As you rigorously prepare and research leading into each week of DFS, injuries are always going to change the landscape. “Next Man Up” is a series that examines players who are now being propelled into the starting role (thus creating a larger opportunity for that player), whether it be via injury, or simply a change to the depth chart.

USATSI_8898009_168381090_lowres

DeAngelo Williams — RB, Pittsburgh Steelers

Week 8 gave us arguably as impactful of a fantasy related injury as possible, with Le’Veon Bell joining the likes of Jamaal Charles on the sidelines for the season. Bell’s “badly” torn MCL looked just as bad as it sounds.

It’s horrible news for Steelers fans, losing Bell during Big Ben’s return. But it’s horrible news for cash game players too, as Bell was a guy many counted on to consistently produce every week.

DeAngelo Williams may not be Le’Veon Bell, but the next man up has already shown us he can produce when called upon this season.

Forget what he did in Carolina. We all remember Williams’ 1,518 yard/18 TD rushing season back in 2008 for the Panthers. He’s no longer that player. However, Williams was forced into the starting role for two weeks when Bell began the season on a two-game suspension. Surprisingly, Williams impressed.

D-Will carried the rock 41 times for 204 yards and three touchdowns during that span. It wasn’t a flash in the pan either. After remaining silent since Week 2 (as expected with Bell taking the reigns), Williams came on in relief of Bell in Sunday’s loss to the Bengals showing that same burst — nine carries for 71 yards and four catches for 39 yards.

Losing an elite player is never a good thing, but despite losing a step, Williams is still showing he can carry the load for a good NFL team. Some down weeks are to be expected, but DeAngelo is about to be heavily leaned on in Pittsburgh’s offense. The opportunity is his for the taking. We’ll see if he can turn the clock back.

Find me on Twitter @julianedlow