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Benny Cunningham could be fantasy option in Week 13 after running over Bears

Benny CunninghamBenny Cunningham busted out for a big game on Sunday against the Chicago Bears and could be a fantasy option in Week 13 depending on the health of Zac Stacy.

Stacy left Sunday’s game in the second quarter with a concussion, and it was all Cunningham after that. The undrafted back out of Middle Tennessee State piled up 109 yards on 13 carries, including a 9-yard touchdown to put the game out of reach in the fourth quarter.

Much like Stacy before his concussion, Cunningham had a great average against the Bears, going for 8.4 yards per carry. Stacy had 7.3 yards per carry before leaving the game. Oh yeah, and Tavon Austin broke a 65-yard touchdown on a (reverse?) reverse in the first quarter.

The Bears’ poor rush defense — they entered Sunday’s game second-worst in the league in rushing yards allowed per game — had a lot to do with Cunningham looking good. But Cunningham clearly is second on the team’s depth chart behind Stacy, and he would be in line for a lot of work against a tougher San Francisco 49ers defense next week. Daryl Richardson was a healthy scratch for this one, so he would probably be activated next week if Stacy can’t play, but that would be in a backup role.

In other words, don’t get too excited about Cunningham’s prospects, but keep in mind he is an option if you need a running back to pick up.

Bryce Brown on fantasy radar after LeSean McCoy leaves with apparent hamstring injury

LeSean McCoy

UPDATE: McCoy returned to the game in the second half, saying that his hamstring was “tight.” It will be worth monitoring to see if he injures it further.

Philadelphia Eagles running back LeSean McCoy left Sunday’s game against the Washington Redskins with an apparently hamstring injury. McCoy ripped off a long run in the second quarter before falling to the turf without being touched and immediately grabbing the back of his leg.

Should McCoy miss any time, Bryce Brown would become a must-add in fantasy football leagues. Brown has done very little this year since McCoy has been running so well. Savvy McCoy fantasy owners like have Brown on their bench as a handcuff, but now is the time to take advantage if he’s available.

Chip Kelly’s offense racks up yards and gets plenty of production from the running back position, so Brown would have immediate RB2 potential if McCoy is forced to miss next week’s game against the Arizona Cardinals.

Obviously, Eagles fans are hoping McCoy’s injury is just a minor strain or cramp. McCoy was leading the NFL in rushing yards heading into Week 11 and was arguably Philadelphia’s best player on a week-to-week basis.

Week 11 fantasy pickups include Rishard Matthews, Bernard Pierce, Case Keenum, Shane Vereen

Bernard-Pierce-RavensCompared to recent weeks, there is probably not a whole lot available on the fantasy waiver wire in your leagues heading into Week 11. There were very few breakout performances in Week 10 and not many injuries, but that doesn’t mean valuable pieces can’t be found. In addition to the players we told you to keep an eye on when Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Mike James went down on Monday night, here are some other players to consider for Week 11.

Rishard Matthews, WR, Dolphins: We can almost guaranteed that Matthews’ 11/120/2 game against Tampa Bay on Monday night will be his best of the season. That doesn’t mean he won’t have some WR3 value going forward, especially in PPR leagues. After catching just five passes in the first six games of the season, Matthews has clearly developed some chemistry with Ryan Tannehill. He has 16 catches on 24 targets in the past three weeks. He has also received a bump since Brandon Gibson went down with an injury. We don’t expect him to light it up by any means, but you could do worse for receiver depth.

Bernard Pierce, RB, Ravens: Pierce is already owned in many leagues as a handcuff to Ray Rice. The Ravens’ run game is an absolute mess. Rice has been completely ineffective in recent weeks, which could be the result of a lingering hip issue and is certainly the result of poor offensive line play. John Harbaugh told reporters this week that the team is planing to go with a “hot hand” approach going forward. That could mean Pierce is in for more carries if he can provide a spark. The Ravens can only be so loyal to Rice if he is not getting the job done, making Pierce worth an add.

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Brian Leonard a fantasy option after Mike James injury

Brian LeonardBrian Leonard became a decent fantasy football pickup option after Tampa Bay Buccaneers starting running back Mike James went down on the team’s opening drive Monday night.

James was running the ball down the Miami Dolphins’ throat on the opening drive, gashing them for 41 yards on five carries. But he went down with an ankle injury near the goal line and was carted off:

Brian Leonard, who was the No. 2 back behind James, became the primary ball carrier after the injury.

Leonard was a second-round pick by the St. Louis Rams in 2007 and played for Greg Schiano at Rutgers during his college career. He served mostly as a fullback during his NFL career and has been an effective receiver out of the backfield. He’s not an ideal player to carry the load, but the Bucs felt confident enough in him to give him the pill after James’ injury.

Leonard has never carried the ball more than 86 times in a season (that was in his rookie season). Bobby Rainey is the team’s other running back, but he didn’t see nearly as much action as Leonard, though he did break a touchdown. The Bucs’ offense is starting to look somewhat better, so their running back spot has some value.

GIF via GIFD Sports

Week 10 fantasy pickups include Nick Foles, Rashad Jennings, Aaron Dobson

Nick-Foles-EaglesAs we mentioned last week, you have probably reached or are nearing the trade deadline in your fantasy league. That means the only way to acquire players who can help you down the stretch is by working the waiver wire. We’re here to help out with that as best we can, and there were a couple of players who had breakout performances in Week 9 that can certainly give you a boost in the coming weeks. Here are your Week 10 fantasy football pickups.

Nick Foles, QB, Eagles: The Eagles have had an unprecedented revolving door at quarterback this season, mostly because of injuries. With a seven-touchdown performance against the Raiders on Sunday, you can bet your bottom dollar Foles has secured the job for the immediate future. Foles’ game against Oakland will likely be his best of the season, but he has plenty enough weapons at his disposal to produce at a high level in fantasy formats. DeSean Jackson is having his best season as a pro and LeSean McCoy makes it so teams can’t commit to defending the pass. Philly’s next five games are against the Packers, Redskins, Cardinals, Lions and Vikings. Those matchups lock Foles in as a fantasy starter.

Rashad Jennings, RB, Raiders: Stop me if you’ve heard this before — Darren McFadden is battling a hamstring injury. Run DMC tweaked his already tender hamstring in the second quarter against the Eagles and did not return. Jennings stepped into the feature back role and carried the ball 15 times for 102 yards and a touchdown. He also added 74 yards receiving on seven catches. Philly’s defense is very soft, but Jennings will be handling the bulk of the work for Oakland going forward. The Raiders are unlikely to rush McFadden back this time, as we see what happens when they do.

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Week 9 fantasy pickups include Marvin Jones, Darrius Heyward-Bey, Andre Brown

Marvin-Jones-BengalsFor many of you, the trade deadline in your fantasy leagues is likely just around the corner. It may have already even passed. One thing that means is that working the waiver wire will be more important than ever down the stretch. If your trade deadline has passed, picking guys up and strategically using your waiver priority will be the only way to acquire players. Here are some solid players you should be targeting on the Week 9 waiver wire.

Marvin Jones, WR, Bengals: Jones has come out of nowhere this month, hauling in 15 catches for 250 yards and a whopping six touchdowns over Cincinnati’s past three games. Most of us expected Mohamed Sanu to be the second option in the passing game for Andy Dalton behind AJ Green, but Jones has been that guy. He was probably added in a lot of leagues last week and will still be the most popular add this week. There are some red flags, however. Is his ridiculous touchdown pace going to continue? Not a chance. Andrew Hawkins is set to return from short-term IR soon and should steal some targets from Jones. He can still be productive, but don’t get sucked into the Eddie Royal trap if you already have decent receiver depth. His fantasy scoring rate simply can’t continue.

Darrius Heyward-Bey, WR, Colts: Reggie Wayne is out for the season with a torn ACL. The Colts are not going to stop passing with Andrew Luck, so Heyward-Bey and TY Hilton should both see a significant increase in targets. Heyward-Bey has shown some big-play ability and has played on roughly 75% of Indy’s offensive snaps this season. The Colts were on a bye last week, which should have helped DHB and Hilton prepare for expanded roles. The fact that the Colts did not swing a trade for a wide receiver or add a veteran means they trust the guys they have now. Heyward-Bey should be a viable WR3 based on volume alone.

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Brandon Jacobs goes off on Twitter followers after receiving death threats over fantasy

Brandon JacobsBrandon Jacobs was disappointed he could not suit up for the New York Giants on Monday night after breaking out in a loss to the Chicago Bears in Week 6. Jacobs was inactive with a hamstring injury, and many of his fantasy football owners were frustrated that his status for the game remained unknown until Monday afternoon.

It’s one thing to be upset that Jacobs’ inability to suit up cost you a fantasy week. Losing isn’t fun. However, the extent to which people cross the line when ripping players over fantasy football seems to be getting worse by the year. Jacobs tweeted a perfect example of that early Tuesday morning:

Brandon-Jacobs-death-threat

Talk about uncalled for. Not only that, but those tweets will be handed over to NFL Security and the user could find himself in legal trouble. As the NY Daily News pointed out, “Andre Raynor” began frantically apologizing to Jacobs from his since-deactivated account after his tweets went viral.

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