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.
Matt Schaub/Javorius Allen — QB/RB, Baltimore Ravens
Week 11 was rather unkind to the Ravens. Struggling their way through a 3-7 start to the season, the Ravens were unlikely to make anything out of 2015. That became a certainty when both Joe Flacco (torn ACL) and Justin Forsett (broken arm) were both lost for the remainder of the year.
Baltimore isn’t playing for anything other than pride at this point, but it’s next men up nonetheless, meaning we’re getting two new fantasy options from Week 12 onward. Matt Schaub and Javorius “Buck” Allen will be taking over those lucrative roles previous occupied by Flacco and Forsett.
Schaub we’re obviously familiar with from years past. We’ll see what he’s capable of, but with Steve Smith already on the sidelines, Schaub doesn’t have much to work with when he takes his first snaps of the season — believe it or not, Flacco finished off last Sunday’s win over the Rams on his torn ACL.
Schaub’s last action as a starter came in 2013 with the Texans, which ended ugly. But Schaub has shown the ability to be productive as recently as 2012 when he totaled 4008 yards and 22 touchdowns through the air. If Schaub was stepping into a fully healthy Ravens squad it would be easier to like his fantasy situation. But given the lack of bodies in Baltimore, this is going to be a wait and see type of deal, likely with no real fantasy upside in the future.
Buck Allen, on the other hand, has shown us that he’s a very capable RB when given the opportunity. In Forsett’s absence against the Rams, Allen took 22 caries for 67 yards and also hauled in five receptions for another 48 yards. The 3.0 YPC wasn’t the most attractive stat line, but his 3.9 YPC on the season while averaging 8.2 yards per reception is promising on the whole.
The biggest hit to Allen’s value is simply the fact that the Ravens’ roster is completely depleted, and their record leaves them little incentive to turn the season around. But he’s still a cheap starting RB, which is tough to come by, and always worth fantasy consideration.
It’s going to be an ugly finish for the Ravens, but Schaub and Allen could be a couple of cheap value plays as you search for sleepers to round out the season.
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