Now that the dust has settled on Week 11, we look ahead to some running backs who may present value off the waiver wire. Really, the only player who went down this past Sunday was Colts RB Marlon Mack, who has a fractured hand and is unlikely to suit up Thursday vs. the Texans. Outside of that, we’ll try to scour the wire for some pickups prior to the fantasy football playoffs, which should get started in a week or two depending on your league.
Here are some running backs readily available in ESPN Standard leagues who you should target.
Jonathan Williams/Nyheim Hines, Indianapolis Colts (0.0/29.2 percent)
With Mack likely out for TNF, we can expect plenty of Jonathan Williams on early downs for the Colts. After Mack went down, Williams took over as the featured back, rushing for 116 yards on 13 carries, adding one reception for 31 yards for 15.7 fantasy points. He didn’t find the end zone, but I think that was more game script than anything. Williams should operate as the early-down back and is a must-add for Mack owners. Jordan Wilkins (ankle) is expected to return and split the backfield with Williams.
If you’re in PPR leagues, targeting Hines over Williams makes some sense. We saw Hines get the goal line work with Mack out, scoring a TD on three carries. Plus, we know he’s the third-down back and will see the bulk of the targets in the passing game from the backfield. Thursday night games tend to be slogfests or high-scoring affairs, so I’m leaning the latter in Indy-Houston. If that’s the case, Hines may be the sneaky pick-up this week.
Alexander Mattison, Minnesota Vikings (21.4 percent)
This is more of a reminder for Dalvin Cook owners than anything, but if you have the roster spot, Mattison isn’t a bad add. I think the Vikings will look to get Cook some rest as we get toward playoff time, to keep their workhorse back fresh for the postseason. Minnesota is still fighting for the NFC North, but are also in a very safe spot to make the playoffs either way at 8-3. God forbid Cook goes down (knock on wood), you’d have a lottery ticket in Week 12 in Mattison, who would become the feature back and be in line for a ton of carries. With the Vikings on a bye week, Mattison should fly under the radar, so he’s more of an add if you’re higher in your standings.
Bo Scarbrough, Detroit Lions (0.1 percent)
First Kerryon Johnson went down, then Ty Johnson took the back seat, then we thought J.D McKissic would be the clear-cut No. 1 back in Detroit. Well, now we’re at Bo Scarbrough. In Sunday’s loss to the Cowboys, the Lions opted to use Scarbrough as the feature back with 14 carries for 55 yards and a TD. He mostly operated on the ground, so Scarbrough has more value in standard leagues as opposed to PPR. McKissic still got a few carries and targets in the passing game, so it’s a bit even. But Scarbrough is worth an add if you need to plug in someone at RB2 or in the FLEX.