illinois, is a must-start, even Sunday against the Jets and their ninth-ranked run defense.

-- And the winner is, Take II: Fred Taylor, he of the 2,466 career carries and the age at which most running backs are looking for media work (33), may have finally given Bill Belichick reason to stop the back-by-committee insanity.

Taylor, who had 17 rushing attempts in his first two games with the Patriots, had 21 carries for 105 yards and a touchdown last week. He's the only Patriots back worth considering week to week.

Just not this one. New England will host Baltimore on Sunday. The league's top-ranked run defense is allowing 51 yards per game and 2.5 yards per carry. The opposition has yet to score on the ground.

-- On deck: We'll have a live fantasy football chat Thursday night at 7. To access the discussion, go to the homepage of and look for the link to the chat. Saturday, I'll have a column on the fantasy prospects of Glen Coffee, Tashard Choice and other young backs who will play a prominent role in the next few weeks, along with an audiocast and the "big blog," which includes the expanded playlist and start-and-sit advice. All can be found in the Sports section of the N-H's Web site, and the blog will also be posted in this space.

Good luck and remember to thank the owner ahead of you in the waiver-wire pecking order who neglected to pick up Coffee (Glen, not Starbucks).

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