Andre Ellington gives away TDs, Tre Mason steps up

Oh hey Matt Forte and DeMarco Murray! You guys are still atop the fantasy ranks after your huge performances in Week 7. But since that's expected we're not going to spend much time on you, other than saying thanks. While Justin Forsett and Ronnie Hillman remain the backs to start on their respective teams, there were more than a few surprises from Week 7 running backs in the world of fantasy.

First of all, Shane Vereen is (pending the Monday night game) the highest scoring fantasy back of the week (23.40 points) with his two receiving touchdowns and 114 total yards on Thursday night against the Jets. Denard Robinson drew the start for the misfit Jaguars backfield and blindsided everyone with a day worth bragging about, going off for 127 rushing yards and a touchdown. Can't say anyone saw that coming from Shoelace. Now, let's get into a little more detail on some other developments from Week 7 in this edition of Committee Meetings.

Cardinals:

A brand new counseling center with special attention to vulture victims is opening for Andre Ellington owners following the developments of Arizona's Week 7 game against the Raiders. It's called: Welcome to Committee Meetings.

No that's not really true. But for those who started Ellington in Week 7, the results were extremely frustrating to say the least.

Ellington had a monster day and racked up 160 all-purpose yards on 30 total touches, good for 16.00 fantasy points. Which is all fine and dandy. But it would have been an even bigger day had he gotten into the end zone just once. Alas, it was not in the "cards" (see what I did there?) as Stepfan Taylor ended up pilfering not one, but two scores from Ellington in the game. He's owned in 0.2 percent of NFL.com leagues and finished with more fantasy points (17.90) than Ellington, contributing 40 rushing yards and 19 receiving yards, plus the two touchdowns.

Ellington said after the game "It was me giving Stepfan the opportunity to go out there, because I felt like he earned it during the week. When I'm resting, he's out there working. My idea was to just get some fresh legs in there, and we got the touchdown." Great, thanks for that Andre. We appreciate you being a team player and all, but please don't take yourself out of the game the next time you're inside the 5-yard line. Yours truly, fantasy owners around the Universe.

On a more positive note, both Cardinals backs finished in the top 10 in total fantasy points at their position in Week 7. Going forward, Ellington will still be Arizona's workhorse, but don't be surprised if Taylor vultures more touchdowns from him. This kind of committee is a fantasy owner's worst nightmare.

Rams:

Things done changed in St. Louis' backfield in Week 7. For some strange reason, Zac Stacy is still listed atop the Rams' official depth chart at running back, but it was Benny Cunningham who got the start against the Seahawks, and rookie Tre Mason who emerged as the most productive fantasy play.

Mason averaged 4.7 yards per carry with 18 attempts for 85 yards and a touchdown and led the Rams in carries and yards. He finished just outside the top 10 in total fantasy points among running backs with 14.50 in standard scoring formats. The Auburn product played in his first game of the season last week against the 49ers, and ended up leading the Rams backfield in rushing there as well (but with just 40 yards). It's definitely time to pick him up on the waiver wire as he's owned in just 1.5 percent of NFL.com leagues.

Cunningham also got on the board with a touchdown, but did most of his damage through the air finishing with two carries for three yards and five receptions for 46 yards. He actually led the Rams in receptions and receiving yards and now has scored a touchdown in three straight games.

Meanwhile, Stacy, who is owned in 90.8 percent of NFL.com leagues played on just one offensive snap in Week 7 and didn't record a single touch. It sure seems like the running back who led a lot of fantasy owners to late-season glory last year with his strong play is being phased out of the Rams' backfield plan and is quickly slipping from fantasy relevance. Stacy's owners need to adapt accordingly.

Bills:

In a hard-to-watch turn of events on Sunday in Buffalo, both of the Bills' top running backs went down with serious injuries before the first half. C.J. Spiller suffered a broken collarbone which requires surgery and will keep him out for the rest of the season. Plus, veteran Fred Jackson had to be carted off the field with a groin injury, but is expected to play again this season. It's been reported that Jackson could be out for as many as four weeks, but it's possible that he's back sooner.

The Spiller and Jackson injuries open the door for some lesser owned running backs to emerge to fantasy relevance. Both Anthony Dixon and Bryce Brown will be popular waiver wire pickups heading into Week 8. Dixon carried the load for Buffalo once their starting backs went out, and totaled 66 yards on 15 touches.

Although it's unclear yet how the Bills will use each back going forward, Jackson didn't hesitate to talk up Brown on Monday morning saying that the 23-year-old is an "every down back" and that "he can do it all." That's pretty high praise from a guy who's been in the game for a long time. So while Michael Fabiano is targeting Dixon on the waiver wire this week, I'll be aiming for Brown as my top pickup, especially becasue I own Jackson in several leagues.

Still, each back should have some fantasy value against the Jets next week. For owners targeting either Dixon or Brown, keep in mind that the Bills are off in Week 9 with a bye.

Colts:

Ahmad Bradshaw and Trent Richardson continue to be productive out of the Colts' backfield, as both finished Week 7 with double-digit fantasy point totals. Bradshaw posted two touchdowns, one rushing and one receiving, and added 88 yards from scrimmage for 18.80 fantasy points. Bradshaw now has more receiving touchdowns this season (6) than A.J. Green, Calvin Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald combined. He needs to be started every single week. Richardson contributed 118 yards from scrimmage on 18 carries, but left the game with a hamstring "tweak". Although it doesn't seem too serious, it's something to keep an eye on. The Colts face the Steelers and Giants next and have a Week 10 bye.

Packers:

When Green Bay routed the Panthers on Sunday, both Eddie Lacy and James Starks managed to get in on the scoring action. Lacy played on 62 percent of offensive snaps and posted 12 carries for 63 yards and a touchdown. Starks was only in on 19 percent of the Packers' offensive plays, he still put up 36 yards and made a trip to the end zone. Starks left the game early with an ankle injury, an update on which has not yet been provided. Lacy remains a mainstay in fantasy lineups, but Starks seems to be getting a bit more work than Lacy owners would like. The Packers take on the Saints next, before a bye in Week 9.

Matt Franciscovich is an associate fantasy editor at NFL.com. Follow him on Twitter @m_franciscovich. He knows that somewhere in upstate New York, there is a group of Jets fans betting on how Gang Green will lose their next game, and are awaiting a shoutout for what they've dubbed "The Rookie Fund". Well here you go fellas, and cheers to you!

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