Here, I’m not talking about the backup running backs that every fantasy football players races to pickup after a starter goes down to injury. Obviously, those are the first players you scoop up and possibly play. This is for the other players that could make an impact without garnering much attention from your rivals, because they might still be available.
Play him with confidence: Colts RB Ahmad Bradshaw
Unless you have a pair of top-10-15 RBs that you just cannot sit, you better play Ahmad Bradshaw if you picked him up. He’s still going to split time with the less dependable Trent Richardson, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see him play more snaps. Bradshaw has been an x-factor for the winless Colts, that are favored to get win #1 and he’ll play an important role in doing so. Jacksonville hasn’t stopped anybody after a strong first half in week 1, the last six quarters have been rather embarrassing. This guy has been around awhile yet he’s 28 years of age, and looks to be reborn after recovering from last season’s neck injury. He’s been a spark plug in all facets a running back can help the team in, and he will get touches on the ground and through the air.
Play him if you need a receiver: Jaguars WR Allen Robinson
The second round rookie snagged four passes for 75 yards in the week 2 loss to the Redskins, one of which he broke away gained yards after the catch for a 54-yard play. That was when he was the #3 receiver behind fellow rookies, Allen Hurns and Marquise Lee, who won’t be playing in week 3. Now this rookie gets his opportunity as the main target, considering TE Marcedes Lewis also went down to injury and despite WR Cecil Shorts trying to make his debut, he might not be a reliable factor until the following week. The Jags are struggling, which means playing fro behind will force them to throw. Hurns was taking advantage before his injury, making plays downfield, although he did drop one deep ball. Robinson may very well draw Colts CB Greg Toler. Toler got an interception against the Eagles on MNF, but he did get called for pass interference and WR Jeremy Maclin scored on him too.
If you don’t have a reliable tight end, he should carry his momentum: Redskins TE Niles Paul
Last week QB Robert Griffin and WR DeSean Jackson left the game in the early going. WR Pierre Garcon was hardly a factor, and the Redskins have been without TE Jordan Reed. Niles Paul entered the matchup against the Jaguars as the #2 TE behind Logal Paulsen, who is more of a blocker. Paul seized his opportunity as Kirk Cousins connected with him eight times for 99 yards and a touchdown. Reed isn’t expected back until next week at the earliest, and the same can be said for standout LB, Mychal Kendricks of the Eagles. Philly covered Indy’s tight ends extremely well, blanking Dwayne Allen to zero targets and only allowing a 13-yard pass completed to Coby Fleener. That was with Kendricks in the lineup, his void gives Paul another chance to shine.
A better play than you think: Vikings WR Greg Jennings
Let’s get week 2 out of the way. Greg Jennings got shadowed by Darrelle Revis, no wonder he only grabbed a 4-yard pass. Plus, the team looked lifeless with all the Adrian Peterson drama going on. They might not get a win in New Orleans, as it is extremely challenging to knock them off at home. They will be in a dome and most likely, Matt Cassel will be playing catch up to Drew Brees and company. The Saints thought they improved but so far the D hasn’t looked good. Jennings caught six of seven passes in week 1 for 58 yards, solid performance. Minny will try to run the ball to slow the Saints down in the first half, but their struggling D might not halt NO from marching in. Jennings should approach double-digit targets.
A reach but if you are thin at receiver, you could do worse: Jets WR Jeremy Kerley
Yes, this is the guy that caught that game-tying touchdown against the Packers. It just so happened to be on a play that the offensive coordinator called timeout before the snap, because QB Geno Smith and whichever RB named Chris that was in the backfield, didn’t look to be on the same page. Kerley only ended up with three catches for 22 yards, when he could have had four balls for 59 yards and a score. WR Eric Decker is expected to suit up as his hamstring didn’t even need an MRI, but you never know how effective a nicked up player can be. Decker could be used as normal or as a decoy, either way Kerley built some familiarity with his QB last season to fill in week 3 if needed. They play the Bears on MNF in NY.