Because of injuries and depth chart changes, No.2 backs in November occasionally can help fantasy owners to a championship a few weeks later.
Here are some second-stringers who have a chance to see more touches over the final month:.
Andre Brown, New York Giants: Offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride recently said Brown deserves more touches because he comes through every time he is given an opportunity. Brown already is getting most of the goal-line carries, scoring in each of the Giants’ last four games. With Ahmad Bradshaw dealing with a neck injury, Brown could be the best fantasy option in a backfield that will face the weak rushing defenses of the New Orleans Saints, Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Ravens and Philadelphia Eagles.
Jonathan Dwyer, Pittsburgh Steelers: Rashard Mendenhall returned to the backfield Sunday, but Dwyer got one more touch (15 to 14) and gained 31 more yards (81 to 50). There is no guarantee Mendenhall will stay healthy, and Dwyer has been the Steelers’ most productive running back with two 100-yard games. Pittsburgh likely will use more of a committee approach with Mendenhall, Dwyer and Isaac Redman, but if Mendenhall suffers another setback, Dwyer will be the biggest beneficiary for fantasy purposes.
Mark Ingram, Saints: The 2011 first-rounder has started to pick it up, rushing for 178 yards on 35 carries over his last three games. Darren Sproles is expected back from a broken hand in Week 12, but Ingram has earned a bigger role in the offense, especially on early downs. It is hard to say how New Orleans will use its bevy of running backs on a weekly basis, but Ingram’s arrow is pointing in the right direction.
Daniel Thomas, Miami Dolphins: Reggie Bush started strong, but in recent weeks Thomas has been seeing more touches. Bush is struggling with fumbles and has 14 carries for 41 yards in Miami’s last two games. By comparison, Thomas has 17 carries for 54 yards over that span and has caught five balls. Miami plays two of the NFL’s worst rushing defenses in the Jacksonville Jaguars and Buffalo Bills during Weeks15 and 16, so Thomas could be a big asset for fantasy playoffs if his role continues to increase.
Thomas Casale writes for FantasySharks.Com, a USA TODAYSports affiliate.