There were a rash of injuries suffered in Week 5. While NFL rosters will plug in the next player in line, fantasy owners will require a more educated approach to fill their holes and continue to field a competitive lineup. Here is a look at a few of the key injuries and some suggestions on where to look for help.
Cedric Benson had carved out a nice role in the Green Bay Packers offense over the first several weeks. Benson was a serviceable weekly flex play or a solid backup running back before he exited Sunday’s contest with an injury. At first, the injury to Benson appeared to be minor, but, after a more indepth diagnosis Monday, the Packers revealed that he had suffered a Lisfranc foot injury. The injury carries an estimated two-month absence. Alex Green appears to have the inside opportunity to claim the starting role, but does that mean that he should be on the top of your waiver wire adds? Green was effective filling in for Benson, logging 55 yards on nine carries. James Starks has missed the first five weeks battling turf toe, but he should be back in action soon. Starks was the lead back for the Packers last season, but he is not an elusive, dynamic back suited to lead the Packers or your running attack. Green has more upside and is worth a speculative add if you are desperate for help in your backfield.
Two weeks after putting Chris ‘Beanie’ Wells on Injured Reserve with an injury that will keep him out of action until November, Ryan Williams suffered a season-ending shoulder injury this week. The Cardinals rushing attack has not been dependable with either back this season, and it only figures to get worst with the latest injury. A true running back by committee approach probably lies ahead for the Cardinals. LaRod Stephens-Howling figures to get the first shot, but Alfonso Smith and William Powell will also get carries. Unless one of the backs emerges as a legitimate lead back, none of these guys belongs on your roster.
Chris Johnson has now gained less than 25 yards in four of his five games this season after his 24-yard outing on Sunday. Many have been suggesting that it may be time for the Tennessee Titans to let Javon Ringer have a shot at the starting job to see if his skills better suit offensive coordinator Chris Palmer’s schemes. On the heels of another terrible outing, Ringer would have been closer than ever to claiming the starting job, but on Sunday he suffered a MCL injury that is expected to keep him out of action for 4-6 weeks. Jamie Harper is immediately elevated, but Johnson figures to have a few more games to get back on track before Harper challenges him for serious playing time. If you handcuffed Ringer with Johnson, you may want to add Harper, but the Titans have too much invested in Johnson to replace him with a back who has only managed to get one carry on the season thus far.
Robert Griffin III was banged up after tucking the ball and running in the Washington Redskins’ loss to the Atlanta Falcons. Griffin III was concussed and was held out of the remainder of the game. Early reports are that Griffin III and the Redskins believe that he will be back for their Week 6 matchup with the Minnesota Vikings. Griffin III was generally drafted as a low-end QB1 option, so hopefully you solidified your team with a dependable backup. The Vikings defense has been surprisingly effective this season, so a week off to get fully recovered would not be the worst thing in the world for the rookie quarterback.
While several players were banged up this week, Rashard Mendenhall returned from an injury in a big way, contributing with 81 yards rushing and a touchdown on 14 carries. Isaac Redman and Jonathan Dwyer appear to have missed their chance to lay claim to the starting job with uninspiring performances over the first four weeks. Mendenhall will still share the backfield with them, but he is the lead back who figures to get the majority of the carries going forward. Add Mendenhall as a solid bye week play or flex option.
Even if your team was fortunate enough to dodge the injury bug this week, you can still take advantage and add some players to block other owners and build strength on your bench. Good luck!