The plum of a weekly fantasy football waiver wire list is a starting running back. Starting RBs are hard to come by, yet unfortunate circumstances this season have already resulted in some nice opportunities. The big question now is with one pick or a limited budget, which RB do you grab?
Getting a starting running back on the waiver wire can make or break your season. If you passed up on RB depth for WRs, TEs, or QBs, chances are you need some help. It doesn’t matter if you own Jamaal Charles or Ryan Matthews, most of us can always use a boost in that spot. Week 3 presents a fascinating choice between two RBs that can start in the RB2 spot immediately. Unless your league decided to take a week off there is no chance you will get both. So which one do you grab?
Kansas City Chiefs’ star RB Jamaal Charles went down Sunday with what appears to be somewhat of a high ankle sprain. Charles’ timetable is a big guessing game right now with most experts some experts predicting that he could sit out up to 4-6 weeks. Knile Davis will step in and take that starting spot in Charles’ absence.
San Diego Chargers’ speedster Ryan Matthews went down Sunday with what is a reported MCL sprain. The frequently injured Matthews was carted off in a scene that looked like the end of his season. The good news is that Matthews’ injury is only expected to sideline him for 4-5 weeks although Matthews believes he can come back sooner. Former Indianapolis Colt Donald Brown is expected to slide into Matthews’ spot and get the bulk of the carries in his absence.
Let’s take a look at the timetables here. Matthews is probably out a minimum of four weeks with his injury. Charles could potentially be back as soon as this week although most believe that he is a sure-sit this week. Even if he does play it is guaranteed to be in a limited capacity. So if you are looking for a long-term investment neither are it. Brown is more than likely to play in his spot longer although when it all shakes out they both could be starting for four weeks.
What about talent? Who is the better player? It’s a little unfair to say unequivocally that Davis is the better player, although most believe he is. We have a body of work on Donald Brown and I’ll be honest. It’s nothing special. The fact that the Colts let him walk knowing their RB situation is shaky tells me something. I have gone all-in on the Brown bandwagon before only to get burnt. He has upside and in that offense he should put up decent numbers. Yet it is hard to ignore the past. Davis put up two TDs in an offense that will feature the running back. Davis was an animal in college and while college and the pros are completely different, this was the SEC. Davis was not only a fantasy monster on Sunday but he also put up a 20-spot last season in Week 17 against the Chargers. Thus far all the kid has done is produced.
Let’s compare schedules over the next few weeks….
KC vs. Miami
NE vs. KC
KC vs. SF
SD vs. Buffalo
Jacksonville vs. SD
NYJ vs. SD
SD vs. Oakland
Neither one of these guys have a favorable schedule. I’d say that Davis’ schedule is much tougher than Brown’s. Davis is playing three of the best defenses after two weeks and is on a bye in week four. Brown doesn’t have it easy either but he certainly has it easier. Jacksonville and Oakland are two games you’d salivate to have if you were a Davis owner. Plus, Brown’s Bye Week isn’t until Week 10.
As much as I hate to do it I say you have to grab Brown over Davis. All things being equal it’s not contest. Unfortunately they aren’t and at the end of the day you could wind up blowing your budget or waiver spot for a guy who may only give you a week or two. You could always grab him and hope that Charles struggles and misses more games down the stretch. Again you are doing a lot of wishful thinking here as opposed to going with the sure thing in regards to playing time.