The 2019 fantasy season has already seen a number of injuries to highly drafted and big name players. The running back position has certainly not been immune to such injuries. While most of the injuries are relatively minor in nature, they certainly have an impact on week 3 lineups, and potentially beyond. Here we will take a look at some running backs currently ranked outside the top 30 who have potential to breakout and be serious contributors in week 3.
Frank Gore, Buffalo Bills.
Currently, the consensus expert rankings have Frank Gore sitting at the number 31 spot in their rankings, but this could change in the coming days. Gore’s backfield teammate Devin Singletary has been absent from practice all week with a reportedly minor hamstring injury. While Singletary has been the FAR more productive and explosive running back in Buffalo, he has been officially ruled out and will not suit up for his week 3 matchup against the lowly Bengals. This is great news for Gore who could be looking at extended work.
Bafflingly, Gore, the ageless wonder, has managed to record a whopping 32 touches in the first 2 weeks of the 2019 season. Not surprisingly, he has a dismal yards per carry of 2.9 and doesn’t offer a ton in the receiving game. He has managed to parlay those touches into an uninspiring 103 total yards and 1 TD—these numbers are even more mediocre when you consider Buffalo’s first two opponents might as well be playing in the XFL—the Giants and the Jets. All that being said, the opportunity for Gore to steal a few more touches is there in yet another mouthwatering matchup with the Bengals.
If you have watched any football from the young 2019 season it does not take an expert to point out that the Bengals are not a good football team. This plays into Gore’s favor as this game should be relatively close and thus provide a favorable game script for Gore because—let’s face it—the Bills are who we thought they were and won’t be blowing anyone out. Expect the Bills to sprinkle in a little TJ Yeldon on passing downs and a carry here and there, but this could be Gore’s week to dominate touches in the Bills’ backfield—and should be the last once Singletary gets his hammy healthy. Fire up Gore as a volume based flex. It appears the Devin Singletary era is on hold for at least one more week. #FreeDevinSingletary.
Jordan Howard, Philadelphia Eagles
So far the Eagles’ backfield has been a mess with neither Howard nor Miles Sanders separating themselves from the pack. The Presence of Darren Sproles on passing downs isn’t a great help to Howard or Sanders, either. Sanders has looked significantly better and more explosive, but the numbers don’t back that up—at least not yet. This is far from an endorsement of Jordan Howard (who should normally be left on benches) as I am a firm believer that this will be a Sanders led committee.
Now, here is Howard’s case for relevance in week 3. The Eagles receiving core was absolutely decimated with injuries during their Sunday Night loss to the Atlanta Falcons. Alshon Jeffery, Desean Jackson and Dallas Goedert were lost to injury and look doubtful at best to suit up this weekend against Detroit. This should make the Eagles rely more heavily on Howard and Sanders. Another factor going in their favor is that Detroit has given up an average of 169.5 scrimmage yards to opposing running backs this season—YIKES. While I wouldn’t feel super confident about starting Howard, he is a viable flex consideration this week at his 45 ranking.
Darwin Thompson, Kansas City Chiefs
This is more of a bold prediction rather than a recommendation, but Thompson, the 6th round rookie from Utah State, may have a chance to carve himself a role in the explosive Chiefs’ offense. Thompson was hyped in draft season, but saw his fantasy stock plummet with the signing of Andy Reid favorite LeSean McCoy after he was released by the Bills. Fast forward a few weeks later and he has a chance—albeit a small one—to carve himself a role.
Both Damien Williams and LeSean McCoy sustained injuries in week 2, to their knee and ankle, respectively. While McCoy is expected to play, Williams has been ruled out for the game against the Ravens this week. Even if McCoy plays, you can expect him to be somewhat limited as well. Enter Thompson.
While Thompson has done next to nothing so far (2 touches for a total of 3 yards) and this week’s matchup with the Ravens is daunting, Thompson is a nice stash on the end of your bench. The concern with Damien Williams was that of his journeyman status and if last season’s numbers after replacing the suspended Kareem Hunt was a fluke. Well, here we are. Not only has Williams just been terrible running the football (22 attempts for 34 yards with a horrendous 1.5 yards per carry) he is also injured—this is the Williams’ owner’s worst fear realized (at least potentially). View Thompson as a very deep league desperation dart-throw/bench stash with potential to turn into something more.