For the first time all season, the headlined Dalvin Cook did not show up huge for his team. Instead, Titans’ running back Derrick Henry stole all the attention for his monstrous 175 yard game against the Colts. But it’s been clear all season that Cook and Henry are fantasy superstars. Week 13 answered some more ambiguous questions for what backs fantasy mangers can rely on. To find out who to start this week, who to target on the waiver wire, and who you can still avoid, read my Week 13 RB Fantasy Rankings PPR.
|17||4||Benny Snell Jr.||Steelers|
|31||6||Todd Gurley II||Falcons|
|36||7||Melvin Gordon III||Broncos|
|41||8||Darrell Henderson Jr.||Rams|
|44||8||Mark Ingram II||Ravens|
Tier 1 Running Backs
No fantasy manager of Dalvin Cook should be concerned about last week’s disappointing outing. It was an off-game for the fantasy star, but it was certainly not performance-based. He was only handed the ball 18 times, his lowest attempts since week 2. His yards per attempt were better than his week 10 game at Chicago, in which he put up over 15 fantasy points. Dalvin Cook holders may have lost their game last week because of a disappointing performance, but he is likely to reach his 20+ point average in time for the fantasy postseason. I can’t imagine anyone should be worried about a player if their worst game still netted 10.2 fantasy points. Playing against the 28th ranked fantasy defense against running back this week against Jacksonville, he remains my overall RB1.
Derrick Henry had a monster game last week against the Colts. He tore their defense apart on the road, rushing for 178 yards and 3 touchdowns with his 27 attempts. But the outing should not be considered the fantasy surprise of the season. Despite totalling a ridiculous 38.5 fantasy points, it was just Henry’s 2nd best game of the season. We learned nothing new about Henry. He is an elite running back who can have incredible games in any given week. He plays at home against a Browns team that just let James Robinson torch them for over 100 yards rushing. Henry is my obvious RB2.
Alvin Kamara had a rough game at Denver last Sunday. His 12 touches were his fewest mark on the season. It should also be no surprise that his -2 receiving yards were both a season and career low. The 6.2 fantasy point performance was the lowest mark of Kamara’s impressive 4 year career. But I don’t expect the game to be indicative of the 2nd of his 2020 campaign. He is still averaging over 20 fantasy points per game, and remains among the most talented backs in the league. He is struggling a bit without Drew Brees under center, but has managed to prove he can still score like 45 yard, touchdown game against Atlanta a week before last Sunday. I expect Kamara to have a bounce-back game against Atlanta this Sunday. A tough but winnable matchup moves him down one rank from the week prior, as my overall RB3.
James Robinson has now scored 20+ fantasy points in 4 games this year, one of just 5 players to do so (Dalvin Cook, Alvin Kamara, Derrick Henry, and Ezekial Elliot). His 128 yard, and 1 touchdown performance last week can be attributed to his huge number of handoffs. After 22 carries last week, Robinson now averages 21.8 attempts per game in the past 5 Jaguars’ games. That’s up from 14 attempts per game for the first 6 games of the season. Robinson should have no trouble using his large workload to record another great outing against a below average Vikings’ rushing defense. He is a no-surprise RB4 for week 13.
Few players in this league excite me more than Washington’s Antonio Gibson. The 22 year old rookie now has 5 consecutive double-digit fantasy performances, including last week’s 36.5 point monster game. He became the first rookie since Randy Moss in 1998 to score 3 touchdowns on Thanksgiving. His 115 yards on the ground just topped it off. Not that many players have averaged more than his 21.6 points per game in the last 6 weeks. Selected 66th overall in the 2020 draft, he was not expected to have such a breakout campaign. He faces an uphill battle on the road against a strong Pittsburgh defense, but I like Gibson’s chances of outperforming expectations. He is a very talented back with just 11 total weeks of professional game footage. Pittsburgh will have a tough time preparing for him, regardless of how strong they’ve been this season. I rank Gibson as week 13’s 5th best running back.
High Tier (Not 1) Running Backs
As a Giants fan, I could not be more excited about the emergence of Wayne Gallman. Last week he became the first Giant to score a touchdown in 5 consecutive games since Andre Brown in 2013. With Saquon Barkley out for the season, Gallman has maintained New York’s legitimate rushing threat. Only 3 other running backs (Aaron Jones, James Robinson, Dalvin Cook) in the league own a longer streak of 10+ fantasy points than his 5. The Giants may need to rely on him now more than ever with a hamstring injury to Daniel Jones as it is becoming increasingly likely that New York will be without their starting quarterback on Sunday. Gallman is facing an awful Seattle defense that concedes over 3 offensive touchdowns per game. I like his odds of continuing his TD streak and maintaining his impressive 2020 campaign. Comfortably start Gallman if you have him on your team. He’s my RB11 this week.
Beyond a couple of respectable outings, Devontae Booker has been more-or-less fantasy irrelevant all year. As the backup to the league’s 3rd most workload back (in total attempts), it is no surprise Booker has been off the radar in all fantasy leagues. But he has an opportunity this weekend to show off his talents with Josh Jacobs out with an ankle injury. In the only game all year Booker has been given 10+ carries, he rushed for 81 yards and 2 touchdowns. He has shown fans that he’s nothing short of a talented running back in an offense that doesn’t give him many chances. His start this weekend is among the most anticipated performances I am looking forward to this weekend.
Kenyan Drake has been more-or-less all over my rankings in fantasy. The Cardinal simply cannot stay consistent. He now has three sets of back-to-back 10+ fantasy games, with very poor performances in-between those stretches. Historically, he should go back to another dismal performance. But I’m giving Drake optimism and ranking him as my RB8. He carried the ball a season-high 22 times last week against New England, and is now facing a Rams defense that just allowed Raheem Mostert to score over 10 fantasy points with just 16 rushing attempts. Start Drake if you own his stock and you should be rewarded on Sunday.
Mid-Tier Running Backs
Benny Snell Jr. has become the Steelers new starter now that James Connor tested positive for Covid. In his first game with the starting role, Snell ran for 60 yards with his 16 attempts. He added 3 receptions for 33 more yards through the air. It was a fantasy game that should give fantasy managers a reason to feel optimistic about his value as the new starter. The Steelers play the Washington Football Team on Monday for what should be another respectable game out of the 22 year old. He’s my RB17 for week 13.
Who knew that we’d be talking about Frank Gore’s fantasy value in his 16th season. A tenure that long is impressive for any position in the National Football League, but at the running back position it’s almost unheard of. The League’s third all time leading rusher is becoming fantasy relevant once again after posting back-to-back 10+ fantasy point outings. With La’Mical Perine on the IR, Gore is the clear RB1 for this New York football team. His 15+ carries in the past two outings are signs of the Jets wanting to use him as a workhorse back, at least for the remainder of this year. Gore stays home this week to play a Las Vegas defense that struggles against the run. He’s certainly not an obvious flex option or even bench target, but fantasy managers should strongly consider adding Gore to their rosters.
No one expected to see Cowboys star Ezekial Elliot have such a poor season. With average draft position of 2.5, there was fair optimism he would bring fantasy managers another incredible year. A 3-8 record and 12 weeks later, the Cowboy pro bowler is averaging just 14 points per game. He has scored just one touchdown in the last 6 games. It’s been nothing short of a disappointment for one of the most anticipated fantasy players for the 2020 season. He has a tough battle ahead of him on the road at Baltimore. I understand he is a must-start with the value most managers invested in him, but rely on other players on your roster to carry you through the fantasy postseason.
Latavius Murray deserves a mention for his huge game at Denver last week. While his pro bowl teammate struggled to find room to run on Sunday, Murray rushed for 124 yards and 2 touchdowns with his 19 attempts. Surprisingly, it was the 4th game this season that Murray outcarried Kamara in attempts. But averaging just over 9 fantasy points per game, his monster game and fair workload should not change his fantasy value much. The Saints face a strong Atlanta rush defense this week, making Murray even less startable week 13. He’s a fair waiver wire target, but only appears to have value incrementally and at random. Simply handcuff Murray for if Kamara ever becomes injured.
Low-Tier Running Backs
Carlos Hyde did well a couple of weeks ago in Chris Carson’s absence. With his 14 attempts, he rushed for 79 yards and a touchdown. It was easily Hyde’s best fantasy performance of the year. Now that Carson is back Hyde’s fantasy value immediately pluments, and is likely to score very few points as a backup against a strong Giants rush defense. There is no need to target Hyde in the waiver wire while Carson is healthy and playing.
Boston Scott is slowly showing signs of fantasy life in his past 5 games. After averaging just 3 fantasy points per game in the Eagles’ first 6 games, he now scores on average 12 FPPG since then. Miles Sanders will continue to earn a bulk of the carries, but Scott is a solid handcuff to own if Sanders gets injured. He’s a fair fantasy pickup if you’re in a deeper league.