One workhorse running back out West is ready for Week 3 while another playing on the East Coast is dealing with a hamstring injury. Here are the running back injuries you need to know before setting your lineup.
Marshawn Lynch, RB, Seattle Seahawks vs. Denver Broncos
Probable – Back
Lynch is on the injury report with a back issue, but he’s listed as Probable and was a full participant in practice both Thursday and Friday. There’s no way he’s missing this Super Bowl rematch and there’s no reason he shouldn’t be in your starting lineup.
Arian Foster, RB, Houston Texans at New York Giants
Questionable – Hamstring
After being limited in practice all week, the Texans have listed Foster Questionable with a hamstring injury. Head coach Bill O’Brien talked about limiting Foster’s practice reps after registering 55 carries in the first two games, but this appears to be something more than just giving his workhorse some rest. Foster already has 241 rushing yards, so his status leading up to kickoff is something that should be watched carefully. Remember, a Questionable designation puts the player’s chances of playing at 50-50.
Bernard Pierce, RB, Baltimore Ravens at Cleveland Browns
Questionable – Thigh
Pierce was added to the injury report on Thursday when he was limited in practice due to a thigh injury. He practiced in full on Friday, but be careful and don't take his Questionable designation too lightly. One thing Pierce could have in his favor is while he has dealt with his share of injuries in two-plus seasons, he’s yet to miss a game. If Pierce does play he’s in the RB2/flex discussion against a Browns team that’s allowing 150.5 rushing yards per game. If Pierce doesn’t go, Justin Forsett would see the bulk of the carries, putting him in flex territory.
Shane Vereen, RB, New England Patriots vs. Oakland Raiders
Questionable – Shoulder
Vereen was only a limited participant this week at practice and is listed as Questionable for today’s game with Oakland. While his shoulder injury doesn’t appear to be serious, it’s worth noting that after getting 12 touches in the opener, he saw just six last week, as Stevan Ridley carried the load (25 att.). Not saying that Bill Belichick has committed to Ridley as his workhorse, but the fact that the Patriots were successful running the ball last week coupled with Vereen’s shoulder injury is enough to at least downgrade Vereen to flex consideration this week with slightly more upside in PPR leagues.
DeAngelo Williams, RB, Carolina Panthers vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
Questionable – Thigh
Williams was made inactive prior to last week’s game because of a thigh injury, but he clarified his situation earlier this week and said it’s a hamstring issue he’s dealing with. Regardless of what it’s called, it’s enough of an issue that it continues to limit him in practice and has him listed as Questionable for the second straight week. But after taking reps with the first team on Friday, the Panthers are hopeful they will have their starting running back for tonight’s game against Pittsburgh. Even if Williams does suit up, he’s a risky play given the late kickoff and his health concerns, even if the Steelers have struggled to defend the run thus far.
Maurice Jones-Drew, RB, Oakland Raiders at New England Patriots
Questionable – Hand
Jones-Drew missed last week’s game, but he returned to practice this week. He is wearing extra protection on his surgically repaired right hand, but was able to get some work in on Thursday and Friday, which increases his chances of playing. Even with the Questionable tag, I wouldn’t rush to get MJD back into your lineup. There’s no telling how his injured hand will respond should he even play, and don’t forget he had just 11 yards rushing in Week 1. Darren McFadden may not have put up huge numbers, but the Raiders seem perfectly content to let him handle the workload. That said, I’m not ready to trust any Raider offensive player in my starting lineup, with the exception of wide receiver James Jones.