Week Eleven Analysis: Willis McGahee has now scored just once in his last five games, and he's averaged a modest 80 combo yards in his last two. He's been a textbook matchup play for the better part of the last two years, but in a bye week that's depleted the running back position, he becomes a very solid option against a neutral opponent like San Diego. In his three games as a Bronco, McGahee has never scored against the Chargers, but he's totaled 98, 117 and 125 combo yards. Consider him a strong No. 2 fantasy back with a high floor and a low ceiling.
Week Ten Analysis: After averaging 123 combo yards in his previous four contests, Willis McGahee could only muster a modest 70 yards against the Bengals last week. The real drop off came in the receiving column—over those previous four games, Peyton Manning had surprisingly connected with McGahee 17 times for 149 yards. Carolina is a below average run defense, and McGahee has rushed a season-high 23 times in back-to-back weeks, so he should be able to churn out solid yardage on the ground. But, will he get back into the passing game mix? Carolina gives up league-worsts of 7.6 catches and 59 receiving yards per game to opposing backs, so all signs point to "yes" for McGahee.
Week Nine Analysis: If you were to chart Willis McGahee's game logs in terms of production versus matchup strength, you'd find that he's probably been the most predictable back in fantasy. He's done nothing in two difficult matchups, he's done pretty well in two neutral matchups, and he's dominated his three most favorable matchups—Atlanta, Oakland and New Orleans. In those three games, McGahee scored four times and averaged 138 combo yards, and Cincinnati's run defense falls squarely in that tier. In seven games, the Bengals have given up nine scores and 151 combo yards per game to opposing backs, so, predictably, keep McGahee active.
Week Eight Analysis: Willis McGahee only had two favorable matchups in his first six games, and he cashed in on both, totaling 124 combo yards and a pair of scores against Atlanta, and 135 yards and another touchdown against Oakland. This week he comes out of his bye refreshed and ready to roll over a Saints run defense that's ceded eight touchdowns top opposing backs in six games. Only Buffalo is giving up more rushing yards per game to opposing backs, and each of the last two starters New Orleans has faced have scored and topped 120 combo yards. This is as good as it gets for McGahee.
Week Six Analysis: Willis McGahee had another meh performance last week continuing his beast or bust trend that has dated back to the start of last year. Over that span McGahee has failed to score or top 76 yards rushing in 12 of his last 22 games, those numbers are downright Vincent Jacksonian in nature. McGahee has had some career success against the Chargers having topped 100 yards in both contests last year, but they also held him out of the end zone in both of those games. Despite his hit or miss style, McGahee has put himself on pace to set a new season high in receptions playing alongside Peyton Manning. He remains startable, especially considering that San Diego has allowed an average of eight receptions and 59 yards-per-game to opposing running backs this year.
Week Five Analysis: Last week against the Raiders, Willis McGahee continued to solidify his reputation as a back who can't beat a tough matchup, but who's still more than capable of devouring the cupcakes. McGahee did nothing against Pittsburgh and Houston, yet he topped 120 combo yards and scored against the downtrodden run defenses of Atlanta and Oakland. Unfortunately, New England's run defense has more closely resembled Pittsburgh's than Oakland's. The Patriots have given up just one rushing score and 3.2 yards per carry to opposing backs, so don't expect McGahee to carry you again this week.
Week Four Analysis: I'm ranking Willis McGahee as if he'll play Sunday, but he's battling a rib injury, so you'll need to monitor this situation closely. He's had one big game and two stinkers this year, and over the last two seasons he's established himself as a textbook matchup play. I'm happy to say that this is a matchup to exploit. Oakland is a bottom-10 fantasy run defense, despite Ronnie Brown and Isaac Redman making up two thirds of their starting competition. Moreover, McGahee had his best game of last season against the Raiders when he ran for 163 yards and two touchdowns. If he's active for Denver, McGahee should be active for you.
Week Three Analysis: Monday night Willis McGahee broke out of a long funk when he rolled up 124 combo yards and a pair of scores against Atlanta. Even more encouraging is that Ronnie Hillman can't get on the field, Knowshon Moreno can't stay out of his own way, and McGahee has now touched the ball 40 times through two weeks. With all that said, Houston was the No. 2 fantasy run defense last season, and they've held Reggie Bush and Maurice Jones-Drew each under 70 rushing yards this season. Considering that the Texans have surrendered just four rushing scores in their last 14 games, there's very little upside here.
Week Two Analysis: It was an unspectacular opener for Willis McGahee, who's now cracked 80 combo yards just once in his last seven games. What's worse, he's only scored once over that same span, and he was sniped by Knowshon Moreno Monday night. And if that's not enough bad news, McGahee has exactly one catch in his last 14 games, so he's a complete non-factor in the passing game. His aversion to receptions is almost as acute as Jay Leno's aversion to humor. Atlanta is merely a neutral matchup in terms of run defense, but if they build any kind of a lead on Denver, or turn this game into a shootout, McGahee may be rendered completely useless.
NEXT: #22 PEYTON HILLIS