The running backs can dry up pretty quick out there in Fantasy Land. Chances are if you've read anything I wrote the past three weeks, your bench should be dedicated to grabbing high-upside backs. In Week 12 Running Back Rankings I mentioned which backs could take over in a featured role should the starter suffer an injury. Since I'm such a nice guy, I'll do it for you again this week.
You'll see an asterisk next to some of the running backs that could become featured backs should the higher man on the depth chart miss time.
Let's check out some news and where the top-70 backs rank for Week 14:Injury News and Notes
Darren McFadden- Run DMC is a "long shot" for Sunday's game against the Packers. That means Michael Bush will get to redeem himself against the 12-0 Pack. He should still be in the overwhelming majority of fantasy lineups this week. In other Oakland back news, Taiwan Jones (hamstring) could practice this week and may be able to suit up on Sunday. The Raiders will probably get blown out of the water and Taiwan could produce some garbage-time stats.
Matt Forte- I touched on this on Sunday when the news went down and speculated on Forte probably having a Grade-2 MCL sprain, so feel free to check it out here for some injury jargon here. Long story short, Forte is out this week and the smart money is on him missing the next two weeks as well. Marion Barber is a decent flex play this week and Kalil Bell becomes a deep-league possibility.
Kevin Smith- I touched on this in this morning's Waiver Wire Scoops:
The details of Kevin Smith’s ankle injury have not yet been disclosed, so we’ll be forced to speculate. I'd guess Smith does have a high ankle sprain. His foot went inward with ease twice even when his steps looked harmless. This usually indicates that the ligament connecting the tibia to to the fibula on the lateral (outside) side is probably sprained. Of course an MRI would give a conclusive diagnosis. This would mean Smith would certainly be out this week and possibly for the rest of the season. Morris caught nine balls on Thanksgiving and filled in admirably vs. New Orleans. Expect for him to touch the ball over 10 times against the Vikings on Sunday.
Tony Fiammetta- Tony is the fullback for the Cowboys and he has missed the last three weeks with what appears to be an inner-ear infection. Why didn't the Cowboys just get him the bubble gum medicine? Kidding aside, the Cowboys have suddenly regressed in running the football with DeMarco Murray averaging just 66 yards per game in those three games. Expect the Cowboys to get back on track against the 23rd-ranked run D of the Giants.
Peyton Hillis and Montario Hardesty- These guys are both expected to go on a short week in Pittsburgh. The Steelers are stingier than Scrooge right now with the way they play defense and you'd have to be an extreme bind to start either guy.
Jerious Norwood- Norwood got a team-high 11 carries on Sunday and looks like the new handcuff for Steven Jackson. He's someone to think about in deep leagues.
James Starks- James Starks is dealing with an ankle injury and is unlikely to put in his usual work at practice. Starks has been dealing with minor ailments of his ankle and knee all season and there’s at least a chance he doesn’t play vs. Oakland. The Raiders just allowed 100 yards to Reggie Bush and got absolutely whipped at Sun Life Stadium. Grant doesn’t have much upside with the way Green Bay passes so much, so he's ceiling is more of a flex.
Follow me for updates throughout the week on Twitter. Also since there are a lot of league formats out there, you can ask me things like, "Mike, I get 3 points at 100 yards in a PPR, who should I start: C.J. Spiller or Shonn Greene?"
Thanks for reading and post your questions or comments below or send them to me on Twitter.