Giovani Bernard and Rashad Jennings have already been ruled out for Week 9. Are there are any other top fantasy RBs in danger of not playing?
Andre Ellington, RB, Arizona Cardinals at Dallas Cowboys
Probable – Foot
Ellington was limited both Wednesday and Thursday, but that’s probably more a maintenance and rest matter than injury-related. He was a full go on Friday and is Probable yet again and is a no-doubt, must-start RB1. If anything, Ellington may see more touches than usual with backup Stepfan Taylor out because of a calf injury.
Montee Ball and Ronnie Hillman, RBs, Denver Broncos at New England Patriots
Out – Groin; Probable – Shoulder
Ball has yet to return to practice, so he will miss a fourth straight game. Hillman fell on his shoulder during Wednesday’s practice and was limited on Thursday. However, he insisted it was nothing serious and proved it by being a full participant on Friday. He is listed as Probable and will be a key part of the Broncos’ offensive game plan even though the Peyton Manning vs. Tom Brady angle is getting all of the attention. Not only has Hillman been extremely effective as Denver’s No. 1 rusher (283 yds., 4.9 ypc over last three games), the Patriots also are ranked near the bottom of the NFL in rushing defense (129.6 ypg) and are giving up the third-most fantasy points to opposing RBs. Hillman is a must-start RB this week and his backup, Juwan Thompson could be worth a look as a flex based on his role as Denver’s goal-line back.
Justin Forsett, RB, Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers
Probable – Ankle
Forsett increased his practice participation a little each day, finishing the week off as a full go on Friday. So even though he’s dealing with some sort of ankle injury, he is listed as Probable and fully expected to face the Steelers tonight. Forsett has been one of this season’s fantasy surprises, seizing the starting job for the Ravens and producing like a top-10 fantasy RB to this point. If you were fortunate enough to pick up Forsett early in the season, there’s no reason to shy away from him at this point.
Already Ruled Out:
Giovani Bernard, RB, Cincinnati Bengals – Bernard has been dinged up for a while now, and it looks like the damage has finally taken its toll. A combination of a clavicle injury from three weeks ago and a hip injury suffered last week is bad enough that it will sideline him for at least one game. The Bengals have already ruled Bernard out for today’s game after he was unable to practice. Bernard’s absence is not only a blow for Cincinnati, but it’s going to hurt fantasy-wise too with so many other backs on bye. Jeremy Hill will get the nod in Bernard’s absence and he immediately becomes a must-start option. For those who are desperate to fill out their lineup, backup Cedric Peerman may be worth a look. Just don’t expect Peerman to do what Hill has done as Bernard’s backup.
Rashad Jennings, RB, New York Giants – Jennings is reportedly getting closer to returning from his MCL sprain, but he hasn’t made it back to practice yet. He will miss a third straight game Monday night while the Giants turn to rookie Andre Williams and Peyton Hillis to carry the load. Williams should see the bulk of the carries, but he’s been rather inefficient (3.1 ypc) and the coaching staff is not ready to trust him as pass-blocker or receiver, which could impact his opportunities. That said, Williams still carries more fantasy appeal and potential than Hillis, as long as you’re not expecting anything more than RB2 production from him.