Replacing the Star Running Backs on your Fantasy Team

Matthew Schipiour, Staff Reporter

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Wow. What has happened in fantasy the last few weeks? I can’t recall, in my 5 years of playing, a season with this many injuries. I get it. Everyone is in flux, but there are silver linings to be had.
For starters, Le’Veon Bell (MCL), Arian Foster (Achilles), and Dion Lewis (ACL) have all been lost for the season. The question is how do you replace them? Well, if you didn’t have DeAngelo Williams lying around on your bench, you probably missed out on him. So now what? There aren’t any for sure plays, but these are the best options available:

Brandon Bolden/James White:
It has yet to be seen who will fill in for Lewis, but one thing is for sure, his targets have to go somewhere. Blount is a very good play, but there may be a game or two where one of these two explode with production. Bolden is the best pass protector of that bunch, but we’ve seen Billicheck flirt with using him before. White seems to have taken over the pass catching role, but he’s not getting enough targets right now.

Theo Riddick/Joique Bell:
Riddick is in a weird situation, but he benefits from being on a losing team. Despite Abdullah being a very talented back, he has extreme fumbling issues. The Lions in general are a bad football team, and they most likely will be playing from behind. This means more opportunities for Riddick being the passing back. He is also a very good player in PPR leagues; he has a floor of about 7.5 points in those formats. Bell was coming off an injury riddled offseason. People forget that he was a top 20 running back in drafts this season. Ever since Joe Lombardi was relieved of his duties, I’ve been a believer that they will go back to letting Matthew Stafford step back and chuck it deep. This can help the running game get back on track to years prior. The game we saw with the new staff before the bye involved a lot of Joique Bell.

Antonio Andrews/David Cobb:
The Tennessee backfield has been a mess this season. Bishop Sankey is a bust, Terrance West got cut, and Dexter McCluster is a passing back. Surprisingly, Antonio Andrews has been the one to step up. He has a very low ownership percentage, and I can’t see why. He has put up very respectable production when given the opportunity. That’s the problem because he hasn’t been getting carries consistently. With the new coaching change, though, it has become apparent that he will be the bell cow back. This was evident in the game against New Orleans where he had over 100 yards from scrimmage. David Cobb was activated last week and was a preseason darling, but that was with the old coaching staff. He’s worth a stash in case he catches fire and takes the starting job.

Isaiah Crowell:
He has been very ineffective this season which has led to many drops recently. Yet, despite his ineffectiveness, the Browns just won’t give more touches to Duke Johnson. Crowell, as ineffective as he is, is still getting a healthy amount of touches. That’s all you can ask for out of any player is the opportunity to produce.

Robert Turbin:
Turbin was just picked up by Dallas off of waivers this week, and has really studied the playbook to be active in week 11. McFadden is dealing with a groin injury, so in the case that he aggravates it, Turbin would be the next man up behind one of the best offensive lines in football.

Shaughn Draughn:
With Carlos Hyde dealing with a stress fracture in his foot, Draughn has seen the majority of the backfield touches. He’s a volume play on a bad team, but where else are you going to find a starting running back? Hyde seems unlikely to return any time soon, so Draughn should be considered as a solid flex play when the match-ups are good.

Jay Ajayi:
Lamar Miller has a great schedule ahead of him, especially for the playoffs. Although Miller is a very productive back, Ajayi is a talented back who is more than capable of carrying a run game. He has been getting more and more work since coming back from his rib injury, and he has been more productive as the season goes on. If Miller were to go down with an injury, Ajayi would be the first waiver priority in your league. Stash Ajayi in case this happens.


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