Just take a deep breath. Melvin Gordon is going to be fine.
Assuming his early exit in Week 14 didn’t bring your own season to a premature end, it sounds like the hip injury that forced Gordon out might not be the kind that puts him on the shelf permanently.
But it might be, and that’s why you need to know what your options are. That goes as much for Matt Forte , who left Sunday’s game after just three carries with a knee injury and who, as of yet, has not received any good news on the lingering issue.
The good-ish news if you did lose Forte or Gordon and managed to survive is that there are actually plenty of options at running back available. That hasn’t been the case lately, as the position seemingly stabilized in recent weeks, however a few guys emerged as potential Fantasy contributors down the stretch in Week 14.
I suppose we should start with the replacements for Gordon and Forte. That would be Kenneth Farrow in San Diego and Bilal Powell in New York and, of the two, Powell is clearly the most interesting.
Powell has looked at times like the better player in New York’s backfield, even outperforming the multi-talented Forte in the passing game. He isn’t just a one-trick pony, however, as he entered play in Week 14 averaging 6.3 yards per carry on the season. Powell has never had a full season as a workhorse back to see what he can do, and his role moving forward is going to depend heavily on Forte’s status, obviously. We don’t know what that means, but Powell has shown the ability to be a useful option in the past, and should be at the top of the list if you need running back help. The fact that he totaled 179 yards and a pair of touchdowns Sunday only helps his case. Powell could be a solid RB2 if Forte is out Week 15.
Farrow has even less of a track record than Powell, which is to say he has no real track record at all. The 55 yards he picked up on 16 carries in Week 14 represent 44 percent of his career total, as the rookie had touched the ball just 21 times entering Sunday.
Farrow was hardly a high-usage back in college, but he was productive, finishing his senior season at Houston Cougars with 1,077 yards, his second straight season with at least 1,000 yards from scrimmage. However, he went undrafted out of college, so it’s awfully tough to get excited about him. The upside is, San Diego is a pretty great place to play, as Gordon showed this season, and Farrow could be an asset if he gets a full workload behind Philip Rivers .
Another player worth a look is Charles Sims in Tampa Bay. He didn’t step into a bigger role because of someone else’s injury, but rather reminded us how talented he is coming off his own injury. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers activated Sims off IR before Sunday’s game and didn’t really show any signs of rust. Sims didn’t have a huge day, finishing with 17 yards on 4 carries, while adding 33 catches for 3 yards in the passing game, but he looked dynamic. Coming off a season where he topped 1,000 yards from scrimmage, Sims has a chance to make a difference down the stretch, especially with another matchup against the New Orleans Saints looming in Week 16.
Ty Montgomery ‘s lack of running back status had ceased to be an issue in recent weeks, but the controversy may come storming back after he put up a solid game as both a rusher and receiver Sunday. With James Starks and Christine Michael struggling as the “natural” running backs on the roster, Montgomery continues to make plays and forcing the issue, leading the team in rushing yards for the second straight game, this time racking up 41 yards on 9 carries, while adding 45 yards through the air. Montgomery has more value as a running back — where eligible — but with a touchdown and double-digit Fantasy points against a tough matchup in the Seattle Seahawks , he might just be worth starting even as a wide receiver in Week 15 against the Chicago Bears and beyond.
I’m not really sure what Marqise Lee needs to do to earn some respect. He continues to outplay the much more heralded Allen Robinson . Lee had another strong game against the tough Minnesota Vikings with five receptions for 113 yards Sunday, putting himself back in the team lead for yardage this season. He has just two touchdowns and is on pace for just 900 yards, so the lack of excitement surrounding him isn’t totally misguided. Still, he has at least nine Fantasy points in four of his last six games, while averaging 7.5 targets per game. He isn’t the most reliable option in the world, but Lee is closing out the season strong and is worth owning at this point.