Running back is usually the shallowest position in fantasy football. Most fantasy teams have multiple running back backups leaving slim pickings on the waiver wire. However, this week there are a few nice options out there to give your depth a boost in the coming weeks.
If you’re looking to replace DeMarco Murray who is expected to be out due to injury or just looking to prepare for back-to-back 6-team bye weeks, here are seven running backs available in over half of ESPN leagues that can be a help to your team. They’re listed in the rough order that I would pick them up in most formats. The Percentages in parentheses are the ESPN ownership as of Tuesday night.
If you have a team-specific question drop it in the comments at the bottom of the page or find me @ZT_Sports on twitter, and I’ll do my best to help you out with your roster calls.
1. Joseph Randle-Dallas Cowboys (1.4%)
Randle is the best short-term option since he is expected to step in as the lead back in Dallas in place of DeMarco Murray. Everyone will be after Randle, but if you find yourself at the top of your league’s waiver wire, you could probably use some depth at RB which Randle can give you. Hes a good starting option this week in Philadelphia as a RB2 or a flex play.
2. Zac Stacy-St. Louis Rams ( 7.0%)
Another top running back option with more long-term upside, Stacy has become the key back in the Rams’ backfield in his rookie year out of Vanderbilt. He had 79 yards rushing this week against the Texans while catching two passes for 11 more yards. If Stacy was in a better matchup this week, he’d be on top of this list, but the Panthers are a tough matchup for Stacy this Sunday. He’s still worth a look as a flex option and someone who should get touches going forward.
3. Andre Ellington-Arizona Cardinals (8.8%)
Ellington continues to get limited touches but is doing enough with them that he’s still a fantasy option. If he ever takes over as lead back, he’ll be fantasy gold but is definitely worth a look even in his current role. Last week, he finished with 92 all-purpose yards and a touchdown on five touchdowns. Since he is such a big part of the passing game, he’s a must add in PPR leagues. Even in standard scoring, Ellington is worth a look as a flex play but probably not this week as he faces the Seahawks.
4. Roy Helu-Washington Redskins (39.3%)
Helu is starting to be fantasy relevant even without an injury to Alfred Morris. In each of the last two weeks, Helu has been over 41 yards on the ground and has also started to get involved in the passing game. He had a season-high four catches last week for 35 yards making him worth a look in deeper PPR leagues. Alfred Morris is a little banged up with a rib injury, so Helu is worth a look if you need a deep-league flex fill-in.
5. Donald Brown-Indianapolis Colts (2.7%)
Brown is getting a piece of the action for the Colts as a change-of-pace for Trent Richardson. He’s made the most of his touches, but they’re still limited at this point, so he’s a high-risk option to start. He is a nice depth stash who has shown signs that he could contribute if his role were to grow.
6. Brandon Jacobs-New York Giants (2.0%)
Jacobs had a throwback game for the G-men running for 106 yards and a pair of scores in New York’s loss to the Bears. He has a decent matchup this week on Monday Night Football against the Vikings, but he’s also dealing with a hamstring issue (questionable) and could have to share time with others in the backfield if he’s less than 100%. He suddenly became a fantasy factor after Thursday Night, but Jacobs is still a shaky play this week especially with his injury concerns.
7. Mike Tolbert-Carolina Panthers (14.0%)
Tolbert is a touchdown vulture, but he’s turning into a pretty good one with a pair of scores this last week and three in his last three games. He gets the goalline carries in a run-heavy offense for the Panthers making him an option if you need a flex league Hail Mary especially this week against the Rams who allow the second-most fantasy points to opposing RB’s.
This list of RB’s is part of my weekly waiver wire focus. If you need further help constructing your team, check out my top ten waiver wire picks of the week as well as my top waiver targets at each of the following positions: QB, WR, TE, D/ST.