Week 12 offered a fantasy leaderboard that didn’t feature the usual suspects at running back. Christian McCaffrey maintained his hot streak, finishing first in fantasy points. But the rest of the top five consisted of the likes of Nick Chubb, Lamar Miller, and LeGarrette Blount.
But that’s how fantasy football goes and that’s why choosing the right players to start and the right players to sit is so important. This is especially the case if a spot in your league's playoffs is hanging in the balance.
So which running backs can you trust in Week 13. Before we get into this week's start/sit advice, how did Week 12 go?
Good Calls for Week 12...
Start Sony Michel (20.5 fantasy points) – He had another injury scare but made it back onto the field and is a must-start RB1 for the rest of the season.
Start Gus Edwards (11.8 FP) – He took full advantage of his opportunity and lucky fantasy owners should ride him for the rest of the season.
Bad Calls for Week 12...
Sit Lamar Miller (22.7 FP) – Miller has been pretty good lately, and 97-yard TD runs sure help.
START THESE RBs...
Josh Adams, PHI (vs. WAS, Mon.)
Despite missing a chunk of the first half with an injury and scaring all of us, Adams finished out the game with a 22-84-1 line plus a two-point conversion. To his credit, Corey Clement ran well and got 76 yards on just seven touches, but that’s a 75-25 split in favor of Adams even with an injury. And now we have Eagles head coach Doug Pederson telling reporters that they plan on boosting Adams’ workload each week down the stretch, which makes Adams an RB2 lock going against a Washington defense that gave up 143 yards to Ezekiel Elliott last week and 154 to the Lamar Miller–Alfred Blue tandem in Week 11.
Austin Ekeler, LAC (at PIT)
With Melvin Gordon likely out for a few weeks, Ekeler should see an increased workload for the Chargers. And with the way the Steelers looked last week that should be a major boon to Ekeler's fantasy output. Pittsburgh surrendered 5.4 yards per carry to Denver last week. The Chargers won't run the ball as much as the Broncos, but Ekeler offers a different dynamic in the passing game. With Ekeler seeing more playing time, he should easily be an RB1 candidate in Week 13.
Phillip Lindsay, DEN (at CIN)
The Bengals are terrible on defense. Lindsay has been a regular RB2 for the Broncos, as he's still sharing the workload. However, with his recent returns, he should be catapulted more in the RB1 range. He has at least 90 total yards in every game since Week 7. And Denver has made a more concerted effort to run the ball with Lindsay serving as the lead back. Cincinnati is last in the NFL against the run, so it makes sense that they have been very generous to running backs from a fantasy standpoint. There's no reason not to believe in Lindsay as a top-12 option in Week 13.
MIGHT BE WORTH THE RISK...
Matt Breida, SF (at SEA)
This isn't only about Seattle's porous rush defense. Breida is showing flashes of brilliance. He has more than 100 total yards in each of his last two outings. What's also encouraging about those numbers is that Breida is contributing in the passing game, too. Breida should continue to be able to run the ball well, especially against Seattle, which is allowing a league-worst 5.3 yards per carry.
SIT THESE RBs...
Tevin Coleman, ATL (vs. BAL)
Coleman turned 11 touches into just 25 yards while playing half of the snaps in Week 12. He did have a TD to salvage his day for his fantasy owners but that was the fewest snaps for him in a game where Devonta Freeman wasn't active. That alone isn't a good sign and the matchup is brutal. The Ravens have only allowed James Conner and Joe Mixon to post more than 65 rushing yards against them, and the second time they faced Mixon he managed a total of 14 yards in Week 11. Baltimore is among the stingiest in terms of fantasy points allowed to RBs, so keep Coleman on your bench.
Adrian Peterson, WAS (at PHI, Mon.)
Peterson deserves better than this in the twilight of his career. Not looking nearly as quick as he did at the beginning of the season, Peterson hasn’t posted more than 70 rushing yards in each of his last four games and is entirely TD-dependent now. While the Eagles' defense has been struggling, Washington’s offensive line is a patchwork unit and the Redskins have backup Colt McCoy at the helm.
Peyton Barber, TB (vs. CAR)
Barber has had a nice fantasy run in recent weeks, finding the end zone in two consecutive weeks. And he's the unquestioned top running back for the Buccaneers right now. However, he's still not generating enough production with his carries to make much of an impact in the yardage department and the Panthers are sixth against the run. At this point, Barber is a touchdown-dependent running back, who shouldn't be trusted on a weekly basis.
YOU’VE BEEN WARNED...
Sony Michel, NE (vs. MIN)
Teams don't run the football against the Vikings. Minnesota is tied for third in yards per carry (3.7) and have surrendered just six rushing touchdowns on the season. The Vikings have been a top-10 defense in terms of fewest fantasy points allowed to RBs. Michel was dominant last week against the Jets, but the game plan may call for more pass attempts this week. Michel will get plenty of playing time, but he might not be as involved as he was last week. Trust the stats in this one as the Patriots will look to take to the air against Minnesota.
— Written by Michael Horvath, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Horvath is a Canadian who also happens to be a fantasy football (not to be confused with CFL) and fitness nut. Follow him on Twitter @realmikehorvath.