Productive running backs are hard to come by, but injury and opportunity have opened the door for some players to contribute to their NFL teams and your fantasy team if you can grab them off the waiver wire. Here are my top 8 options for week 11 who are available in over half of ESPN leagues:
1. Andre Brown-New York Giants (25.2%)
Welcome back, Andre Brown! Brown revitalized the Giants rushing attack taking 30 carries for 115 yards and a touchdown against the Raiders. Showing no ill effects from his broken leg, Brown stepped right in as the key cog in the Giants offense and will be at home the next two weeks in solid matchups against Green Bay and Dallas.
2. Andre Ellington-Arizona Cardinals (44.9%)
Ellington is in a great matchup against the Jaguars this week, and should pay off if he gets the touches in his continued time share with Rashard Mendenhall. Even though he got just 13 touches week 10 against Houston, Ellington managed to get over 70 total yards for the fourth time in the last five weeks rushing for 55 yards and catching two passes for 18 more yards. His monster game week 8 against Atlanta appears to be a bit of an outlier, but against Jacksonville he should have the space to pile up some points this week.
3. Bobby Rainey-Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0.4%)
Rainey should get some time in the Tampa backfield after Mike James and Doug Martin both suffered season-ending injuries. He and Brian Leonard will probably share duties since neither has the full skill-set to be a feature back, but Rainey showed his upside with 45 yards on eight carries and a key touchdown in the Bucs first win of the season. The former Hilltopper will take on the Falcons this week who have allowed opposing RB’s 100 yards and a touchdown in each of their last three games.
4. Rashad Jennings-Oakland Raiders (44.8%)
Jennings had a solid day against the Giants even though the Raiders passing offense sputtered on Sunday. Jennings ran for 88 yards and adding 19 on a pair of passes. If Darren McFadden returns this week, Jennings role will be greatly reduced, but if he gets the start as a featured back once again, Jennings is a great flex play.
5. Brian Leonard-Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0.2%)
Leonard is the Bucs 3rd-down back who should see an expanded role in the Bucs new ground game. In PPR leagues, he’s probably a better pick than Rainey although he doesn’t look like he can handle the full complement of three-down work. Against Miami, he had 20 carries for 47 yards and two catches for 16 yards. He’s been more involved in the passing game recently with 10 catches in the previous two weeks for 80 total yards.
6. Jonathan Stewart-Carolina Panthers (4.2%)
Stewart is firmly stuck in the Panthers backfield by committee, but does have solid production since he’s healthy and working his way into the role. This last week, Stewart led the Panthers in carries with 13 rushing for 41 yards against a stingy 49ers defense. It looks like he’ll get the touches and should be around 50 yards rushing most weeks while also contributing in the receiving game when Cam Newton needs an outlet pass.
7. Donald Brown-Indianapolis Colts (6.6%)
Brown only had two carries in the Colts debacle against the Rams, but he saved his fantasy week with 64 yards on five catches for a touchdown. He continues to be a change of pace back for Indy, but due to Trent Richardson’s continued struggles he’s a flex option this week against the Titans struggling rush defense.
8. Dennis Johnson-Houston Texans (1.1%)
Johnson is now the backup for the Texans with Ben Tate taking over for Arian Foster who is now on the IR. Johnson has shown limited upside in his few carries and recpetions, but will get a few touches each week with upside to get more if Tate’s broken ribs prevent him from playing.