Fabiano’s Fantasy Focus: Week Three Vol. I – Running Back Injuries Mounting Up

Every week during the NFL season, Sports Illustrated Senior Fantasy Analyst Michael Fabiano joins Sports360AZ’s Brad Cesmat to share his insight on building and developing your fantasy team for success.

In our most recent conversation with Michael (Sep. 21), we broke down the state of affairs across the league after two weeks, and how fantasy managers should approach certain teams’ injury-riddled backfields. Here is the Hall-of-Famer’s advice:

What Takes Are You Already Starting To Rethink?

“There’s a couple of guys I have whiffed on. It’s only two weeks, but Clyde Edwards-Helaire, I mean, what is going on? He’s not getting the football enough, he didn’t have a catch this past week. You would think that an Andy Reid offense would really support a running back of his talent. He was a first-round pick, and Damien Williams was really good for the Chiefs before they drafted Edwards-Helaire. It just hasn’t worked out from a fantasy perspective. He’s been a disappointment. Brandon Aiyuk, too. You want to talk about a guy who’s fallen from grace as quickly as I can remember any player [doing]. This is a player who was unbelievable last season, through a five or six-game stretch. He was putting up bananas numbers, everybody loved him coming into the year. I don’t know what happened. Something is going on behind the scenes, he’s in Kyle Shanahan’s doghouse. Right now, Aiyuk is a guy you drafted to be your WR2 or flex and you can’t even play him.”

The 49ers Backfield Has Been Very Tough To Evaluate Because Of Injuries. Where Do You Stand On Them?

“Everybody is hurt, that’s the problem. Earlier in the year, Jeffrey Wilson, Jr. got hurt, and he’s going to be out several more weeks for the Niners. Then they lose Raheem Mostert, he goes out for the year with a knee injury. You’ve got Elijah Mitchell, who looked really good against the Lions, he got hurt this week too but came back in. Trey Sermon, who everyone in the fantasy community loved, was inactive week one and then last week got one carry and got hurt. JaMycal Hasty has a high ankle sprain, so they brought in Duke Johnson and Lamar Miller for workouts. That’s how bad it is right now for the Niners. We know Mostert’s out, we know Wilson isn’t going to be back for a while, Mitchell is going to be a pretty good RB2/flex this week against the Packers.”

The Injury To Josh Jacobs Has Also Made The Raiders Backfield Unpredictable. Which One Of Their Running Backs Is Worth Playing?

“Josh Jacobs is hurt, and he’s highly questionable for this week, which means you’re probably going to see another Kenyan Drake and Peyton Barber mix. Gruden was true to his word, he said Kenyan Drake’s role is not going to change, and Peyton Barber played the Josh Jacobs role. He’s just not as good [as Jacobs]. He had double-digit carries and Drake was used in the passing game. Drake has got the revenge game factor this week against Miami, so he’s the Raiders running back to play, but it’s not like we have a lot of faith in Kenyan Drake putting up big time numbers.