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The Washington Redskins backfield has had a tough go of it this season. First off, Clinton Portis, after having 325+ carries in four of his last five seasons, seems to have finally hit the running back wall. He was struggling to hit 4.0 ypc and had just one TD on the season until he left a Week 9 game with a concussion, which is still sidelining him today.
Backup Ladell Betts took over, and promptly proceeded to tear his ACL and MCL in his second start of the season.
Now Rock Cartwright will get to handle the ball this Sunday when the Redskins face the Eagles. When Cartwright filled in for the injured Betts last week against Dallas, he put on a show with 13 carries for 67 yds (5.2 ypc) and seven receptions for 73 yds. His performance was against a very good Cowboys defense that only allows 102 rush yds per game.
Fantasy leagues are in the playoff push right now, so you need all the help you can get, and Cartwright is a starting running back. When you know a player will be getting the full workload, you need to snatch him up from free agency. Cartwright is not just a decent starter that you should have on your bench, I think he can put together a productive outing this week against the Eagles.
The Eagles look good overall, allowing just 104 rush yds per game this season, but lately, their run-stopping abilities haven’t been up to par. Losers of two of their last three game, the Eagles are giving up an average of 115 rush yds per game over the last four weeks, with 119+ rush yds in two straight. Philly has also given up four rushing TD in their last four games as well.
When Cartwright had his breakout game against Dallas, the Cowboys were allowing 103 rush yds per game and only 99 rush yds in their previous four games. Cartwright was able to accumulate good rushing and receiving totals against a team that was better against opposing running backs than the Eagles, so why can’t Cartwright do it again this week?
Cartwright seems to think that he is an underrated player.
“People’s perception of me is, ‘He’s just a special-teams guy,’…But I know in my heart I can run the football and I can catch the football with the best of them. I can do a lot of stuff. I can offer a lot to anybody.”
Using three different backs, the Redskins have actually been using their running backs effectively. Over the last three games, the featured back in Washington has averaged over 107 total yds per game. No matter who they use and no matter who they play, the man handling the ball in the backfield has put up good fantasy numbers.
Don’t let the matchup against the Eagles scare you off from using Cartwright. Even if he doesn’t put forth stellar rushing numbers, his pass-catching ability will make sure that he brings his total yardage for the day up to a respectable level.
Given that Jason Campbell is not a big passer, the opportunities to dump the ball off to Cartwright will be there all day. If you were a Portis/Betts owner, then start Cartwright this week, you won’t regret it.
…plus his name is “Rock”. That alone makes him awesome.