One more week in the books, a few more young running backs on the shelf. This week, the devastating running back news was Dalvin Cook going down with a torn ACL. If you watched the injury live or watched the replay over and over again like I did, you had to feel for the kid. He went down with a non-contact injury less than four weeks into what was quickly becoming an impressive rookie season, and it looked as ugly as it sounds.
But we fantasy owners don’t have time to feel bad for Cook. Pour out some Duff for your boy and move on with your fantasy life. For Cook owners, this likely leaves you scrambling for replacements. For owners desperate for running backs and streaming options, Latavius Murray just started dancing into your dreams.
While Murray won’t be confused for Cook on the field, he does have some appeal. The Vikings signed Murray before they were able to go out and draft Cook, so they at least considered him a serviceable option in the event that the draft did not go their way. They also signed him to a three-year deal, and even though most NFL contracts are filled with fake money and fake years, that is more than nothing (what an endorsement!).
While some have pointed to Jerick McKinnon as taking over a bigger role, I really don’t see that happening. He should continue with his current role, and he might see a slightly increased workload, but Murray is going to get the first shot at taking the lead role. I am desperate for running backs in at least two of my dozen leagues, and I am going to use the waiver priority I have been saving on Murray this week.
To the charts!
Mike Maher’s Week Five NFL Handcuff Report
- Joe Mixon is getting his shot in Cincinnati, but he is not doing much with it so far. He saw 21 touches on Sunday but managed just 48 yards from scrimmage. If you punch that into your calculator, it reads “n0t g00d”. The change at offensive coordinator for the Bengals has meant Mixon serving as the lead back, but thus far the success has just not been there. Look for him to continue to get fed, and hopefully, the results will follow.
- Duke Johson out-snapped and out-touched Isaiah Crowell on Sunday, and the needle seems to be leading in his direction. I am not yet ready to give up on the Crow, and I think he bounces back and takes the job, but some others are already ringing the bell.
- Melvin Gordon played most of the game for the Chargers on Sunday, but he did not look like himself. Part of the problem was that the Eagles were in the backfield all day and did not give him much room to run, but he did not look like a guy playing at 100%. Something to keep an eye on going forward.
- Matt Forte should stay hurt (no offense, Matt). More Bilal Powell, please!
- The NFC side of things is where most of the handcuff news is this week. Dalvin Cook is done for the year, and Chris Carson looks to be done for most of, if not all, of the year. Just a week after it looked like the Seahawks had picked a guy, we are back to a messy committee of Eddie Lacy, Thomas Rawls, C.J. Prosise, and J.D. McKissic (who a week ago I would have assumed was an underground NYC DJ). Gross.
- Over in New Jersey, injuries led to a guy named Wayne Gallman getting a chance, and he looked pretty good. He was about the only thing that looked good for the Giants (Ok, Eli played well, too). But, the Giants have shown in the past (see: Darkwa) that being a better running back than Paul Perkins doesn’t always mean anything. It seems like Gallman will/should get an extended look, but who knows.
- Doug Martin is returning from his suspension, so consider that Bucs chart to be written in pencil. He could end up sitting for a week or playing sparingly as they get him into game shape, so I would give it a week before rolling him into your lineup. But if you are desperate, you are desperate. Go for it.
- All three running backs for the Eagles ran well on Sunday, which is good for them and kinda just OK for the rest of us. It was against possibly the worst rushing defense in the league, and they all took touches from each other. Hello, committee.
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