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Answers to Back Runner Injury Problems


Hey, have you ever had that déjà vu feeling? You know that feeling like something’s already happened? Maybe it’s a conversation or a sight or a moment… or a hurt from Christian McCaffrey.

That’s right. The Panthers running back is out again. Like last season, he was lost earlier in the year, returned briefly, then fell back for the remainder of the season. This time it’s an ankle injury.

Hey, have you ever had that déjà vu feeling? We ask because Dalvin Cook is injured again. He has already missed a game earlier this season with an ankle problem. On Sunday, he suffered a shoulder injury that will keep him out indefinitely, although the team will be hoping he will return during the regular season.

In five years in the league, Cook has never played a full season, so replacing him on your fantasy roster isn’t a foreign task.

Hey, have you ever had that déjà vu feeling? You know, like being able to find little or nothing on the running back’s runout later in the season, are you looking for? Yeah, that’s a familiar feeling to most. It reproduces every week.

This week, those looking to replace McCaffrey and Cook will likely be in competition with those with DeAndre Swift and possibly Ezekiel Elliot, both of whom are questionable for Week 13 with shoulder and knee issues, respectively.

Answers to Back Runner Injury Problems
Dalvin Cook is transported off the field.
Getty Images

Considering this isn’t the first time that McCaffrey or Cook have run out of time or Zeke is a question mark, I hope you’ve handcuffed their backups. Alexander Mattison is plug and play for Cook. Likewise, Tony Pollard is an easy replacement for Elliott.

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Chuba Hubbard was clearly the replacement when CMC broke down earlier this season, and he’s likely to get most of the races the rest of the way. But Ameer Abdullah has emerged with a stable role that is likely to increase now, especially in the passing game.

The Jamaal Williams buzz would absorb Swift’s work and is useful only based on volume.

But you don’t have to rely on handcuff options to replace them. Matt Breida was the Bills’ best fantasy RB for three straight weeks. Devin Singletary had more runs on Sunday, but Breida got the touchdown (on a reception), and a healthy Zach Moss didn’t even play.

Answers to Back Runner Injury Problems
Matt Breida
Getty Images

Breida has been productive in small windows in the past, but his injury history (already seen?) Has often kept him off the pitch, so use him while he’s healthy.

D’Onta Foreman and Dontrell Hilliard both passed 100 yards on Sunday against the Patriots. With wide receivers AJ Brown and Julio Jones grappling with injuries, Derrick Henry’s substitutes will continue to be the center of the attack. Expect Foreman to place the runs close to the goal line and for Hilliard to play a bigger role in the passing game.

Deeper options include Rex Burkhead or Phillip Lindsay. But there isn’t much beyond that. RB pickings are slim. It’s something we know we’ve heard before.

Yes please

Taysom Hill QB, Saints

Reports suggest he will get the start Thursday against the Cowboys. His rushing potential makes him a viable fantasy. The WRs get a slight boost, as more race-focused defenses could open up passing lanes.

Ryan Tannehill QB, Titans

Two back-to-back fantastic hiccups with a week off ahead mean he could land on waivers. Has a WR health problem, but the straight schedule suits him well.

Answers to Back Runner Injury Problems
Van Jefferson
PA

Van Jefferson WR, Rams

Only had one target (nine) less than Cooper Kupp and Odell Beckham Jr. on Sunday. Came in a toe on the chalk of a second TD. We don’t think the Rams’ struggles are a new normal, so when they bounce back, Jefferson will benefit.

Kendrick Bourne WR, Patriots

He has three scores in the past three weeks, including two on Sunday. He is the most explosive weapon of the Pats.

No thanks

Mac Jones WR, Patriots

For the second time in three games, he was among the top five QBs of the week (before Monday). But pump the brakes. Has two games against the Bills, plus a bye, over the next four weeks.

Miles Sanders RB, Eagles

That just won’t happen this season, apparently. I fell on Sunday with an ankle injury. Turn on Boston Scott and keep an eye out for Jordan Howard’s availability.

DeSean Jackson WR, Raiders

Every time Jackson catches one of his long TD passes, the fantasy community is a little giddy in hopes of a return to the early 2010s. Prediction: He will score exactly one TD the rest of the season.

Marquez Valdes-Scantling WR, Packers

Has 19 targets in the last two games, but had only four in the previous two games. With a healthy Adam Lazard, expect MVS usage to drop once Green Bay comes out of a week 13 bye.

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