Darren McFadden left the last game against Washington, and Marcel Reece also had a knee injury. That makes Rashad Jennings Mr. Right Now (not necessarily Mr. Right). He picked up some nice first downs in the passing game on second effort, and though he has never impressed as a runner, you are probably looking at a guy who will get 20-25 touches combined if McFadden is out.
Based on matchup and likelihood of starting and getting touches, Jennings is the best option among likely free agents.
This week, these selections are all players outside the top 20 at QB in percentage owned in leagues on CBS Sports, top 40 at running back and wide receiver, and top 15 at tight end and defense.
If Joe Flacco is available (probably right at the cut line) then he is your best option based on matchup. We saw Drew Brees really light up the Dolphins D with Cameron Wake out.
Assuming you have to dig a little deeper and need help on a bye week, I would monitor the Oakland situation. I don’t want any part of Matt Flynn, but if Terrelle Pryor is cleared after sitting out last week, I think he is a pretty good spot start against San Diego.
After prior, I would go Brian Hoyer against the Bills on Thursday Night.
Willis McGahee is off to a slow start but is a potential flex option this week against Buffalo. Keep an eye on the injury news, and if you miss out on others, stash Tashard Choice just in case, because Jackson and Spiller are both listed as questionable on a short week. It’s a tough matchup, so I would still only use Choice in deep leagues, and only if both Jackson and Spiller are out.
Danny Woodhead continues to amaze, and ran one of my favorite routes, the wheel route, for a TD against Dallas. He’s a flex play against Oakland.
The Giants/Eagles game provides your flex matchup plays among backups. Bryce Brown could be started in a start 3 RB league, while Brandon Jacobs might vulture a touchdown against the porous Eagles.
Austin Pettis has been targeted 31 times so far this season, and gets to go against Jacksonville. He is immediately startable. Nate Washington has back to back 100 yard games, but a tougher matchup against Kansas City. Denarius Moore is a matchup play against the Chargers.
Robert Woods might be the top option, with Stevie Johnson on the injury report. Jeremy Kerley may be the lone receiver standing for the Jets, in a pretty good matchup against Atlanta. Justin Blackmon is back from suspension and gets to face the Rams.
Deep sleeper? Kris Durham of the Lions, and not Ryan Broyles, got more targets at receiver. He ended up with 3 catches and over 50 yards.
The good news at tight end is that there are plenty of options and matchup plays this week. Brandon Pettigrew was a much bigger part of the offense with Nate Burleson out, and has a pretty good matchup this week against the Packers. Dallas Clark is facing the team that has given up the most fantasy points to tight ends so far this year in Miami.
Coby Fleener continues to be a longer term option, but has Seattle this week. Brent Celek is another matchup play you could fall back to, going against the Giants.
Last week, my three recommendations that were outside the top owned units (Kansas City, Indianapolis, and Tennessee) averaged 4 sacks, 3 turnovers, and scored 1 touchdown each. We’ll see if we can match that this week, but it will be tough.
This week’s recommendation is the Carolina Panthers traveling to Arizona. I am kind of stunned, with how good of a front seven they have and what they did to the Giants in the last game out, that they are owned in only 21% of leagues.
After that, my next recommendation is the St. Louis Rams because, well, Jacksonville. Not crazy about Atlanta as a defense, but Geno Smith seems like fantasy defensive gold, and the team will be without Santonio Holmes and maybe Stephen Hill at wide receiver.