After an eerily quiet past two weeks on the waiver wire, it is now time for fantasy football managers to open up their free-agent wallets and start making moves.
Whether it is due to injuries or more teams moving towards tandem backfields, the running back position has taken a beating this season, and any help on the waiver wire is a welcome site. The loss of Christian McCaffrey paved the way for mediocrity, as Chuba Hubbard saw his touchdowns poached by his quarterback, but there are situations developing in Chicago and Cincinnati which will require your immediate attention.
During the preseason, Bears coach Matt Nagy told the media he was hoping to get his starting running back David Montgomery 20 touches per game. No one actually believed him, but the idea of even just 15 touches between carries and catches was turning heads, and when it actually came to fruition during the first four games, we were ecstatic. But Montgomery left Sunday’s game with a hyperextended knee, and with MRI results pending, it is time to look at Damien Williams.
There was never anything exciting about Williams’ game until he landed in Kansas City where he fit perfectly within Andy Reid’s offensive system. As a reserve-turned-starter due to injuries, Williams racked up 1,127 all-purpose yards and 13 touchdowns over 27 games in a two-year span. He proved capable of zone runs both inside and outside the tackles and was a competent pass-catcher.
The best part? Nagy’s system in Chicago is a knock-off of what Reid uses in Kansas City, and though Williams doesn’t have the talent of Montgomery, his familiarity with the scheme will offer a relatively seamless transition.
In Cincinnati, we are seeing something similar with regard to schemes and coaching trees. With Joe Mixon week-to-week with an ankle injury, Samaje Perine also becomes a strong add. Bengals coach Zac Taylor came from the staff of Sean McVay who, in turn, came from the Jon Gruden coaching tree.
Perine first entered the NFL learning Jay Gruden’s scheme, which he had adapted from his brother’s, a similar scheme to that of McVay and Taylor. Perine looked strong when he replaced Mixon last Thursday and should see a similar workload. Maybe he doesn’t see the same 20 carries Mixon saw, but even an 80 percent share will boost your team.
Starting running backs don’t appear on the waiver wire too often, so when one does, you need to be aggressive. Even if they are only going to fill in for a short time. It sounds as if both could have the starting role for Week 5 and, depending on test results, each could be there for a few weeks more. The time to strike is now.
Howard Bender is the VP of operations and head of content at FantasyAlarm.com. Follow him on Twitter @rotobuzzguy and catch him on the award-winning “Fantasy Alarm Radio Show” on the SiriusXM fantasy sports channel weekdays from 6-8 p.m. Go to FantasyAlarm.com for all your fantasy football advice.
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