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.


Tim Hightower — RB, New Orleans Saints

The 4-8 Saints don’t have much left to play for this season, but that never changed the fact that Mark Ingram was locked in as the team’s workhorse out of the backfield. Through the first 12 games of 2015, Ingram piled up 769 yards and six touchdowns on the ground, and also reeled in another 50 catches for 405 through the air.

The former Heisman Trophy winner suffered a torn rotator cuff on Sunday in a shootout loss to the Panthers, though, putting an end to his season. Ingram will have surgery, and is expected to be a full go for training camp next year (great news for the Saints), but that still leaves the fantasy community with a four week void of a pretty solid RB.

Unfortunately, this looks like a time-share situation, but there still could be value on the board. With Khiry Robinson also shut down for the year, we’re expected to see a thunder and lightning duo of Tim Hightower and C.J. Spiller for the remainder of the season in New Orleans. It’s not the most attractive one-two punch, but it’s what we’ve got to work with.

Both RBs will start at minimum price in Week 14, so there’s potential value in one of these guys. Spiller could draw the start based on tenure, but really hasn’t achieved anything as a rusher this season. He does have a pair of receiving touchdowns — one you may remember as the game-winner on SNF against the Cowboys, which was the only cause for his sole 20+ point performance on DK this season.

Hightower, on the other hand, has played in a mere four games, taking 12 carries for 48 yards. Honestly, there’s no much to go on. But don’t let that fool you, he has the higher upside for a few reasons. For starters, the Saints just don’t trust Spiller. He’s had no success running the ball, struggles in protection, and likely will just get some third-down receiving work as usual (not to mention he is very injury prone).

Hightower isn’t the safest basket to have your eggs in, but at $3,000, he’s likely worth it. He has the potential to take all the first and second down carries, and be the goal line back. Even if he produces slightly less sexy stat lines than Ingram, there’s still a lot of meat on the bone when it comes to Tim Hightower down the stretch this fantasy season.

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