Week 2 has put all of fantasy football on high alert this waiver Tuesday with all the injuries that occurred over the weekend you can absolutely be guaranteed to have the first competitive waiver lotto of the 2016 season. With the jury still out on Doug Martin and Arian Foster’s groin injury, his counterparts Adrian Peterson and Jonathon Stewart avoided season enders and are set to miss some time themselves. Unfortunately, Danny Woodhead wasn’t so lucky who now joins teammate Keenan Allen on IR and the Chargers once promising season of redemption now resembles a game of Madden with injuries set to max for offensive players. A lot of fantasy owners lost some serious players at the running back position who, with the exception of Woodhead, were drafted with-in the top five rounds of most fantasy drafts so lets go over which replacement back ups to select and other backs with sleeper potential…..
Discussing the back up running backs of injured starters
Adrian Peterson replacement: out up to 7 weeks (estimated)
Jerick McKinnon or Matt Asiata RB-MIN
Jerick McKinnon is expected to get 65% of the carries in what could be a completely different offense with no AP and the addition of Sam Bradford who actually looked like a NFL quarterback. However, last time these two competed for carries McKinnon got all the work he could handle outside the red zone with Asiata (projected for 35% snaps) handling goal line and short yardage situations who scored 9 touchdowns the last time these two formed a committee for an extended period of time. I believe they have something to offer owners based on the league you need them in, for example if you are in a more touchdown dependent league then you go with Asiata, whereas with PPR league settings you should definitely go with McKinnon. However, it is still uncertain how the coaching staff will use the two with Sam Bradford at QB for the foreseeable future and they also have a stiff matchup on the road as the team travels to Carolina this week.
Jonathon Stewart replacement: out 2-4 weeks
Cameron Artis-Payne or Fozzy Whittaker RB-CAR
Last season when Stewart went down to end the season, it was C.A.P. who benefitted from his absence running the ball for 33 carries. Although Fozzy went off for 16 carries for 100 yards on Sunday against the 49ers defense after Stewarts departure and since Artis-Payne is a similar back to JStew, he was a healthy scratch for the game rendering him unable to play this week. With Carolina already having a hit or miss running back situation as it is with everyone knowing how much Cam is able to tuck and run the ball at any point in the game, neither one are a very good addition to add/start in week 3 versus a stout Minnesota defense (ironically enough). If I had to add one to fill the void, it’s Cameron Artis-Payne because Fozzy is essentially the third string change of pace back and will most likely retain that roll in this offense that has a great thing going for it and is probably unwilling to change the style of play if it can continue to work with Stewart sidelined.
Arian Foster replacement:
Kenyan Drake or Jay Ajayi RB-MIA
With Jay Ajayi struggling to pick up the NFL game, its opened the door wide open for Drake to enter this discussion as the heavy favorite, in my opinion, to be the lead back going forward (or till Foster’s return) for the Dolphins who continues to have issues with Ajayi for a number of different reasons and also only netting 2.8 yards per carry against the Patriots compared to Drake’s 6 ypc and a score, sure they only had two carries each but the results are much different in those two carries. Drake is not your typical Alabama running back and he seems more like a better fit for what Adam Gase likes to do with his offensive schemes and everyone who watched the National Championship game knows how explosive he can be with the ball in his hands. The simple fact here is, like teenagers with their parents car, Ajayi cannot be trusted with the keys to the car. My vote here, I will take the potentially explosive runner over a trouble maker any day, go with Drake against Cleveland who just flat out sucks on defense.
Danny Woodhead replacement:
Kenneth Farrow or Andre Williams
The Chargers are knee deep in the stuff and you just simply cannot replace a Danny Woodhead who was on pace to have a ridiculous stat line versus the Jaguars on Sunday who essentially had ZERO answer for him which was clearly evident in him going 29 yards on just three carries before getting injured early. The two main options for the back up role behind Melvin Gordon are undrafted free agent Kenneth Farrow out of University of Houston and newly signed (and former New York Giant backup) Andre Williams. While Williams is the player with the familiar name, I am really high on Farrow to be completely honest, especially after reading that Woodhead who, was also an undrafted free agent out of college, pulled Farrow in under his wing when he got to San Diego showing him the tools of the trade of what it’s like to be Danny “boy” Woodhead. After watching his game film from college, Farrow looks to be a sleeping giant ready to explode onto the fantasy football scene, a guy who is an incredibly elusive runner that displays great vision and patience in letting the play develop then speed bursts through the hole and can absolutely punish defenders in his way. If Farrows college game translates to the NFL Gordon better enjoy his starts in San Diego while he can because it may be just a matter of time before Woodhead’s Frankenstein creation runs away with the starting job, literally.
Doug Martin replacement:
No debate here, the guy to have is Charles Sims.
RB Sleepers to Stash
Ray Rice -FA (Bold Prediction)
Now I am really going out on a limb here and the odds are that NFL teams won’t touch Rice with a ten foot pole, but there are just not a lot of good running backs in the league. It is a very hard position that takes a ton of punishment from taking on tackles going forward and having to let pass rushers smash into you at full speed in pass protection. With that being said, all of these injuries to key backs to start the season could have long lasting effects on the rest of the season. If your roster is solid and you’re looking for a super sleeper to add and stash on your bench add Ray Rice and see what happens because a team who is desperate and in a playoff race, just MIGHT, call his phone in the upcoming weeks.
Alfred Morris RB-DAL
As I stated in an earlier article back in July, Morris has already taken one job from a rookie with fumbling issues and history seems to coming around full circle with Ezekiel Elliot getting sent to the bench after his second fumble against the Redskins on Sunday. Allowing Morris to take a goal line touchdown in front of the crowed that he used to call home, which is a clear indication that Elliot’s early struggles are starting to become a problem for the Cowboys coaching staff so add Morris to your bench and you may end up with the best fantasy running back for the second half of the season.
*UPDATE: Adrian Peterson set to have surgery and will miss the next 3-4 months*