Injuries have ravaged the NFL this season, and that trend continued in Week 9 as some key fantasy players left games early, thus giving an opportunity to their backups.
Oakland Raiders running back Rashad Jennings got the call in Week 9 after starting back Darren McFadden went down to a hamstring injury that forced him out of the game early against the Philadelphia Eagles, according to the team's Twitter feed:
RB @dmcfadden20 is out with a hamstring injury.— OAKLAND RAIDERS (@RAIDERS) November 3, 2013
Arian Foster was another running back who couldn't make it through an entire contest after he left with a back injury following just a couple of snaps, per the Houston Texans' Twitter feed:
RB Arian Foster is out with a back injury. #TexansGameday— Houston Texans (@HoustonTexans) November 4, 2013
Let's take a look at each of these backups and find out why they will have success this week and beyond.
Rashad Jennings, RB, Oakland Raiders
Owned in 4.6 Percent of ESPN Leagues
The injury problems of McFadden have struck again, leaving fantasy owners in a potential bind for Week 10. But have no fear, as Run DMC's backup, Jennings, looks to be a viable option to replace him moving forward.
Paul Gutierrez of ESPN.com reports that McFadden's reaggravated hamstring injury is a big concern to the Raiders at the moment. Head coach Dennis Allen spoke on the injury to his star player, who has missed one game this season, left early in a few and has never played more than 13 games in a season throughout his career:
Obviously, with hamstrings, you never know, with Darren. So, probably a little more concern with Darren than there'd be with Terrelle but we'll see how both of those guys are doing in the morning and that will probably dictate what their availability is going to be on Wednesday.
It's still a little too early to know for sure just how long McFadden will be out, but things aren't looking good after reinjuring his hammy. He is being listed as questionable on ESPN.com's injury report as of Tuesday.
Should he be unable to take the field, the Raiders will go with Jennings, who had a stellar performance for Oakland in Week 9 versus the Eagles. In the losing effort, Jennings rushed for 102 yards and a score to go along with 74 receiving yards.
In Week 10, the Raiders will travel to MetLife Stadium to take on the New York Giants, a team notorious for horrid defense in 2013-14. Granted, their rankings against the pass (No. 16) and run (No. 9) have improved in recent weeks, but the G-Men are still allowing the fifth-most points per game in the NFL.
You cannot be too picky when in need of a running back at this point in the season.
Dennis Johnson, RB, Houston Texans
Owned in 0.1 Percent of ESPN Leagues
It didn't take long for Texans star running back Arian Foster to leave his team's Sunday Night Football showdown with the Indianapolis Colts after suffering a back injury.
That opened the door for Dennis Johnson and makes him someone to keep an eye on as the week progresses. Adding to that, Foster's primary backup, Ben Tate, is dealing with broken ribs, which is a painful injury and could potentially sideline him at any moment.
Here is what Tate had to say about the injury, per Brian T. Smith of the Houston Chronicle:
Ben Tate said late Sunday he left everything on the field during the Texans’ 27-24 defeat to the Indianapolis Colts.
Less than 24 hours later, Tate was feeling the pain of his commitment.
“It hurts pretty bad, man,” Tate said.
The four broken ribs he played with left him walking lightly Monday, saying it’s “hard to breathe and laugh.”
“I like to tell jokes. … Maybe by Friday,” said Tate, who plans to play Sunday at Arizona.
Clearly, his status is no certainty moving forward, and that could lead to a bigger workload for Johnson. In Week 9, Johnson got eight carries and turned them into 36 yards, good enough for a solid 4.5-yards-per-carry average.
Week 10's matchup with the Arizona Cardinals doesn't present a favorable one as the Cards are ranked No. 4 against the run this season. However, considering the Cards are also ranked No. 24 against the pass and new quarterback Case Keenum just threw for 350 yards and three scores in Week 9, it's safe to assume Houston will be able to establish the air attack in order to open things up for Johnson to have a successful game.
Should Tate take the field in Week 10, Johnson's fantasy value will diminish, but stashing him in an open roster spot isn't a bad idea for the time being with both of Houston's running backs not looking too good.
Nick Foles, QB, Philadelphia Eagles
Owned in 10.3 Percent of ESPN Leagues
Michael Vick's injury woes have paved the way for Foles to not only take over behind center for the Eagles but also to have a historic game in Week 9. The second-year signal-caller torched the Raiders for a record-tying seven touchdown passes, and he compiled 406 yards in the process without turning the ball over once.
At the very least, a performance like that will warrant Foles getting a start for owners who have lost Vick or are victims of a bye week or another injured quarterback. I'm talking to you, Aaron Rodgers owners, as Rodgers suffered a fracture in his collarbone, per Adam Schefter of ESPN:
More definitive scans today but initial tests showed small fracture in Aaron Rodgers' collarbone that could sideline him about three weeks.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) November 5, 2013
Head coach Chip Kelly stated that Foles is the starter for now, according to Phil Sheridan of ESPN.com.
This wasn't the first team Foles has gone off on this season. In Week 6 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, he lit up the lowly squad, racking up 31 points in ESPN standard leagues.
Owners who take a chance on Foles have an intriguing matchup to look forward to in Week 10 when the Eagles travel to Lambeau Field to take on the Green Bay Packers. The Pack rank No. 20 against the pass this season and own the same ranking in fantasy versus quarterbacks overall.
Not to mention, an injury to their star quarterback has the potential to force Rodgers to miss time and that may lead to a lot of quick drives for the Packers. That means more possessions and more opportunities to score points than would normally be possible for Foles and the Eagles.