Fantasy Football Impact: Low scores and running back pain

Points were hard to come by at times and running backs were marked for doom Sunday - in other words, welcome to Week Two.

Scoring was down including Packers-Vikings, Titans-Lions and Chiefs-Texans, all combing for a game total of 31 points, while the Saints-Giants totaled 29 and the abomination known as Seahawks-Rams was in a class all by itself as the box score bloodshed totaled a whopping dozen points.

As a byproduct of the offensive offenses, marquee quarterbacks fell by the wayside. Four of the preseason top 5 ranked quarterbacks (no matter the order) and with the exception of Cam Newton fell flat on their collective face. Average the passing totals of Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Andrew Luck and Russell Wilson and you'll get 231 yards and 0.75 of a touchdown pass from Sunday. That's a lot of yuck.

And if the going was rough in the air, at least most of the quarterbacks made it to the end of the game still playing. The same can't be said for the running backs as seven were knocked out of their games - most excruciatingly early.

The victims ranged from first round draft royalty to flex play third RB status: Adrian Peterson, Vikings (knee), Ameer Abdullah, Lions (foot), Arian Foster, Dolphins (groin), Jonathan Stewart, Panthers (hamstring), Doug Martin, Buccaneers (hamstring), Thomas Rawls, Seahawks (leg), and Danny Woodhead, Chargers (knee).

First an observation - Sunday shows another reason why running backs are not a sound early fantasy draft investment anymore. The attrition and risk factor is just way too high. Receivers and quarterbacks stay healthier and have a smaller bust risk than running backs. Runner injuries to those taken in the mid to late rounds are easier to overcome than early round victims, which reflect higher picks.

Impact: Plenty. Let's take each at a time with the best news of all - which the late word on Sunday night was Peterson's knee injury is thought to be minor according to Coach Mike Zimmer. In any event, Jerick McKinnon needs to be owned or acquired as a handcuff.

Abdullah: Theo Riddick is for box score chasers only and unless it's PPR, I would rather stash the promising Dwayne Washington as a possible goal line vulture with upside.

Foster: Pick up rookie Kenyan Drake who scored a rushing TD in the second half. Jay Ajayi has been unimpressive and Sunday lost a fumble on Miami's opening drive of the second half.
Stewart: I've never been a fan of Carolina running backs, with the best goal line back on the Panthers already playing quarterback. As long as Newton is healthy, he'll be good for 4 or more rushing scores a year damaging Stewart's viability - when he isn't injured constantly, that is. Rant over. Pick up Fozzy Whitaker who rushed for 100 yards on 16 carries.

Martin: Unless you own Charles Sims already, there's likely not much you can do. In plenty of my leagues late round draft squatters blew up handcuff attempts by Martin owners or were forced to duel with them. If there's a chance he is available, grab him.

Rawls: All my fears last week about the Seahawks back fending off Christine Michael are coming true (see my "Doubting Thomas" section in last week's Impact column), but the timetable moved up thanks to his leg injury against the Rams. Michael should be owned but if he's out there, grab him. In a lackluster defensive battle, he still totaled 60 of the team's 67 rushing yards. Although the Seattle offensive line is up more down than up, Michael is in line for an uptick in opportunity and Rawls, who barely played in preseason due to injury, may be sidelined again.

Woodhead: Finally Melvin Gordon got the feature back workload he deserved since last year and - shock - produced his first 100-yard rushing game. More please. If losing Woodhead, who has eaten into Gordon's action as the little third-down back that could, hurts you, your team has bigger problems than just his injury. Look elsewhere for a flex play or decent PPR back.

I was right: Mike Wallace

Last week I extolled the virtues of Mike Wallace filling the "go deep" Torrey Smith role on the Ravens. What I didn't know was the receiver core pickings would be this slim and that Wallace would be the clear star of the lot recapturing his Pittsburgh form with the help of Joe Flacco. Yesterday he added two more touchdowns and is looking like the true No. 1 he was, pre-Miami. Once again, if he's out there in your league be prepared to move heaven and earth to get him.

Super Charged (or I was right: Part 2)

Not to blow my own whistle … the loss of Keenan Allen (never forget) leaves a black hole-type vacuum for one of the most fun aerial offenses in the league led by Phillip Rivers. The Chargers have a ton of targets to aim passes at, and the first week post-Allen revealed exactly what I thought in my column last week: Tyrell Williams and Travis Benjamin will be golden. Yesterday they combined for 176 yards and three touchdowns with each getting six targets apiece from Rivers. If either are still available, go get them.

Pick these guys up:

Tevin Coleman, Falcons: Sorry Devonta Freeman owners, Coleman is not going anywhere so put the Voodoo dolls down. Usually No. 2 backs aren't great flex options or decent third running backs, but Coleman's workload suggests otherwise. Through the first two weeks he's racked up 194 combined yards and Sunday vultured a Freeman touchdown at the goal line. He may not be an every week start, but will come in handy to fill that flex slot once byes start in a couple weeks, or should Freeman get injured.

Isaiah Crowell, Browns: Sure there's plenty of questions with the Browns, but Crowell, if he isn't owned already, should be. He totaled 160 yards with a score and ran at over 7 yards a pop against the Ravens Sunday and has left no doubt that Duke Johnson should be nothing more than an every week waiver wire hyperlink that we all inevitably, skip over. Crowell may be nothing more than a flex play especially with the QB situation, but a starting RB is a starting RB - no matter the team - save maybe the Rams.

Corey Coleman, Browns: I know,  I know. But with Josh McCown only week to week (since when did Browns QBs become the drummers in Spinal Tap), Coleman could be Will Fuller: east. In just his first game with McCown at the helm, he snagged five for 104 yards and two TDs. And the fact he had eight targets means McCown trusts him and will get him the ball - as long as he isn't gone too long.

Others previously mentioned: Christine Michael, Seahawks, Kenyan Drake, Fozzy Whitaker, Tyrell Williams, Travis Benjamin, Charles Sims

About the Author:

David Komer is a web producer/multimedia journalist for FOX 2. He is a former fantasy sports columnist for where he wrote for three years and he has won more than 20 Michigan Press Association awards in news and sports coverage in his career.