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Which Rookie RB Should You Hitch Your Wagon To?

At this point in the season, teams who are struggling at running back will invariably look to waivers for a savior who can help save their season. Whether you are in the playoffs or trying to avoid finishing last, having more quality running back options is always a good thing because it allows for matchup flexibility and stops the rest of your league from having access to the waiver wire running back talent pool.

With just a few games left in 2018, most decent running back options have likely been picked up already. However, there is a good chance that some rookies or backups thrust into a larger role are still out there for fantasy owners to pick up. Of course, the natural question is: which one of those players is it worth spending a high waiver pick/chunk of FAAB to acquire?

In this article, we'll take a look at four promising running backs who are likely available on waivers and evaluate which of them is worth picking up off waivers.

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Rookie Running Backs To Consider

Justin Jackson, Los Angeles Chargers

The former Northwestern workhorse back, Justin Jackson was a long-shot to make the 53-man roster after being drafted in the seventh round by the Los Angeles Chargers. After being called up from the practice squad, Jackson saw limited action behind fellow backs Melvin Gordon and Austin Ekeler. However, with Gordon sustaining an injury that sidelined him for Week 13, Jackson suited up and took advantage of his increase in opportunities as he rushed eight times for 63 yards and a touchdown and had 19 receiving yards through the air. Jackson has looked electric the few times when he's been on the field and played well even with fellow back Austin Ekeler having a poor game. Although Melvin Gordon is rumored to possibly be returning in Week 14, Jackson is still a solid short-term upside play for RB-needy fantasy owners who need a big-play threat on their rosters. A matchup with the Bengals is too good to ignore.

Jaylen Samuels, Pittsburgh Steelers

Although it seems like fellow rookie running back James Conner could be fine to suit up in Week 14, Jaylen Samuels took over following Conner's Week 13 injury and could be in line for a decent amount of work even if Conner is able to play after Week 14. Although his rushing totals on the season leave a lot to be desired, Samuels still had 20 yards through the air and a touchdown in the team's narrow loss to the Los Angeles Chargers. However, due to his lack of rushing volume so far this season, Samuels should not be considered a priority waiver pickup outside of the deepest formats. His eligibility at TE in some formats leaves an opening for value, however.

Rashaad Penny, Seattle Seahawks

With Chris Carson suffering a dislocated finger in the Seahawks dominant victory over the San Francisco 49ers, Rashaad Penny was allowed to take over for the remainder of the game and had seven rushes for 65 yards and a touchdown on the night. Penny has slowly been progressing as the season has moved further along and looks like a decent running back even if he does not live up to his first-round draft pick status. Carson will most likely play in Week 14 and retain the starting job, but Penny could get some more work in the passing game if Carson is unable to catch efficiently with his finger injury. That being said, Penny will also have to compete with Mike Davis for snaps and therefore does not merit serious consideration or FAAB spending by fantasy owners in search of a game-breaking running back. He remains a bench stash in deep leagues.

Jeffery Wilson, San Francisco 49ers

With Matt Breida already expected to be sidelined in Week 14 by an ankle injury and possibly longer, Jeff Wilson will take the reigns of the team's offense. He filled in for the hobbled Breida in Week 13 and put together a great performance, with 15 rushes for 61 yards and eight receptions for another 73 yards through the air. Wilson is clearly a talented runner, even if he is playing on an offense that doesn't seem to be getting much done. With Breida expected to rest for a few weeks, Wilson is the clear front-runner for the majority of the team's backfield touches, making him the best option for a waiver wire pickup. Additionally, even if Breida does play, Wilson should still expect to see a fair amount of work, giving him a floor that no other option on this list currently has for both the immediate future and through the fantasy playoffs. Out of this group, Wilson is the guy to go get based on expected usage; fantasy owners should not be afraid to spend a significant chunk of FAAB on the talented young running back, as starting RBs are hard to find on waivers these days.

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