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Hidden Treasures: Diamond in the Rough, Fantasy Football edition; Running Back Waivers

The rash of injuries to NFL starting running backs to begin the 2023 fantasy football season has certainly felt like a giant F U to fantasy football managers. Nick Chubb’s horrendous and season-ending knee injury only further impacted an already grieving community mourning the loss of key players such as Saquon Barkley, JK Dobbins, Austin Ekeler, Aaron Jones, David Montgomery and more.

With waiver wires hot on the tips of every analyst’s tongue, there will be a mandated over-abundance of ‘hot tips’ to pick up Jerome Ford off the waiver wire (as if you didn’t already know this). I’m going to credit you with a little bit more savvy than that and provide you with a deep dive list of hidden treasures on the waiver wire that you should be stashing on the end of your bench in case they turn into real life fantasy assets.


  1. Gus Edwards – Beep beep, baby! The Bus is back and we don’t need no stinking ACL’s because this bus only knows two things, truckin’ and straight lines. Justice Hill was the hot waiver add last week but I warned fantasy football managers that he’s been with the team for 5 years and has NEVER received a starting role despite the litany of injuries they’ve suffered at the running back position. This team loves Gus Bus and he should be full aboard your waiver pickups for running backs.

  2. Pierre Strong – There is no replacing Nick Chubb in your lineup and while most of your league mates will be blowing their entire FAAB budget on Jerome Ford (which you should be doing if you lost a starting running back), there’s a good chance you won’t get him unfortunately. I would also slip in a small $1-3 bid on Pierre Strong who saw a goal line carry in this game. He could potentially assume the backup role and even be the next man up if God forbid anything should happen to Jerome Ford. The Fantasy Gods have not been kind.

  3. Tony Jones – I could see Tony Jones being ignored by fantasy football managers concerned about long-term viability, of which he has none. However, if you find yourself already hurting for running backs or flex plays due to injuries, Tony Jones provides a potential one week spot start against the Green Bay Packers. While the Atlanta Falcons running backs are so far and away superior to the New Orleans Saints, the Packers run defense still isn’t quite where it needs to be. The Saints should take advantage and while this will be a Jamaal Williams ‘revenge’ game, it’s clear the Saints are not giving him the entire backfield as myself and many fantasy prognosticators expected.

  1. Salvon Ahmed – Frustratingly, Salvon Ahmed seems to have usurped the role that fantasy managers had hoped would belong to Devon Achane. Perhaps over the course of the season Achane can take back the role, but for now, Salvon Ahmed is seemingly the backup to own for the Miami Dolphins. He saw 6 touches including 3 catches for 28 yards on 3 targets. Raheem Mostert is unfortunately not likely to hold up for an entire NFL regular season, and while I don’t generally wish to prey upon potential injury as a reason to target backups, in this case it’s probably prudent to have Salvon Ahmed on the end of your bench if you have room for him.

  2. Jaleel McLaughlin – Sean Payton talked up the rookie running back to end up only giving him 1 carry for a 5 yard touchdown. However, McLaughlin showed burst on the score and while it’s a miracle Javonte Williams is playing at all, he’s clearly not all the way back. McLaughlin has looked way better than Samaje Perine and if he can usurp that role as the true backup for this team, he could have deep flex appeal and the potential to grow in this offense behind Javonte Williams.

  3. Latavius Murray Hello Murraayy… This man refuses to give up fantasy football relevancy. Everytime I think he’s done, he comes back for more. Latavius Murray is going to have a goal line vulture role for the Buffalo Bills and from what I saw on Sunday, he’s better suited to that role than Damien Harris even. This is definitely bottom of the barrel, desperation play, like Mike Tolbert once upon a time, but frankly the running back injuries have left some teams in deeper leagues twisting in the wind like underwear up a flagpole.

  4. Antonio Gibson – In order to make a waiver claim, a player usually has to be dropped. With the rash of injuries, some players may not have to, but some leagues either don’t have IR spots, or they are limited in number. That means you need to keep an eye on Antonio Gibson if he hits waivers, which I predict could happen in many leagues. Fantasy football managers who drafted Gibson are surely frustrated by his minimized role and while he currently has little to no value as a runner, he’s still seeing passing work, coming off 3 receptions for 44 receiving yards against the Denver Broncos. It’s not much, but another man’s trash could eventually turn into your treasure, so throw him on the end of your bench if there aren’t any better options.