Fantasy owners lost two running backs in Week 5 and we're once again scrambling for starting options during the bye weeks. Unfortunately, the injuries occurred to teams without great replacements.
Cedric Benson left Sunday's game at the Colts with an apparent Lisfranc foot injury, and he could miss up to eight weeks with the chance of being out for the season if he needs surgery. The Packers will likely go back to a committee approach like we saw last season, but Alex Green should get the first chance to start. He will likely be joined by James Starks, and the Packers will also give carries to John Kuhn, especially in short-yardage situations and at the goal line.
Green should be the most added player this week since he has the highest upside in this backfield. He had nine carries for 55 yards and one catch for 8 yards against the Colts and he could be a starting option soon in deeper Fantasy leagues. The Packers have a tough matchup at the Texans in Week 6, but then the Packers face St. Louis, Jacksonville and Arizona before their bye in Week 10. Green could be a flex option if he proves to be the main man in Green Bay's backfield.
Ryan Williams is out for the season with shoulder surgery after he was injured last Thursday at the Rams. Beanie Wells (toe) is out until at least Week 12, so the Cardinals are looking at a committee backfield for now with La'Rod Stephens-Howling, William Powell and Alfonso Smith. Even with a fantastic matchup against the Bills in Week 6 this remains a backfield to avoid in most leagues. Stephens-Howling appears to be the one to target moving forward.
Stevan Ridley's fourth quarter fumble against the Broncos could give more touches to Brandon Bolden or even Danny Woodhead and Shane Vereen. Early reports are Ridley's status as the starter is fine, but you never know with Bill Belichick. The Patriots have a tough matchup at Seattle and this could be another game like we saw in Week 3 at Baltimore where Woodhead has increased touches in a no-huddle type offense.
Aside from the running back woes, we'll help find a bye-week quarterback for Drew Brees, Cam Newton and Jay Cutler. We'll also look at the Rams receiver to target with Danny Amendola (shoulder) out and address breakout performances from Robert Meachem, Josh Gordon and Devery Henderson.
Editor's note: Must add is for players worth adding in all leagues. Maybe add is for players worth adding in 14-team leagues or larger. Desperation add is for players worth adding only if you're, well, desperate. The ownership percentage listed is how many leagues that player was owned in the previous week for CBSSports.com.
Must add: Carson Palmer, Raiders (71 percent), Christian Ponder, Vikings (49 percent)
Maybe add: Alex Smith, 49ers (71 percent), Ryan Tannehill, Dolphins (20 percent), Brandon Weeden, Browns (12 percent)
Desperation add: Tim Tebow, Jets (14 percent), Matt Flynn, Seahawks (6 percent), Brady Quinn, Chiefs (1 percent)
The breakdown: We told you last week to stick with Ponder despite his struggles in Week 4 against the Lions and he rewarded you with 21 Fantasy points in Week 5 against the Titans. He has another great matchup in Week 6 at the Redskins, who have allowed multiple passing touchdowns to every quarterback but Josh Freeman in Week 4. Add Ponder if you're stuck at quarterback this week. ... We also like Palmer, but he's better as a long-term add. He has some great matchups coming up against Jacksonville in Week 7, Kansas City in Week 8 and Tampa Bay in Week 9. But he could struggle at the Falcons in Week 6. ... Smith threw two touchdowns against the Giants in the playoffs last year, and the Giants have allowed three quarterbacks to pass for multiple touchdowns against them. If his finger is OK then he could be a spot starter. ... Weeden passed for 322 yards and two touchdowns the last time he faced the Bengals in Week 2, and he has the chance for another quality performance in the rematch in Week 6. ... The Chiefs will start Quinn in Week 6 with Matt Cassel (head) out and this is a favorable matchup at the Bucs. ... In deeper formats we'd also look at Tebow and Flynn since they might become starters at some point this season.
Must add: Brandon Bolden, Patriots (59 percent), LeGarrette Blount, Buccaneers (40 percent), Danny Woodhead, Patriots (33 percent), Alex Green, Packers (5 percent), La'Rod Stephens-Howling, Cardinals (2 percent)
Maybe add: Kendall Hunter, 49ers (49 percent), Beanie Wells, Cardinals (40 percent), David Wilson, Giants (35 percent), Ronnie Hillman, Broncos (28 percent), Joique Bell, Lions (20 percent), James Starks, Packers (16 percent), Shaun Draughn, Chiefs (15 percent), William Powell, Cardinals (1 percent)
Desperation add: Jahvid Best, Lions (20 percent), Shane Vereen, Patriots (13 percent), John Kuhn, Packers (1 percent), Alfonso Smith, Cardinals (0 percent)
The breakdown: The priority list at running back for this week should be Green, Stephens-Howling, Blount, Woodhead and Bolden. ... Blount looks like the goal-line back in Tampa Bay after he scored in Week 4 and he has a solid matchup in Week 6 against Kansas City. He is worth a gamble playing in tandem with Doug Martin because he has another chance to score. For this week only he might be your best bet as a starting option. ... For the Packers, Green should start with Benson out, but this is a tough matchup against the Texans this week. His value is more long-term unless the Packers add someone as a free agent. ... For the Cardinals, we expect Stephens-Howling to start, but Powell will also get touches with Smith as the No. 1 reserve. Arizona will likely look to sign a running back, but if you like the way your roster looks now then add Wells and sit on him in case he becomes useful for the Fantasy playoffs once he returns in Week 12. ... In New England, we still expect Ridley to dominate touches, but this could be a week where Woodhead is heavily involved at Seattle. Take a flier on him if you're stuck, with Bolden again spelling Ridley and possibly playing in the fourth quarter if the Patriots are ahead. Vereen also could get more touches after he scored in Week 5. ... In PPR leagues it's time to add Bell. If the Lions continue to trail in games he'll be in there in the fourth quarter and I'm not counting on Best to return any time soon, even though he's eligible to come off the PUP list after Week 6. ... With Andre Brown (head) hurt, this could be an opportunity for Wilson to work his way back into the mix behind Ahmad Bradshaw. He had a nice touchdown run against the Browns in Week 5.
Must add: Mike Williams, Buccaneers (69 percent), Domenik Hixon, Giants (63 percent), Randall Cobb, Packers (63 percent), Donnie Avery, Colts (51 percent), Kendall Wright, Titans (48 percent), Chris Givens, Rams (0 percent)
Maybe add: Robert Meachem, Chargers (55 percent), Davone Bess, Dolphins (53 percent), Mario Manningham, 49ers (41 percent), Jeremy Kerley, Jets (30 percent), T.Y. Hilton, Colts (18 percent), Brandon Gibson, Rams (11 percent), Devery Henderson, Saints (9 percent), Rueben Randle, Giants (6 percent), Vincent Brown, Chargers (6 percent), Josh Gordon, Browns (4 percent)
Desperation add: Golden Tate, Seahawks (13 percent), Steve Smith, Rams (3 percent), Jordan Norwood, Browns (0 percent)
The breakdown: The Rams need to replace Amendola and we would add their secondary receivers in this order: Givens, Gibson and Smith. Givens has the chance to move into Amendola's slot role and if his targets increase he should produce since Sam Bradford needs someone to catch passes. ... The Giants could be without Hakeem Nicks (foot) again, which should allow more production for Hixon and Randle. We'd still rather have Hixon -- who had five Fantasy points in Week 5 against Cleveland -- even though Randle had eight points. Randle also had one more target at nine compared to eight for Hixon, but Hixon's role is still more valuable as the Nicks replacement. ... The Packers could also be without Greg Jennings (groin) again, meaing Cobb could see more targets. He had four against the Colts and finished with four catches for 82 yards and a touchdown. ... Weeden got solid production from Gordon and Norwood in Week 5. Gordon had two catches for 82 yards and two touchdowns on eight targets. Norwood had nine catches for 81 yards on nine targets. Weeden isn't used to a receiver catching all his passes after dealing with Greg Little all season. ... Meachem had a nice revenge game against his former team at New Orleans with three catches for 67 yards and two touchdowns, but he had just four targets. Don't get overexcited with that performance, but hopefully it will spark Meachem to play better going forward. ... Like Meachem, we hope Manningham plays well against the Giants this week. He scored his first touchdown of the season in Week 5 against the Bills. ... Keep an eye on Avery if you haven't done so already. He has at least eight targets each game and with the way Andrew Luck is playing, you want as many of his weapons as possible -- like Hilton. ... Henderson would be worth adding going forward if Lance Moore (hamstring) is out for an extended period of time. ... Start looking at Brown now since he should return after Week 8 for the Chargers following his broken ankle in the preseason.
Must add: Scott Chandler, Bills (67 percent), Jared Cook, Titans (59 percent), Dwayne Allen, Colts (2 percent)
Maybe add: Joel Dreessen, Broncos (8 percent), D.J. Williams, Packers (0 percent)
Desperation add: Lance Kendricks, Rams (5 percent), Zach Miller, Seahawks (2 percent), Jeff Cumberland, Jets (0 percent)
The breakdown: Chandler had a disappointing game at the 49ers in Week 5, but the entire Bills roster was miserable. He should rebound in Week 6 at the Cardinals, who have allowed two touchdowns to opposing tight ends. ... Cook has a touchdown in two of his past three games and has at least six Fantasy points in three outings. If you're without Jimmy Graham or Greg Olsen this week you could take a flier on him even with a tough matchup against the Steelers, who have allowed three touchdowns to tight ends on the season. ... Despite having 13 fewer targets than teammate Coby Fleener, Allen has been more productive. He has 10 catches for 76 yards and two touchdowns on 12 targets compared to 13 catches for 139 yards and no touchdowns for Fleener. Allen is looking like a great red-zone weapon for Luck. ... Williams is worth a speculative add in deeper leagues if Jermichael Finley (shoulder) is out in Week 6 at the Texans. He had two catches for 20 yards on four targets after Finley was hurt in Week 5 at the Colts. ... Dreessen has 11 catches for 96 yards and three touchdowns on 16 targets while Jacob Tamme has 21 catches for 175 yards and one touchdown. Peyton Manning likes using Dreessen in the red zone.