Fantasy Football: Managing Without Maurice

We’re still awaiting word on the extent of the foot injury suffered by Jacksonville Jaguars RB Maurice Jones-Drew over the weekend, but at this point, it’s looking like the best-case scenario is an arch sprain with the worst-case scenario being a season-ending Lisfranc injury.

Either way, Jones-Drew is out for the Week 8 game against the Green Bay Packers—and likely longer—leaving fantasy football managers in a panic.  Who do we turn to next?

If you were smart enough to roster Jaguars RB Rashad Jennings as a handcuff or you own the No. 1 waiver pick in your fantasy football league this week, congratulations.  You’re set.

Since MJD is owned in 99 percent of Yahoo fantasy football leagues and Jennings is only owned in 30 percent of leagues, though, not everyone is that fortunate.  Here are some options for the less fortunate.

Jonathan Dwyer, Pittsburgh Steelers (25 percent owned in Yahoo fantasy football leagues)

As long as Rashard Mendenhall and Isaac Redman remain out, Dwyer appears to be the main guy in Pittsburgh.  Against the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 7, he rushed for 122 yards on 17 carries.

Just make sure you keep an eye on the status of Mendenhall and Redman throughout the week because when either or both return, Dwyer’s value goes out the window.

Montario Hardesty, Cleveland Browns (10 percent owned)

The Browns are discussing what to do about Trent Richardson and his rib injury, and one of the options being kicked around, according to Ed Werder on ESPN’s Sportscenter on Oct. 23, is shutting Richardson down through Cleveland’s Week 10 bye.

That would make Hardesty the starter in Cleveland, although nothing about that scenario is very enticing, especially since the Browns’ opponent this week—the San Diego Chargers—are No. 20 in fantasy points allowed to running backs.  Still, a starter is usually better than a backup in the land of fantasy football.

Vick Ballard, Indianapolis Colts (36 percent owned)

Donald Brown may need one more week off to recover from his knee surgery, leaving Ballard another window of opportunity.  In Week 7 against the Cleveland Browns, Vick tallied 84 rushing yards and 19 receiving yards.

This week, the Colts take on the Tennessee Titans, who allow the fourth-most fantasy points to running backs.

Kendall Hunter, San Francisco 49ers (26 percent owned)

Frank Gore banged up his ribs on Oct. 18 against the Seattle Seahawks, allowing Hunter to finish the game for him.  The Niners don’t play again until Monday Night Football against the Arizona Cardinals, so Gore has a total of 11 days to heal, but Hunter is a very smart waiver grab, especially for Gore owners.

Even if Gore stays healthy the rest of the way, Hunter has a pretty nice role in the 49ers offense as a backup, scoring a handful of points each week.  Desperate times call for desperate measures, and if you’re forced to use a backup running back to fill in for MJD, Hunter is about the best of a bunch of bad options.

Daryl Richardson, St. Louis Rams (35 percent owned)

Playing a similar role as Hunter, Richardson is actually getting a fair amount of action as the backup to Steven Jackson.  We’ve already discussed the fantasy football value of Daryl Richardson and our opinion hasn’t changed over the past month, but a handful of points each week is better than none.