FANTASY: What to do about running back injuries

FILE - In this Sept. 18, 2016, file photo, Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson (28) talks with head coach Mike Zimmer, left, after getting injured during the second half of an NFL football game against the Green Bay Packers, in Minneapolis. Peterson hobbled out of the stadium on crutches. Sam Bradford was shaking his left hand in pain for most of the game. The Vikings took their lumps in a 17-14 win over the Packers on Sunday night, largely due to an offensive line that is struggling to protect the team's playmakers. (AP Photo/Jim Mone, File)

Injuries are a part of fantasy football. We all understand that and it’s why the ABW (Always Be Working) philosophy is in place.

But this past week was rather ridiculous.

Basically, if you drafted one of the 22 starting running backs, chances are you now have to go to the waiver wire or trading block for a replacement because they are injured or questionable, or both.

In no particular order: Jonathan Stewart (Carolina), Ameer Abdullah (Detroit), Chris Ivory (Jacksonville), Jamaal Charles (Kansas City), Arian Foster (Miami), Adrian Peterson (Minnesota), Danny Woodhead (San Diego), Thomas Rawls (Seattle), Doug Martin (Tampa Bay).

I may have even missed a few.

Before I go any further, I am strong enough to admit when I am wrong and was WAY wrong on Peterson this season. Through two games, the future hall of famer has been outscored in PPR setups by the likes of Travaris Cadet, Andy Janovich, Dwayne Washington and Corey Grant.

If you are wondering who those guys are, that is exactly the point. Through two games, Peterson rushed 31 times for 50 yards and had two catches for 7 yards. In PPR setups, that comes out to seven points total from your first- or second-round pick.

I practice what I preach, so I have him in one league and am very lucky to be 1-1. But with Peterson now injured for potentially a couple weeks, it may be a blessing for fantasy owners who now do not have to feel pressured to play him every week because he’s Adrian Peterson.

All of these injuries also means there are a plethora of players you need to be thinking about and/or acquiring off the waiver wire because they now have value.

First of all, the biggest winners in the injury crisis above are owners who drafted Theo Riddick (Detroit) and Charles Sims (Tampa Bay). Those two backs were already receiving work as part of a timeshare and are now the unquestioned starters for their teams.

In PPR leagues they are must-own if available. Both are a little more risky in a standard league normally, but now that they could be the main choice at the goal line, it gives them standard value also.

Some players who are not household names but need to be considered are: Cameron Artis Payne/Fozzy Whitaker (Carolina), Kenyan Drake (Miami), Jerick McKinnon/Matt Asiata (Minnesota) and Dexter McCluster (San Diego).

I have picked up McCluster myself in one league already. He is being acquired by San Diego and will fit in nicely as the new Danny Woodhead (receiving back), which is PPR gold.

As for who I would start in leagues this week, I would only feel comfortably putting Riddick or Sims in my starting lineup because the rest of the players above are not locked into a certain role or amount of playing time. For instance, Whitaker had a great game last week, but Cameron Artis-Payne was drafted last year as the heir-apparent to Stewart and this could now be his time.

Who to Add?

Running Backs: See above.

Wide Receivers: If Stefon Diggs (Minnesota) is on your waiver wire, go add him immediately. This guy has produced consecutive 100-yard outings and now is ranked third this season with 16 catches for 285 yards and a touchdown. Travis Benjamin (San Diego) may still be out there in your league and he needs to be rostered, along with Cole Beasley (Dallas) and Quincy Enunwa (N.Y. Jets). All are slot receivers and target monsters in PPR leagues. In standard setups Tyrell Williams looks like a guy to add from the Chargers in that he is a big-bodied wide out who will get looks at the goal line. Another receiver who seems to be a target at the goal line is Nelson Agholor (Philadelphia).

Quarterbacks: Minnesota’s Sam Bradford may have given a glimpse of the future with his poised performance on Sunday Night Football against the Green Bay Packers. Bradford finished with 286 yards and two touchdowns. Jacoby Brissett is for desperate owners only. He is the man under center for the New England Patriots Thursday against the Houston Texans.

Tight Ends: Philadelphia needed to find a replacement for Zach Ertz. Many, like myself, thought it would be Brent Celek, but based on Monday Night Football the Eagles are going to Trey Burton, who finished with five catches for 49 yards and a touchdown on seven targets. Dennis Pitta has been huge thus far for Baltimore and that continued last weekend with nine catches for 102 yards on a whopping 12 targets.

Who has Week 3 matchups to exploit?

Quarterbacks: The Atlanta Falcons are at New Orleans on Monday Night Football and it should be a shootout in the dome, which means Matt Ryan needs to be in your lineup with Drew Brees already a given. Dak Prescott (Dallas) can pick up where Carson Wentz left off against a depleted Chicago Bears defense along with Marcus Mariota (Tennessee), who gets his crack an Oakland Raiders defense that has already given up seven passing touchdowns and 819 yards in two games.

Running Backs: With all of these injuries, it would be nice to have a good matchup to exploit and that is what Rashad Jennings (N.Y. Giants) has against a Washington Redskins squad that has allowed 245 yards and four touchdowns in two games. Miami has also struggled early on stopping running backs so Isaiah Crowell could be an option to take advantage of that.

Wide Receivers: Oakland has struggled mightily with dealing with passing games and receivers, so this could be the breakout opportunity for Tajae Sharpe of the Titans. Amazingly, the N.Y. Jets are also hurting, especially with the deep ball, and Darrell Revis seems to be getting victimized each week. That is good news for Jeremy Maclin and Chris Conley, who could be sleeper big-performance guys.

Tight Ends: This position has been difficult to project this season, but the Lions have allowed four touchdowns to tight ends and that makes Jared Cook someone to think about. Another option is Coby Fleener who matches up against a Falcons defense that has allowed three TDs to tight ends thus far.

How Did My Teams Do?

You already know I am 1-1 in one league (CBSSports) because of Peterson’s struggles. Amazingly, I won a low-scoring affair in my Yahoo standard league to move to 1-1 thanks to Julio Jones getting 106 yards and a touchdown. In my ESPN PPR league I am 2-0 thanks to balanced performances from Mike Evans (19 points), Sterling Shepard (19 points).

Good luck in Week 3.

Chris Parry is a staff writer for the Tyler Morning Telegraph and ETFinalScore.com, and an avid fantasy football player for nearly two decades. His weekly fantasy takeaway is moving to Wednesdays starting next week. Feel free to email with any questions or comments to cparry@tylerpaper.com or you can tweet to @CParryETFS

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