The Cleveland Browns were silent about the state of Ben Tate's tweaked knee in the hours following the team's opening week loss to Pittsburgh. Tate exited after carrying six times for 41 yards, leaving the rushing workload to rookies Terrance West and Isaiah Crowell. In Tate's absence, the first-year backs feasted on the Steelers, combining for 132 yards and two TDs on 21 carries. (No catches, which was odd.) West claimed most of the yardage (100); Crowell handled the scoring.
Finally, we have (vague) word on the nature of Tate's injury, as well as a preliminary recovery estimate:
What is the timeline for injured #Browns RB Ben Tate? I’m told likely out 2-4 weeks, depending on how he heals. You’ll see West & Crowell— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) September 10, 2014
So that's not the worst-case scenario, obviously, but it's not the best, either.
West is the priority fantasy add, as he took 16 carries to Crowell's five on Sunday. As most of you know by now, West put up ridiculous stats last season at Towson -- something like 8,000,000 yards and 700 touchdowns -- but he struggled during preseason play for the Browns (31 carries, 83 yards, fumble). After the mid-week waiver binge, he remains un-owned in 49 percent of Yahoo leagues, so plenty of you can still make the add.
Crowell is much more widely available (only 11 percent owned), and no less talented than West. We discussed his story on Monday, in case you missed it. If you whiffed on Terrance and need assistance at RB, give Crowell a long look.
As for Tate ... well, I haven't dropped him anywhere. But I also don't own him in any short-bench leagues. (Because that would have been kinda crazy; there's a deep and well-known injury history with this player.) He was running well on Sunday before the knee injury (6.8 YPC), and he earned his starting gig this year with an excellent preseason. Let's not completely write him off. The rookie backs get a pair of home matchups over the next two weeks, facing New Orleans and Baltimore, and the Cleveland heads into a bye. And in Week 5, it's entirely possible that this team will have a three-man backfield committee.
West will rank as a fringy RB2 for me this week, Crowell as a flex-ish fantasy asset. (I own more Crowell shares, but that's a reflection of his greater availability.) Do what you need to do, gamers.