Dallas Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray is officially out for Sunday's contest against the Carolina Panthers (per the Dallas Morning News' Rainer Sabin), which only means one thing for desperate fantasy football owners: time to scrounge the waiver wire.
Considering there are six teams on bye in Week 7 and running back is a position where it's nearly impossible to find elite talent, finding someone with Murray's ilk is likely impossible.
The former Oklahoma star was emerging as the Cowboys' every-down back and seemed to be on his way to a career-best game against the Baltimore Ravens last week before spraining his left foot.
With Murray out, the most obvious pickup, of course, is fellow Cowboys running back Felix Jones. He has both the talent and a enough of a nice matchup against the Carolina Panthers to make him a top 15 running back this week.
However, if you haven't picked up Jones by now, you've likely missed out. He's available in just 16.5 percent of ESPN.com standard leagues.
For that reason, here is a look at a few under-the-radar guys available in a lot of leagues that should be an adequate replacement for Murray this week.
Alex Green (Available in 44.6 Percent of ESPN Leagues)
Cedric Benson's knee injury and the continued ineffectiveness of James Starks have left Green as the only man standing in the Green Bay Packers backfield.
That should mean a workhorse-level of carries for the second-year back, who emerged in training camp as the No. 2 option behind Benson.
In last week's evisceration of the Houston Texans, Green got 22 carries and caught one pass out of the backfield. Those touches resulted in a relatively ineffective 73 yards, but the Packers back should be in line for a better performance against the St. Louis Rams this week.
Today's NFL means never passing up a running back who will get a boatload of carries. For fantasy owners, that means Green is a must-start as an RB2 or flex option in Week 7.
Jonathan Dwyer (Available in 84.3 Percent of ESPN Leagues)
Like Green, Dwyer will get an opportunity to start mostly out of circumstance.
After failing to receive a carry in either of the past two weeks, injuries to starter Rashard Mendenhall and backup Isaac Redman have opened up the backfield.
Nonetheless, what's an unfortunate circumstance for the Pittsburgh Steelers could lead to massive rewards for Dwyer's fantasy owners.
The former Georgia Tech back has been mostly ineffective splitting carries this season, but should be in line for the bulk of the work against a Cincinnati Bengals defense that ranks 21st in the NFL against the run.
While Baron Batch and Chris Rainey will still be in the mix, Dwyer is the only Steelers rusher who has the ability to stay on the field for every down.
As a mid-tier flex or low-end RB2 for desperate owners, you could do a whole lot worse this week.
Vick Ballard (Available in 52.1 Percent of ESPN Leagues)
Still hanging on the wire in most leagues despite the widespread scramble to pick him up last week, Ballard could be a post-hype sleeper this week.
The Indianapolis Colts runner disappointed in his first career start against the New York Jets last week, gaining a meager 42 yards on 10 total touches. Regardless, Ballard will get the start on Sunday and should be in line for a nice game against the Cleveland Browns.
Though ineffective, the overarching reason for Ballard not putting up a solid fantasy day was because the game turned into a blowout. The Jets got ahead early and forced Andrew Luck to make 44 pass attempts, which should not happen this week.
If the Colts can stick with the Browns (call me crazy, but methinks that could happen), Ballard should get a heavier workload and produce a solid, but not great, fantasy day.
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