Beanie Wells rushed for 48 yards and two touchdowns in his first game since Week 3.
Many fantasy football owners are facing must-win situations in Week 13 as the fantasy playoffs are just a week or two away in most leagues. Trading deadlines have all but passed and the waiver wire represents the only means of making roster moves at this point in the season.
While there are plenty of widely available players who should be added to fantasy rosters—stop sleeping on Jacksonville’s Cecil Shorts—there are five running backs who need to be owned in all leagues.
Running back is still king in fantasy football. Make sure these five guys are scooped up in your league before Thursday night’s kickoff.
Fantasy surprise Andre Brown has scored a rushing touchdown in each of his last five games. Unfortunately for the New York Giants running back, his broken fibula (suffered on Sunday night against the Green Bay Packers) has landed him on the injured reserve list, according to NFL.com’s Gregg Rosenthal.
Brown totaled 27 rushing attempts in his last three games, including at least seven in all three contests. His absence will pave the way for first-round rookie David Wilson to get carries in relief of Ahmad Bradshaw, who has played 16 games once in his six-year career.
Wilson also has three top-10 fantasy matchups in his next four games.
Matt Forte left the Chicago Bears’ Week 12 win over the Minnesota Vikings with an ankle injury after carrying the ball 14 times for 42 yards (3.0 avg). As a result, Michael Bush took a season-high 21 carries for 60 yards (2.9 avg) and two touchdowns.
The former Oakland Raiders backup RB has proved himself capable of handling a full rushing workload in the past. Last season, he carried the ball 23 or more times in five separate games. In those five, he averaged 483 rushing yards and scored a touchdown in four of them.
He also caught multiple passes in each game.
If Forte misses any time, fantasy owners—and the Bears—can trust Bush. Chicago knows that, and may opt to let Forte rest and heal up for the playoffs while Bush carries the load as the regular season closes.
In his first start since tearing his ACL last year, Moreno had a great matchup with the Kansas City Chiefs. He averaged 4.3 yards per carry (20 carries for 85 yards) and gained 111 total yards on the afternoon.
Each of Moreno’s final four matchups is against a top-12 fantasy defense. If he continues to get starter’s reps for the rest of the season, he’s going to put up numbers down the stretch.
Bryce Brown lost two fumbles on Monday Night Football, but the Philadelphia Eagles rookie rusher had great success moving the football when he could secure it and finish his runs. In LeSean McCoy’s absence, he rushed 19 times for 178 yards—a C.J. Spiller-esque 9.4 yards per carry—and two touchdowns.
Brown is a different type of back than McCoy or Spiller. The dude is a bulldozer at 6’0”, 223 pounds. He still found his way to the edge against the Carolina Panthers, ripping off a 65-yard TD run.
McCoy hasn’t done that this season.
As long as LeSean McCoy’s concussion symptoms keep him out of the Philadelphia lineup, Brown will be a legitimate fantasy option.
The fantasy owners that preemptively claimed Beanie Wells in anticipation of his return from the IR have already been rewarded with 48 rushing yards (on 17 carries; 2.8 avg) and two touchdowns against the St. Louis Rams.
Despite four interceptions by Ryan Lindley, the Arizona Cardinals scored 17 points. Wells was responsible for both touchdowns. The fact that Arizona threw him back into the fray as they did suggests that they trust Wells’ health down the stretch.
He has several tough matchups remaining—including the Chicago Bears (Week 16), Seattle Seahawks (Week 14) and San Francisco 49ers (Week 17)—but Wells could have a monster day this week against the New York Jets.
The Cardinals obviously can’t trust their quarterback situation. Wells is going to be the featured option in the Arizona offense and should be owned in all leagues.
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