So you’re sitting there, and you’re pretty happy with yourself. Partly because you saved money on your car insurance by switching to Geico, and partly because you remembered that avocados are on sale today at your local mini mart, and long ago you came to terms with the fact that avocado sales are a wildly exciting monthly event in your life.
But the dominant reason for your excitement was the waiver wire gem you added to your fake backfield a few weeks ago. That’s when the stars aligned on Pittsburgh’s RB depth chart to give you a productive, rumbling runner who’s been compared to Jerome Bettis, because premature comparisons to legends are still cool.
His name is Jonathan Dwyer, and over his two games as Pittsburgh’s starting running back with both Rashard Mendenhall and Isaac Redman out, he’s rushed for 229 yards while averaging 6.7 yards per carry, and at worst he cost you a high waiver priority. But since you can never have nice things, Dwyer may be taken away abruptly this week.
He was already set to possibly see his workload decrease when the Steelers visit the Giants, but the lingering uncertainty around that is the real problem. Dwyer’s hurt and nursing a quad injury, one that’s serious enough that he’s already been ruled out for practice tomorrow. That’s bad, but it gets worse, because not only could Dwyer’s troublesome quad keep him out this week or limit his effectiveness, the injury is coming at the worst possible time.
Mendenhall is progressing after he re-aggravated his Achilles injury, and he’s been cleared to start individual workouts tomorrow. Right now he still seems like a long shot to play, and anyone with any sense quite rightfully believes that Dwyer should be the starter over Mendenhall as he struggles to stay healthy anway. The problem, though, is that any missed time by Dwyer opens the door a little further for Mendy to reclaim his job or establish a committee situation, the latter being far worse for fantasy purposes with the muddled mess it would create.
And then there’s an even greater concern for Dwyer owners. It’s Redman, who will return to practice tomorrow. Would you like some more fog with that mud?
Clearly this is a situation that you’ll have to monitor closely if you were either looking forward to another quality flex play from Dwyer, or more importantly if you were counting on him to fill in for a bye. Thankfully Week 9 is low on notable running back byes, but those who own Steven Ridley, Frank Gore, and Steven Jackson are digging into their depth.
What’s the strategy right now? You’ve been forgetting about Mendenhall all season, so carry on with that. But if you’re hoping for Dwyer to recover or at the very least you’d like to use Steelers running back X in a favorable matchup against the Giants and their 19th-ranked run defense, then put a claim in on Redman, who’s reasonably available (58% owned in ESPN leagues, 28% in Yahoo leagues).