While it’s fortunate (for the waiver wire, anyway) that a few starting running backs went down due to injury, it’s a shame that they are all on teams with not-so-interesting backups on the wire. Regardless, if a player is getting an opportunity, we have to at least stash them as we want to be there if they make the most of their chance, and not less someone else profit from that. I like the wide receivers I’ve written about here a good deal more than the running backs, but wide receiver is deep this year and running back is very much not, so keep that in mind when making your claims.
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Justin Jackson, Los Angeles Chargers (50% rostership on Yahoo/67% on ESPN)
Joshua Kelley, Los Angeles Chargers (46%/64%)
After Austin Ekeler went down two weeks ago the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, it wasn’t clear who was going to get the first crack to take his role. Justin Jackson and Joshua Kelley pretty much split the carries for the rest of the game, but with the workload Kelley had prior to Week 4 and being the new shiny toy, Kelley was the more exciting add last week. However, Jackson outsnapped Kelley 59% to 35%, and he also looked better on his carries than Kelley did. With Ekeler likely to miss another ~4 weeks with his Grade 2 hamstring strain, Jackson is a really interesting option for multiple weeks. I don’t know that Jackson did enough to completely cut Kelley out of this offense though, and there’s always the chance that the workload could flip if Kelley outperforms Jackson, but for now I’d rather have Jackson.
FAAB Budget: 15% for Jackson, 5% for Kelley
Boston Scott, Philadelphia Eagles (16%/11%)
With Miles Sanders missing time with a knee injury, Boston Scott suddenly becomes the most interesting running back in Philadelphia. Unfortunately, we saw what he looks like as a starter, and it’s not all that great, but the Giants defense is pretty bad and Scott has a good history against them. They also play the Cowboys next week who have been awful defensively as well, so at least he’s got some tasty matchups ahead. Sanders is only expected to miss up to two weeks, but knee injuries can be tricky for running backs, so I definitely want to have Scott on my team.
FAAB Budget: 20%
J.D. McKissic, Washington Football Team (14%/33%)
As much as I just want this backfield to be all about Antonio Gibson, it’s clearly after four straight weeks of 50%+ snap share that J.D. McKissic is going to remain an integral part of this offense. And as long as Dwayne Haskins isn’t under center, McKissic should figure to get a lot of targets each week. He’s much more interesting in PPR formats, where he can play the same sort of high-floor role that slot receivers play, as McKissic’s yardage and touchdown upside are far less exciting than his volume might indicate, but now that we are in the bye weeks, sometimes you need a guy like McKissic who you know will score some points each week.
FAAB Budget: 10%
La’Mical Perine, New York Jets (20%/19%)
While you might look at the box score and see that Frank Gore had more of the work on Sunday, a closer look shows that La’Mical Perine won the snap share battle by a significant margin. That, couple with Adam Gase’s comments that they want to get Perine more work, indicate to me that Perine is the more interesting running back in New York. While his upside is limited by the fact that he plays for the Jets, there’s a good chance that Perine starts getting more volume and more high-value carries, and at the very least you want that on your bench.
FAAB Budget: 6-8%
JaMycal Hasty, San Francisco 49ers (1%, 0.2%)
Giovani Bernard, Cincinnati Bengals (6%/4%)
Both of these running backs are still up in the air in terms of what their role is going to be in the next few weeks. We are still waiting to hear if Joe Mixon is hurt and will miss time, and while we already know that Raheem Mostert will miss a few weeks with a high ankle sprain, we don’t know if Jeff Wilson Jr. is back yet and what the 49ers backfield will look like either way. If Mixon or Wilson are indeed out, then I would 100% be adding Bernard and Hasty everywhere I could. But it entirely depends on those injuries.
FAAB Budget: 20% for Bernard, 10-15% for Hasty if Mixon/Wilson are out
Travis Fulgham, Philadelphia Eagles (46% rostership on Yahoo/62% on ESPN)
This is three straight weeks of 13+ PPR points and a touchdown scored for Travis Fulgham, who has built quite the connection with Carson Wentz very quickly. The Eagles are about as injured as it gets, and Wentz doesn’t really have many other options to throw to. Even if Desean Jackson and Alshon Jeffery come back soon, I’m not sure either one of them supplants Fulgham considering how well he’s been playing lately. Fulgham is a must-add WR at this point.
FAAB Budget: 10%
Christian Kirk, Arizona Cardinals (41%/48%)
So maybe Christian Kirk just needed a “pre-season” to get going, and used the first few weeks of the NFL season to get back up to speed. He’s now scored 10+ PPR points in three straight weeks, including last night’s big game against the Cowboys where he scored two touchdowns on 86 yards receiving. Now I am a bit concerned that he only got three targets, but he’s looking much better lately and we thought he was primed for a breakout this year. It might have just taken a few weeks to get here.
FAAB Budget: 8-10%
Tim Patrick, Denver Broncos (18%/27%)
It was a tough day offensively for the Broncos this week, as Drew Lock was in his first game back after dealing with a shoulder injury and they were facing the tough Patriots defense, but that didn’t stop Tim Patrick from logging 100+ receiving yards for the second straight game. As Lock knocks the rust off, he’ll have better games and that will mean better days ahead for Patrick, who is stepping into a nice role after Courtland Sutton went down for the year.
FAAB Budget: 6-8%
Adam Humphries, Tennessee Titans (9%/6%)
Keelan Cole Sr., Jacksonville Jaguars (29%/20%)
Both Cole and Humphries serve the same purpose and that’s as a high-floor PPR receiver. Both have been integral parts of their offense without massive upside, though Cole did just have a massive game in terms of yardage. I expect these receivers to continue to get plenty of targets and be valuable in PPR leagues.
FAAB Budget: 2-4%
DeSean Jackson, Philadelphia Eagles (23%/28%)
Sterling Shepard, New York Giants (28%/36%)
These two wide receivers are trending in the right direction and could play in this week’s Thursday Night Football game, and have been big parts of their offense when they were healthy. Both of these teams are starved for playmakers and Jackson and Shepard have shown that they can be that. I’d want to get them ahead of when they return to the field, not that I’d want to start them in their first week back, but because I expect they will show a good amount of volume and there will be much more competition to pick them up then.
FAAB Budget: 1-2%
Anthony Firkser, Tennessee Titans (1%/0.2%)
Darren Fells, Houston Texans (6%/5%)
Just like Hasty and Bernard above, these two players’ value relies heavily on the health of others. If Jonnu Smith is going to miss any time, you need to have Firkser during that time. Ryan Tannehill showed on Sunday that he’s always willing to throw to his tight end, and with Smith out that would mean a huge role for Firkser. Texans tight end Jordan Akins has missed two weeks in a row now, and in those two weeks Fells is averaging 17 PPR points. Keep a close eye on the injury report, because if Smith or Akins are healthy, then I’m out on their replacements.
FAAB Budget: 10% if they are the TE1 on their depth chart, 0% if not
(Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire)