The running back position has become a little more diverse in recent weeks in fantasy football. Some of the stud backs aren’t the only ones at the top of the leaderboard.
Alvin Kamara continues his torrid pace, while Rex Burkhead has multiple touchdowns in each of the last two games, and Kenyan Drake may be one of the most important running backs to have on a roster during the fantasy playoffs.
That should make for an interesting fantasy football playoffs, with several running backs being able to contribute down the stretch.
Good Calls for Week 13...
Sit Jacquizz Rodgers (2.5 fantasy points) – You might have been tempted to start him with Doug Martin out, but it was the Peyton Barber show instead.
I said it might be worth the risk to start Alex Collins (21.8 FP) and he dominated the Lions with two touchdowns before he got hurt.
Bad Calls for Week 13...
Start Samaje Perine (6.9 FP) – The game just got out of hand for the Redskins, so Perine was ineffective.
I warned you against starting Jamaal Williams (18.3 FP), and even with Aaron Jones active, Williams had a great game with more than 100 rushing yards and a touchdown.
START THESE RBs...
Kenyan Drake, MIA (vs. NE, Mon.)
Coming into a Week 13 tilt against the league’s best run D, Miami fed Kenyan Drake early and often, and he excelled. Seriously. He excelled by putting up enough numbers for a spreadsheet (bad joke but it’s Week 14 give me a break). Next up is a New England defense that allowed the Bills to run for nearly 200 yards last week, granted a lot of the damage was done with the Patriots sitting back in a zone defense protecting a healthy lead. But it could happen again.
Lamar Miller, HOU (vs. SF)
Miller has been an underrated fantasy option this season, scoring 12-plus PPR points in five of his last six games. Miller could have an even better showing this week against a 49ers defense that ranks 28th against the run (123.5 ypg), has given up the second-most fantasy points to running backs on the season, including 10 total touchdowns.
Samaje Perine, WAS (at LAC)
Last week he had a plus-matchup against Dallas and Washington didn't show up. This week should be a difficult matchup for the passing offense, but the Chargers have been leaky against the run. They give up the second-most rushing yards (129 ypg) and also allow the fourth-most fantasy points to running backs. Perine also has shown himself capable as a receiver, catching six of seven targets over the last two games. The Redskins aren't known to utilize their running backs as workhorses, so it's a nice sign that Perine is contributing in the passing game.
MIGHT BE WORTH THE RISK...
Giovani Bernard, CIN (vs. CHI)
If Joe Mixon misses time with a concussion, Bernard could do some damage against a Bears team that can’t get anything going offensively. That means a lot of time killing the clock with the run and plenty of touches for Bernard. He had 106 total yards on 15 touches on Monday night against a good Pittsburgh run defense.
SIT THESE RBs...
Alex Collins, BAL (at PIT)
Collins has been a nice offensive weapon for the Ravens, but this week's matchup is not going to be easy. Even though the Ravens looked good in Week 13, don’t bank on that Sunday night in Pittsburgh against defense that is one of the better units in the NFL against the run. Running backs are averaging the ninth-fewest fantasy points per game against the Steelers. Most of that is because Pittsburgh is giving up just 96 rushing yards per game, the sixth-best mark in the NFL.
Jordan Howard, CHI (at CIN)
In a must-win week for everyone, there is no reason to start Howard. The Bears RB has been limited to just 52 total yards over his last two contests and has exceeded six fantasy points just once in his last four games. Couple that with Pro Bowl guard Kyle Long being placed on injured reserve and Howard being a non-factor in the passing game, and the odds are against him turning it around this week.
All Philadelphia Eagles RBs (at LAR)
The Rams offer a plus-matchup, but how can you trust the Eagles’ running backs? They are spreading the work among three different guys each game, and while Jay Ajayi operated as the No. 1 running back in Week 13, he barely out-snapped Corey Clement. And LeGarrette Blount, who was first in the pecking order earlier in the season, was the third option against Seattle. So who is going to get the work in Week 14? It likely has to do with game flow, which is a bad sign for anyone depending on a Philadelphia running back. The Rams are the second-worst team in the NFL in fantasy points allowed to RBs, but this matchup just doesn't add up. Starting a Philadelphia running back comes with too much risk.
YOU’VE BEEN WARNED...
Leonard Fournette, JAC (vs. SEA)
Seattle travels across the country this week, but it’s still a late afternoon start, so it might not affect the Seahawks as much. They have been tough on running backs this season and Fournette has had his own struggles getting much going on the ground recently. He has averaged around three yards per carry in four of his last five games, as volume and touchdowns have allowed him to stay fantasy-relevant. That in addition to a subtle shift in Jacksonville’s offensive approach to more passing will make things difficult for Fournette in Week 14. The Jaguars’ wide receivers and yes, even Blake Bortles might offer more fantasy upside this week.
— 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.
(Top photo courtesy of www.jaguars.com)