There were eight running backs drafted in the first round based on Average Draft Position on CBS Sports with Adrian Peterson, Eddie Lacy, Jamaal Charles, Le’Veon Bell, Marshawn Lynch, Matt Forte, C.J. Anderson andDeMarco Murray. That group looked great in August, but it has been quite a disappointment ever since.
And things just keep getting worse due to injuries. We already lost Charles to a torn ACL, and now Bell was placed on injured reserve with a torn MCL, ending his season. Forte is also expected to miss at least two weeks with his own MCL injury.
DeAngelo Williams is back on the Fantasy radar now as the top priority to add this week. He will replace Bell as the starter for the Steelers, and there’s a good chance he will become a weekly starter for your Fantasy team based on how he’s done when Bell missed time.
After Bell got hurt in Week 8 against the Bengals, Williams came in and had nine carries for 71 yards and four catches for 39 yards. Remember, Williams also started two games for the Steelers when Bell was suspended to open the season, and he had 12 Fantasy points in a standard league against New England in Week 1 and 26 Fantasy points against San Francisco in Week 2.
He is owned in just 34 percent of leagues on CBS Sports, and he should be considered a solid No. 2 Fantasy running back for Pittsburgh’s matchup with the Raiders. We just hope Williams, 32, can hold up as a starter for the rest of the year.
In Chicago, the Bears will turn to rookie Jeremy Langford as their starter, and he should be the No. 2 priority off waivers behind Williams. He is owned in just 7 percent of leagues on CBS Sports.
Langford does have two touchdowns on the season, but he saw the most action of the year in Week 8 after Forte got hurt against the Vikings with 12 carries for 46 yards. He’s nowhere as talented or versatile as Forte, but he does have a great matchup in Week 9 at San Diego, which makes him worth considering as a flex option.
There were a lot of injuries in Week 8 that Fantasy owners need to monitor, but the other big ones aside from Bell and Forte included Steve Smith (torn Achilles), Reggie Bush (torn MCL), Khiry Robinson (broken leg), Mike Davis(broken hand), Keenan Allen (back), Brandon Marshall (toe/ankle) andKendall Wright (knee). Smith, Bush and Robinson are out for the season.
Smith’s injury is devastating because he has been tremendous this year, and it will be hard to replace his production — for the Ravens and Fantasy owners. And the 49ers might have a new running back out of Pierre Thomas (7 percent) or Kendall Gaskins (0 percent) with Davis and Carlos Hyde (foot) also banged up. Allen also is expected to miss time with a kidney injury.
Needless to say, this will be an extremely active week on the waiver wire, especially with six teams on a bye (Detroit, Kansas City, Arizona, Seattle, Baltimore and Houston). Be ready to spend plenty of bid points on Williams, Langford, Steve Johnson (46 percent) and Kamar Aiken (18 percent), among many others, as Fantasy owners are scrambling due to all these injuries.