If you still care about fantasy football entering week 15 - congrats on making it to round 2 of the fantasy playoffs. Many backfields have been decimated by injuries and another one bit the dust in week 14 with rookie DeMarco Murray’s broken ankle.
Felix Jones was likely on a roster but if not sprint to the waiver wire and add Felix the Cat. Chicago’s Matt Forte’s knee injury could keep him out for the rest of the season (especially with an unsettled contract). Marion ‘the Goat’ Barber should get another start but his week 14 mental lapses could elevate Khalil Bell into a more prominent role.
This week we profile a few RBs that could provide adequate numbers if you are in need of an injury replacement or looking to play the matchups with marginal starters.
Next to each player is each team’s remaining schedule through week 16. In GREEN are the favorable matchups against the 10 worst defenses that allow the most fantasy points to opposing RBs. In RED are matchups with the top 10 run defenses allowing the least fantasy points to opposing RBs.
Chris Ivory: (@MIN, ATL, CAR) – With rookie first rounder Mark Ingram battling a turf toe injury – Ivory led the Saints in yardage (13 carries for 53 yards) in a week 14 win over the Titans and had more carries than Pierre Thomas. The 2010 undrafted rookie free agent led all rookies in rushing last season and could be worth stashing as a flex play – especially for those in leagues with fantasy Super Bowls in week 17 – Saints face weak Panther run defense. At 6 foot, 222 pounds the Ivory Coast could emerge as the Saints goal line back with Ingram sidelined.
However, with James Starks sidelined (ankle injury), Grant rushed 10 times for 85 yards with two touchdowns making us proud as our week 14 sleeper pick. The golden domer’s upside is limited but as the lead back in the league’s most explosive offense – Grant could have Flex appeal as long as Starks is out. In week 15, the Packers travel to KC to face the struggling Chefs 26th ranked run defense (132 YPG).
Marion Barber / Khalil Bell: (SEA, @GB, @MIN) – Matt Forte’s MCL injury opens the door for the Barbarian to regain fantasy relevance over the next few weeks but his mental midget performance in week 14 has the Bears scratching their heads. Marion Barber played 42 snaps (Bell just 19) against Denver and should keep the starting job at least one more week. Barber amassed 27 carries for 108 yards and a touchdown in week 14. Bell had nine carries for 40 yards and added five catches for 24 yards (he’s a deep PPR league option for now).
After six seasons in Dallas, Barber’s first year in Chicago has been somewhat productive in a limited capacity. He’s likely in store for 15-20 touches as the Bears look to limit Caleb Hanie’s inevitable mistakes. In week 15, the Bears face an above average Seattle defense that ranks 11th against the run (104 YPG).
In week 14, Chicago travels to Denver to face the Broncos 20th ranked run defense (121 YPG). Denver’s run defense is better than their ranking as they’ve only yielded 5 rushing TDs. Barber’s matchups would get a boost if defensive rookie of the year candidate Von Miller (missed week 13 with a finger injury) is held out another week.