With the fantasy playoffs in full swing and with the NFL season winding down, it’s going to be hard to find running back help off the waiver wire at this juncture. By now, almost all breakout running backs have been scooped up by eager owners.
However, whether it is due to injuries or perhaps a young rookie carving out a role for himself, there might be a few running backs you might want to add off wire this week who could be of service for your playoff run.
Here are eight running backs who could be waiver wire fodder to consider—and whether you should count on them for your playoff push.
After just breaking the Giants’ record for all-purpose yards in a game, Wilson has not only escaped Tom Coughlin’s doghouse, he demolished it. There will be no need for that doghouse any longer after the day Wilson just had.
Aside from the amazing 227 yards he had on kickoff returns, Wilson was also fantastic in jump-starting the Giants’ run game by recording 100 rushing yards and two touchdowns on only 13 carries.
While he will still play second fiddle to Ahmad Bradshaw, Wilson has most likely worked himself into a more pivotal role with the Giants. Those who are in desperate need of a running back for the playoffs could pick up Wilson in a pinch. For those in keeper and dynasty leagues, Wilson is a must-have addition off the wire.
Also working his way into a more prominent role with a New York squad is the Jets’ Bilal Powell.
Powell is slowly but surely earning the trust of Rex Ryan with each quality outing. Powell once again had a fine afternoon on Sunday, recording 78 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries against the Jaguars. Powell and Shonn Greene seem to be splitting carries equally, as Greene had 20 carries for 77 yards on Sunday.
It appears Ryan will continue to split the carries between Powell and Greene going forward. Since the Jets prefer Powell at the goal line though, he could be the better option out of the two. With the way he is playing and being utilized, Powell makes for a decent flex play for the playoffs.
By default, Owens makes for a decent pick-up these days.
After injuries took down Maurice Jones-Drew (whose return is in serious doubt), Jalen Parmele and Rashad Jennings, Owens is the last man standing in Jacksonville. And although he is nothing special, Owens does have the starting gig at running back all to himself.
On Sunday Jennings was exceptionally useful, running for 91 yards on 14 carries against the Jets. If you can get production like that for a No. 2 running back or flex play, you sign up for that immediately.
As long as he has the job all to himself, Owens is not a bad running back to ride with in the playoffs.
After a very disappointing season, there is a chance some Williams’ owners became frustrated and finally let him go. If that is the case in your league, I’d give Williams a reprieve and gamble on him once more.
With Jonathan Stewart doubtful to return anytime soon, Williams could be a solid play in the playoffs. On Sunday, Williams rushed for 56 yards on 17 carries while also making two catches for 54 yards and a touchdown. If you can get 110 total yards and a touchdown from Williams in your playoffs, it would be well worth it.
So, as long as Stewart is out, Williams can be trusted as a No. 2 running back or flex play for the playoffs.
With Donald Brown out with an injury, Ballard is surging to end the season now that he is beginning to grasp his role in the Colts’ offense.
On Sunday against the Titans, Ballard rushed for 94 yards on 19 carries. Since Ballard is getting the bulk of the carries for the Colts, he can be a useful flex play.
However, don’t ride with Ballard this week, since the Colts will be going up against the Texans and their No. 2 ranked rushing defense. But, if you make it to Week 16, Ballard could be a nice option since he will be taking on the Chiefs and their 26th ranked rushing defense.
In the quest to be the Saints’ lead running back, no one has stood out much of late in the Big Easy. However, after Ingram received 13 carries (which was three more than Darren Sproles and Pierre Thomas combined for) on Sunday against the Giants, maybe Saints’ coach Joe Vitt is warming up to the idea of making Ingram his lead back.
Ingram has been solid for the last few weeks. In his last five games, he has rushed for 242 yards and two touchdowns.
Although Ingram is a solid roster addition,if he doesn't score he isn’t of much use to you.
On the surface, when you look at Turbin’s stats for Sunday (20 carries for 108 yards) you would look and say: “Wow, Turbin is turning the corner in his rookie season and will start to earn more reps in the Seahawks offense.”
That would be a mirage though, as you have to look at the circumstances surrounding why Turbin achieved those numbers. In the Seahawks’ 58-0 mauling of the Cardinals on Sunday, Turbin racked up some juicy garbage-time numbers, as the Seahawks sat Marshawn Lynch for much of the second half. That’s not likely to happen again, thus rendering Turbin pretty much useless for the playoff stretch.
Turbin is a decent dynasty/keeper-league pick up, but by and large the only people who should scoop up Turbin this late in the game are Lynch owners.
Like Owens, Green is not the greatest option at running back, but as long as he has the job pretty much all to himself, he could be a useful option at running back for the playoffs.
With Cedric Benson and James Starks out, Green is the best and—perhaps only—option for carries in Green Bay. Sure, DuJuan Harris and the recently re-signed Ryan Grant could steal a few carries here and there, but the job mostly belongs to Green. Green did his job on Sunday night, registering 69 yards on 13 carries.
With the now suddenly-vulnerable Bears up next on the schedule and the Titans (who are atrocious against the run) after that, Green could be a good mix-and-match play for the playoffs.
Follow me on Twitter @Stacdemon