Our waiver wires have officially been deemed disaster areas, now eligible for federal aid.
This week is a living nightmare for fantasy owners hoping to snag one more sleeper off the wire and ride that no-name piece of meat to a fake football title. We’re scraping the bottom of the barrel this week, and underneath all the grime and soot and filth lies one man: Jackie Battle.
The NFL’s King Plodder – Battle makes Michael Turner look like Eric Dickerson with a gigantic derriere – is in line for starter’s carries this week against the Jets after Ryan Mathews broke his clavicle in Week 15, an injury that will end a season in which Mathews broke more clavicles than he scored touchdowns.
Battle, as you know if you’ve ever had the joy of watching him play, is the quintessential straight line runner, getting only what is blocked, while outrunning approximately no one. That much was evident in Week 4 against Kansas City, when Battle got his most action of 2012, toting the ball 15 times for 39 yards and a touchdown.
That last tidbit – the touchdown, a one-yard plunge – is why I think Battle should be a top-25 running back in Week 16. Norval Turner has no qualms about giving Battle the ball at the goal line, and letting Battle slam into a wall of defenders. Battle, by the bye, is averaging four yards a carry on 57 carries this season. He has tallied 72 yards on 10 receptions and scored a grand total of four touchdowns.
Turner said Battle will “get a chance to play,” while vacillating on the role of smaller, quicker Chargers’ running back, Curtis Brinkley. It should be noted that Brinkley had nine touches to Battle’s five after Mathews gimped to the locker room last week. That, however, was likely due to the Panthers’ ever-expanding lead against the lifeless Chargers. Brinkley should play on third downs, and maybe get a handful of carries, but if the Chargers can stay within reach of the vacuous mess we call the New York Jets, Battle is the more reasonable fantasy play.
The Jets, as I highlighted here, are quite the squishy run defense these days. Running backs have throttled the Jets for 74 fantasy points over the past four weeks. New York is tenth worst against opposing runners this year, thanks to a late season swoon continued last week against Chris Johnson.
I suppose it’s possible, even with Greg McElroy at the helm, that the Jets could run away with this one and force the Chargers to once again abandon the run game. It’s also possible that the Jets could trade Tim Tebow for Tom Brady.
Ronnie Brown, who has done a fine job as San Diego’s third down back this season, could miss Sunday’s game with a nagging hamstring injury. If he somehow suits up, Battle probably becomes a top-35 option.