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Running Backs Are Dropping Like Flies

Audibles Week 8.  Running Backs dropping like flies.

Tim Hightower and Earnest Graham both bit the dust last week and sustained injuries that ended their seasons. While most scour the waiver wire for the next potential replacement, there is something to be said for folks who look at every possible option. I am guilty of looking ahead a few weeks of my competition.

Here are the guys that I am looking at and why:

1. Michael Bush– RB Oakland Raiders

The value for Bush has never been higher. Darren McFadden has a mid-foot sprain. Foot injuries are of the nagging variety. Running backs have a difficult time getting in and out of cuts with foot injuries. There is no amount of tape, ointment, or pain killers that can help. The only way to get feet properly healed is rest and keeping off of them. McFadden may not go next week but even if he does, Bush will increase his workload which bodes well for fantasy owners. Bush gets involved in the passing game as well. Once we get a good look at Palmer, You will realize that this is a boom or bust play. Everything I see says boom.

2. Kendall Hunter– RB SF Forty Niners

Hunter has been impressive in his limited number of carries. Frank Gore is starting to really run well. The problem is that when Gore is hot, they keep feeding him the ball. Sound ridiculous? It isn’t. Gore is trending close to 290 carries this year. He hasn’t had that big of a workload since 2006 when he racked up 313 carries. He has already surpassed half of the carries he had last year in six games.

While this might be great for a second or third year man, Gore is no spring chicken. The trend will not continue or the wheels will fall off the bus. He is behind only Thomas Jones, LaDainian Tomlinson, and Steven Jackson in terms of carries. There is slim chance that he sees 300 carries this year, which lends itself to my theory of a time share with Hunter. The rookie should start to see an increase in carries sooner rather than later. I am a believer in Hunter’s
skill set. Put this kid on your radar. He’s the main beneficiary if an injury arises, or if the Niners’ coaching staff wants to prolong Gore’s career.

I’m betting that in less than three weeks, you start to see him get more playing time.
I will say that it may be sooner than most think.

3. Chris Ivory- RB New Orleans Saints

Ivory claims he is completely healthy. Now he has to sit and wait for an opportunity or does he? Mark Ingram‘s bruised heel may be worse than the Saints are letting on. The main players in the backfield in order are Darren Sproles, Pierre Thomas, and Mark Ingram. I give the edge to Sproles because he has been more involved in the passing game. Thomas has run well as of late. If Ingram is really hurt, Ivory assumes the goal line duties. I love the skill set that Ivory brings to the table. He is down right exciting to watch. You have to temper your expectations because Jimmy Graham is the one who gets the look on the play action pass at the goal line. Since teams have seen this time and time again in film rooms, expect Sean Peyton to start running some in short yardage situations in order to establish balance. 

If you sleep on Ivory, and he gets activated which I strongly suspect is this week, you will miss your opportunity on the wire. I grabbed him as I lost Hightower, and Graham last week. I realize that I may keep him benched until I know that he’s getting the ball enough to make it worth my while.

The Bottom Line

If you needed two of these guys to produce in one week, you are in denial about your season being over. Take it like a man.

Now, If you happen to have a stable of decent backs with bye week needs, or involved in a keeper league, this will help you. I am still waiting for Chris Johnson to get past the game shape woes. Let’s face it, in shape and game shape are worlds apart.

I like all three of these guys but ones chance is immediate (Bush), the other may happen over the next three weeks (Hunter), and finally Ivory will capitalize on the opportunity once presented. All have value but long term value on Ivory and Hunter is much higher due to their age or lack thereof.

Thanks for the read folks!

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