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Jordan Todman a fantasy possibility after MJD injury

Jordan TodmanJordan Todman could be a fantasy possibility for Week 15 depending on the status of Maurice Jones-Drew.

MJD was having his best game of the season on Thursday night before exiting the Jacksonville Jaguars’ 27-20 win over the Houston Texans in the fourth quarter with a hamstring injury. Todman came in and replaced him before briefly leaving with a cramp and then returning.

Todman finished with 14 yards on 7 carries. MJD had 103 yards on 14 carries before his injury. The 100-yard game was his first of the season.

Though the Jacksonville Jaguars don’t have the greatest offensive line or team, they have shown signs of improvement during their three-game winning streak. Todman won’t put you over the top if you’re still involved in fantasy football — playoffs or otherwise — but he will probably be worth an add if Jones-Drew is out for Week 15 against the Buffalo Bills.

Week 13 fantasy pickups include Benny Cunningham, Nate Burleson, Montee Ball

nate-burlesonFor most of you, Week 13 is the final week of the regular season in fantasy football. That means if you are on the playoff bubble and need to win this week, this is the most crucial week of the season. Bench the wrong guy and it could very well be “see ya next year.” Leave the wrong guy on waivers and you might be kicking yourself until next August. Hopefully, we can help. Here are your Week 13 fantasy pickups.

Benny Cunningham, RB, Rams: Zac Stacy left Sunday’s win over the Bears with a concussion. Prior to his departure, he was completely shredding Chicago’s porous run defense. Cunningham took over after Stacy went out and did the same, racking up 109 yards and scoring a touchdown on 13 carries. Against the Niners this week, it will not be that simple. Still, Stacy owners have no choice. If you’re in the playoff hunt, Stacy has probably helped get you there. With his status still up in the air, Cunningham needs to be added.

Nate Burleson, WR, Lions: Burleson was out a bit longer than expected while recovering from a broken arm, but the extra rest appears to have served him well. With Calvin Johnson facing the usual double-teams against the Bucs, Burleson worked the middle of the field and racked up seven catches for 77 yards and a touchdown. Burleson is a particularly solid add in PPR leagues, as he has caught at least six passes in every game he has played this year. Matthew Stafford trusts Burleson, and he should continue to benefit from Megatron getting all of the attention.

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Lamar Miller fantasy outlook after Daniel Thomas’ season-ending ankle injury

Lamar-Miller-DolphinsThe Miami Dolphins have gone with a two-headed running back committee this season of Lamar Miller and Daniel Thomas. It has driven fantasy owners insane. Now that Daniel Thomas has suffered a season-ending ankle injury, that is going to change.

According to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Thomas tore a ligament in his left ankle during Sunday’s loss to the Carolina Panthers. He is expected to avoid having surgery, though the injury likely signals the end of his 2013 season. Miller, who has averaged 4.2 yards per carry this year as opposed to Thomas’ 3.6 yards, is expected to receive a boost in touches.

Fantasy owners who have Miller will probably see improvement based on volume alone. And Miami’s schedule is relatively favorable through the end of the fantasy season. They travel to New York to face a first-ranked Jets’ rushing defense next week, which could be brutal. Then it’s off to Pittsburgh to face the Steelers, who allow 118.8 rushing yards per game. The Dolphins then face the New England Patriots, who have been shredded on the ground without Vince Wilfork and Jerod Mayo, before taking on the Buffalo Bills’ 24th-ranked rushing defense.

Miller could be a great asset in the fantasy playoffs, especially with cold weather becoming a factor and teams looking to keep the ball on the ground.

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.

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