Jalen Richard, DeAndre Washington's Fantasy Outlook After Latavius Murray Injury

Rob GoldbergFeatured ColumnistOctober 7, 2016

OAKLAND, CA - AUGUST 27:  Running back DeAndre Washington #33 of the Oakland Raiders returns a kickoff against Tennessee Titans in the first half of their preseason football game at the Oakland Coliseum on August 27, 2016 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

With running back Latavius Murray out with a toe injury in Week 5, DeAndre Washington and Jalen Richard have a chance to become major factors for the Oakland Raiders.

Richard (5'8", 207 lbs) and Washington (5'8", 204 lbs) are similarly built players with great speed and agility that allows for big-play ability whenever they touch the ball. 

Both have performed well as change-of-pace backs behind Murray during the regular season, with Richard having 144 yards and one touchdown on 17 carries and Washington totaling 147 yards on 23 carries.

Each really started turning heads with strong showings during the preseason, allowing them to move up the depth chart ahead of Taiwan Jones and others. 

"I thought that they ran really hard and the game wasn’t too fast for them," quarterback Derek Carr said of the two rookies in August, per Kyle Martin of the team's official site. "I didn’t think they were too nervous, or anxious, or anything like that. I thought they were just out there playing football and that’s great to see."

This led to both players earning roles at the start of the regular season. Richard notably broke off a 75-yard touchdown run in Week 1, but Washington has come through with plenty of big plays himself.

As a result, fans should expect a similar split of touches for as long as Murray is on the bench. Neither player is built to handle the full-time load, but these two players can combine for a lot production. 

The Raiders have a dynamic offense featuring a quality quarterback and an elite receiver, which should take away a lot of the focus from opposing defenses. Combine this with an improved offensive line, and there should be plenty of running room for whoever is in the backfield.

Oakland is also willing to give touches to its running backs. Murray finished third in the NFL in rushing attempts last season, and all three runners have gotten plenty of use in 2016.

Washington should be the top priority in fantasy football as the only one of the two who was drafted (fifth round) and the one who has gotten slightly more consistent playing time and touches to this point in the year. However, both players should be added in all leagues.

Although you might want to wait to see how the coaching staff uses each player, both Richard and Washington have the upside of an RB2 going forward.