Monday, October 8, 2012

Ryan Williams Out For The Year

Coming into the year, the Arizona Cardinals RB situation was a big question mark. Beanie Wells came into the year as the supposed starter, but talented Ryan Williams was waiting in the wings. Ryan Williams was coming off a serious knee injury suffered in the preseason last season but looked like the more talented and explosive back. As a result, he was a big sleeper of mine, despite the obvious offensive line issues.

Ryan Williams was lost for the year with a shoulder injury, what now?

Both RBs struggled out the gate, but Beanie suffered a turf toe injury in Week 3 opening the door for Williams (who rushed 13 times for 83 yards that game) to take over as the full-time starter. However, only two weeks later, Williams was slammed hard on his shoulder and after originally he downplayed the injury, it was reported today, that the injury was much more serious than originally thought and he will require surgery and therefore, have to miss the rest of the season.

So where does this leave the ARI backfield now?

Beanie will not be able to return until Week 12 since he was placed on I.R. "designated for return". At that point, there is still no guarantee that he will be back to full health since turf toe injuries tend to linger.

In his absence, the Cards will go with a committee of LaRod Stephens-Howling, William Powell, and Alfonso Smith. Assuming he can return healthy from his hip pointer injury, Stephens-Howling is the likely starter, but the Cards have already expressed concern about him holding up the whole season with a larger workload. The darkhorse in the backfield is William Powell, who led the pre-season in rushing (231 yards at 7 yards per carry), and the Cards have given him playing time in the last couple weeks at Williams' expense as they were more comfortable with using him in their no-huddle package. However, he has only gotten 3 carries on the year and suffered an apparent concussion on Thursday night so will need to be cleared before Sunday's game against the Bills.

In fantasy leagues, this is a situation to avoid (in 10-team or shallower leagues). With all three likely getting carries and a terrible offensive line, there isn't much upside. La'Rod Stephens-Howling is the most valuable right now, However, I would keep an eye on Powell as his pre-season performance indicated that might be capable of handling a feature back role and the coaches faith in him has been growing.

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