Meet Baltimore rookie tailback Javorius Allen, a fourth-round draft pick out of Southern California who just might become a vital addition to that playoff push for fantasy owners everywhere.
Allen stepped in Sunday for Justin Forsett, who sustained a season-ending arm injury, and rushed for 67 yards. Allen could help if you have, say, Marshawn Lynch (abdominal strain), Charcandrick West (hamstring) or Devonta Freeman (concussion). Allen should be available, too, because he’s been picked up in only 12 percent of Yahoo leagues.
This time of year, there are always players you never anticipated counting on that you may indeed count on.
Like if you’re in a bind at quarterback after Joe Flacco went down with a torn ligament in his left knee. There’s always Denver’s Brock Osweiler, who finished an efficient 20 of 27 for 250 yards, two touchdowns and no turnovers at Chicago as he took over for a banged-up Peyton Manning. Osweiler will start again next week against New England.
Or maybe grab Flacco’s backup, Matt Schaub. These are desperate times with the fantasy postseason so near.
THE INJURY FRONT
This gets awfully repetitive — another week and even more injuries:
— Lynch was a surprise inactive against San Francisco, with Seahawks coach Pete Carroll saying the running back will get his strained abdomen checked out to determine the exact nature of his injury.
— Frank Gore’s bruised quad paved the way to a good afternoon for Ahmad Bradshaw, who had a pair of TD catches.
— Bears running back Ka’Deem Carey sustained a concussion midway through the third quarter.
— Not only was West nicked up, but Chiefs receiver De’Anthony Thomas sustained a concussion.
WEEK 11 OBSERVATIONS
— It was a great day to be heavily invested in Tampa Bay players. Jameis Winston tied a rookie record with five touchdown passes and Doug Martin rushed for 235 yards.
— Cincinnati running back Giovani Bernard rushed for only 18 yards. But he made up for it by catching eight passes for 128 yards.
— In that Sunday night game between Cincy and Arizona, Carson Palmer and Andy Dalton combined to throw for 632 yards and six touchdowns.
— Denver’s offense found a spark under Osweiler, with Ronnie Hillman rushing for 102 yards and Demaryius Thomas catching a 48-yard TD pass. The tight ends caught 11 passes for 146 yards.
— Tony Romo was quickly back in fine form after missing time with a collarbone injury. He connected with Dez Bryant for their team-record 50th scoring pass and threw for another TD as well. Romo hadn’t played since Week 2.
— Thomas Rawls filled in for Lynch and rushed for 209 yards and a score. He also caught a 31-yard TD pass from Russell Wilson.
Here are possible waiver additions to consider:
— Tevin Coleman, RB, Atlanta (owned in 26 percent of ESPN leagues): Remember him? He was the starter before his injury opened the door for Freeman.
— Spencer Ware, RB, Kansas City (owned in 7 percent of Yahoo): All he did when West left the game was go north — rushing for 96 yards and two scores.
— Bradshaw, RB, Indy (7 percent owned of Yahoo): Has three TDs in the last two games.
— Brian Hoyer, QB, Houston (10.9 percent owned in ESPN leagues): T.J. Yates led the Texans to two straight wins. But Hoyer (concussion) will return this week against a porous Saints defense.
— Terrance Williams, WR, Dallas (27 percent started in CBS Sports Fantasy leagues): Bryant benefits from Romo’s return, but so does Williams. He had four catches for 79 yards and a score.
— Vance McDonald, TE, San Francisco (0 percent owned in Yahoo leagues): Hauled in four catches for 65 yards and a TD.
LOOKING AHEAD TO THURSDAY
Set those lineups early and then settle onto the couch for some Thanksgiving Day football. Philadelphia at Detroit begins the feast, followed by Carolina at Dallas and then Chicago at Green Bay. That Panthers-Cowboys game is particularly intriguing, just to see if the Panthers can stay undefeated and Cam Newton can continue his roll. Aaron Rodgers looked more like the Rodgers of old last weekend in a win over Minnesota.
Pat Graham is an Associated Press sports writer based in Denver. He’s played NFL fantasy football for a while and also dabbles in college fantasy football. Follow him on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/pgraham34. AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP_NFL