Week 13 is here and while the bye weeks are behind us, injuries at the running back position are not. It’s time for owners to get some help off of the waiver wire after running backs such as Knowshon Moreno, Zac Stacy, Matt Forte and Ryan Matthews are all nursing injuries suffered during Week 12.
It’s still unclear how severe several of the injuries from Week 12 are, but it’s a good idea to have a back-up plan if one of previously mentioned running backs will miss an extended amount of time. Benny Cunningham, Dennis Johnson, Brandon Bolden and Montee Ball lead the crop of Week 13 waiver wire targets.
Benny Cunningham (RB – STL)
Zac Stacy was on an absolute tear after taking over the starting running back position in St. Louis and when he left Sunday’s game early with a concussion. Even after he went out, the Rams offense didn’t miss a beat. Benny Cunningham stepped in racked up 109 rushing yards and a touchdown in the Rams run-heavy offense.
If Stacy can’t go in Week 13, Cunningham may be a viable RB2 option even though he does has a touch match-up on the road against the 49ers. Zac Stacy owners should definitely consider picking up Cunningham in case Stacy is inactive, but be mindful of the Rams schedule as they play San Francisco, Arizona and Tampa Bay during three of the next four weeks.
Cunningham is virtually un-owned in all fantasy leagues and has serious potential to produce in Stacy’s absence.
Dennis Johnson (RB – HOU)
The Texans couldn’t muster up much against the Jaguars on Sunday, but the one bright spot on their team was Dennis Johnson. Ben Tate will be the starter going into Week 13, but he’s nursing a rib(s) injury that has been limiting his production and he only gained one yard on seven carries against the worst rushing defense in the NFL.
Dennis Johnson ended up leading the team in carries (13) and rushing yards (74) on Sunday and he caught two passes out of the backfield for 13 yards. The Texans will likely play the hot hand on Sunday against the Patriots who haven’t been able to stop anyone on the ground all year and just gave up over 200 yards rushing to Knowshon Moreno.
It appears that many of the Texans players have pretty much given up on their season, but Dennis Johnson is not one of those players. Johnson has a lot to prove and has fresh legs and a great Week 13 match-up.
Johnson is available in almost all leagues and is a great add for owners in need of some running back help. Johnson has a favorable schedule down the stretch and could end up being a low end RB2 or Flex play in the coming weeks.
Brandon Bolden (RB – NE)
Stevan Ridley and LaGarrette Blount keep fumbling away their opportunities in New England and Brandon Bolden looks like the guy who will be filling their shoes. Ridley and Blount both lost fumbles early in Sunday night’s game and neither of them saw another snap for the rest of the game.
Bolden filled in for Ridley and Blount very well gaining 58 yards and a touchdown on the ground and hauling in a pass for 11 yards. Shane Vereen and Bolden will likely be splitting the load in New England for the foreseeable future and Bolden has Flex potential this week against the Texans.
Owners shouldn’t feel great starting any running back not named Shane Vereen, but Vereen can’t carry the load on his own and Bolden will have plenty of opportunities to produce for fantasy owners this week.
Montee Ball (RB – DEN)
Montee Ball lost another fumble on Sunday night and would never be mentioned as a waiver consideration if Knowshon Moreno wasn’t seen in a walking boot after the game on Sunday. It’s still very unclear how severe Moreno’s injury is, but Moreno owners will definitely want to grab Ball as a precaution.
Ball was actually having one of his best games of the season before his lost fumble. Ball gained 40 yards on seven carries (5.7 average) and caught three passes (one of which was fumbled) before being benched. The Broncos are hopeful that Moreno will play this week but if he can’t go, Ball will get his share of touches and he did score two touchdowns against the Chiefs two weeks ago.
Ball should be added by all Moreno owners if possible and he wouldn’t be a bad add just to keep him away from Moreno owners either. If Moreno is inactive for Week 13, Ball immediately becomes a viable fantasy option and if Moreno does play, then Ball should be considered as noting more than a handcuff.