With sudden injuries to Ameer Abdullah, Adrian Peterson, Thomas Rawls, Arian Foster, Doug Martin and Rashad Jennings, among others, the fantasy football running back landscape became incredibly bleak (especially when you throw in Jamaal Charles’ lingering issues). This week, there are three running backs you may need to turn to to help ease the sting of losing one of these backs. All streaming candidates in the All Stream Team articles are owned in fewer than 50% of Yahoo! Leagues, with one player being owned in less than 10% (for you deep divers).
Matt Asiata at Carolina (26%)
This is not a great matchup for Asiata, who was the de facto go-to back the last time Adrian Peterson went down. The Panthers boast one of the best defenses in the league, and that defense is built around the strength of their front seven and Luke Kuechly. There are also questions surrounding his usage, as Jerick McKinnon has matured into a better NFL running back than Asiata. Still, Asiata is their goal-line back and taking on a stout defense like the Panthers means that the Vikings will want to get their battering ram out there if they have a chance to punch it in. There’s a good bet that he scores, but he isn’t going to be useful to you if he doesn’t. He’s definitely a gamble, but he should at least be owned in more leagues than he already is.
Dwayne Washington at Green Bay (22%)
As an Abdullah owner, I was absolutely shocked to find Washington this low on the list, given that he was my highest priority pickup last week. Likely people believe that the Lions will lean on Theo Riddick instead of the rookie Washington, but Riddick already has a defined role and Washington doesn’t. That’s why Washington will be one of the hottest pickups next week, when people realize that Riddick will not be the in-between-the-tackles guy. He will still steal third down work from Washington, but if you liked Abdullah, you should be okay with Washington. After an ugly first two carries in the NFL, he ripped off four carries for 31 yards last week.
Kenyan Drake versus Cleveland (7%)
Another running back thrust into action thanks to a player in front of him, Drake has four career touches, which he turned into 18 yards and a score. We aren’t exactly starting with a player with a long track record here. But at the same time, Drake will likely be their goal-line back and has flashed his receiving chops as well. The Browns gave up 77 yards and a score to Ryan Mathews week one, and the Ravens removed Terrance West and Justin Forsett from the game plan after going up big, so they did not test the Browns defense. Last year, however, they were a disaster against the run, and have done relatively little to fix that issue. Drake has the best shot of going off of any of the sub-10% ownership guys out there.