Before Sunday’s game against the New York Giants, Joseph Randle had been the clear No. 1 running back for the Dallas Cowboys. However, Randle suffered a lower-back injury in the first quarter Sunday, according to Todd Archer of ESPN.com (via CBS Sports), and ended the game with just two carries for 24 yards.
Darren McFadden took over the duties and carried the ball a game-high 29 times. Third-stringer Christine Michael saw limited action as well. Here is how the trio fared during the Cowboys’ 27-20 loss to the Giants:
The top back was obvious today, but had Randle not been injured, McFadden would not have seen many carries. Prior to this game, McFadden had never rushed more than 10 times in a game this season, while Randle’s lowest total had been 11 carries.
Even with Randle’s injury, Michael continues to be a non-factor moving forward and isn’t worth fantasy consideration at this point, even in deep leagues.
There hasn’t been any word on Randle’s return, other than the fact that he never stepped back onto the field after suffering the injury Sunday. If Randle does miss time, McFadden will go from irrelevant to worth a starting spot if you are hurting at the running back position.
Here is a look at their season stats after the game:
McFadden’s numbers Sunday were better than his stats for the entire season coming into the game. The Cowboys are hurting at the quarterback position, with Tony Romo on the sideline, which could cause teams to stack the box against Dallas. However, McFadden has proved in the past he can be a good runner and always has the potential to put up 100-plus yards.
The Cowboys coaches favor Randle over McFadden, so expect Randle to take over No. 1 running back duties when he returns. However, if McFadden continues to impress, he may see more carries than he did in the first five games.
If you own Michael for any reason, drop him. He is going to see action only if McFadden gets hurt, and even then, you have no idea what to expect with his small sample size.
McFadden is worthy of a flex spot start next week, should Randle remain out, or a low RB2 spot if you have some byes to contend with. Hold on to Randle and see how he progresses with the injury. When he returns, he is worthy of a flex spot as well.
However, if you are relying on him to carry your team, you may be in trouble. Outside of an 87-yard, three-touchdown performance September 27 against the Atlanta Falcons, Randle has been average at best.
You should never take a starting running back for granted in fantasy, but don’t count on any of these three guys to be your savior.
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