At this point in the season, any help at running back is a good thing. When you have the chance to pick up a running back that could play a featured role, it’s even more important to give them a look. Consider Alex Green of the Packers and Montell Owens of the Jaguars as such options this week.
QB: Russell Wilson
For the past five weeks, rookie Russell Wilson has thrown for at least two touchdowns per game. During that stretch, Wilson's quarterback rating has been 96 or higher; in three of those games, it has been over 125. With Wilson playing at a Pro Bowl-level, it’s no surprise that Sidney Rice and Golden Tate have emerged in that span as weekly starting options.
Another interesting wrinkle adding to Wilson’s value is the status of Seattle’s top corners, Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner. Browner is about to start a four-game suspension this week, and Sherman is likely to join him soon.
If the Seahawks start to give up more points, they will look to Wilson and the passing game for more production. That could make him a worthy low-end starter going forward. At this point, he’s worth picking up as his running ability gives him added value.
RB: Alex Green
James Starks will be out for at least a few weeks, and the Packers have responded by signing Ryan Grant. This is good news for Alex Green, who is running the football much more decisively than earlier in the season. Green should have a chance to be the Packers' featured back going forward, and with the team's issues in pass protection, they won’t be abandoning the run.
RB: Montell Owens
With Rashad Jennings and Maurice Jones-Drew banged up, look to Montell Owens to handle most of the work in the Jaguars backfield this week. Owens isn’t anything special but he can give you fair production as a flex play against the Jets.
RB: Joique Bell
Bell picked up most of his production last week on one long run. He is the favored running back to finish games late, but the Lions usually play from behind in the fourth quarter. Expect that to happen this week in Lambeau, but next week he has a chance for a nice day against the Cardinals.
RB: Justin Forsett
Forsett split the workload with Arian Foster last week and has filled in well for Ben Tate. Tate is healthy again, but expect the Texans to continue using Forsett for now. I have a feeling Foster will be a featured back this week in a very important game against the Patriots.
If they win, expect the Texans to revert back to a committee approach down the stretch as they keep Foster healthy for the playoffs.
WR: Golden Tate
An undersized receiver, Tate is making things happen on the outside and has clearly earned the trust of rookie quarterback Russell Wilson. Tate is a shifty receiver with a knack for sudden moves after the catch; he reminds me a little of Victor Cruz or Cecil Shorts.
Tate doesn’t have the long speed of those receivers, which explains why we haven’t seen him break away for long touchdown runs. However, he will make big plays after the catch.
WR: Donnie Avery
Expect more up and down play from Avery, but with the Colts leaning on the passing game to win games, the veteran is an option to consider as a WR3. Unfortunately, I believe Luck’s ability to spread the football around—coupled with No.3 receiver T.Y. Hilton—makes Avery a dicey start.
D: Jets Defense
If the Jets are still on the waiver wire, this is a good time to pick them up. This week they face the Jaguars and next week they have another close matchup against the Titans. New York will pound the football and eat the clock in order to help the defense stay fresh.
Keep An Eye On
RB: Bernard Pierce
Pierce continues to see an increase in activity in what has turned into a committee situation with Ray Rice. The Ravens are using Pierce much like the Texans are handling Forsett—increasing his workload to keep the featured back fresh for the playoffs.
RB: Robert Turbin
Like Pierce’s situation with Rice, Turbin would be an instant RB2 if something should happen to Marshawn Lynch. His abilities in the passing game would benefit him as a three-down back if he has a chance to start.
WR: Mike Thomas
Ryan Broyles is done for the year with another torn ACL and Titus Young was placed on IR because of a knee injury, so that leaves Mike Thomas starting opposite Calvin Johnson. We haven’t seen much from the former Jaguar, but Thomas is in an ideal situation for success, so keep an eye on him this week.
WR: Jason Avant / Riley Cooper
The Eagles will be in some interesting games down the final stretch with the Buccaneers, Bengals and Redskins over the next three weeks. DeSean Jackson done for the season, so keep an eye on Avant and Cooper’s production this week.
D: Lions Defense
This week the Lions face an average matchup, playing on the road against the Packers. Next week is much more promising, as Detroit heads down to Arizona and faces the Cardinals. If you can stash them on your roster this week, it might be a good idea.
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