The Arizona Cardinals have placed oft injured running back Chris ‘Beanie’ Wells on the new ‘designated for return’ Injured Reserve list, meaning that Wells is ineligible to practice with the Cardinals for the next six weeks and cannot return to game action until week 12 at the earliest. While this is just more bad news for Wells, it is excellent news for his successor in the Arizona backfield, Ryan Williams.
Williams was expected to challenge Wells prior to last year, but missed all of last season due to an injury. While he has been worked back into the fold this season, Williams was still splitting time with Wells, along with LaRod Stephens-Howling. But with Wells headed to IR for at least the next eight games, the time is now for Williams to show why the Cardinals drafted him with the No. 38 overall pick in the second round of the 2011 NFL Draft.
This was all a bit of a surprise to everyone in the organization, as Wells did not believe that he would miss much time with a turf toe injury. But after finding out that the injury was far more severe than originally thought, Wells had no choice but to have the Cardinals place him on IR, but with the new twist this season that he could be the one player whom the team designated to return.
Still, Wells will miss a lot of time, and there is no guarantee that he will be cleared to play – or that he will not get injured right off the bat – by week 12. As far as fantasy football purposes are concerned, Wells can be dropped immediately. That would even go for keeper leagues as well.
As for Williams, he becomes an instant must-have for all fantasy owners, regardless of whether or not you owned Wells. I am not ready to tell you to insert him into your starting lineups, starting with this Sunday’s game against the Miami Dolphins, but any owner should add Williams and take a wait-and-see approach with the former Hokies tailback.