Fantasy football waiver wire: 7 running backs to target for Week 16
Frank Gore and DeMarco Murray went down and fantasy owners might need a new back (or two) for Week 16.
The waiver wire was a savior for a lot of owners in Week 15. New York Giants receiver Odell Beckham was the top scorer and was a hot pickup while Cincinnati Bengals running back Jeremy Hill led all backs with his 152 yards and three scores (Hill wasn’t picked up in competitive leagues, but he was in shallower formats). Atlanta Falcons receiver Harry Douglas was also outstanding in PPR leagues.
Heading into this week, there could potentially only be one game-changing back. Dallas Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray has a broken hand, so Joseph Randle will likely be a huge part of the offense for Week 16.
Additionally, San Francisco 49ers running back Frank Gore went down due to a concussion and Carlos Hyde would likely have to step up. However, he did have a bad back injury and could miss time, too. If he’s out, fantasy owners probably won’t want to roll the dice on Alfonso Smith, but he’s still an option.
Here are five backs who could help you in championship week.
Joseph Randle, Dallas Cowboys (owned in 7 percent of leagues) – As mentioned above, DeMarco Murray needed surgery on his hand, so he is not likely to play this week. Randle will handle most of the work between the tackles for the Cowboys. Considering they run the ball more than all but one team, Randle could be looking at a huge workload. The Cowboys have a nice matchup at home against the Colts, so Randle would be a nice pickup. If you need a flex in a PPR, Lance Dunbar is also a very nice add.
Carlos Hyde, San Francisco 49ers (owned in 35 percent of leagues) – Frank Gore is likely out this week, so Carlos Hyde figures to get in the mix. He’s been effective this season, averaging 4.0 yards per carry while adding 12 catches in the passing game. He does have a back injury, so there is some risk to adding him. Fantasy owners should pick him up and then just react to how the news unfolds. If he’s ready to go, he would be a strong RB2 this week against the Chargers. What’s more, you do not want your opponent using him against you.
Alfonso Smith, San Fransisco 49ers (owned in 1 percent of leagues) - For the same reasons to add Hyde, Smith is worth a look here. He obviously wouldn’t be nearly as attractive as someone to play, but it’s still a good idea to pick him up. Having him on your roster means one less weapon for your opponent.
Jonas Gray, New England Patriots (owned in 31 percent of leagues) – The Patriots are on the brink of clinching a bye, so they might take it easy on running back LeGarrette Blount. He does have a handful of injuries in his career and is 28 years old — that’s old in running back years — so the Pats would want him fresh for the playoffs.The Patriots running game gets a bad matchup against a tough front seven of the New York Jets. Although the Jets offense is a lost cause, the Patriots might need to run the ball a lot to kill the clock. He’s more of a risky flex in standard leagues.
Toby Gerhart, Jacksonville Jaguars (owned in 33 percent of leagues) - It’s the Jaguars, so it’s going to be very tough to use Gerhart. He ran the ball 13 times on Sunday and earned 54 yards to go with two catches for nine yards against the Baltimore Ravens. He will get a great matchup against the Tennessee Titans Sunday. The Titans are dead last in rushing yards allowed, so look for Gerhart to flirt with 100 yards.
Kerwynn Williams, Arizona Cardinals (owned in 18 percent of leagues) – This is just a desperation play here. Williams and Cardinals get a hot Seattle Seahawks‘ defense, so it’s going to be awfully tough to count on Williams. He’s a desperation flex.