The Oakland Raiders’ running back situation has turned into a bit of a war of attrition in recent weeks, with Darren McFadden missing multiple games with a hamstring issue and Rashad Jennings suffering a concussion on Thanksgiving Day against the Dallas Cowboys. Jennings was able to practice on Wednesday and looks on track to play in Week 14 against the New York Jets, but McFadden is now reportedly dealing with an ankle issue which seems to be severe enough to have his status for Sunday’s game in doubt. Could someone else emerge as a factor in Oakland’s running back mix?
Marcel Reece grabbed the attention of fantasy football owners last season, particularly in PPR leagues, with 52 receptions for 496 yards and 59 carries for 271 yards while playing all 16 games (14 starts). But to this point in 2013 his impact has been minimal, with 23 catches for 204 yards, 22 carries for 77 yards and three total touchdowns (one rushing, two receiving).
The Jets are the best in the NFL against the run (77 yards per game), and they have also allowed a league-low 2.9 yards per carry. That has translated to them being one of the top teams in the league against opposing running backs from a fantasy perspective, as they enter this week allowing 10.6 fantasy points per game (second-fewest in the league, ESPN scoring) to the position. They did allow over 100 rushing yards to the Miami Dolphins’ running backs in Week 13, but that was a product of volume (32 attempts) as the Dolphins won the game by 20 points.
If McFadden and Jennings are both inactive for Sunday’s game, Reece would then become Oakland’s most proven running back and the team’s previous public declarations of wanting to get him more touches should come to fruition. With what is known now McFadden looks likely to miss the game, while Jennings’ status has to be considered tenuous even with his reported progress and a few extra days between games. Clarity on the status of both McFadden and Jennings should come over the next few days, but Reece is on the radar as a low-end flex option in PPR leagues for Week 14.
Brad Berreman is a contributing writer at Rant Sports.com. Follow him on Twitter @bradberreman24.