Fantasy Football Week 16: Waiver Wire Wonders at Running Back

Fantasy Football SpinCorrespondent IDecember 23, 2011

If you still care about fantasy football entering Week 16, congratulations are in order as you are likely one step away from hoisting the fantasy Lombardi. This week we profile a few RBs that could provide adequate numbers if you are in need of an injury replacement or looking to play the matchups with marginal starters.

Many backfields have been decimated by injuries. DeMarco Murray’s Week 14 broken ankle opened the door for Fragile Felix to garner a Week 15 start but a hamstring injury sidelined him in the second half. Jones missed Wednesday’s practice and veteran Sammy Morris could be in line for a start in a crucial NFC East game against Philly. Chicago’s Matt Forte’s knee injury could keep him out for the rest of the season (especially with an unsettled contract) and Week 15 saw the emergence of Kahlil Bell in a more prominent role.

Next to each player is each team’s remaining schedule. In BOLD are the favorable matchups against the 10 worst defenses that allow the most fantasy points to opposing RBs. In italic are matchups with the top 10 run defenses allowing the least fantasy points to opposing RBs.

Kahlil Bell: (@GB, @MIN)

Matt Forte’s MCL injury and Marion Barber's disastrous Week 14 against Denver has opened the door for the 25-year-old Bell to toll in the Windy City. In Week 15, the UCLA product amassed 133 all-purpose yards on 43 snaps—Marion Barber had just 17 snaps. The 5’11", 212 pounder is a solid PPR option and word out of Chicago is that Bell is in line to start over Barber. In Week 16, Chicago travels to Lambeau to face the Packers' 12th ranked run defense (106 YPG) and Bell is a solid flex play based on his dual threat ability (10 catches over the past two weeks).

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - DECEMBER 18: Drew Brees #9 of the New Orleans Saints hands the ball to Chris Ivory #29 during the second quarter against the Minnesota Vikings on December 18, 2011 at Mall of America Field at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapol
Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

Chris Ivory: (ATL, CAR)


With rookie first rounder Mark Ingram battling a turf toe injury, Ivory led the Saints backfield for the second straight week. He posted 18 carries for 74 yards in a win over the Vikings (had 13 carries for 53 yards in Week 14). At 6', 222 pounds the Ivory Coast should remain the Saints' goal line back as long as Ingram is sidelined.The 2010 undrafted rookie free agent led all rookies in rushing last season and could be worth stashing as a flex play, especially for those in leagues with fantasy Super Bowls in Week 17—Saints face weak Panther run defense.  This week he faces a stiff test against Atlanta’s fifth ranked run defense (97 YPG) and is just a low-end flex play at best in a difficult matchup.

Sammy Morris: (PHI, @NYG)

With DeMarco Murray out for the year and Felix Jones hampered by a hamstring injury, the 34-year-old vet could get the Week 16 start and has been handling first team reps in practice. In his first action outside of the AFC East (he previously played for Buffalo, Miami and New England), Morris carried 12 times for 53 yards 4.4 YPC in the Week 15 win over Tampa. This week Dallas hosts a mediocre Eagles run defense that ranks 18th (115 YPG).  Morris could be a viable flex option depending on the status of the oft injured Felix the Cat.

Lance Ball: (@BUF, KC)

Willis McGahee missed parts of the Week 15 blowout loss to the Pats with a hamstring injury but has returned to practice and is expected to start in a dream matchup with the Bills' 25th ranked run defense (just yielded a 200-yard effort from Reggie Bush). Keep an eye on McGahee’s injury status as Ball (26-year-old Maryland alum) would be an RB2 if he gets the start. In Week 15, the 5’9", 220 pound bowling ball carried 11 times for 64 yards with a touchdown and added two catches for 41 yards.

If you are looking for some depth at other positions, be sure to check out our quarterback and wide receiver waiver-wire articles for Week 16.

Looking for injury updates? Check out our Injury Status Chart with Fantasy Advice updated throughout the weekend and then every 10 minutes starting at 11:30 Saturday morning up until the 1:00 pm kickoffs.

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