For those fantasy football owners of Denver Broncos running back C.J. Anderson, the emergence of rookie RB Devontae Booker had to be a bit concerning. Well, here’s to hoping that you had Booker as the perfect handcuff to Anderson because the brutally bad (or good) just happened. If you have Booker as a handcuff to Anderson, then you just found yourself fantasy football gold and a player who may help take you to the promised land.
As ESPN reported, Anderson was placed on injured reserve and will have surgery to repair the meniscus in his right knee on Thursday. With the Broncos deciding to put Anderson on IR, it means that he’ll have to be out for at least eight weeks, and since the team has just nine regular season games left, his best chance for a return is likely the playoffs.
Anderson did take to Twitter to speak about potentially returning for the playoffs as well.
Was an amazing fun year all I can do is rest up get back for the playoffs and if not get back and grind 4 next season
— Cj Anderson (@cjandersonb22) October 28, 2016
The loss of Anderson hurts, but not as bad as it would have originally. Early in the season, Anderson had back-to-back 20-plus carry games, while Booker was a bag of mixed emotions. While the rookie had one game with nine carries for 46 yards against the Indianapolis Colts, he also posted two poor showings that combined for seven carries for 16 yards, which were both before and after that impressive outing. Essentially, Broncos fans were unsure of exactly what they had in Booker at that point.
Then, Booker began to emerge a bit and his best two-game span of the season came over the previous two games. The Broncos new top running back totaled 129 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries, while also scoring his first NFL touchdown. His growth as a player and ability to take on an expanded role (17 carries in Week 8) couldn’t have come at a better time. Booker actually out-touched Anderson in Monday night’s 27-9 victory over the Houston Texans as well, by a total of 18-to-16.
Now for Booker, who fell to the fourth round of the 2016 NFL draft, when many believed he’d be selected higher, he’s in a prime spot to succeed both on the field and for fantasy football owners. When evaluating things strictly from a fantasy football perspective, the Broncos play the Oakland Raiders (twice), New Orleans Saints, Kansas City Chiefs (twice) and Jacksonville Jaguars, all of which rank No. 20 or worse in the NFL in rushing yards allowed per game. For a run-first offense, that looks like a thing of beauty on the horizon.
Booker’s in a spot to succeed immediately as well because he was awarded the time to learn the offense, play behind Anderson and essentially just wait his turn. The guy who many fantasy football players held onto just as a handcuff, or probably only in deeper leagues up until this past week or two, just became an elite fantasy option. Instead of being a possible flex play, or a guy who’ll ride the pine for your team, he’s now someone who can help you make a deep run in your fantasy football league this season.