Fantasy Football Truths
Tashard Choice seizes starter carries: Sleeper running backs who will winleagues
We see it happen all the time in the fantasy football world: Just when you think that every possible running back in the world is on some roster in your league, somebody comes out of nowhere to post a big game. Last Monday night, the long-forgotten Brian Westbrook turned on the Wayback Machine and put up huge numbers.
In the last few weeks, Mike Goodson has gone from third-string to do-everything back in Carolina. And Toby Gerhart emerged from AP’s shadow in Minny.
Now is the time of the year when these forgotten guys emerge from hiding. Bad teams will give them a chance because they have nothing to lose; playoff-bound teams will throw them in there if they’ve already clinched and don’t want to get their starters hurt. With that in mind, here are six players currently foundering on the depth chart who just might make a difference in some fantasy seasons. Consider them as early stocking stuffers.
Aaron Brown, Detroit: Jahvid Best just can’t shake the toe injury that has robbed him of his explosiveness. Maurice Morris was likely a hot pick-up this week after two touchdowns on Thanksgiving against New England, but Brown actually had more carries in the game (13 to 9.) He’s a second-year guy with some pep in his step, and it’s more likely that Detroit will try to see what he can do that feed the veteran Morris down the stretch.
Tashard Choice, Dallas: Choice’s biggest moment this year was his fumble in the opener against Washington that turned that game around and set the tone for the Cowboys season. But Marion Barber got hurt on Thanksgiving, allowing Choice to emerge from the doghouse and score a touchdown.
Considering that Felix Jones, who gets hurt a whole lot, is now the only obstacle to his playing time, Choice is just inches from being a featured back on a good offense.
James Davis, Washington: Ryan Torain has a never-ending hamstring injury, and Clinton Portis is on injured reserve. Keiland Williams was a waiver-wire commodity a few weeks ago after scoring three garbage touchdowns in the Skins’ blowout loss to the Eagles, but he really hasn’t done much else to distinguish himself. Davis got lost in the shuffle in Cleveland once Peyton Hillis emerged, but he’s got a chance in Washington on a team that’s quickly running out of other options.
Jerome Harrison, Philadelphia: With the Giants faltering a bit, I have a feeling that the Eagles will have this division wrapped up by Week 15. That means their chances of playing a relatively meaningless game or two at the end of the season is relatively high. LeSean McCoy has been playing through injuries the way it is. The Philly coaches will be looking for any opportunity to lighten his load.
Enter Harrison, who fits the offense well and has a history of end-of-the-year fantasy heroics.
Mike Hart, Indianapolis: It’s been hard to follow the revolving door at running back in Indy due to all the injuries. Donald Brown has had his chance the last few weeks, and the weak numbers he’s been putting up are making me think that all of the criticism that Joseph Addai has taken in fantasy circles the past few years might be unwarranted. But Addai is still reeling, while Hart, who was playing well before his injury, is getting healthy. Keep a close eye on him.
James Starks, Green Bay: Perhaps the deepest of all the sleepers here, Starks missed his senior season of college and most of his rookie season with the Pack due to injury. Yet the team thought enough of him to save him a roster spot.
It’s no secret that Green Bay doesn’t think Brandon Jackson is feature-back material, and his back-up, Dmitri Nance, is now dinged up. If you have a roster spot to spare, take a flier on Starks and you might be surprised.
My bold prediction: At least two of these sleepers will have 100-yard games before the year is over. If you can figure out which ones, you just might have visions of league winnings dancing in your head right next to the sugar plums.