The Saints should have their sparkplug back for tonight’s primetime matchup, while the Texans and Buccaneers will have to make do without their workhorses in Week 10, if not longer. Here are those and some other injured running backs you need to know about.
Darren Sproles, RB, New Orleans Saints vs. Dallas Cowboys
Sproles posted just one catch for two yards last week against the Jets before leaving the game with a concussion. The good news is that he practiced all week, has been cleared to return and is listed as Probable for tonight’s game. Sproles has been somewhat inconsistent this season, but his versatility and role in the Saints’ explosive offense is enough to keep him in your lineup, especially in PPR leagues. The Cowboys are second-to-last in the NFL in yards allowed and this could be a fairly high-scoring affair. Sproles’ return doesn’t impact Pierre Thomas (right) that much, but it could mean fewer touches for Mark Ingram, who is averaging 2.4 yards per carry and carries little fantasy value at this point.
Maurice Jones-Drew, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars at Tennessee Titans
Jones-Drew was limited in practice Friday, which is not a good thing, because of a knee issue, but he is listed as Probable on the injury report. Unless something changes, MJD should be out there, but it’s been a struggle for him this season. Although he has been able to stay healthy after playing in just six games last season, MJD has just two touchdowns and is averaging 3.2 yards per carry. The Titans have struggled some against the run (122.5 ypg), but there’s not a lot of evidence to suggest MJD will break out this week. His ceiling is probably set at RB2 with RB3/RB4/flex-type production more likely.
Brandon Jacobs, RB, New York Giants vs. Oakland Raiders
Jacobs’ hamstring injury must be really bad because not only has he missed the past two games, he is still listed as Doubtful for today’s game despite the fact the Giants are coming off of a bye. Honestly, at this point Jacobs may be droppable, especially since Andre Brown is expected to make his season debut after breaking his leg in the final preseason game. Expect Brown to be fairly active today against the Raiders with Peyton Hillis and Michael Cox possibly figuring in. Brown is the Giant running back you want to own.
Already Ruled Out
Arian Foster, RB, Houston Texans – This is the big one, as Foster has already been ruled out and there have been reports he may need season-ending surgery on his back. He apparently suffered the injury in the first series of last week’s game against Indianapolis, and he looks to miss at least a few more games, if not the rest of the season. Ben Tate is playing with four broken ribs, but he is Probable and should get the majority of the carries with undrafted rookie Dennis Johnson providing the occasional breather. For now, hold pat with Foster, but be sure you have a plan B (or C) on your roster. As long as Tate can play with the broken ribs, he looks the part of a reasonably safe RB2 with upside.
Doug Martin, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers – After missing the past two games because of a shoulder injury, Tampa Bay placed Martin on season-ending injured reserve this week. Martin is now droppable in any league except a keeper/dynasty, as Mike James will remain the starter. James went for 158 yards rushing against Seattle last week and on Monday night faces a Miami defense that has given up nine rushing touchdowns. James is a RB2 option for the rest of the season and could possibly move into RB1 territory if he continues to produce and has a good matchup.