- Category: Insights
- Published: Thursday, 25 October 2012 15:56
- Written by David Biggs
- Hits: 616
We are now into week 8 of the 2012 fantasy football season and (understandably so) many owners are having trouble sleeping at night wondering how they will fill their lineups on a weekly basis. Every year brings the same kinds of injuries, but running backs are always hit especially hard since they take the brunt of the assaulting, physical game of football.
The important thing is how you deal with these issues - so let's break a few of them down:
Trent Richardson (CLE) - Richardson has been every bit the workhorse running back that many claimed he would be when he was drafted by the Browns this year. Going along with that are, of course, an assortment of punishing hits that players fresh from college football can't possibly be ready for. In week 6's win over the Bengals, Richardson left the game in the third quarter with a "flank" injury and did not return. He was later diagnosed with a right rib cartilage injury that was not deemed very serious. Practicing leading up to week 7's game against the Colts, Richardson started but only rushed for a total of 19 yards before being sidelined for the rest of the game. Although Browns coach Pat Shurmur insisted that the benching did not have anything to do with the rookie RB's injury, Richardson later told reporters that his injury is "worse than what people think it is." Certainly not the kind of news that we like to hear. Yesterday we heard that the Browns were contemplating holding out Richardson until after the bye week (10), but the latest news is that he may in fact start on Sunday against the Chargers on Sunday. Can we trust Richardson? I think so. He has been very open and vocal about his injury and if there are any setbacks leading up to the game I'm confident that we will hear about them. Latest news: "I'm gonna go out there and see what I can do. If I can't finish the game, (Montario Hardesty is) gonna be there."
Official Recommendation: Make sure to grab Montario Hardesty if you are planning to start Richardson this week. We don't suggest the start if you can help it, though, since it's more than likely Richardson will be limited and disappointment awaits you right around the corner! Spooky.
Rashard Mendenhall (PIT) - The Steelers are in a bit of a RB crisis and have been turning to their backups to fill-in-the-blanks in the meantime. Currently both Mendenhall and Redman (#1 and #2 on the depth chart, respectively) are sidelined with injuries and although Redman has just started to practice this week, he is still not likely to play in Sunday's game against the Washington Redskins. Mendenhall has yet to practice after injuring his achilles' tendon injury in week 6 and will definitely be a scratch this week. That leaves Dwyer, whose respectable start last week against the Bengals defense garnered him 122 yards on the ground. Washington is giving up the 17th most fantasy points to RB's this year which is very much in the middle of the pack and Dwyer should be able to put up a similar performance to last week's against Cincinnatti.
Official Recommendation: Dwyer could help your team out this week if you're in a bind, but expecting more than 8-10 fantasy points from him is unlikely at best. If you need to start him, pay attention to the news leading up to the game; if Redman is active he will only sap Dwyer's touches and make you wish that you had looked elsewhere.
Maurice Jones-Drew (JAX) - What a rollercoaster. This year you may have been lucky enough to get MJD late in a fantasy draft (because of his preseason holdout) and watch as he settled right back into his usual role as a workhorse running back with huge upside, but his sprained foot has now put a damper on any production for the next few weeks. Owners breathed a sigh of relief when the news broke that MJD's injury was not of the lisfranc variety (which has sidelined players like Matt Schaub and Darren McFadden for entire seasons), but the work of a fantasy owner does't just stop at benching an injured player. Assuming that Jones-Drew is sidelined until week 11 or 12 (which seems to be the current concensus), is Rashad Jennings a good fill-in during MJD's absence? Yes, we believe so - Jennings immediately assumed the full compliment of touches that MJD was getting and looks to continue that load through Jones-Drew's injury. Although his fantasy production seemed less than stellar last week with only 44 yards on 21 carries, Jennings also scored a rushing TD and notched 58 yards on 7 receptions. I think we can all agree that 100+ yards and a touchdown does a good day make, not to mention that his success in the backfield translates well to both standard scoring and PPR leagues.
Official Recommendation: Hopefully you either already owned Jennings or picked him up off the wire last week. If you have him on your roster, plug him in and enjoy the production while it lasts - he may have some issues against Detroit in week 9 but match-ups against Green Bay and Indianapolis in week 8 and 10 should keep him rolling.
DeMarco Murray (DAL) - Murray only had 1 TD in the first 6 weeks of the season but looked to be finding his footing after putting up 93 yards on 14 rushes against Baltimore in week 6. Unfortunately, he suffered a sprained foot during that game which prevented any further production and is still suffering from the same injury this week. According to reports, Murray is still on crutches to keep the weight off of his foot and will be looking to get back on the field to practice after this week's game against the division rival New York Giants. That said, Murray's backup Felix Jones - who was the #1 waiver wire pickup last week - is listed this week as limited in practice with a bruised left knee. Yeouch. The injury should not affect Jones's start this week though, and he is always a big-play threat in the Dallas Cowboys' offense.
Official Recommendation: Murray is out, Felix is in. We'd look at Jones as a low-end RB2 but he is still capable of high-upside performances. Facing the Giants' better-than-average run defense won't help matters much, though. There has been some talk about Phillip Tanner (backing up Jones at RB) who received 13 carries in last week's game against Carolina, but we don't advise picking him up except in extreme desperation. And in that case there's always Tebow, right?