We are now through a quarter of the NFL season and the hits just keep coming for some of the league’s best teams. The attitude around the league when someone gets hurt is typically “next man up” and you should have the same attitude. This far into the season, you should know what you possess as far as the competitiveness of your team goes. From here on out, the waiver wire moves and the trades you make need to serve the purpose of getting you in a better spot to make a run this year or assist you in building for the future. Always keep the goals you have for your team in mind when making decisions on your league’s add/drop day. Try to look at your waivers like you would a trade because unless you’re putting a guy on injured reserve, you’re most likely dropping a player to make these pickups. Try inputting the swap into the Trade Calculator to verify the respective players’ values before you make the move.
EJ Manuel, QB – Oakland Raiders
It needs to be stressed right from the start that EJ Manuel should only be picked up in very deep two-quarterback or superflex leagues. He may have been the 16th-overall pick in the 2013 draft but that was obviously a huge reach by the Buffalo Bills. Manuel has thrown over 300 pass attempts in a season only once in his career, dating back to his 2013 rookie season. Yet, Derek Carr is out for two-to-six weeks and the Raiders are left with no other choice. You may not have a choice either if your league‘s quarterback depth is severely limited. Manuel was efficient in throwing 17 times on Sunday against Denver though. He completed 11 of those passes for over 100 yards and only threw one interception. His next three games are against the Ravens, Chargers, and Chiefs all at home. Don’t expect too much from him, but he should be a serviceable fill-in given that he is a threat to get some rushing yards and possibly a touchdown via the ground.
Aaron Jones, RB – Green Bay Packers
Green Bay played on Thursday last week and the game was not very kind to them from an injury standpoint. Ty Montgomery was one of the bigger injuries in this one, leaving the game early with what appeared to be broken ribs. Reports have since come out that the injury wasn’t quite that serious and he is day-to-day, but whether or not he plays this week is still up in the air. Not to mention, rib injuries are often incredibly painful, so even if he does play he may need to rotate out a bit more than he has so far this season. Jamaal Williams, a rookie out of BYU, was next on the depth chart and promptly left the game with a knee injury. This set the stage for Aaron Jones, a rookie out of Texas-El Paso, whom the Packers drafted in the fifth round. He wasn’t great but he was serviceable, racking up 13 carries for 49 yards. A lot of people felt like Jones was the better of the two rookies so he may already be stashed on a roster in your league. If not, he’s worth grabbing since he may have long-term value even if the injuries to the other backs don’t keep them out for long.
Eddie Lacy/Thomas Rawls, RB – Seattle Seahawks
If you want to skip this paragraph and head right to the next one, you may save yourself from some uncomfortable flashbacks. We’ve seen and heard this before in Seattle. We were finally starting to get some clarity out of the Seahawks running back situation with seventh-round rookie Chris Carson getting a stranglehold on the job. The good news for you is that a lot of teams probably dropped Eddie Lacy, Thomas Rawls, or both, so they might be available. Carson went down with a broken leg and immediately went on injured reserve, leaving the job up for grabs once again. The smart money is on Rawls to claim the job back since Eddie Lacy was a healthy scratch at times this season. Although, Lacy did rush for 4.73 yards per carry in place of Carson against Indianapolis last week, and Rawls has shown issues staying healthy. Therefore, if you want to increase your odds of hitting this one and have the real estate, you may want to pick up both of these guys. If you want to roll the dice on one, that’s all you. The gamble may not be worth the reward though.
Alfred Morris/Darren McFadden, RB – Dallas Cowboys
Alfred Morris and Daren McFadden have been included as a reminder that Ezekiel Elliott’s legal troubles have not quite ended yet. On Monday, Elliott, along with representatives from the NFL and the NFL Players Association, argued over the league’s motion to lift the preliminary injunction that is allowing Elliott to play while his legal fight is waged. This was done in front of a three-judge panel from the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Dallas. A decision could be made by the end of this week or possibly next, as the Cowboys head into their bye week. If you have a roster spot or two, it’s not a bad idea to stash one or both in case the ruling is not in Zeke’s favor.
Latavius Murray/Jerick McKinnon, RB – Minnesota Vikings
Another running back combo to seek out after the lead running back for the Vikings, Dalvin Cook, goes down with a torn ACL, is that of Latavius Murray and Jerick McKinnon. Unfortunately, this is another backfield that could be a mess now that the lead dog is gone so use your best judgment as to which one to target. Jerick McKinnon should be used in most of the passing situations with the occasional carry thrown his way. Latavius Murray, the pricey offseason free agent for the Vikings, has been hurt and looked bad, but will likely receive the majority of first and second downs, along with goal line work. In PPR formats, target McKinnon and in anything else, go after Murray.
Geronimo Allison, WR – Green Bay Packers
Geronimo Allison was brought up in last week’s column while the Packers were wondering whether or not Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb would be able to play in their Thursday night game. Both were healthy enough to play and Allison was once again relegated to fourth string. However, Davante Adams left this game after a brutal and illegal hit to the head, suffering a concussion and a minor neck injury. There’s no timetable set for his return and the Packers have the extra time because of the early start last week, but Allison is still worth an add if he’s available in your league.
Devin Funchess, WR – Carolina Panthers
Devin Funchess is not a very talented wide receiver, but the numbers don’t lie and he is beginning to see some significant volume in the Panthers offense. Funchess has had 19 targets over the last two weeks, 11 of which he’s hauled in. This past week, the Carolina offense started to score points which led Funchess to amass seven catches for 70 yards and two touchdowns. Again, Funchess is not a good football player, but without Greg Olsen, there are targets to be had and he could continue to be a decent volume play.