The answer: Marshawn Lynch, Chris Johnson and Reggie Bush. The question: Who are running backs we talked about a lot in 2008? Okay, so that could be a possible answer, but they're also three of the biggest surprises on the Touches Report for Week 10 of 2011. Don't forget, with the trade deadline likely upcoming in your league, there are a few players below I think you should go after if you can - because their upside for the rest of the season could be huge.
I think I'm higher on Marshawn Lynch than anyone else here but I think he should be in your lineup every week. At the very least, he's a great flex option or a weaker fantasy No. 2 because he's the No. 1 RB in Seattle, so he's capable of at least 50 yards and a TD every week. No one saw his performance against the Ravens coming and don't expect that every week, but he's solid going forward. As trade deadlines approach, try to get him if you can.
Michael Bush is also someone you should flex every week. When Darren McFadden comes back, it's his job, no question. But with his health issues and Bush's production, the Raiders will still try to get the football in his hands 10 times a game or more. When you factor in that he'll also see some tough goal-line carries, Bush is a sneaky-good flex play.
Hey, welcome back Chris Johnson! We've really missed you. But hold off for all of those "I knew he'd do it even if it took 10 weeks!" lines of praise. The Panthers are horrendous against the run, and while it's nice to see a big week from CJ2K (who we now have to start calling CJ1K), I'm not expecting weeks like this unless the matchup is favorable. But at least I have a glimmer of hope for him as a fantasy difference maker where I didn't before.
Lance Ball? Lance Ball? With every Broncos RB going down on Sunday (Willis McGahee, Knowshon Moreno, Rob Lytle, Sammy Winder, Bobby Humphery, and Gerald Willhite) Ball stepped in and nearly gained 100 yards. What does this mean? Whoever your starting RB is for the Broncos is worth putting in your lineup at the flex. Denver looks like they can run it no matter who's actually carrying it - since McGahee's had a big season and Moreno has also been good in spots. But be wary of McGahee. I've said it all season long - he hasn't had a heavy workload in four years and players can't just suddenly shoulder that burden without wearing down. This is the second injury McGahee's had in the last month that's forced him to miss game time.
Falling just outside the Top 10 were Donald Brown and Reggie Bush with 18 each. Until Joseph Addai returns, Brown has established himself as the go-to-guy ahead of Delone Carter. So if you need a RB, he's someone with 10-point potential depending on the matchup. Bush is now a must-start, believe it or not. Daniel Thomas played and saw 17 touches, so the workload was split almost equally. But Bush's 17 fantasy points far outdistanced Thomas' four. He didn't have a big game running the ball, but Bush showed a nose for the end zone and you can't ignore three straight games of at least 12 fantasy points. He has generous matchups coming up on the ground (BUF, at DAL, OAK), so he's a great play going forward. If an owner who has him is unsure and wants to trade him? Make the deal.
See Jason Smith on NFL Fantasy Live, airing Sundays at 11:30 a.m. ET on the Red Zone Channel, and Tuesday-Friday on NFL Network at 2 p.m. ET and 12 a.m. ET/9 p.m. PT. He writes fantasy and other NFL pith on NFL.com daily. Talk to him on Twitter @howaboutafresca. He only asks you never bring up when the Jets play poorly.