RB Zac Stacy (St. Louis)
Percent owned (ESPN): 0.6%
5th round rookie Zac Stacy was the lead back for the Rams this week, after they benched Daryl Richardson mid-week following a pathetic showing against the 49ers week 4. He carried the ball 14 times for 78 yards. He won’t always get to face the Jaguars’ putrid defense, but he showed enough that he should continue to be the lead back going forward, as Richardson had just 48 yards on 13 carries. He needs to be picked up in all formats.
RB Willis McGahee (Cleveland)
Percent owned (ESPN): 22.2%
Willis McGahee isn’t very good anymore, but he’s the Browns only option and he ran for 72 yards and a touchdown on 26 carries against the Bills. That’s a pretty bad average, but he should continue being the lead back going forward and any running back who gets at least 15-20 touches per game is automatically worth a flex look, especially as we get deeper in the bye week section of the season.
RB Andre Ellington (Arizona)
Percent owned (ESPN): 4.0%
Andre Ellington didn’t lead the Cardinals in carries, but he led them in rushing yards, with 52 yards on just 7 carries. Lead back Rashard Mendenhall rushed for just 43 yards on 17 carries, so Ellington who has 120 yards on 18 carries this season, should push for more carries going forward. He’s also a big part of the passing game, catching 13 passes for 144 yards and a touchdown this season in limited action. He’s definitely worth a bench stash.
RB Marcel Reece (Oakland)
Percent owned (ESPN): 3.7%
Darren McFadden is supposed to be out for another week and Rashad Jennings left last week’s game with a hamstring injury and is questionable going forward. Marcel Reece should be the feature back if both don’t play this week. He has a huge impact in the passing game, in addition to running the football.
RB Pierre Thomas (New Orleans)
Percent owned (ESPN): 15.6%
Thomas led the Saints in carries this week, rushing for 36 yards on 19 carries. He’d be higher on this list if I didn’t recommend Khiry Robinson last week, only to watch him rush for 9 yards on 3 carries this week. Thomas had just 1 rushing yard on 4 carries the week before so he’s risky, but Mark Ingram is no longer part of the plan in New Orleans and Thomas contributes in the passing game even when he’s not getting carries, with 28 catches for 166 yards on the season. He’s probably the New Orleans back to own.
RB LeGarrette Blount (New England)
Percent owned (ESPN): 16.8%
With Stevan Ridley out this week, LeGarrette Blount rushed for 51 yards on 12 carries. He was also getting action with Ridley in the lineup and now he has 180 rushing yards and a touchdown on 35 carries in his last 3 weeks. I’m concerned that he fumbled, but he’s worth rostering in case Ridley’s injury turns out to be a multi-week deal.
WR Keenan Allen (San Diego)
Percent owned (ESPN): 1.2%
It’s tough to count on rookies, but Philip Rivers is playing well right now and someone has to catch his passes. With Malcom Floyd out, that someone has been Keenan Allen, who has caught 11 passes for 195 yards and 1 touchdown over the past 2 games. He’s worth a flier.
RB Brandon Jacobs (NY Giants)
Percent owned (ESPN): 1.4%
Brandon Jacobs is not good at all, but David Wilson hurt his neck against the Eagles and isn’t expected to be able to go on a short week against the Bears this week. The Giants have brought back Da’Rel Scott to play passing downs, but Jacobs will be the lead runner this week against a Chicago defense that isn’t as good as it was under Lovie Smith. There are worse desperation plays.
TE Garrett Graham (Houston)
Percent owned (ESPN): 3.4%
Owen Daniels is not expected to play against the Rams’ putrid defense this week. Garrett Graham would get the start. He’s been decently productive as the #2 tight end, catching 15 passes for 141 yards and 3 touchdowns in 5 games this season. He could be a nice plug and play option for guys with tight ends on bye or Owen Daniels owners.
RB Brandon Bolden (New England)
Percent owned (ESPN): 5.6%
Brandon Bolden also got more action with Ridley out, rushing for 24 yards on 5 carries and catching 6 passes for 40 yards. He’s just 2 weeks removed from a 100 yards from scrimmage performance. He’s worth rostering in deep leagues because Ridley is hurt right now and Blount fumbled.
WR Terrance Williams (Dallas)
Percent owned (ESPN): 1.3%
Terrance Williams had 151 yards and a touchdown against the Cowboys. Tony Romo won’t throw for 500+ yards and 5 touchdowns every week and Williams’ targets are going to be inconsistent. He was actually only targeted 4 times in this game and Miles Austin could be back any week. Most likely, this was just a Kevin Ogletree type performance. He’s worth snatching up in really deep leagues though.
TE Sean McGrath (Kansas City)
Percent owned (ESPN): 0.5%
Alex Smith loves intermediate targets, including tight end and Sean McGrath is all he has right now. He’s impressed as an injury fill-in, catching 9 passes for 118 yards and a touchdown in his last 2 games. In deep leagues, you could do worse as a bye week filler at tight end.
WR Harry Douglas (Atlanta)
Percent owned (ESPN): 2.1%
Julio Jones is done for the season. Matt Ryan is still going to throw for plenty of yardage and Harry Douglas, who has had some nice performances as the #3 receiver this year (4/93/0, 5/68/0), will be the #2 wide receiver now. He’ll be Matt Ryan’s 3rd option after Tony Gonzalez and a hobbled Roddy White. He could be fantasy relevant based on pure volume.