Rash of injuries shakes up RBs
If Week 10 was the week of the tight end, Week 11 must have been week of the wide receiver. Justin Blackmon and Andre Johnson turned in top-30 historical performances with both wide receivers combining for more than 500 receiving yards. The NFL looks to have more parity than ever with Atlanta, Dallas and the Texans narrowly escaping with wins despite being heavy home favorites. Another week saw another group of injuries, and this week might be the most interesting considering the slim pickings of the last two weeks.
Chad Henne, JAC - It's amazing that last week we saw a few quarterbacks get knocked out of games and the cold backup came in and struggled. Henne was the exact opposite against the Texans (one of the best defenses in the league), finishing the game with 354 passing yards and four touchdowns. Henne wasn't too bad last season before suffering a season-ending injury as his 7.8 YPA indicates. Obviously he's not going to throw for 300 yards every game, so this is a recommendation in two-quarterback leagues or based on a favorable matchup. As we saw Sunday, Henne will be helped by the presence of both Justin Blackmon and Cecil Shorts, who both have excelled at making plays after the catch.
Bryce Brown, PHI - Brown was mentioned a few weeks back as a possible stash should anything happen to LeSean McCoy. Inexplicably, McCoy was still in a game that the Eagles were down 25 (four scores) with less than two minutes left when he suffered a concussion. Brown is listed here first because he'll likely get a full workload if McCoy misses time. A five-star recruit out of high school who disappointed in college, Brown has averaged 4.4 yards per carry in limited use this season. The Eagles don't appear to have a shot at getting into the playoffs, which may mean they take it easy with their star running back. If I knew for sure that McCoy was out for the season the way Willis McGahee likely is, Brown would be the top running back priority on the waiver wire this week.
Ronnie Hillman, DEN - With the aforementioned McGahee suffering a knee injury and break, it's unlikely we'll see him again this season. Considering most fantasy leagues are over by Week 17, Willis is a safe drop in any format. That leaves Hillman to lead the dreaded RBBC with him likely getting the most work initially. The Broncos will work in Lance Bell as well and could turn back to former first-round pick Knowshon Moreno. Hillman will probably be the most sought-after free agent this week but there are a few red flags. John Elway labeled Hillman as a "change-of-pace" back after drafting him. Hillman only averages 3.8 YPC on 49 carries this season and likely won't see more than 15 touches. Hillman could still turn out to be a late-season lottery ticket, just keep your expectations in check in case he doesn't.
Jalen Parmele, JAC - In a surprise turn of events in the Jaguars backfield, coach Mike Mularkey turned to Parmelee over the ineffective Rashad Jennings. Parmelee finished the day with 24 carries for 80 yards (3.3 YPC) but was up against a solid run defense in the Texans. The Jaguars have a favorable matchup this week against the Tennessee Titans and with Maurice Jones-Drew unlikely to suit up, Parmelee should see another 20-plus touches.
Justin Blackmon, JAC - This was the easiest player to profile on the waiver wire after Blackmon finally put up some gaudy stats Sunday. The first wide receiver taken in this year's draft has looked lost at times on the field and had his effort and hustle questioned. That wasn't the case Sunday as Blackmon went up in traffic to get the ball and showed good speed after the catch. Helping Blackmon's cause is that Jacksonville will stick with Chad Henne over Blaine Gabbert under center, given his play against Houston.
Julian Edelman, NE - Edelman turned in one of the of the better individual performances against the Colts, scoring a touchdown on a punt, catching a touchdown pass and reeling off a 47-yard run. The best comparison for Edelman is teammate Wes Welker, and with Welker possibly leaving at the end of the season, Edelman could be in for a big role in the Patriots offense. Even now it appears as he has surpassed Brandon Lloyd on the depth chart, playing more snaps than him Sunday.
Mohamed Sanu, CIN - Sanu picked up a surprise start after Andrew Hawkins was deemed out. Sanu made the most of the opportunity, scoring a touchdown for the second straight week. The Bengals drafted Sanu with the idea that he could complement A.J. Green who has been the most consistent scoring wide receiver. Sanu's value is largely tied to Hawkins availability, though he's done a lot to earn Andy Dalton's trust the last two weeks.
Riley Cooper, PHI - Cooper, like Sanu, has gotten some extra playing time due to an injury to a teammate, Jason Avant. At 6-foot-3, Cooper is actually the biggest Eagles wide receiver and had one of the better touchdown catches two weeks ago with a one-handed grab. Cooper finished Sunday's contest with five catches for 61 yards on eight targets, showing a good rapport with Nick Foles. Cooper suffered a knee injury against the Redskins but is expected to be ready for Week 12.
Visanthe Shiancoe, NE - The shock of the day Sunday came late with the news that Rob Gronkowski suffered a broken arm while blocking on an extra point. Aaron Hernandez is banged up himself but is supposed to suit up for the night Thanksgiving game in New York. Brady hasn't been shy in the past to go to both of his tight ends when Gronk and Hernandez have been healthy. Shiancoe has mainly been used as a blocker for the Patriots, but it's hard to imagine him not running some routes in the next few weeks with Gronkowski out. He's a big red-zone target at 6-4, 250, and could surprise fantasy owners, especially in two-tight end leagues. Follow @KCPayne26 on Twitter.
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