So you've managed to get into your league's playoffs? There will always be a need for fill-in players because of injury. This, as they say, is for all the marbles. You may need a running back this week as LeSean McCoy is still out and you didn't have the foresight to grab Bryce Brown. Well it's time to look at the opportunities that you can take advantage of.
Billal Powell is available in a pretty large percentage of leagues. Powell is involved in a timeshare with Shonn Greene who has under-impressed as of late. Both backs will run well this week and although Powell played 43 percent of snaps as opposed to Greene's 48 percent, there is still value there. Powell can be started as a low-end flex with some upside because he is the primary goal line back. Pair that with the change at quarterback, and there could be more carries for both backs.
Rashad Jennings will enter the concussion program this week according to Mike Mularkey. Maurice Jones-Drew is not ready and with Jalen Parmele out. There is a real question mark as to who gets the ball. Montell Owens looks like the front runner as the starter with Jordan Todman, and Richard Murphy as the reserves. The Jets will give up plenty on the ground as well. So this may be just the play that one team needs to fill in for an injured back.
James Starks sure looked the part last week as he got to the edge and outraced Vikings defenders for a touchdown. The problem is that every time he shows some promise, it ends with a trip to the injury report. This was the first time that I saw Starks really turn it on. Any back not named Cedric Benson is seriously not the answer. The answer here is if you have Green that you can rest assured that he will get the majority of carries only to be vultured by John Kuhn at the stripe.
The signing of Donte Stallworth means that Julian Edelman is indeed done for the season. Stallworth will be a pretty deep option on the depth chart. I suspect that Wes Welker, Brandon Lloyd, Aaron Hernandez, and Shane Vereen should see an uptick in targets. Grab Stallworth only if you are desperate.
Dallas Clark is starting to get enough targets to be fantasy worthy. I had that inclination last week and grabbed him off of the wire. He had a nice catch in the end zone on a play clearly designed to get him the ball. He has big red zone potential as teams stack the box against Doug Martin. If you can still grab him, do so. He will be a decent play this week against the Eagles, and a pretty darn good one next week against New Orleans.
Frank Gore looked like his shoulder was pretty bad last week in the loss versus the Rams. At times I wonder if he he had feeling at all in his hand. Miami has been pretty good against the run, and I wonder how much of a load they will put on Gore. Brandon Jacobs was in the game only in name. A lousy four carries is hardly enough to be excited about. Will this be the game that we see LaMichael James?
My friend had some words of wisdom that rang true to me as pearls of wisdom this week. "If James was as good as everyone thinks, he would have played already." Although he is partially right, Gore has been pretty damn durable to this point. The opportunity hasn't presented itself just yet. I guess that If you are looking for a miracle, this one could be that scenario. I think Gore may be injured. The seriousness of that injury is unknown.
Jarius Wright was supposed to be featured this last week. That was a smoke screen for the real game plan. It involved Adrian Peterson putting the team on his back and somewhere in the neighborhood of 119 yards passing. Wright was targeted a few times but managed only one grab. Kyle Rudolph was the only receiver of value and with the dismal yardage totals, It's not enough to warrant a look at any receiver on the Vikings.
Kickers are my least favorite subject these days. I had a solid feeling all year about Greg Zuerlein and drafted him in all of my leagues. The St. Louis Rams take some crazy chances in the red zone. Last week they had a chance to kick a field goal that was a chip shot. The end result was a turnover in the red zone that led to a defensive safety. It was neither right or wrong, but I still didn't get any points.
The Rams have played from behind quite a bit which means that three points isn't what they were after. You should carefully choose your kicker this week. I'm sticking with the same guy that I drafted. You should still consider things like weather, if the team that your kicker plays on is often behind and not likely to settle for a field goal. Perhaps that it's best to stay with one all season who you believe can make longer attempts. I looked at the wire and saw Phil Dawson who is almost automatic. He is available is a very high percentage of leagues. This is the week to use him against a porous Chiefs team that allow 9.0 fantasy points average to kickers per week.
I hope some of the information either gets you thinking about some of the things that I consider when making decisions, or that you find that fill in for an injury this week. The waiver wire is pretty thin but there is always a few names that can help you.
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