Dallas Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray finally appeared on the verge of breaking out before suffering a foot injury against the Baltimore Ravens last week. It was a disappointing sudden turn of events for fantasy football owners.
Brandon George of the Dallas Morning News reports the second-year star won't play in Week 7, meaning a lot of owners will have to surf the waiver wire in search of a replacement. Let's take a look at the top options to target with hope Murray can return in Week 8.
The most important stat for Green last week—his first replacing the injured Cedric Benson—was the number of carries he received (22). No other Green Bay Packer back got more than five, showing he's the top option in the backfield.
In that role, he's a valuable fantasy commodity. Even though the Packers are a pass-first team, they still understand that some semblance of balance is necessary to take some pressure off Aaron Rodgers and Green will provide it.
Green Bay faces the St. Louis Rams this week. The Rams rank in the middle of the pack against the run and have allowed six rushing touchdowns in as many games. Green should get enough chances to post his first double-digit fantasy score.
Jones replaced Murray in the Cowboys lineup against the Ravens and scored 16 points, rushing for 92 yards on 18 carries and scoring a touchdown. He should be in line for another heavy workload with Murray sidelined.
As fantasy owners have learned since Jones was a highly-regarded rookie, he's a solid option in short stretches but not over the long haul because he can't stay healthy. It makes him an ideal choice to replace Murray until the Cowboys starter returns.
The Arkansas product is still available in nearly half of ESPN leagues and is definitely worth a claim since no concrete table has been given for Murray. He's a terrific play against a porous Carolina Panthers run defense in Week 7.
Ballard was a popular target last week after Indianapolis Colts starter Donald Brown got injured. He went from being owned in barely any leagues to nearly one third of them, a number that will likely continue to rise this week.
He only gained 25 yards on eight carries against the New York Jets, but that's only because the Colts fell behind big in the first half and were forced to abandon the run. He should get a lot more work on Sunday in a more competitive game with the Cleveland Browns.
Since Brown's injury isn't of the long-term variety, Ballard will only have value for a little while longer. He's still a solid flex option this week, though, against a Browns defense that is allowing more than 130 yards per game on the ground.