Fantasy Waiver Wire RBs To Target: D’Ernest Johnson, J.D. McKissic, Rashaad Penny, More Backups

Fantasy Waiver Wire RBs To Target: D’Ernest Johnson, J.D. McKissic, Rashaad Penny, More Backups article feature image
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Getty Images. Pictured: Seahawks RB Rashaad Penny, Browns RB D’Ernest Johnson, WFT RB J.D. McKissic

  • Browns, WFT and Seahawks running backs are dealing with injuries. So which backups should you target on the fantasy waiver wire?
  • Our expert -- one of the top-10 rankers of 2021, per FantasyPros -- breaks down how he's approaching each backfield.
  • Find out how he recommends targeting D'Ernest Johnson, J.D. McKissic, Rashaad Penny and more RBs.

Fantasy Football Waiver Pickups

Fantasy Waiver Wire RBs Rostership
D’Earnest Johnson, CLE 6%
Demetric Felton, CLE 9%
John Kelly, CLE 0%
J.D. McKissic, WFT 43%
Jaret Patterson, WFT 2%
Alex Collins, SEA 60%
Rashaad Penny, SEA 9%
Rostership percentages based on Yahoo! leagues as of Monday

D’Ernest Johnson & Demetric Felton

Johnson is the most likely back to absorb the touches left behind by Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt.

This is Johnson’s third season on the Browns and they likely trust him to carry the load for at least one game. When Chubb went down in Week 4 last season, Johnson stepped up for 13/95/0 on the ground. And in Week 5, he chipped in 8/32/0 on the ground. I’m projecting him for 13-14 carries on Thursday with two receptions, which puts him in the RB16-20 range.

The Browns used Felton as a wide receiver in training camp, but he’s certainly capable of handling 8-10 carries if needed. He has a wide range of outcomes, but I’m projecting him for 6-10 touches on Thursday.

The Browns also added John Kelly, who could also chip in a few touches.

Johnson is the best bet for TNF, and if you are desperate, certainly put in a bid for the one-week rental — how much depends on your record, how desperate you are at RB and how much you expect your league to bid. Felton has the highest upside of the two, but also the lower floor. I wouldn’t be surprised if he ends up being the RB who draws the most FAAB in leagues, making Johnson my preferred add.

Final Takeaways

  • D’Ernest Johnson: He’s the safer play as he should be the lead back. It could take less of your FAAB to roster him as people go after Felton. I accidentally called Johnson “Nick Chump” on our waiver wire podcast, which is appropriate.
  • Demetric Felton: He’s a dynamic pass-catching back who could end up posting mid-range RB2 numbers if he dominates the pass-catching work (which is very possible) and sees 8-10 carries. The Browns have been using him exclusively as a WR since training camp (as evidence by his zero carries and eight receptions on the season), which is why I’m skeptical he’ll see 8+ carries, but the Browns are so desperate he might. Felton is a lower-floor but higher-ceiling add compared to Johnson.


J.D. McKissic & Jaret Patterson

Antonio Gibson’s shin injury was likely going to be too painful to play through, but now he has a calf injury. Therefore, it’s likely Washington takes a cautious route with him — the Football Team has their bye in Week 9, so there’s a chance they shut Gibson down until Week 10, though that’s all conjecture.

Obviously, McKissic would become an RB2+ play with added value in PPR formats if Gibson is ruled out. However, he’s likely already taken in many leagues, so the back we need to target here is Patterson.

Patterson is more likely to inherit more of a workhorse back role than McKissic. The rookie has RB3/Flex potential as a result, but I’m afraid the WFT’s schedule over the next few weeks — at the Packers, at the Broncos, then vs. the Bucs — doesn’t set up well for him as the Football Team will likely be in trailing game scripts that force them into pass-heavy situations.

That would favor McKissic.

Final Takeaways

  • J.D. McKissic: Would have mid-range RB2 potential if Gibson misses Week 7
  • Jaret Patterson: Would have RB3/Flex upside — but only in positive game scripts.

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Alex Collins & Rashaad Penny

The Seahawks face the Saints in a brutal matchup for running backs, leaving me interested only in Collins as a RB3/Flex play if he is healthy enough to be the lead back.

With Penny likely returning, it could cut into Collins’ workload. Penny is worth an upside flier in deeper leagues as it looks like Carson could miss multiple more weeks.

However, with Russell Wilson on the shelf until Week 10, I’m less interested in investing in this backfield.

I am eyeing Collins as a RB2/Flex in Week 8 against the Jaguars, though, so be sure to hang onto him no matter what happens with him this week.

Final Takeaways

  • For Week 7: Avoid this backfield unless Collins is near 100% and Penny remains out.
  • For Week 8: I will be interested in this backfield against the Jags. I’m guessing Collins will be a low-end RB2, with Penny starting to eat into Collins’ role. How Penny looks should he play in Week 7 will obviously impact my Week 8 projections.

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