Week 11: Start 'Em
It never fails. There is usually at least one week during the fantasy season when there is an explosion of injuries and that's just what happened this past weekend, when 5 starting running backs left their respective games early. Brian Westbrook left the game with his 2nd concussion for the 2nd time in 4 weeks, putting the rest of his season and maybe even career in jeopardy. Other stud running backs that went down include: Ronnie Brown, Michael Turner, Cedric Benson and Julius Jones. While it's too early in the week to say, it looks like none of these guys will be ready to play in week 11; so many fantasy owners will be left scratching their heads wondering who to start at RB. Many of you will be wondering if you should start one of the injured running back handcuffs or look elsewhere. If you are in need of some help for your starting line up, take a look below for some ideas.
Talk about coming out of nowhere, when Julius Jones went down with an injury last week, Justin Forsett came in and set career highs in every rushing category -- as he rushed the ball 17 times for 123 yards and 1 touchdown (he eclipsed his season and career totals in one game), not to mention 5 receptions for 26 yards. Forsett is a dual threat as he is great at catching balls out of the backfield, as seen by the fact that he has had at least 5 receptions 3 times already this season. This week the Seahawks have a tough match-up as they face the Vikings and their very tough run defence, but because of Forsett's being a dual threat he should be a very solid RB2 or flex this week. Look for over 100 total yards and at least 5 receptions.
Bernard Scott proved enough in his rookie camp to secure the back-up running back job, behind Cedric Benson. With starter Benson having a career year and helping the Bengals to first place in their division, Scott has had to take a back seat. That was until last week when Benson went down with a hip injury. The Bengals haven't said yet if Benson will miss the game, but with a good match-up vs. the Raiders, there is a good chance Cincinnati will take the safe road and rest Benson. As the Raiders have done nothing to stop the run this year, make sure to start Scott if Benson is out.
When Michael Turner went down with an injury last week, Falcons fans and Turner fantasy owners all got very nervous. The Falcons were able to breathe a little easier when they watched Jason Snelling come in and do the job and help the Falcons to victory, hopefully Turner owners also have Snelling or you might be in trouble. Unlike Turner, Snelling is a very capable pass catching running back, making him a dual threat to put up fantasy points this week. Not only is Turner out, it looks like Jerious Norwood will be out as well, so look for Snelling to get most of the carries and be on the field for most of the game. Make sure Snelling is in your line-up this week.
Ricky Williams went into the season as Ronnie Brown's back up and compliment in the wildcat. No one expected much out of him, but over the first 7 weeks he played so well -- including a 3 touchdown game vs. the Saints -- that he was worth starting as a fantasy option even with Brown healthy. Williams took a step back in weeks 8 and 9, but when Brown went down in week 10, Williams took over as the main man and rushed for 102 yards. The Dolphins will use Ricky as the main weapon in the offense and he makes a very good RB2 start this week as Miami faces a Carolina Panthers defence that has given up a rushing touchdown in every week but week 1. Make sure to start Ricky this week.
It's not every day that you get cut from one NFL team and 3 weeks later you are another team's #1 WR. Well that's the story of Chris Chambers. He was cut by the Chargers as he dropped too far down on the depth chart and wasn't producing. Kansas City, always looking for help, picked him up. Two games, 6 catches for 130 yards and 2 touchdowns, a Dwayne Bowe 4 game suspension and voila Chris Chambers is the new starting WR in Kansas City. While he won't blow you away (and isn't as good as he was a few years ago in Miami), he still has a QB with a big arm and he is the #1 receiver. He makes for a solid WR3 or flex start.