Nearing the midway point of the NFL regular season, the dings are getting bigger (just like your car if you pull in too close to another one in parking lots like we have here at the NFL Network where it's hard enough for me to fit into a spot if I just WALKED into it). This week, we address this week's top fill-in RBs, a running back tandem from the 80's who were devastatingly good in Tecmo Bowl, and 'Beverly Hills Cop'. It's all in The Hurt Locker.
Joseph Addai - His hamstring injury (different from his original) has his status up in the air for Sunday. Jim Caldwell said if Addai is out, the carries will be split between Delone Carter and Donald Brown. Addai's really risky if he plays because you have no idea how long he'll play. But I like the matchup against the Titans. Carter picked up all his points in garbage time against the Saints. It's a conundrum. The Colts are the new Redskins. How to make sense of it? Playing them falls under the "only if you're desperate" category. If you must, go this way: if Addai plays, make him your flex. If Addai doesn't play, Carter's your flex.
Jahvid Best - Word out of Detroit says don't expect Best back until after the bye. This means Maurice Morris will start. Which means if you own Best or Morris, you're going to the waiver wire. Morris is someone who will give you five fantasy points on his best day. There are other rock-toters (which I think was the name of a progressive rock band in the '90s) available that can give you more production. (See below)
Peyton Hillis - He was a DNP Friday due to his hamstring. I'll tell you what, hamstring or not, there's no way I play Hillis or Montario Hardesty this week against the 49ers. They haven't given up a touchdown on the ground all season long. Try to grab Knowshon Moreno, Stevan Ridley or Roy Helu if they're available instead of either of the Browns. When you can project as many points for Kevin Mack and Earnest Byner* as you can for the current Browns RBs, better options lie elsewhere.
Mark Ingram - His bruised heel could mean missing an extended period of time, beginning this week since the Saints have ruled him out against the Rams. With the depth of the Saints backfield, there won't be a need to rush Ingram back in (see this week's opponent: Rams, St. Louis). If Ingram is out, Darren Sproles moves to a strong No. 2 play and Pierre Thomas is a flex possibility.
Andre Johnson - Gary Kubiak says Johnson is out for one more week. If you need someone to fill A.J.'s spot, Antonio Brown and Jabar Gaffney likely are still available on the waiver wire. Brown had a breakout week against Arizona and he's becoming the number two target on a team that is evolving into a pass-first offense. Gaffney is the de facto number one wideout in Washington, and he could get you ten points as a flex.
Willis McGahee - He underwent surgery this week for a broken finger, and while there are wide ranging projections for how much time he'll miss, he won't play this Sunday against Detroit. That means Knowshon Moreno will inherit the starting role and I really like him a lot this week. He seems to have a bigger role in the offense with Tebow under center since Moreno is a better pass catcher. He's also your number one RB free agent pickup this week. Moreno's a good flex or even a weak No. 2 versus the Lions.
Adrian Peterson - What? All Day on the injury report? Relax. His "tweaked" ankle won't hinder him, as all reports out of Minnesota say it's not a huge concern. I see a lot of points in this matchup against Carolina and I think big days are in store for Peterson and Christian Ponder. I know, right? The guy was better in his first NFL start than he was his entire career at Florida State.
Beanie Wells - He says he's going to play. Every other person in the world is telling us his knee won't be ready. This is the second time this season Wells has gone the "I'm good to play Sunday" route. Last time, he did not play. I'm not going to fall for the banana in the tailpipe again. Throw in he's playing the Ravens, the second-ranked defense in the league and Wells (and backups Alfonso Smith and LaRod Stephens-Howling) are great sits this week, regardless.
>>Matthew Stafford was back at practice for Detroit, his health shouldn't deter you from starting him Sunday. But watch out, the Lions are reeling and playing in Tebow Stadium. I can see a three-pick day for Staffordâ¦
>>Brandon Jacobs was back at practice this week, but with Ahmad Bradshaw's breakout game (coinciding with Jacobs saying he wants to leave the team after this year), I can't recommend Jacobs as an optionâ¦
*Each of these RB's had their own running play in Tecmo Bowl, which was pretty rare. I always liked using the really bad teams because it was more fun to win with squads like Cleveland, Dallas and Indianapolis, who were the worst teams in the game. Jack Trudeau was the starting QB for Indy, and while you had Herschel Walker in Dallas, there was no one you could control on defense that could stop anybody. At least the Colts had Duane Bickett.
See Jason Smith on NFL Fantasy Live, airing Sundays at 11:30 a.m. ET on the Red Zone Channel, and Tuesday-Friday on NFL Network at 2 p.m. ET and 12 a.m. ET/9 p.m. PT. He writes fantasy and other NFL pith on NFL.com daily. Talk to him on Twitter @howaboutafresca. He only asks you never bring up when the Jets play poorly.