Marshawn Lynch running
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1. Marshawn Lynch, Seattle Seahawks
Marshawn Lynch averaged 98.3 total yards and 0.9 touchdowns during the regular season. He runs with power, but he also has the ability to break the long run. Lynch is averaging 124.5 rushing yards per game and his three playoff touchdowns have come from an average of 28.7 yards out. Lynch has had at least 20 carries in nine games this season, including in both playoff games. Look for a heavy dose of Beast Mode to keep Peyton Manning on the sidelines. Power running has been a common theme during the playoffs. It should continue in the Super Bowl.
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2. Knowshon Moreno, Denver Broncos
Knowhon Moreno averaged 99.1 total yard and 0.8 touchdowns per game during the regular season. He has averaged 87.5 total yards and 0.5 touchdowns in the two playoff wins. Moreno is excellent at picking up the blitz and working the screen game. On the biggest stage, he will see a heavy dose of touches. Peyton Manning trusts Moreno and that goes a long way.
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3. Montee Ball, Denver Broncos
Montee Ball has averaged 12.5 touches in the two playoffs wins for 54 total yards. Even though Moreno is the clear lead back, the Broncos are committed to getting Ball involved. He may not see double-digit carries in this one as Seattle tries to shorten the game, but a short touchdown isn’t out of the question.
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4. Robert Turbin, Seattle Seahawks
Robert Turbin only had 85 touches during the regular season and six in the two playoff games. I don’t expect Turbin to suddenly become heavily involved, but he’ll likely get the touches when Lynch takes a breather. It wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility for a relatively unknown to make a big Super Bowl impact.
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Super Bowl XLVIII
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Marshawn Lynch running
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Here are the Lester’s Legends running back rankings for the  the AFC & NFC Conference Championship Games of the 2013-14 NFL Playoffs.
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1. Marshawn Lynch, Seattle Seahawks
Marshawn Lynch averaged 98.3 total yards and 0.9 touchdowns during the regular season and ripped off 140 yards and a pair of scores last week against the Carolina Panthers. He has a tough draw against the San Francisco 49ers this week, but he averaged 103.5 total yards and a pair of touchdowns in two earlier meetings with them.
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2. Knowshon Moreno, Denver Broncos
Knowhon Moreno averaged 99.1 total yard and 0.8 touchdowns per game during the regular season. He held to form with 94 total yards and a score last week against the San Diego Chargers. He takes aim at the New England Patriots this week, a team he ran 37 times against fro 224 yards and a score in the first meeting.
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3. LeGarrette Blount, New England Patriots
LeGarrette Blount ran for 166 yards and four touchdowns against the Indianapolis Colts. In Week 17 he ran for 189 yards and two scores. Blount has eight touchdowns in his past three games. He is a load to bring down, plus he has a burst to run away from defenders when he gets into space. I expect Denver to do a better job against Blount, but he is going to be tough to stop if they get in a goal line situation.
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4. Frank Gore, San Francisco 49ers
Frank Gore averaged 79.3 yards and 0.6 touchdowns on the year, but only 70 yards per game without a score in two meetings with the Seahawks. He’s averaging 84.5 yards and 0.5 touchdowns in two playoff wins. Gore has five touchdowns in his past five playoff games. Of the starters I like him the least, but he should still turn in a solid game.
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5. Stevan Ridley, New England Patriots
Stevan Ridley added 52 yards and a pair of touchdowns last week. He has double-digit carries in the past three games, signifying that he is out of Bill Belichick’s doghouse. Unfortunately Blount took over the lead job. Ridley should still get a decent amount of carries.
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6. Shane Vereen, New England Patriots
Shane Vereen is averaging just five touches for 27.3 yards and 0.5 touchdowns in his past four games. He had 18 touches for 91 yards in the first meeting with Denver. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if Vereen played an important part of this week’s game plan just to keep the Broncos guessing.
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7. Montee Ball, Denver Broncos
Montee Ball had 10 carries last week for 52 yards. He had 10 touches in the first meeting with the Patriots for 57 total yards. He should see some chances in this one as well.
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Marshawn Lynch running
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Here are the Lester’s Legends running back rankings for the Divisional Round of the NFL Playoffs.
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1. Marshawn Lynch, Seattle Seahawks
Marshawn Lynch averaged 98.3 total yards and 0.9 touchdowns this year. He faces the New Orleans Saints. The Saints allowed 111.6 rushing yards per game. Nine of Lynch’s 14 touchdowns came at home.
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2. Knowshon Moreno, Denver Broncos
Knowshon Moreno averaged 99.1 total yard and 0.8 touchdowns per game. He averaged 84.5 total yards in two games against the San Diego Chargers. I expect Moreno to play a big role in this one.
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3. Frank Gore, San Francisco 49ers
Frank Gore averaged 79.3 yards and 0.6 touchdowns on the year. He had 103 total yards in the first meeting with the Carolina Panthers. Gore has five touchdowns in his past four playoff games.
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4. LeGarrette Blount, New England Patriots
LeGarrette Blount had 265 yards and four touchdowns in the final two games of the season. He should continue to run strong against the Indianapolis Colts. The Colts yielded 125.1 yards and 0.9 touchdowns per game during the regular season and 150 yards and a touchdown last week against the Kansas City Chiefs.
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5. Ryan Mathews, San Diego Chargers
Ryan Mathews averaged 134.3 total yard and 0.8 touchdowns in his last four games of the regular season. He had 64 total yards in the win over the Cincinnati Bengals as Danny Woodhead and Ronnie Brown shouldered some of the load. Mathews had 189 total yards and two touchdowns in two games against the Broncos this year.
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6. Donald Brown, Indianapolis Colts
Donald Brown had 102 total yards and a pair of touchdowns in the comeback win against the Kansas City Chiefs. He should be heavily involved against a struggling Patriots run defense. The Pats ranked 30th with 134.1 rushing yards allowed per game.
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7. DeAngelo Williams, Carolina Panthers
DeAngelo Williams averaged 114.3 total yards and 0.7 touchdowns in his final three games. He had 46 yards and a touchdown in the first meeting with the Niners.
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8. Shane Vereen, New England Patriots
Shane Vereen had inconsistent production, but averaged 79.4 total yards and 0.5 touchdowns in eight games this year. He should be quite active in the passing game.
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9. Danny Woodhead, San Diego Chargers
Danny Woodhead finished the season quietly, but had 68 total yards and a touchdown against the Bengals. He had 86 total yards and a touchdown in two games against the Broncos.
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10. Mark Ingram, New Orleans Saints
Mark Ingram had a quiet year, but he erupted for 114 total yards and a touchdown last week against the Philadelphia Eagles. He’s a risky play against the Seattle Seahawks.
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Jamaal Charles running
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Here are the Lester’s Legends fantasy football running back rankings for the Wild Card Round.
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1. Jamaal Charles, Kansas City Chiefs
Jamaal Charles averaged 132 total yards and 1.3 touchdowns per game. He got a week to rest up before facing the Indianapolis Colts. The Colts have allowed 125.1 rushing yards and 0.9 touchdowns per game. Charles scored 11 touchdowns in his final five games.
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2. LeSean McCoy, Philadelphia Eagles
LeSean McCoy led the NFL with 1,607 yards. He averaged 134.1 total yards and 0.7 touchdowns per game. He faces the New Orleans Saints. The Saints allowed 111.6 rushing yards per game.
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3. Frank Gore, San Francisco 49ers
Frank Gore averaged 79.3 total yards and 0.6 touchdowns per game. He’s facing the Green Bay Packers. The Packers allowed 125 yards and a touchdown per game on the ground. Gore had 65 total yards and a touchdown in the first meeting with the Packers. Last year in the playoffs he had 167 total yards and a touchdown against Green Bay.
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4. Eddie Lacy, Green Bay Packers
Eddie Lacy averaged 95.7 total yards and 0.7 touchdowns per game. He had 72 total yards and a touchdown in the first meeting with the San Francisco 49ers.
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5. Ryan Mathews, San Diego Chargers
Ryan Mathews averaged 134.3 total yard and 0.8 touchdowns during the San Diego Chargers’ four-game winning streak that propelled them into the playoffs. He’ll have his work cut out for him against the Cincinnati Bengals.
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6. Giovani Bernard, Cincinnati Bengals
Giovani Bernard 75.6 total yards and 0.5 touchdowns per game. He’s facing the Chargers. The Bolts allowed 107.8 yards and 0.9 touchdowns per game.
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7. BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Cincinnati Bengals
BenJarvus Green-Ellis averaged just 47.3 yards per game, but he scored seven touchdowns, including four in the last five games. He’ll need to get in the end zone to be a fantasy asset.
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8. Pierre Thomas, New Orleans Saints
Pierre Thomas averaged 66.4 total yards and 0.3 touchdowns per game, but he was quiet down the stretch averaging 34 total yards with just one touchdown in his last five games. He’s got a decent matchup against the Philadelphia Eagles, but Thomas is trending in the wrong direction.
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9. Donald Brown, Indianapolis Colts
Donald Brown averaged 54 total yards and 0.9 touchdowns in his final eight games. He has a tough draw against the Kansas City Chiefs.
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10. Trent Richardson, Indianapolis Colts
Trent Richardson also has a tough draw against the Chiefs, but he has been more involved of late. T-Rich is averaging 72.5 total yards in his past four games.
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Frank Gore running
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1. Frank Gore, San Francisco 49ers
The Baltimore Ravens ranked 20th (122.8 yards per game, 15 rushing touchdowns allowed) in run defense during the regular season. Ray Lewis’ return has helped turn things around defensively, but the continue to struggle against the run. The Indianapolis Colts, Denver Broncos and New England Patriots combined for 128.3 rushing yards per game. They have buckled down when it matters though, as they have not allowed a playoff rushing score. Frank Gore had 1448 total yards and nine touchdowns (eight rushing, one receiving) during the regular season. He had continued to shine during the playoffs, combining for 257 total yards and three touchdowns in wins over the Green Bay Packers and the Atlanta Falcons. His performances are even more impressive considering the record-setting performance Colin Kaepernick had against the Packers and were playing from behind for most of the NFC Championship game. The Niners have a massive, mauling offensive line, which gives them an edge in the Super Bowl.
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2. Ray Rice, Baltimore Ravens
It has been a long time since the Super Bowl featured two running backs of this caliber. Rice finished with 1621 total yards and 10 touchdowns. He had 316 total yards and a pair of touchdowns in the Ravens’ three playoff wins. The 49ers finished the year ranked 4th in rushing defense (94.2 yards per game, seven touchdowns). They held the Green Bay Packers and Atlanta Falcons to 92.5 yards per game. Even if the Niners slow Rice on the ground, he’s still capable of getting his through the air.
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3. Bernard Pierce, Baltimore Ravens
Pierce has emerged, averaging 59 total yards per game during the playoffs. He 216 yards in the final two games of the season. He runs with a great deal of power and is a nice complement to Rice’s style. The Ravens have confidence in the rookie and he’ll likely play a solid amount of meaningful snaps.
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4. LaMichael James, San Francisco 49ers
James is an electric runner that is a great change-of-pace to Gore. That said, he had just 66 total yards in the two playoff wins. Between Gore and Kaepernick, there just isn’t enough to go around for James.
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5. Anthony Dixon, San Francisco 49ers
Dixon hardly gets any carries, but he is a threat for a short vulture touchdown.
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Super Bowl XLVII logo

Frank Gore running
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Here are the Lester’s Legends running back rankings for the  the AFC & NFC Conference Championship Games of the 2012-13 NFL Playoffs.
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1. Frank Gore, San Francisco 49ers
The Atlanta Falcons had the worst run defense (123.2, 16 rushing touchdowns) of the remaining playoff teams. They allowed 123 yards and a pair of touchdowns to a similarly constructed Seattle Seahawks team. Gore ran for 119 yards and a touchdown last week to go with 48 receiving yards. I give him a slight edge over Ray Rice in the top spot.
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2. Ray Rice, Baltimore Ravens
Rice was a workhorse last week, dropping 131 yards and a touchdown on the Denver Broncos. The Ravens will try to give him another heavy workload against the New England Patriots. Rice didn’t catch a pass last week. I expect he’ll be more active this week. Arian Foster had seven receptions last week against the Pats. Baltimore will try to exploit that as well. Rice had 150 total yards and a touchdown in the first meeting with New England.
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3. Stevan Ridley, New England Patriots
Shane Vereen stole the show with three touchdowns, but Ridley was still the leading runner with 82 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries. The Pats mix it up better than anybody, but Ridley has been consistent. The Ravens allowed 122.8 rushing yards per game and 15 scores on the ground.
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4. Michael Turner, Atlanta Falcons
Turner is easily the starting back that I have the least amount of confidence in despite running for 98 yards on 14 carries against the Seattle Seahawks. The 49ers have the best run defense (94.2 yards, seven rushing touchdowns) of the playoff teams.
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5. Shane Vereen, New England Patriots
Vereen scored a trio of touchdowns last week, but Bill Belichick loves to mix and match. It’s hard to imagine that Vereen won’t see double-digit touches, but you never know.
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6. Jacquizz Rodgers, Atlanta Falcons
Rodgers had a 45-yard run, which made his final numbers look respectable (10 carries, 64 yards), but was pretty much bottled up the rest of the day. It was only his fourth time topping 70 total yards. I don’t have a lot of faith going up against San Francisco’s defense.
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Here are the Lester’s Legends running back rankings for the Divisional Round of the NFL Playoffs.
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1. Marshawn Lynch, Seattle Seahawks
The Atlanta Falcons had the worst run defense of all the remaining playoff teams. They gave up 123.2 yards and a touchdown per game on the ground. Beast Mode has averaged 123 total yards with eight touchdowns in his past six games.
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2. Arian Foster, Houston Texans
Foster has averaged 170 total yards with four touchdowns in his three career playoff games. Foster was “held” to 85 total yards in the first meeting with the New England Patriots, but he scored a touchdown.
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3. Ray Rice, Baltimore Ravens
The Denver Broncos have the third-rank run defense, but Ray Rice is more versatile than most backs. If you slow him in the running game, he can still get his in the passing game.
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4. Knowshon Moreno, Denver Broncos
Moreno averaged 110.8 with three touchdowns in the six games in which he assumed the starting gig. The Ravens ranked 20th in run defense, allowing 122.8 yards per game and 15 rushing scores.
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5. Frank Gore, San Francisco 49ers
The Green Bay Packers had the 17th-ranked run defense, but if you take away Adrian Peterson’s dominance, they were a little more respectable. Gore had a solid season and with Colin Kaepernick making his first playoff start, the Niners will likely lean on the veteran running back.
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6. Stevan Ridley, New England Patriots
Ridley had 72 yards and a touchdown in Week 14 against the Texans, but that was one of five rushing scores allowed for the league’s seventh-ranked run defense.
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7. Michael Turner, Atlanta Falcons
Turner scored 11 touchdowns this year, but he is all or nothing. If he doesn’t get in the end zone, he doesn’t provide enough yardage to make up for it. I particularly don’t like him against the Seahawks.
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8. DuJuan Harris, Green Bay Packers
Harris scored, but only averaged 2.8 yards per carry. Ryan Grant took seven carries away and John Kuhn had a short touchdown run to go along with his short touchdown pass. Harris is the most reliable play among the Packers’ running backs, but I’d go elsewhere.
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