Last week, I highlighted Bobby Rainey, and of course, if Rainey is still available (he is owned in about two-thirds of leagues now), you want to add him.
Assuming, however, that your options are more limited, you are going to have to play matchups. Before the season, I highlighted one league where I went with an intentional “draft Calvin Johnson and Brandon Marshall in PPR, wait on running backs” strategy. My running back picks couldn’t have worked out worse–none of them are on my roster right now in that league. Nevertheless, I am surging and have won five straight games, because not only do I write this column, I have used my waiver advice personally and remained active.
Because I was not overly invested at running back, I have been able to jump on opportunities all year long and not mistakenly believe I was set, only to lose an Arian Foster or Doug Martin. My current crop of backs includes Le’Veon Bell, Rashad Jennings, and Bobby Rainey. Hardly notable names, but coupled with top wide receivers, makes for a pretty good scoring lineup.
If you are going that route, and you need a spot start this week, I would look to Mark Ingram (45% ownership) because he draws the same matchup that Bobby Rainey just exploited to great gain. I’m not under the impression that Ingram is anything more than average, but if he gets even 40% of the running back touches, with the matchup, he should be a start. Add in that Darren Sproles will be on the injury report and the Saints should win, and Ingram could see lots of opportunities.
Not a lot of good starting options for the squeamish among you needing to wade deep in the waiver wire pool at the QB position. Alex Smith (63%) has a fantastic matchup vs. San Diego, but two of his linemen may be out, and Smith isn’t exactly the type to perform well without less than stellar blocking up front.
If you are really brave, go Scott Tolzien vs. Minnesota, who have absolutely dreadful defending the pass.
Obviously, Bobby Rainey (66%) if he is available. Donald Brown (63%) is another that might be lurking in a shallow league and has been getting more looks than Richardson recently–and doing more with them.
Montee Ball (45%) was mentioned last week and got two touchdowns. Don’t expect that every week, but he has surpassed Ronnie Hillman on the depth chart. One injury away from being really valuable.
Chris Ogbonnaya (35%) would be my desperation spot start against the Steelers, as he has gotten more looks lately, and appears to be the best option on the Cleveland roster.
Keep an eye on Andre Caldwell just in case Wes Welker is ruled out with the concussion. If he is out, Caldwell should see enough reps to warrant flex or 3rd WR consideration in deep leagues.
Michael Floyd (64%) had a huge game last week, even though he was on the injury report. It’s the type of game we have been waiting for, though it did come against the Jaguars. Floyd is worth adding on talent for the stretch run.
Don’t forget about Lance Moore (50%) vs. Atlanta, especially if Sproles is ruled out. Moore would actually be the more likely beneficiary in the passing game if Sproles is not around, rather than one of the other backs.
Miles Austin (31%) is expected to return this week from hamstring injury, and is the forgotten man in Dallas. The matchup against the Giants is enticing, though you would have to be pretty thin to risk putting him in.
Two tight ends have had big games in recent weeks, and again have good matchups. Garrett Graham vs JAC and Delanie Walker vs. OAK. Those are your choices this week if you have an injury issue (Reed).
I would go Pittsburgh against Jason Campbell and his check down ways, followed by Saints vs. Atlanta or Green Bay at home against Minnesota this week.
- Bobby Rainey, RB
- Michael Floyd, WR
- Donald Brown, RB
- Mark Ingram, RB
- Garrett Graham, TE
- Lance Moore, WR
- Montee Ball, RB
- Delanie Walker, TE
- Miles Austin, WR
- Andre Caldwell, WR