NFL Week 8 Running Back Sleeper Report

Helu has another shot at a big game against the Broncos

Helu has another shot at a big game against the Broncos

The name of the game in the NFL right now is simple: injuries. Injuries across the league have decimated team rosters and fantasy lineups alike. Last week seemed even more brutal. Reggie Wayne and Sam Bradford are out for the year, Jermichael Finley might be out for the year and Doug Martin and Jay Cutler are out for an extended period of time – all because of injuries suffered during Week 7. There are numerous major injuries each year that put teams and fantasy owners in a bind, but the big names in 2013 are glaring.

As much in fantasy as in real-life play on the field, serious injuries can have a sort of domino effect, or at the very least secondary repercussions. That is to say you may not have had Reggie Wayne on your roster, but if you have Andrew Luck without his number one wide receiver, it may hinder his value going forward.

On the other hand, perhaps a player going down for a period of time will allow another player to step up. However, be optimistic only to a certain extent; a combination of other teammates’ trust, game plans, and willingness to now take on a larger role will determine whether someone has the capacity to score more points in fantasy.

If you had Doug Martin or another player whose injury has opened a spot on your roster, you’ll be looking to pick someone up that can provide immediate value (or at least value in the near future.) There are players that can be had in many leagues, and here are a couple that sound intriguing this week and going forward.

Jacquizz Rodgers (ATL)

Rodgers may be owned in many leagues; after all, he is the Falcons number one rusher. However, in those leagues where he is not owned, he needs to be picked up as soon as possible. And in leagues where he is owned, now is a possible time to buy low in a trade. Why? The passing game. Even though Rodgers does lead the Falcons in rushing statistically, he hasn’t been that impressive at 3.2 yards per carry. Furthermore, Steven Jackson is set to come back as early as Sunday.

However, even with Jackson coming back, Matt Ryan clearly trusts Rodgers as an outlet and a playmaker when he drops back to throw. Think about it: Julio Jones is out for the year, Roddy White has been banged up all season and Tony Gonzalez consistently sees double and triple coverage when the Falcons are in the red zone. Matty Ice needs someone to throw to, and in the first game without Jones and White, Rodgers caught two scores. It’s very possible this becomes a trend as Atlanta tries to claw their way back into playoff contention.

So, if you can convince a Rodgers owner to take on an asset you feel comfortable parting with, definitely look into it.

Roy Helu (WSH)

Helu’s three touchdown performance last week was an anomaly. Anyone who started him either on a whim or out of desperation got lucky. With that being said, this week’s matchup against Denver means the Redskins have to put on a premium on controlling the ball and keeping it out of Peyton Manning’s hands.

While Denver’s run defense, which ranks first in yards per game, has been far superior to their pass defense, which ranks last in yards per game.  Getting into a shootout with the Broncos hasn’t worked out well for other opponents. Dallas scored 48 points against them in week 5 and lost.

If Helu can somehow sneak in a score, he’s likely to get enough carries to justify starting him as a flex option in some leagues. Plus, no one knows more about ball control and needing to use multiple options at running back than Mike Shanahan. Shannie probably wants to win his Denver homecoming more than anyone on his own roster, and if he trusts Helu with the ball in his hands, he’ll give him touches.

Alfred Morris hasn’t been supplanted as the number one back in Washington, but Helu has provided a decent number two with a respectable 4.2 yards per carry.

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