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The Year Without a Running Back

Today, we're in vent mode. I'm not doing this for me, I'm doing this for all of us.

Quarterbacks want to win for you. Receivers know that their glory is your glory. A monster tight end in 2011 can carry you a long way.

Running backs? Forget that rogue's gallery. They're a den of thieves, every last one of them. No one buy a present for these guys; they don't deserve it.

Let's go through the scoundrel's list, one by one.

• Thanks for getting my hopes up, Daniel Thomas. How come you couldn't beat out Reggie Bush?

• Nice time to enter the Witness Protection Program, BenJarvus Green-Ellis. I hope you're testifying against Stevan Ridley, Shane Vereen, and the entire New England scouting department.

• You had me at hello, Fred Jackson. But I needed you for a full season. Same goes for DeMarco Murray, Matt Forte and Adrian Peterson.

• I love how you run, LeGarrette Blount. But could you learn how to play on third down one of these days? This is your profession. We need you on the field.

• We missed you, Tim Hightower, until we realized the potential of Ryan Torain. Wait, that was just the Rams talking. And still we had to wait another month or so before Mike Shanahan released Roy Helu from double-secret probation.

Joseph Addai, the NFL's Injury Report should be named after you. You too, Darren McFadden.

• Go ahead and run like crazy, Shonn Greene. You crushed everyone for months before that.

• You're pretty good when you're not fumbling and getting hurt, Ryan Mathews.

The Year Without a Running BackThere's nothing to see in Kansas City. Stop trying to Succup to me, Thomas Jones, Dexter McCluster and Jackie Battle. But if you hear from Jamaal Charles, let him know we finally ran the genius out of town.

• Point Shaving Mode: The Chris Johnson Story.

Peyton Hillis, a thousand poxes on you. And thanks for the big tease, Montario Hardesty. And thanks for the 10 seconds of relevance, Silent G.

• You were a first round pick, Knowshon Moreno? That's a hot one. Maybe C.J. Spiller will believe you.

Ahmad Bradshaw, why do your feet hate you? Brandon Jacobs, why do you hate us?

• I know your run-blocking line stinks, Rashard Mendenhall, but I expected more than what you're doing. Granted, your YPC hasn't moved much and you do have eight touchdowns - it hasn't been that bad.

Felix Jones, I'll forget everything I ever said about you if you go crazy in Tampa this week. No, I don't mean "Brandon Marshall Crazy."

• Everyone is going to score touchdowns in Green Bay this year, except the running backs. Not so fast, Ryan Grant and James Starks.

• You haven't been bad, Michael Turner, but you haven't been great either. This is no longer your offense. The Falcons are a passing team now.

• Bad things happen when you run out of bounds, Marion Barber. And you should have faced the music in the press, I don't care what your personal preference is. Don't make your teammates clean up your mess.

Mark Ingram, I expected more. Pierre Thomas, what did you ever do to tick off Sean Payton? Did you simply get tired, Darren Sproles?

Jahvid Best got hurt and Kevin Smith got hurt and Mikel Leshoure got hurt and Barry Sanders got hurt and Billy Sims got hurt. Mo Morris, Mo Problems.

• I'm a fan of yours, Ben Tate, but those goal-line fumbles are killing me. And if your offensive line is so fantastic, Arian Foster, who are you averaging just 4.0 yards a carry?

• I can't get too mad at you, Frank Gore. I know that offensive line doesn't open a lot of holes. But why are you, all of a sudden, a total zero in the passing game?

• I can see why it was a mistake to grab you, Jonathan Stewart and DeAngelo Williams. Obviously your rookie quarterback is going to run for 47 touchdowns.

That's all the vitriol I have, mates. Let's quickly thank all the backs who haven't ticked us off.

• Here's to you, Maurice Jones-Drew and Shady McCoy. You found a way to produce while everything was crashing around you.

• Here's to you, Ray Rice. Your coordinator forgets about you now and then, but you're money.

• Here's to you, Beanie Wells. You still don't catch the ball much, but you've played through some injuries and been pretty solid.

• Here's to you and your legal eagles, Cedric Benson: that suspension shuffle was pretty nifty. And while you'll never be a star, at least I know what I'm getting from you.

• Here's to you, Michael Bush. We've over-glorified you for a 3.9 YPC and some touchdowns, but you've had some nice games nonetheless.

• Here's to you, Reggie Bush. You became a trustable source just when everyone had given up on you.

• Here's to you, Willis McGahee. I don't know anyone who expected six 100-yard games from you, the Broncos included.

• Here's to you, Mike Tolbert. You're no star, but everyone loves the Kool-Aid Man.

• And here's to you, Marshawn Lynch. Story of the Year. I don't know why you decided to turn into Earl Campbell 1979, but it's been a helluva show. I apologize for never drafting you or trading for you; you're getting the last laugh.

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