Fantasy implications of Browns waiving Tate

The fantasy headache that has been the Cleveland Browns backfield just got a little less confounding.

The Browns announced Tuesday that the team has waived veteran running back Ben Tate leaving two rookies, Terrance West and Isaiah Crowell, to carry the load for the rest of the season. Both runners will likely split the workload as many teams do these days but it doesn't seem like either West or Crowell will emerge as the team's "lead" back as both have played a major role in recent weeks. Either way each player's respective fantasy value gets a nice boost with Tate now out of the picture.

Each rookie has been dubbed the team's starting running back in the last two games. West got the nod in Week 10 and racked up 26 carries for 94 yards and a touchdown while Crowell was the starter in Week 11 against the Texans and led the committee with 14 carries for 61 yards.

If either West or Crowell are available in your league put in a waiver claim for them immediately as the Browns take on a Falcons' defense that's allowing the second most fantasy points per game to running backs in Week 12.

Tate began the season as the lead back for the Browns and started six of the eight games that he played in. He injured his knee in Week 1 which resulted in two missed games but returned in Week 5 to lead Cleveland's backfield with 24 carries for 124 yards. He has since seen his role decrease significantly due to the more efficient play of both West and Crowell and tension with the Browns coaching staff. Tate posted negative fantasy points in Week 11 after carrying the ball just twice for negative nine yards.

There's no doubt that he has some gas left in the tank at age 26 and with the fantasy playoffs approaching, owners need to hold on to Tate as he'll likely land on another team where he may play a more prominent role.

Matt Franciscovich is an associate fantasy editor at NFL.com. Follow him on Twitter @m_franciscovich.

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