As we move along in the Fantasy Football season, I'm sure injuries are ravaging your lineup as they are mine. Good running backs are always at a premium and having a healthy one could mean the difference between making the postseason, and being forced to endure a long offseason of ridicule from your friends and family. It isn't life and death, but it sure feels like it sometimes.
The most important thing for a running back is touches. You just want the guy you put in your lineup to get the opportunity to succeed. You can't put up good numbers if you don't get the ball. The Redskins have an extremely thin backfield right now because of injury, so whichever running back emerges as the most healthy will most likely get the lion's share of the touches. The key then, is to figure out who is going to be healthy.
Of all the backs in the stable, there are only two that are worth playing, even with a clean bill of health; Ryan Torain and Clinton Portis. Unfortunately for the Redskins, and their fantasy owners, neither of those backs is totally healthy at this time. They are getting closer to a return to the field, but is it safe to put them back in your lineup?
Clinton Portis is still recovering from a very serious injury to his groin, which is not the kind of thing you want to mess with. He is back on the practice field and participating, but there is no word yet on if he is going to play on Sunday. Mike Shanahan has said that he felt Portis would need a week of practice to get back into shape. It sounds like he won't be getting back onto the field this week, and if he does, he won't be in a position to put big fantasy points on the board.
As for Torain, the bye week seemed to give him a good amount of time to recover from the hammy he suffered the last time out. He might not be completely healthy but I think he has the better chance of the two of getting serious carries this week.
Here's my advice: Don't play Portis at all. He wasn't that good of a fantasy player when he was healthy, and he might not even play this week. This is an easy decision. As for Torain, it really comes down to the rest of your roster. If you have guys that you feel comfortable playing at running back ahead of him, do it. You won't spend the time leading up to the game worrying about his condition, and you'll feel better knowing that you played someone who has better chance to get a significant amount of carries. If it's down to him and Maurice Clarett, I guess you can pull the trigger. But I wouldn't do it.