On Sunday, Chris Price asked me if this was the worst season I had ever seen in terms of injuries to top skill players. I said it was and since then we have lost a few more weekly starters, including Marshawn Lynch. This is a brutal season for starting running backs and it just seems to be getting worse. The good news is that there are so many injuries that most fantasy teams have some issues. There’s trouble all over and it’s how you walk through the fire that will determine how far you can take your team in the coming weeks.
I have the most relevant pickups listed below and I will be adding more players at Rotobahn this afternoon, so stop by if you play in a deep league.
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The ownership rates listed for each player were obtained at Yahoo!
Jay Cutler, Bears, 45 percent
He was mediocre against the Broncos, but that’s to be expected. As I said last week, Cutler’s closing schedule is friendly and he can start for you the rest of the way if you need a quarterback. He plays at Green Bay on Thursday night.
Jameis Winston, Bucs, 25 percent
With the return of Vincent Jackson, Winston now has his two primary weapons back. As I have been saying for weeks, he has a very nice closing schedule and he can be your starter on most weeks in most leagues. The rookie should be owned in all leagues.
Marcus Mariota, Titans, 44 percent
He’s been very good in two out of the last three games with the bad game coming against the Panthers, who have shut down a lot of passing offenses this year. Mariota’s closing schedule has some choice matchups, so he should be owned in most leagues and certainly in all 12-team leagues.
Kirk Cousins, Washington, 24 percent
He’s had bad performances in bad matchups, but very good performances in good matchups. That’s key because he only has one more bad matchup remaining on his schedule and he has healthy weapons around him. Cousins can help you in deep formats as a matchup play.
Brock Osweiler, Broncos, 17 percent
He will start for at least one more week and it’s possible that he wins the job outright. Osweiler is a lifeboat for Peyton Manning owners. He can score points because of all the receiving talent around him. He should also get Emmanuel Sanders back this week.
Johnny Manziel, Browns, 5 percent
He has a nice matchup this week against a deflated Ravens team that has lost a remarkable number of key players, the latest being Joe Flacco. Manziel has a good shot at starting the rest of the way and he may be able to help you in large formats.
Thomas Rawls, Seahawks, 33 percent
Rawls’ great play combined with Marshawn Lynch‘s potential season-ending abdominal injury put the rookie at the top of the pile this week. This is the player you want to make a move for if you can.
Javorious Allen, Ravens, 12 percent
He is now the back to own in Baltimore after Justin Forsett’s season-ending injury. His injury is a broken arm, which will be all healed up for next season. Of course, that does little to console Forsett owners. Allen has plenty of potential in all scoring formats as he is a good receiver out of the backfield and he’s big enough to be a goal line back. The problem, and it’s an obvious one, is the lack of talent around him. Teams will be able to key on the run if Allen is running well because Matt Schaub, the new starting quarterback, inspires more fear in Ravens fans than opposing defenses. Still, Allen should get volume and in the current RB market, he has significant value.
James White, Patriots, 30 percent
He scored twice against the Bills and he did it on four touches, so sustainability is a concern. Still, the fact that he was so involved near the stripe is encouraging. White may lack Dion Lewis’ elusiveness and explosiveness, but he is a solid football player and he should continue to have some chances in the red zone. He has plenty of flex appeal going forward and could get into the RB2 mix if he keeps playing well. He needs to be owned in all leagues.
Tevin Coleman, Falcons, 27 percent
He may get a start this week if Devonta Freeman is slow to recover from his concussion, but Freeman owners should be adding Coleman no matter what because he has huge upside if Freeman goes down. Do yourself a favor and go get this guy if you are a Freeman owner. If you are chasing a Freeman owner in the standings, you might consider a preemptive strike just to jam that team up. Coleman’s upside makes it a totally viable move.
Shaun Draughn. 49ers, 17 percent
After this week’s tilt against the Cardinals, the 49ers‘ schedule eases up a bit and that is where Draughn’s value may lie. The only issue would be Carlos Hyde’s return, but I have to wonder about whether it makes sense for the 49ers to bring him back and risk more problems with the stress fracture in his foot. If you own Hyde, then owning Draughn is a no-brainer. If not, he’s more of a week-to-week asset.
Spencer Ware, Chiefs, 7 percent
Ware took over for Charcandrick West who went down with a hamstring injury. West’s status for Week 12 is up in the air, so those who own West can lock down the Chiefs’ starter by adding Ware. And, if you get him, he is worth hanging onto as a handcuff option. He looked good after taking over, as he scored twice and picked a few chunk plays, including a sweet 52-yard scamper. Ware is a power back, but as we saw during his days at LSU, he can make some cuts and run through contact. He’s not a fluke and he is playing ahead of Knile Davis for a reason.
Ahmad Bradshaw, Colts, 7 percent
Frank Gore was having issues with a quad and/or his knee last week and Bradshaw closed out the game as the Colts’ lead back. He looked typically good and scored twice. This underscores the need for Gore owners to also own Bradshaw if they can open up a roster spot. Bradshaw is talented and he has fresh legs.
Robert Turbin, Cowboys, 7 percent
He’s the clear backup to Darren McFadden and McFadden’s injury history makes Turbin a must-own player in deeper leagues. He looked healthy again picking up 35 yards on seven carries. Turbin is also an every down back if need be, so his ceiling would be huge playing behind the Cowboys’ offensive line with both Tony Romo and Dez Bryant back healthy. If you own McFadden, you really ought to add Turbin if you can find the space on your bench. He’s a very good handcuff option.
Devin Funchess, Panthers, 34 percent
He’s been coming on for a few weeks now and he had a strong performance in Week 11 with a touchdown and four catches. He was also targeted eight times, which was a season high. Funchess should now be owned in most leagues and certainly in all leagues with 12 or more teams.
Marquess Wilson, Bears, 8 percent
Wilson had a breakout game last week, though it was not his first good game of the year. What made it impressive is that it came against the Broncos‘ cornerbacks. With so many receivers banged up in Chicago, Wilson has value down the stretch and should be owned in most leagues until Eddie Royal comes back, and perhaps even after that. He plays on Thursday night this week, so the injured have less time to heal. He looks like a solid WR3 option against a mediocre Packers defense.
Tyler Lockett, Seahawks, 15 percent
Lockett showed what he is capable of against the 49ers with two scores. He is going to be the best weapon in Seattle’s offense next year and his role should continue to grow down the stretch. Lockett should be owned in all 12-team leagues and is a nice stash in smaller leagues.
Leonard Hankerson, Falcons, 13 percent
He’s a viable option if you are looking for receiving depth. He’s a favorite of offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan and Matt Ryan looks for him near the goal line.
Kendall Wright, Titans, 44 percent
He should come back from his knee injury this week and there will be plenty of targets awaiting him. I would definitely stash Wright in all PPR leagues in hopes that he returns to form down the stretch.
Vernon Davis, Broncos, 55 percent
He’s gotten better and more involved every week and he may have even more value if Brock Osweiler remains at quarterback. Add Davis wherever you can if you need help at tight end. He has some potential this week against the Patriots, and his schedule in the remaining weeks is very good. He should be owned in all leagues.
Kyle Rudolph, Vikings, 40 percent
The big tight end came alive in Week 11 and it could be a harbinger of things to come because the Vikings desperately need targets for Teddy Bridgewater. Rudolph is a nice speculative add in deep leagues just in case his increase in usage becomes a trend.
Ben Watson, Saints, 56 percent
He’s coming off of the bye week, so he may be available in some leagues. Watson has had a very strong year and can help in 12-team leagues down the stretch.
Richard Rodgers, Packers, 47 percent
He was light last week but he did have a touchdown called back, so he was active in the red zone as always. Rodgers can help you out in deeper formats because he always has a puncher’s chance at a good day. He also has Aaron Rodgers, which is an obvious plus.
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