When it comes to fantasy running backs, the common statement is, “Opportunity breeds production,” which is why injuries to the running back position lead to some of the most valuable pick-ups in a fantasy season. Guys like DeMarco Murray, Michael Bush, C.J. Spiller, and Ben Tate all carried fantasy teams for weeks at a time last season as injury fill-ins. So, with the season-ending shoulder injury to the Arizona Cardinals’ Ryan Williams, and potentially season-ending foot injury to the Green Bay Packers’ Cedric Benson, can their backups be counted on to carry the load?
Unfortunately, because of the natures of both offenses, I don’t think any of them can be counted on. For Arizona, they have a horrible offensive line, so it’s hard for me to believe that someone with less talent than Ryan Williams could put up better numbers than he did – which weren’t good to begin with. However, if I had to pick one, I think it’d be LaRod Stephens-Howling over William Powell. Stephens-Howling, if healthy, should see better than half the carries, and all the 3rd down work. Hopefully that combination of rushing and receiving yards will be enough to warrant a flex-play.
As far as Green Bay, Alex Green should get the first crack at carries with James Starks still out. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if Randall Cobb gets more snaps from the backfield than either of those guys. Plus, it’s unlikely Green or Starks will score many touchdowns with John Kuhn still in the mix. Therefore, I’d only add Green as a shot in the dark, and would keep a short leash. If he doesn’t perform well next week, he’s drop-able.
QB – Christian Ponder – MIN – As expected, had a good game against the Titans – despite his first 2 interceptions of the year. He has another quality match-up this week against the Redskins.
QB – Alex Smith – SF – Bounced back after a couple of rough weeks with over 300 yards and 3 TDs against the Bills on Sunday. Has another favorable match-up with the Giants this weekend. A team that just gave up almost 300 yards and 2 TDs to Brandon Weeden.
QB – Tim Tebow – NYJ – At some point he has to get a shot at starting, doesn’t he?
WR – Josh Gordon – CLE – Only caught 2 passes on Sunday, but they both went for TDs. Someone has to catch the ball in Cleveland, and he’s got another good match-up with the Bengals this week.
WR – Jordan Norwood – CLE – Sticking with the notion that someone has to catch the ball in Cleveland, Norwood could be another nice pick-up. He caught all of his 9 targets on Sunday for 81 yards. Gordon is the deep threat, but Norwood is the better route-runner, so Weeden often looks his way first.
WR – Chris Givens – STL – Another guy that benefited from a long touchdown, but with Danny Amendola out for a while, someone has to fill in. No reason it can’t be Givens – especially with his speed.
WR – Jeremy Kerley – NYJ – Didn’t believe in him a few weeks ago, but with Holmes done for the year, I guess he’s worth the add based on opportunity. Still, I think Stephen Hill will lead the Jets in receiving yards by the end of the season.
WR- Rueben Randle – NYG – What do ya know? This is the 3rd week in a row that I’ve mentioned a different Giants receiver to benefit from Nicks’ injury. A lot has been made of Randle’s poor work-ethic thus far, but he does have more natural talent than Barden or Hixon. I still think Hixon is the safest play whenever Nicks is out, but if Randle can put it all together, he could have some big weeks here and there.
RB – William Powell or Alfonso Smith – ARI – One of the two should see some early-down carries until Beanie Wells returns. They’re worth the add if you can’t get Stephens-Howling in hopes that one of them goes off and wins the job.
RB – Brian Leonard – CIN – Bernard Scott is done for the season so Leonard will inherit all backup duties. Plus, BenJarvus Green-Ellis hasn’t looked good as of late, so if Leonard can impress, he could earn more share.
TE – Dustin Keller – NYJ – Should return this week against the Colts and immediately becomes the first passing option.
TE – Joel Dreessen – DEN – Has scored a TD in 3 straight games. Won’t get you many yards, but Peyton loves his TE’s in the red zone.
DEF – Buffalo vs. Arizona – Atlanta vs. Oakland – Arizona vs. Buffalo – New England vs. Seattle – Tampa Bay vs. Kansas City – Minnesota vs. Washington (If RGIII is out)
Good luck to everyone this week! If you have any other questions, feel free to ask us on Facebook or Twitter!