FANTASY PLAYS: Where to turn with Foster out for season?
And there goes another top-tier tailback.
This time, it’s Houston Texans every-down back Arian Foster, whose season-ending Achilles injury over the weekend has fantasy owners searching for some sort of backup plan.
Those who had Jamaal Charles on their team can empathize after the Kansas City standout was knocked out for the season two weeks ago with a torn ACL.
It’s been an unfriendly year for upper echelon running backs, with Seattle’s Marshawn Lynch also missing time this season and Eddie Lacy frustrating owners as he deals with an ankle ailment.
Feeling a little blue over Foster? Grab his backup Alfred Blue. Or maybe Chris Polk. Or Jonathan Grimes. Better yet, just stay away from the Texans tailback spot right now. It’s a coin flip whether Blue or Polk or even Grimes will emerge. Even more, if the Texans are constantly playing from behind, it will limit work for them with DeAndre Hopkins soaking up all the targets.
Instead, go in another direction. This may be the time to jump back on the bandwagon of Dallas’ Darren McFadden. Fantasy owners have taken this road before, with the tailback showing such promise – only to get hurt or stumble or disappoint.
McFadden had 29 carries for 152 yards and a score last weekend against the New York Giants. That begs the question: Is this a mirage or the start of something big for McFadden? Should you take a chance on McFadden, might want stash Christine Michael on your roster just in case.
Oh, and remember that this weekend the Cowboys are playing Seattle, which boasts the sixth-best run defense.
OBSERVATIONS FROM WEEK 7:
– New England’s leading rusher against the New York Jets? Why quarterback Tom Brady, who had 15 of the team’s 16 yards rushing. It’s the first time in Brady’s career he’s led the team on the ground.
– Ryan Mathews had six carries for 97 yards on Sunday, including a 63-yard TD scamper. His fellow big-name offseason acquisition DeMarco Murray had 18 carries for 65 yards. Translation: Maybe more carries for Mathews.
– Quite simply, Washington tight end Jordan Reed produces when he’s healthy. Reed had 11 catches for 72 yards and two TDS in his return from a concussion.
Hoping to tweak your lineup? Here are some possible waiver additions to consider:
– New York Jets QB Ryan Fitzpatrick threw for 295 yards and two scores in a loss to New England. Fitzpatrick (owned in 28 percent of Yahoo leagues) has thrown five TDS – and ran for another – over his last three games.
– Oakland’s Derek Carr (35 percent owned in Yahoo leagues) posts big numbers with the right matchup. He torched San Diego for 289 yards and three scores over the weekend.
– New Orleans’ Khiry Robinson should be available (owned in 4 percent of Yahoo leagues) if you’re desperate for a back. He had two scores against Indianapolis.
– Orleans Darkwa becomes the latest to emerge in a crowded New York Giants backfield. He rushed eight times for 48 yards and a touchdown in what could’ve been an audition for more playing time. If you have bench space, maybe stash him and find out.
– New England’s Danny Amendola (36 percent owned in CBS leagues) doesn’t quite draw the attention of Julian Edelman or Rob Gronkowski. All Amendola did last weekend was catch eight passes for 86 yards and a score.
– Kansas City’s Chris Conley started in place of the injured Jeremy Maclin. Conley had six catches for 63 yards and a score.
– Another big game for Detroit’s Eric Ebron, who’s only owned in 23 percent of Yahoo leagues.
LOOKING AHEAD TO THURSDAY NIGHT
Since Miami’s coaching change, Lamar Miller is producing like a high-end running back. He’s rushed for more than 100 yards the past two weeks. His receiving skills out of the backfield make him a handful for New England on Thursday. For the Patriots, Brady, Edelman and Gronkowski have been operating on all cylinders this season. They’ll will try to fit Brandon LaFell into the equation. He dropped several passes in his return last weekend from a foot injury that sidelined him for the opening five games.
Pat Graham is an Associated Press sports writer based in Denver. He’s played NFL fantasy football for a while and also dabbles in college fantasy football. Follow him on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/pgraham34 and the AP’s NFL site at http://pro32.ap.org.