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NFL Fantasy Fixer-Uppers Week 5
Conventional wisdom states that the running back is the most important position on your fantasy squad. This past week saw a few names play some significant snaps and most of them can be plucked right off the waiver wire. That is, if you play your claim priority correctly. If you've been stashing your top spot like I have this is certainly the week to use it. I know I am. Now let's see who can help you this week and potentially even longer.
Andre Williams, RB, New York Giants (36% owned standard ESPN leagues)
This is why we handcuff our starting running backs. Rashad Jennings went down with an MCL sprain and will be on the shelf for a few weeks. That means the rookie Williams should get the lion's share of carries for the G-Men. The Giants have been playing well and running well lately and I don't see too much of a fall-off here. Williams led all rushers in college last year and faces a Philly defense this week that doesn't seem to understand their job is to stop the person with the ball. That bodes well for Williams this week and he is a legitimate starter until Jennings returns.
Branden Oliver, RB, San Diego Chargers (1% owned)
No, that isn't Darren Sproles shooting out of the backfield. The diminutive back sporting number 43 for the Chargers is none other than Mr. Oliver who torched a tough New York Jets defense for 114 yards and a score Sunday. Everyone knows about the chaos in San Diego's backfield this season with Ryan Mathews, Danny Woodhead and now Donald Brown going down with injuries. Oliver is the next man up and he looks ready for the job. On deck is an Oakland defense that can't seem to stop anyone and the Chargers are a good to great team who should have leads at the end of games which means more touches for the running backs. There's no other way to say it but Oliver needs to be added in every league this week.
Ronnie Hillman, RB, Denver Broncos (1% owned)
Hillman is intriguing for a few reasons. One: Montee Ball is out and it appears he won't be coming back anytime soon. That means the workload should fall to Hillman. Two: The Broncos will need to establish a consistent running game if they want to be a serious threat to win it all. Peyton Manning can't do it all. Three: He is on one of the best offensive teams in the NFL which means yards and points. What, you need more reasons? There is the possibility that C.J. Anderson will steal some carries but Hillman has been here before and I expect him to be able to make the most of the opportunity.
Benjamin Cunningham, RB, St. Louis Rams (1% owned)
Zac Stacy left the game against Philadelphia with an apparent thigh injury and in stepped Cunningham who ran for 47 yards and a touchdown on just seven carries. He's had at least five carries in every game so far and it appears he may be in line for more if Stacy is forced to miss time. Even if Stacy is ready to play this week Cunningham is a solid depth pick-up, especially for Stacy owners. We've all seen how quickly the injury bug can strike and it's better to be one step ahead. Remember. You can never have too many running backs.
Storm Johnson, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars (<1% owned)
There's my favorite ownership percentage again. When Maurice Jones-Drew left town the Jags brought in Adrian Peterson's backup Toby Gerhart which made a lot of sense. They needed a starting running back and Gerhart needed a place where he could start. Sounds good, right? Well, Gerhart has struggled mightily this season failing to top 45 yards rushing in a game thus far. Now his starting job may be in jeopardy and Johnson may reap the benefits. The key word here is may. I mentioned staying ahead of the curve and this is truly a reach. Employing a running back from the woeful Jags may not be optimal but it may come in handy during a bye week. It's a reach, I admit, but who knows. Maybe you catch lightning in a bottle.
As always if there's a player you have questions on that I didn't cover please feel free to leave a comment or ask me on Twitter @therichwhiteguy. I'll get back to you as soon as I can.