Ryan Williams: RB's Surgery Leaves No Fantasy Options in Cardinals' Backfield

Ian HanfordFeatured ColumnistOctober 9, 2012

October 4, 2012; St. Louis, MO, USA; Arizona Cardinals running back Ryan Williams (34) carries the ball for a four yard gain during the first half against the St. Louis Rams at the Edward Jones Dome. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-US PRESSWIRE

First it was Beanie Wells; now, it's Ryan Williams.

With Williams out for the season, the Arizona Cardinals don't have a reliable running back remaining on their roster, sending fantasy football owners looking elsewhere.

With Williams and Wells out of the lineup, Arizona is left with LaRod Stephens-Howling, William Powell and Alfonso Smith in the backfield.

Do any of those guys seem like they're ready to play on your fantasy football team? I didn't think so.

Williams wasn't a major contributor as it was. He hadn't found the end zone yet this season, mustering just over 150 yards overall. He was an intriguing option at the beginning of the season, because of Wells' fragility, but the intrigue stopped rather quickly (ask my bench).

It will be tempting for Williams' owners to make a quick switch for Stephens-Howling or Powell on this week's waiver wire, but it won't end well.

Pickings are probably slim when it comes to free-agent running backs at this point. Adding anyone who might start is an ideal concept, but the Cardinals' run game was bad before they had to rely on third- and fourth-string ball-carriers.

The Cardinals are averaging just over 63 rushing yards per game this season, good enough for No. 31 in the league. That makes their No. 25 ranked passing attack look good, and anyone who has watched this squad knows how scary that is.

Expect the Cardinals to rely on Kevin Kolb more than usual with Williams out of the lineup. Kolb must control the offense, allowing the Cardinals' defense to win games for them. Not that that's any different than what they've already been doing.

If you owned Williams, he was stashed on your bench (I hope). In that case, pick up a new ball-carrier on a week-by-week basis, playing whatever favorable matchup becomes available.

But don't mistake Arizona's game for that ideal contest. Williams is talented, and he couldn't even gain yardage. How do you think Stephens-Howling and Powell will fare?

The next few weeks separate shrewd owners from the lucky ones. Walk the tightrope between waiver-wire adds, bye weeks and savvy bench play, and you'll be fine.

Avoiding the Cardinals' run game is one thing that you can do to ensure your bench depth in this season's middle weeks.