With Darren McFadden set to miss yet another week with his ankle injury, and a host of top-flight running backs on bye, I have identified three running backs that are available on plenty of waiver wires to help ease the sting.
First, the official word on McFadden's status via Paul Gutierrez of CSN California:
McFadden, Goodson, Seymour OUT— Paul Gutierrez (@PGutierrezCSN) November 16, 2012
Now let's get into some replacements.
*Percent of leagues owned in via NFL.com.
James Starks, Packers (owned in 24.4 percent of leagues)
Week 11 Opponent: Lions
James Starks has emerged as the lead ball carrier as the Packers try to rejuvenate a running game that has been dormant since Cedric Benson was lost to injury.
Despite Alex Green getting the start last week, Starks had more carries, and as Pete Dougherty of the Green Bay Press-Gazette reports, Starks is now the starter.
As mentioned, the Packers have been struggling to run the ball and they are just 23rd in the league at 99.7 rushing yards per game.
However, the Lions play the pass much better than the run, so you'd expect them to lean a little more on the run this game, and getting more touches in this powerful offense is always a good thing.
Marcel Reece, Raiders (owned in 33.4 percent of leagues)
Week 11 Opponent: Saints
As you noticed in the above tweet, not only is McFadden out for the Raiders, but also his backup Mike Goodson. This was the case for Oakland last week as they got blown out by the Ravens, and Reece became the primary ball carrier.
This multi-talented back got 13 carriers for 48 yards, and he also added seven catches for 56 yards.
Reece always has some value through the passing game, but his emergence as the lead ball carrier in this injury-depleted backfield makes him worth a start.
The Raiders figure to keep this game closer and that will lead to more carries for Reece. Also, he should be the preferred option on the goal line.
Chris Ivory, Saints (owned in 12.1 percent of leagues)
Week 11 Opponent: Raiders
This is a boom or bust pick because there are no guarantees for Ivory's touches. With Darren Sproles missing the last two weeks, Ivory has finally been given a chance to show what he can do, and he is making the most of it.
He flashed his skill with an amazing 56-yard touchdown scamper last week and in the last two games he has gained 7.1 yards per carry on 17 carries and he's scored a touchdown each week.
The problem with this week is that Sproles returned to practice and is questionable (via the official injury report) for Sunday's game.
So Ivory may be left out of the mix again. However, I believe he has shown more than enough to warrant more touches, and when he's getting them, he is producing.
So, if you feel like gambling, Ivory could be your guy.