Quality running backs are either not producing or dropping like flies through the first two weeks of the NFL season and fantasy owners are scrambling for a replacement or spot start. Luckily there are a few running backs widely available that can produce right away and that might hold some value in the coming weeks. Willis McGahee and Danny Woodhead are two sleeper running backs that owners need to grab while they are still available.
The resurgence of Philip Rivers through the first two weeks of the season brings some added value to running back Danny Woodhead. Woodhead is a PPR (point per reception) machine and could end up having a similar role as the former Charger running back and current Saints running back, Darren Sproles. Sproles rarely racks up the rushing yards, but has proven to be one of the best pass-catching running backs in the NFL and Woodhead had a very Sproles-like game in Week 2 against the Eagles catching 8 passes out of the backfield.
Rivers appears to have a lot of confidence in Woodhead and if he can catch between 5 – 8 balls a game, he will provide instant value for fantasy owners as a flex play or a #2 running back in deeper leagues during bye weeks. Woodhead might be a good start this week for fantasy owners looking for replacements for Ray Rice, Steven Jackson, Maurice Jonew-Drew or the struggling Stevan Ridley. While Woodhead may not be a great start this week, his value will sky rocket if he continues to catch balls or if anything happens to the injury prone Ryan Mathews.
The blockbuster Trent Richardson trade between Indy and Cleveland leaves only one player left on the Browns roster with a rushing attempt this season and that is Brandon Weeden. The Browns have agreed in terms with with former Broncos running back Willis McGahee who will likely earn the starting job once he is acclimated to the playbook and in football shape.
McGahee might not be active this week against the Vikings, but provides value down the road because he can catch passes out of the backfield and score on short yardage situations. McGahee is quite a reach at this point, but still might provide value to owners in deeper leagues dealing with injuries and bye weeks starting in Week 4.