Running Backs to Add
Kendall Hunter, San Francisco 49ers
We have been on this bandwagon for weeks, and Hunter has rewarded fantasy owners with touchdowns each of the past two games. He is still merely a change-of-pace back behind 30-year-old Frank Gore, but he is also just one Gore injury away from being an elite fantasy option. Owned in just 35 percent of leagues, Hunter has shown he can score for fantasy owners even when Gore is healthy and productive, too!
Danny Woodhead, San Diego Chargers
He is already owned in PPR formats, but Woodhead's two-touchdown performance is too good to overlook him in standard leagues now. He should be productive again against the Raiders on Sunday.
Rashad Jennings, Oakland Raiders
Jennings isn't a great play against a Chargers defense that is fifth best in fantasy against running backs, but the fact that Darren McFadden (hamstring) and Marcel Reece (knee) are question marks for Sunday, according to Vic Tafur of the San Francisco Chronicle, certainly enhances Jenning's short-term fantasy potential. You might even be able to consider him as a flex option if you have a running back injured or on bye.
Running Backs to Monitor
Roy Helu, Washington Redskins
If the Redskins weren't headed to a bye this week, Helu would be a must-add running back in place of Alfred Morris, who left Sunday's game with bruised ribs. Morris told the Washington Post the injury is "nothing serious," so Helu is merely a handcuff for Morris owners. You shouldn't feel compelled to add him with the Redskins on bye, but if Morris goes down again this season, you might want Helu stashed.
LeGarrette Blount, New England Patriots
There are myriad factors keeping Blount from being a true "add" above:
Stevan Ridley is still the Patriots starter and gets the bulk of the touches.
- Brandon Bolden is also a factor, including near the goal line, in the Pats' running back committee.
- Perhaps most important in the short term, the Bengals' solid defensive front is not a favorable matchup in Week 5.
Merely monitor Blount's carry totals and goal-line touches, unless you're really desperate at running back or have a reserve spot available (who has that during the bye weeks?).
Brandon Bolden, New England Patriots
For the reasons listed above, Bolden isn't yet an add in fantasy. He does get more of the pass-catching duties, so he could be a sleeper in PPR formats, but again, Ridley is still going to get more touches as the weeks wear on, and Blount is still a goal-line vulture.
Andre Ellington, Arizona Cardinals
Ellington is gaining popularity as Rashard Mendenhall's backup and handcuff, but the Cardinals are still a subpar running team. Bruce Arians expressed his frustration with Mendenhall to The Arizona Republic:
Rashard had a very tough day and he can't play that way. He can't run out of bounds. He's a veteran. And to run out of bounds at the end of the game, that was probably the worst mistake he made all day. We need to practice him a little bit harder. I think we've been too easy on him in practice because of his injuries, and we need to hone him up more because he's not gaining anything.
Reading that, we don't see anything that points to Arians going to an alternative at running back. He is merely going to ride Mendenhall harder. Ellington is still just a handcuff for Mendenhall owners. You should at least own Mendenhall over the likes of Alfonso Smith, Stepfan Taylor and Ryan Williams.
Mike Goodson, New York Jets
He returns this week from his four-game suspension and might immediately push for carries, according to Michael J. Fensome of the Newark Star-Ledger. The absence of Chris Ivory (hamstring) is the only reason Goodson might be considered right now. Bilal Powell should fully be expected to remain the workhorse feature back for the Jets.
Running Backs to Ignore
Ronnie Hillman, Denver Broncos
Hillman has been getting more touches than rookie Montee Ball, but Knowshon Moreno is still the starter and fantasy leader of this committee, and Ball is the most intriguing handcuff. Hillman won't get enough touches to be anything more than a desperation option through the bye season.
Chris Polk, Philadelphia Eagles
It was strange seeing Polk getting time, particularly with Bryce Brown as the heavily owned handcuff for LeSean McCoy owners. Polk scored on his first NFL carry merely because McCoy "couldn't breathe" due to the mile-high altitude, according to Les Bowen of the Philadelphia Daily News. Brown also needed a breather at the time. Polk is a bad third option behind two potential fantasy stars.
Donald Brown, Indianapolis Colts
He served as Trent Richardson's backup in a blowout but will slip back to being third string behind Richardson and Ahmad Bradshaw (neck). Also, Seattle's defense is next up on the schedule. Yeah, Brown is still worthless, post-Richardson trade.
Anthony Dixon, San Francisco 49ers
He vultured a touchdown in the blowout of the Rams, but Gore and Hunter are healthy, and LaMichael James (knee) is getting there. James is still more intriguing than Dixon, even if the thumper will get a touchdown here or there.