With Joique Bell and Theo Riddick out due to a concussion and strained hamstring, respectively, George Winn entered Sunday’s game as the backup running back to Reggie Bush. Of course, Bush got hurt and Winn got the gig all to himself. This is the way of the RB. Between time shares and injuries, there are always RBs that come out of nowhere and become fantasy relevant every year.
Winn, just like Branden Oliver, ended up taking over the starting role on his team, but Oliver ended up taking that opportunity and exploding. Winn wasn’t as productive, but might have a future going forward, because they are both in very similar situations in terms of being in good offenses and a likely getting a bump in opportunity. They both started the year fourth on the depth chart and now might have an opportunity to start a game. Winn is actually bigger and you could say more athletic than Oliver, in some measures at least, if you look at the chart below.
Winn might come off as more athletic, but in college Oliver was very productive and caught a lot of passes, while starting for three years at Buffalo. Winn doesn’t have that level of production. One thing that does favor Winn over Oliver, is that the Lion’s offensive line is not as terrible as San Diego’s.
As for projecting the future regarding Lions RB injuries, I am no doctor, but I did drive by a Holiday Inn Express last night. I am not going to tell you when any of the Lions RB’s will be back. Let’s think as if Winn is starting next Sunday though. The Saints and Chiefs are both on byes, so there are some fantasy teams that might be scrounging for bye week fill-ins.
Jon Moore wrote a piece last year explaining that Winn might not be extraordinary in any way, but he did have a whole lot of 20-plus yard gains in college. It seems to show that he is very good at following his blocks, picking a hole, and gaining yards.
How does Winn compare to his DET teammates? I think we can say he might not be a great candidate for third downs in a Lions offense which threw to its RBs well over 100 times last year. We also know that Bush is not your normal athlete, but look how Winn compares to the other RB’s on the team.
Winn might be the least explosive, but he’s actually faster in a straight line than Bell or Riddick.
You will have to wait and see about all the Lions’ injuries to really know if he is worth playing, but if you need a RB desperately this week, he might have a chance to get a lot of touches on a good offense. Remember though, he definitely is not Bell or Bush in terms of his receiving skills. I am not in love with him, but he did average 8.2 ypc and had two TDs in the preseason this year, so he has showed promise when he given the opportunity. I wouldn’t blow the bank on him, but if you are in a bind and need to make a move, Winn is at least interesting.