As your Fantasy Football teams take shape for the last week of regular season play, the Week 13 running back rankings reaction delivers my take on why RBs moved up and down in the rankings. Supplement your rankings reaction reading with the Start or Sit suggestions for Week 13, especially if you’re on the playoff bubble and you need a win in the last week of play before the playoffs.
Injuries didn’t take their toll in Week 12 like they have in weeks previous, but yet several mid-tier RBs got knocked out of games due to injury last week: Jeremy Hill (ankle), Karlos Williams (shoulder) and Ahmad Bradshaw (wrist). Obviously, I ranked those high-to-low in Fantasy ownership percentages in ESPN leagues, and it’s how they stand spread out among the running back rankings, with Bradshaw not even making the rankings.
However, it does behoove us to project that if these guys lose their carries, another RB gets them, be it more carries for a stud or more carries for a dud. Although the Buffalo Bills could deploy Anthony Dixon more to fill in for Williams, it seems more likely they’ll go to LeSean McCoy more given his four-game streak of 100 yards or more of total offense.
Similarly, if Hill isn’t ready for the Cincinnati Bengals’ game on Sunday, Giovani Bernard could earn more snaps. Read on for more on those backfield situations. The Indianapolis Colts’ RB situation is crumbling altogether: Frank Gore’s aging right before our eyes, Bradshaw’s out for the year and Dan Herron got resigned by the Colts. Also, I’m done taking a look at the Green Bay Packers flip-flopping backfield. It’s Eddie Lacy’s turn to be the feature back.
On the other hand, studs like Adrian Peterson and DeAngelo Williams performed to their Fantasy owners’ expectations, and it shows up in the running back rankings. Meanwhile, the Kansas City Chiefs can hand off to any RB and he’ll play at an RB1 value. Here’s more on this week’s running back rankings.
Week 13 Running Back Rankings Reaction
Who I Like
LeSean McCoy, Buffalo Bills
After Williams left the game early, McCoy accumulated more than 100 yards of offense for his fifth straight game. He played 86.1 percent of the Bills’ snaps, which is his 2015 season high. Expect him to do the same against the Houston Texans and return RB1 value against the Texans’ average run defense. Shady’s recent performances give him a well-deserved ranking at fifth this week.
DeVonta Freeman, Atlanta Falcons
I was wrong on him last week when I expected him to be ready to play on Sunday. Well, he’s been cleared to play in Week 13 and he returned to practice on Wednesday. He’s back to RB1 status and comes in eighth in the running back rankings this week.
Quinn: Devonta Freeman has been cleared and will practice fully today. He’s absolutely “jacked” about returning. #ATLvsTB
— Atlanta Falcons (@AtlantaFalcons) December 2, 2015
Jonathan Stewart, Carolina Panthers
Admittedly, I’ve been tough on Stewart this year, but he’s proving me a fool. He’s third in the league in touches (223), second in rushing attempts (211), third in rushing yards (832) and obviously contributing to the Panthers’ perfect season. Stewart’s climbed the running back rankings, as he was outside the Top 10 in Weeks 9, 10 and 11. Stewart gets the New Orleans Saints this week, which is a great matchup. Only two teams have allowed more rushing yards against RBs than the Saints. All said, the Saints let RBs tally 22.9 Fantasy points per game.
Javorius Allen, Baltimore Ravens
For the second consecutive week, Allen faces a weak run defense. He made the most of playing 61 percent of snaps last week against the pathetic Cleveland Browns’ defense: 12 rushes for 55 yards and four receptions for 29 yards and one TD. It’s not RB1 stuff, but it’s reliable FLEX performance even in PPR leagues. He’s had nine receptions across his last two games. Allen’s opponent, the Miami Dolphins, have allowed RBs to score 23.1 Fantasy points per game. Allen has a high ceiling at 14th in the running back rankings.
Who I Don’t Like
Mark Ingram, New Orleans Saints
Not only are the Saints coming off an ugly offensive showing, but they have an awful Week 13 matchup against the only undefeated team in the NFL, the Panthers, who have allowed the third fewest rushing yards against RBs (760). Ingram still totaled 97 yards of offensive in the Saints’ Week 12 loss, but rebounding against the Panthers will not be easy and knocks Ingram’s value to RB2 level despite his 12th ranking.
Only 4 players have 50 or more targets without a receiving TD this season: Davante Adams, Zach Ertz, Mark Ingram and Jared Cook. — Zach Kruse (@zachkruse2) November 30, 2015
Lamar Miller, Miami Dolphins
When the Dolphins fall behind, so do Miller’s Fantasy owners. QB Ryan Tannehill has thrown 40 or more times in five games this season. Miller never had more than 65 total yards of offense in any of those games, and just one TD across all five of them (Weeks 2, 3, 4, 8 and 12).
In games where Lamar Miller gets 13+ carries, the Dolphins are 4-0. In games where he gets 12 or less, the Dolphins are 0-6.
— Ian Kenyon (@IanKenyonNFL) November 24, 2015
The Dolphins play the Ravens in Week 13, but the Ravens’ run defense has been solid. In 11 games, the Ravens have allowed RBs to rush for 864 yards and just four TDs, which is good for 14.6 Fantasy points per game allowed to RBs. If the Dolphins’ running game gets shut down early and the team falls behind again, it could get ugly for Miller once again. His floor is so low, but his ceiling is RB1-high, which gives him the 19th spot in the running back rankings.
T.J. Yeldon, Jacksonville Jaguars
Last week, Yeldon was a must-start in what could have been a breakout game for the rookie. But Yeldon only had nine rushing attempts and four receptions to total 82 yards of offense against the San Diego Chargers. The Tennessee Titans, the Jagaurs’ Week 13 foe, has been respectable against RBs in 2015.
Only three teams have allowed RBs to score fewer Fantasy points per game than the Titans (13.9). That doesn’t bode well for Yeldon considering he’s found the end zone just twice this year. Yeldon falls to 22nd in this week’s running back rankings.
Given the importance of every Fantasy owners’ Week 13 performance, I strongly encourage any readers to ask questions or comments on these running back rankings. Reach out to So-Called Fantasy Experts on Twitter or find any of the staff there, too.
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