The fantasy football world holds its collective breath as the Dallas Cowboys decide DeMarco Murray’s Week 16 availability – and the workload for his backup, Joseph Randle, who headlines the waiver wire targets for Fantasy Championship Week. But would Randle be a must-add if Murray sits?
PRIORITY WAIVER WIRE ADDS
Joseph Randle, Cowboys
Obviously, you’re following any and all DeMarco Murray news as you try furiously to add Randle. There’s literally zero indication at this point as to Murray’s Week 16 status, but take note of this nugget:
DeMarco Murray 2 undergo surgery today 2 repair broken 4th metacarpal, according 2 source. Emmitt Smith had similar surgery, missed 1 game
— Todd Archer (@toddarcher) December 15, 2014
On to Randle for a moment. The crucial question is this one: how has the Dallas run game performed without the oft-injured Murray over the last two years? We have a small sample size with which to work: Weeks 7 and 8 of last season, which Murray missed with a knee sprain. The Cowboys’ rushing production plummeted without their fragile phenom:
If we apply that drop in production to this season, we can expect 87 yards from Randle & Co. this week, should Murray sit out. At the moment, we have to assign Randle about a 40-50% probability to start Sunday’s tilt with the Colts’ middling run defense – but a 60-70% shot at taking a noticeable chunk of the workload. Obviously, if you’re making a pickup this week, it’s for a potential starter – so are those odds worth it to you? If you’re just desperate for a RB2 type this week – maybe you’ve WR’d your way into your championship and are currently weighing a LeGarrette Blount/Stepfan Taylor decision – then Randle is a priority pickup regardless of Murray’s status. This being (likely) your championship week, he’s a pickup for anyone who can win the bidding war, but he’s not an ideally startable option unless definitive anti-Murray news breaks soon. The short story: don’t hang your balls on the line for Randle, but make him your final pickup. There’s RB2/flex potential there, but absolutely no guarantee, nor anything close.
Matt Asiata, Vikings
Yes, the One-Yard Wonder is back in fantasy relevance. With Jerick McKinnon done for the year and Ben Tate unable to make his mark on the Vikings’ anemic run game, Asiata is the Best Game in Town. Over the last three weeks, he’s averaged 14.7 rushes and 5.0 targets of low-impact “production.” And in this season of RB uncertainty, those with championship intentions but horrendous RB2 situations could conceivably do worse.
C.J. Spiller, Bills
Doug Marrone: @CJSPILLER is cleared to return and will be added to the active roster. His readiness for return will be gauged this week. — Buffalo Bills (@buffalobills) December 15, 2014
Spiller could be set to return this week, and while Michael Bluth would consider that to “sound like some mild fun,” don’t expect much. He’s probably not better than a 50/50 shot to actually return, and no Buffalo back has established himself as a viable challenge to Fred Jackson for opportunities. What makes you think Spiller will, suddenly? Let this one pass.
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Harry Douglas, Falcons
Here’s a guy to roster, and now. Since 2013, in five games that Julio Jones and/or Roddy White have missed, Douglas has been more than serviceable, turning 11.6 targets/game into an average line of 7-99. He loses some luster, of course, if Jones suits up as expected, but he’d remain on the dice-roll WR3/4 radar. The Falcons are not averse to using their banged-up starters in decoy roles.
WEEK 13 QUARTERBACK STREAMERS
Mark Sanchez – Yes, his performance has been pretty poor over the last two weeks. But this is Washington, they of the league-worst -65.7 Pro Football Focus coverage rating. They who’ve allowed 50 completions of 20+ yards, eighth-most in football. Big plays should be coming, even if they’re between the hashes in Sanchez style.
Alex Smith – Who would have thought that a Dick LeBeau-led defense quarterbacked by Troy Polamalu would be a weekly streaming target? Alas, the Steelers sit 26th in PFF’s coverage rating and have allowed 257+ yards in seven of their past eight contests. Smith has tossed two TDs in three of his last four games, and averaged 295 yards over the last two.