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Fantasy Football: How Theo Riddick’s injury affects Denver’s backfield

Fantasy Football
Photo Credit: Mile High Report

Now that preseason has officially started, we can now turn our focus towards our upcoming fantasy football leagues. As each waking day passes, we are one step closer to fantasy football draft day.

Throughout the year, we will bring you quick hits on relevant fantasy football news that could impact you and your team.  Most recently, Antonio Brown has threatened to retire, although now he says he plans to play. After comments made by Andy Reid, many are already beginning to treat the Kansas City Chiefs’ backfield as a Running Back by Committee.

However, in Denver, one newly-acquired running back is already injured, which could affect the rest of the stable.

Over the weekend, news broke that Theo Riddick would miss 6-8 weeks with a fractured shoulder. The PPR maven was inline to steal some of the targets away from Pro Bowl running back Phillip Lindsay, and second-year RB Royce Freeman this upcoming season.  However, the two featured backs could still see some of their targets sniped by other RBs on the roster. Nevertheless, let’s take a look at what type of impact Riddick’s injury could have on your fantasy football team.

Phillip Lindsay

Currently, Lindsay is listed at the top of the Denver Broncos’ depth chart. The second-year player rushed for 1,037 yards and 9 touchdowns as an undrafted rookie while remaining a valuable asset in the passing game. Despite his impressive season, many fantasy owners have remained unsettled on the prospect of drafting the talented running back. Lindsay is currently No. 44 overall on Sleeper’s ranking and is being drafted next to the likes of Jarvis Landry, Miles Sanders, and Evan Engram.

Despite being the first undrafted rookie in NFL history to make the Pro Bowl, Lindsay did not finish the regular season after suffering a wrist injury in Week 16 vs. the Oakland Raiders. The injury sidelined Lindsay for most of the offseason. Although reports indicate he is fully healed, he has slowly watched Royce Freeman capture carries throughout much of training camp.

Much like Miami’s backfield, if you have one Denver running back, it might be wise to have the other.

Royce Freeman

The second-year running back from Oregon was one of the top rookies drafted in 2018.  And as one of many who believed he would have an immediate impact last season, I’ve avoided him like the plague in 2019. However, with a new coaching staff in place and more looks with the first-team than he may have originally anticipated, Freeman is an ascending talent this upcoming fantasy football season.

According to Sleeper’s rankings, Freeman is the 92nd overall player and currently, the 39th ranked running back. He should receive a larger workload this season and be an effective asset in the passing game. Look for Freeman to be Denver’s primary third-down back, and if he can make more plays than he did as a rookie, the coaching staff will have no choice but to award him touches.


The RB that benefits the most from Riddick’s injury, however, is Devontae Booker. He should see expanded work in the preseason and could once again, find a way to stick on Denver’s roster.

In the end, both Lindsay and Freeman should benefit from the injury to Riddick. Although Lindsay is the more proven commodity, it would be foolish not to think Freeman can make an impact, much like many expected he would as a rookie in 2018. When Riddick returns, however, both guys could lose targets – primarily in the passing game.

Josh Houtz is the Fantasy Football Director of the Pro Football Network. You can follow him @houtz on Twitter.

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