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Fantasy football: What to do when there's a two-headed backfield

Buffalo Bills running back C.J. Spiller (28) rushes

Buffalo Bills running back C.J. Spiller (28) rushes during the second quarter of a game against the Kansas City Chiefs. (Nov. 3, 2013) Credit: AP

Two-headed backfields are a conundrum for fantasy owners. A look at which back in those scenarios is the better fantasy play.

 

Chris Ivory/Bilal Powell

Jets

From the get-go, Ivory was expected to be a sleeper this year. Until Week 7 against the Patriots, he didn't do much, with Powell getting more carries the first half of the season. Ivory went off for 104 yards on 34 carries against the Pats and rushed for 139 yards and a touchdown, his first of the year, Sunday against his old team, the Saints. The past three weeks, Ivory has gotten more of the load with 58 carries to Powell's 22. The Jets have their bye next week, but Ivory's the back to own at this rate.

 

Fred Jackson/C.J. Spiller

Bills

Jackson and Spiller -- when healthy -- are both top-20 fantasy running backs. Both have battled injuries throughout the season, but they looked healthy in a loss to a stout Chiefs defense on Sunday. Spiller rushed for 116 yards on 12 carries while Jackson had 77 yards on 16 carries. It's been an almost even split all year with Jackson at 117 carries and Spiller at 102. With the struggles the Bills have had at quarterback, they'll continue to give both running backs a heavy number of carries. Jackson has been more reliable with six touchdowns, but Spiller, who just has one, has more upside. Either back is a plus to any fantasy squad.

 

DeAngelo Williams/Mike Tolbert

Panthers

Williams is the clear No. 1 back and leads the Panthers in carries with 127, but Tolbert continues to cut into his fantasy production by getting the goal-line carries. Williams led the team with 42 rushing yards in a win against the Falcons on Sunday, and while Tolbert only had 24 yards, he scored the only touchdown not thrown or run by Cam Newton. Williams has just one touchdown to Tolbert's four, but as long as he's getting the bulk of the carries, he's still the guy to own.

New York Sports