If you're 0-2 because your running backs are underperforming, don't panic. Timeshares are still being sorted out, guys are still playing their way in and out of jobs, and offensive lines are still meshing. Sure, there are legitimate sell-high (Jahvid Best) and buy-low (Beanie Wells) opportunities to explore, but for the most part, you shouldn't be trading away Maurice Jones-Drew at a discount price just because he hasn't scored yet. Or dropping Jamaal Charles because you think Thomas Jones is the man in Kansas City (damn you Todd Haley, damn you to hell!)
At the same time, you shouldn't be afraid to make bold moves. Like benching those struggling stars in favor of guys who are actually getting it done. Especially when the matchups dictate it. For instance, I'm starting LeSean McCoy over Steven Jackson in one league this week. Think I'm crazy? What if I told you I started McCoy over Chris Johnson in Week 2? Now I look like a genius, right?
Draft day is long gone, folks. Basing lineup decisions on where you selected a player a few weeks/months ago or operating as if a player's ADP means anything in late-September is a fool's errand. Talk to the guy who kept stubbornly starting Matt Forte over Ray Rice last season, he'll tell you.
IDP Rankings: Linebackers | Defensive Backs | Defensive Linemen
The rankings below reflect the mantra: ride the guys who are producing and have favorable matchups; downgrade the schlubs who aren't performing and don't have favorable matchups. It's really that simple. Is it a fool-proof system? Of course not. But neither is plugging a guy in each and every week based solely on his name and what he did a year ago.
Let's dig in.
1. Adrian Peterson, MIN (vs. DET)
2. Ray Rice, BAL (vs. CLE)
3. Chris Johnson, TEN (at NYG)
4. Frank Gore, SF (at KC)
5. Rashard Mendenhall, PIT (at TB)
6. LeSean McCoy, PHI (vs. JAC)
7. Maurice Jones-Drew, JAC (vs. PHI)
8. Cedric Benson, CIN (at CAR)
9. Steven Jackson, STL (vs. WAS)
10. Pierre Thomas, NO (vs. ATL)
11. Jahvid Best, DET (at MIN)
12. Clinton Portis, WAS (at STL)
13. Darren McFadden, OAK (at ARI)
14. Matt Forte, CHI (vs. GB)
15. Arian Foster, HOU (vs. DAL)
16. Michael Turner, ATL (at NO)
17. Mike Tolbert, SD (at SEA)
18. Brandon Jackson, GB (at CHI)
19. Ahmad Bradshaw, NYG (vs. TEN)
20. DeAngelo Williams, CAR (vs. TB)
21. Tim Hightower, ARI (vs. OAK)
22. Ronnie Brown, MIA (vs. NYJ)
23. Marion Barber III, DAL (at HOU)
24. Joseph Addai, IND (at DEN)
25. Jamaal Charles, KC (vs. SF)
26. Fred Jackson, BUF (at NE)
27. Donald Brown, IND (at DEN)
28. Jason Snelling, ATL (at NO)
29. Felix Jones, DAL (at HOU)
30. Fred Taylor, NE (vs. BUF)
31. Peyton Hillis, CLE (at BAL)
32. Justin Forsett, SEA (vs. SD)
33. LaDainian Tomlinson, NYJ (vs. MIA)
34. Thomas Jones, KC (vs. SF)
35. Ricky Williams, MIA (vs. NYJ)
36. Shonn Greene, NYJ (vs. MIA)
37. Darren Sproles, SD (at SEA)
38. James Davis, CLE (at BAL)
39. BenJarvus Green-Ellis, NE (vs. BUF)
40. Laurence Maroney, DEN (vs. IND)
41. Willis McGahee, BAL (vs. CLE)
42. Jonathan Stewart, CAR (vs. CIN)
43. Marshawn Lynch, BUF (at NE)
44. Correll Buckhalter, DEN (vs. IND)
45. Cadillac Williams, TB (vs. PIT)
46. Beanie Wells, ARI (vs. OAK)
47. C.J. Spiller, BUF (at NE)
48. John Kuhn, GB (at CHI)
49. Chester Taylor, CHI (at DAL)
50. Brandon Jacobs, NYG (vs. TEN)
• I know Jahvid Best is cracking every one else's top 10 for Week 3, but I'm trying to keep a level head here. He'll be facing the Vikings, in Minnesota, in what is essentially a must-win game for Brett Favre & Co. For all of their troubles early on, the Vikes are still pretty darn good against the run (3.7 YPC, 1 rushing TD allowed through two weeks). And I don't expect this game to be particularly close.
• Jamaal Charles falls all the way to No. 26 this week. Until Todd Haley starts getting the ball in his best playmaker's hands more often, he's nothing more than a flex play (sheds tear).
• Remember James Davis, last year's preseason sensation? There are rumblings he may supplant Jerome Harrison as the Browns' change-of-pace back in Week 3. Harrison just hasn't underperformed (16 carries, 33 rushing yards, one-fumble in Week 2), but he missed practice on Wednesday with a thigh injury. Hillis is still the preferred option if you have to start a Cleveland running back, but it's not advisable if you have other viable options. The Browns run into Ray Lewis & Co. this week.
• Other running backs I'm staying away from if I have a choice this week: Cadillac Williams, Brandon Jacobs, Shonn Greene, and anyone in Buffalo. Bad matchups and timeshares are like oil and water.
• I don't trust Michael Turner's health. I don't care if the Falcons say he could've returned to last week's game; I'm betting that groin isn't 100 percent. One small tweak and his day could end prematurely. Regardless, I think Jason Snelling has earned a bigger role, which puts a damper on Turner's value, at least in the short term.
• Chargers rookie RB Ryan Mathews admitted on Wednesday that he has a high ankle sprain, an injury you rarely, if ever, see a player bounce back from a week later. He hasn't yet practiced and looks like he'll sit out Sunday. Hello, Mike Tolbert. Darren Sproles will pitch in more than usual against Seattle, too.
• Michael Bush is not on this week's list. I'll update once I'm sure he's playing, but we may not find that out until shortly before game time. Darren McFadden is currently ranked as if his backfield buddy won't suit up. Actually, the more I think about it, I'm not sure I'd change his ranking even if Bush did play. He's been that filthy.
• Joseph Addai missed practice on Wednesday with a knee injury. We expect him to play, but Donald Brown figures to be heavily involved against the Broncos.