With the fantasy landscape taking a small hit through three weeks from the WR department, many managers are now putting more emphasis on their running backs as a way of regaining some greatly needed, lost fantasy points.
But the RB position has been the subject of unexpected injuries as of late, hampering the normal value of some marquee players.
And their backups aren’t exactly “diamonds in the rough” either.
What makes matters worse is the fact that some of the healthy backs of elite status are engulfed in an RBBC—meaning, if you don’t have Thomas Jones handcuffed to Jamaal Charles, let’s say, you’re getting half the production which means half the points.
So much to digest. Right now, there are five high profile RBs that have some issues that you need to know about, so let’s take a look and see what’s going on around the league in terms of these not-so-fab five backs.
Ryan Mathews – SD: It is being reported that Mathews has not only practiced without issue but plans on starting against Arizona this Sunday.
This is great news for Mathews' owners simply because the Cardinals are having a world of trouble stopping the run, and the only other team that is worse is the Detroit Lions.
It looks as if you are safe to give him “the nod.”
Steven Jackson – STL: Jackson sat out of practice today (Wednesday) thanks to that sore groin, and while it isn’t as severe as everyone originally thought, the Rams did bring in Chauncey Washington as a backup plan.
The REAL issue here is the fact that the Rams face the Seahawks' fifth-ranked rushing defense this week, and even if Jackson is 85 percent ( a pretty safe assessment) there is little value here.
If you have another quality back I say use him, but if not, perhaps you may want to try and scoop up Cleveland’s Peyton Hillis.
Pierre Thomas – NO: Thomas is dealing with an ankle injury suffered in last week’s contest against the Falcons and sat out of practice today. Furthermore, the Saints are considering bringing back DeShawn Wynn as an insurance policy, which doesn’t bode well for Thomas’ health status.
The Saints face the Panthers who rank 14th against the run and 13th against the pass, so they do have a quality defense but are devoid of any sort of offense. Still, sitting Thomas may be a good idea this week if this injury progresses.
Jahvid Best – DET: Best was held out of practice due to turf toe and could be limited in his duties this week against the Packers.
The Packers are very good at stopping the run, so anyone carrying the ball from Detroit is in for a terrible day. But Best relies on his speed, so something like turf toe—and injury that hangs around like Aunt Fran at Christmas—could be more detrimental than usual.
Knowshon Moreno – DEN: Moreno is out for this Sunday’s matchup against the elite run defense in Tennessee thanks to that nagging hamstring issue.
To make matters worse, the Broncos could be without his services next week against another elite team: The Baltimore Ravens.
Moreno needs to be stashed away right now, and you should have a couple of back up plans ready to deploy in an effort to handle this unfortunate turn of events.
Other Notable RB Issues:
1. Ray Rice – BAL: Rice’s knee appears to be fine, but keep in mind Baltimore faces a Steelers team that has allowed just 179 yards rushing and one TD to opposing running backs. Not a good matchup.
2. Donald Brown – IND: Brown was held out of practice this week, and the Colts are working other backs which suggests that Brown’s hamstring is worse than previously thought. It’s safe to sit him since the Colts are bound to air it out against Jacksonville.
3. Marshawn Lynch – BUF: NFL Network's Mike Lombardi predicted on Around the League Wednesday that the Bills will "pull the pin" and deal Marshawn Lynch before the October 19 trade deadline in accordance with reports on Rotoworld.com. The Packers have long been speculated as frontrunners if the Bills were to do something, so keep an eye on this, as Lynch’s value could rise as a Packers backer.
4. Fred Taylor – NE: Taylor was held out of practice due to an injury to his toe, and if he isn’t ready to go, BenJarvus Green-Ellis would be the main ball carrier on MNF. It’s not a good matchup for either back against a stout Miami run D.
5. LaGarrette Blount – TB: Well look at who’s been named the Bucs new goal-line back. Coach Raheem Morris announced the news earlier this week, and for those of you in Standard League or modified TD leagues, this could be a nice pick up going forward.
I hope this information was useful, and if so, you might want to check out my WK4 WR Start Sit column.