The Free Press, Mankato, MN

October 15, 2012

Is Felix Jones finally fantasy relevant?

By Jim Rueda
Free Press Sports Editor

MANKATO —

The most significant injury in fantasy football from the weekend occurred in Baltimore but we’re not talking about Ray Lewis. It occurred to Ravens’ opponent DeMarco Murray, the starting running back in Dallas.

Murray damaged some ligaments in his left foot and had to leave the game. He has already been ruled out for Week 7 and is considered week-to-week after that.

That makes Felix Jones the best pick-up in fantasy this week. Jones’ NFL career has been less than stellar up to this point but, as long as Murray is out, Jones is going to get his share of opportunities.

On Sunday he came off the bench to carry the ball 18 times for 92 yards and a touchdown. If you need help at running back he’s probably the best guy available.

The other RB to consider is Green Bay’s Alex Green but that’s only if James Starks was picked up instead of him last week. Green amassed only 65 yards last week but he carried the ball 22 times and it’s obvious the Packers favor him over Starks.

If those two guys are gone, you’re best bet is probably Arizona’s William Powell. It’s probably not saying much to say he’s the No. 1 back in Arizona (13 carries, 70 yards on Sunday), but the fact that he’s getting opportunities means he has the potential to score points.

The same goes for Cleveland’s Montario Hardesty, who relieved a banged-up Trent Richardson last week and had 15 rushes for 56 yards and a touchdown. Hardesty is viable but only if Richardson is out for awhile.

The final back to consider is Philadelphia’s Bryce Brown but only if the nicked-up LeSean McCoy is more seriously injured than the early reports indicated. With McCoy healthy, Brown has no value.

If by chance Denarius Moore was dropped in your league he’s probably the top pick-up at wide receiver. He finally scored some points on Sunday (5 catches, 104 yards, 1 TD) and may be finally getting healed up from his early-season injury problems.

The next three best receiver options available, some of whom have been mentioned in this column before, are Tennessee’s Kendall Wright, San Franciso’s Mario Manningham and St. Louis’ Brandon Gibson. None of them will make you forget A.J. Green but, they’re getting chances.

Wright has caught 15 passes over the last two weeks and he could get better if quarterback Jake Locker returns this week. San Francisco got thumped by the Giants last week but Manningham did OK with five catches for 72 yards. He was targeted 10 times.

Gibson appears to be the man in St. Louis with Danny Amendola sidelined. Gibson had seven receptions for 81 yards on Sunday.

The quarterbacks are pretty picked over by now. As mentioned last week, if Minnesota’s Christian Ponder or Cleveland’s Brandon Weeden are available, either one can be serviceable as a backup.

The pickings are slim at tight end as well. The best available may be Tennessee’s Jared Cook. He’s at least showing up in the box scores every week and may do more if Locker returns on Sunday.

Jim Rueda is the Free Press sports editor. To contact him, call 344-6381 or email him at jrueda@ mankatofreepress.com.