The massive bye week this week has left fantasy football owners without many of their reliable running back options. Toss in injuries to Shady McCoy, Carlos Hyde and every running back on the Chiefs, and you have dire straits at running back this weekend. However, there are still good matchups out there to exploit this weekend if you need to stream a running back. Here are three sleeper RBs (owned in 50% of leagues or fewer for two, and in fewer than 10% for the third, for you deep divers). All figures are based on Yahoo! ownership percentages as of Saturday.
Mike Gillislee at Seattle (42% owned)
Gillislee is the back whose ownership stuns me the most this week. Shady McCoy is no bet to start this week after the Bills stupidly ran him out last week and allowed him to get reinjured. Last week, Gillislee turned his 12 rushes into 85 yards and a score against a good New England defense. The Bills are taking on the Seahawks on Monday Night Football, so he’s not in line for a massive game, but he is a talented back, and is a must-own for every single LeSean McCoy owner, because if Shady doesn’t go, there’s no later game to find a replacement. His 42% ownership is head-scratching at best.
DuJuan Harris versus New Orleans (12% owned)
On the surface, there is a messy running back situation behind Carlos Hyde, but without Hyde last week, Harris was the most productive back. Mike Davis and Shaun Draughn both found the end zone, but Harris outsnapped both. Then 49ers’ brass admitted this week that they want to get Harris more involved, with or without Hyde available this weekend. The woeful Saints defense comes to town, and it’s a team that even the 49ers can exploit. They bleed touchdowns to running backs, and have given up 13 to the position in just seven games, a near two-TD per game clip. Even if he is splitting snaps with other backs, Harris is a good bet to punch one in this weekend.
Paul Perkins versus Philadelphia (4% owned)
The Giants’ running back corps has been dreadful this year, and that starts at the top with lead back Rashad Jennings. Jennings is not a good back, and Bob McAdoo’s staff is starting to see that. They said this week that Perkins is going to get more snaps, and he is the most talented back in that backfield. Don’t expect a ton from him this week, but the name of the game at running back seems to be getting ahead of everyone else. Don’t be surprised if he is the hot pickup candidate next week off the waiver wire. For this week, they take on a middling Philly defense who allows decent yards per carry but suppress RB scoring against them because of keeping them out of the end zone (just five RB touchdowns in eight games).