Minnesota Vikings’ rookie running back Dalvin Cook was off to a great start in 2017, amassing over 450 total yards of offense and two touchdowns. If you were lucky enough to draft Cook, you were probably feeling pretty good about your chances to advance to your fantasy league playoffs. Now, after Cook suffered a week 4 ACL-tear, you’re probably in panic mode, sending out trade requests and scanning the waiver wire for a replacement. Here at the SFFS, we feel your pain (David has Cook in two leagues) and offer our advice in finding a suitable replacement(s).
Latavius Murray, RB Minnesota Vikings
The Vikings big offseason free-agent signing is the most obvious choice to fill Cook’s early-down work. Coming over from the Oakland Raiders on a 3-year, $15 million contract, Murray has been limited to 14 carries for 38 yards so far this season as he works his way back from offseason ankle surgery. If he’s fully healed, Murray could be a strong addition to your roster, as he averaged over four yards a carry with 12 touchdowns for the Raiders in 2016. The Vikings still want to be a run-first team, and will now look to funnel the offense through Murray, though expect them to change their approach in how much they throw to their back. Latavius should be in line for 15 touches a game going forward. Click here to see the SFFS’ preseason forecast for Latavius Murray.
Jerick McKinnon, RB Minnesota Vikings
Though Murray will see the bulk of early down work, McKinnon looks to be the primary receiving back for the Vikings, making him an intriguing pickup in Point Per Reception leagues. There is some concern as McKinnon went down in week four with what appeared to be an ankle injury, but if he is healthy, Jerick will be Minnesota’s back on third downs. Though he has struggled so far this year running the ball (averaging just 2.6 ypa), McKinnon has totaled 8 receptions for 40 yards in 2017. Expect 5-7 touches a game.
Seattle Seahawks running backs (Eddy Lacy, Thomas Rawls, J.D. McKissic, C.J. Prosise)
Like the Vikings, Seattle must now find a replacement for their injured starting RB, Chris Carson, who suffered a broken ankle against the Colts. The Seahawks loss could be your gain, though at this point, who should be your primary target is a bit muddled. Lacy had 11 carries for 52 yards in week 4, but ‘Hawks Head Coach Pete Carroll came out and hinted to Thomas Rawls, not Lacy, picking up the slack. “With Chris being banged up, we’re so fortunate to have Thomas ready to jump back out there,” Carroll said. “We’re just lucky that we have a guy like that who’s ready to go and is healthy and all that.” Rawls has been inactive the last couple of weeks, only playing in the season opener against he 49ers, where he totaled just five yards on four carries.
Further complicating matters, you have J.D. McKissic, a former wide receiver-turned-running back, who finished Seattle’s week four victory over the Colts with 38 rushing yards, 27 receiving yards and two touchdowns. Then you have C.J. Prosise, who Seattle envisions as their primary passing down back, probable to come back from an ankle injury in week 5. With all the options in Seattle’s backfield, you may be loathe to pick one of these players up. I get you, though more than likely Rawls will end up leading the backfield with 12-15 touches a game. If he can regain his 2015 form, Rawls will be a great add. Lacy will surely get his work, but expect less than 10 touches a game for the former Packer. McKissic is an intriguing add in PPR leagues, and would be worth stashing on your bench to see how the ‘Hawks pecking order works out. I suggest you avoid Prosise, as while the talent is there, he just can not stay healthy.
Elijah McGuire, RB New York Jets
McGuire was one of our Week 4 sleeper picks, and he did not disappoint. The rookie runnign back put up 93 rushing yards on 10 carries in the week 4 showdown with the Jaguars, including a 69-yarder, while adding 38 receiving yards on two catches. Bilal Powell is the number one back for the Jets with Matt Forte out, but he is probably not available in your league (if he is, go get him!). The Jets are likely to keep McGuire involved in the game plan, regardless of when Forte returns, and are likely to give Elijah double-digit touches going forward.