If you are reading along this week then it means one of two things; A) you are still alive in your fantasy football league or B) you have really enjoyed following my pieces all season long. My brain says option A but my heart wants to believe option B. After a couple of quiet weeks, we have a lot of meat on the bone today. If you have not been following along all season, please pick up your studs handcuff heading in to the playoffs. Exhibit-A: Melvin Gordon. I am angry with the Chargers and how they handled their star RB but let’s have that conversation elsewhere. The main point here is to not get caught with your pants down.
I will jump straight in to the Bad Boyz of week 13, enjoy!
- Austin Ekeler- Since you have been following along all season there is no worry for Melvin Gordon owners because you owned Ekeler before last Sunday. Sadly, we have potentially lost Gordon for the remaining of the fantasy football season. 35% of the teams target share and a matchup against the Steelers with the line set at 51.5, we have comfort in starting Ekeler. It is fallacious to believe Ekeler will assume 20-25 carries a game. He will lose carries to Justin Jackson but make up for it with his receiving duties. He finished with 15 touches-103yds-1TD last week with Gordon playing the first half. Justin Jackson is the handcuff for Ekeler owners but not worth a start. The expected game-flow with two potent offenses favors Ekeler to maintain a safe and healthy floor in PPR leagues.
- Gus Edwards and Ty Montgomery- Just when we thought we found another late season league winner, Gus is at risk of missing this week with an ankle injury. I was licking my chops on a couple of DFS plays with Baltimore facing a juicy matchup against the Falcons defense. Check Fridays practice/injury report to see what the final verdict is on Gus. The sneaky play, if Gus misses, is Ty Montgomery. Nearly a 60 to 40% snap share between Gus and Ty last week. It looks like Ty is working his way in to the offense, posting 11 touches for 64 yards and averaged 6.4ypc. The Falcons matchup favors a pass catching back and outside of the tackles running style which makes Ty an intriguing play. If Guy does suit up then he is a RB3/Flex play with RB2 upside.
- LeGarrette Blount and Theo Riddick- I will admit I missed on Blount’s production against arguably the best defense in the league on thanksgiving. Can you blame me? At least Riddick still gave us 13 PPR points. I am doubling down on Riddick over Blount with a matchup against the Rams. Kerryon Johnson has been absent from practice this week and as of now is trending in the wrong direction. I do believe that Blount has earned his right on early downs and goal line work. I do fear the Lions will favor Riddick over Blount when, not if, they fall behind and by a lot to the Rams potent offense. Riddick almost ended up in the end zone himself last week. With the Lions putting Marvin Jones on IR this week and Golden Tate in Philly, I believe Riddick’s passing value only increases. Riddick is 2nd in all running back targets (28) over the last four weeks, only behind our boy Christian McCaffrey(30). Will you double down with me?
- Josh Adams- It is hard for me to keep writing anything about my putrid Eagles even though some still believe they have a chance. Do we believe Douglas Irving Pederson will give one running back over 20 carries on the ground in back-to-back games? I might start believing if I see something like that again. 84 yards and 1 touchdown on 22 carries, imagine if Adams did not have a 50+ yard- TD run called back due to an offensive holding penalty. The Redskins were a run defense to fade RBs against earlier this season but they have been leaky lately, surrendering a whopping 27.5 average points per game to running backs over their last 5 games. If the Eagles believe the run game is the savior of the season then we have hope for Adams in our lineups this week. Also, the Redskins offensive line is decimated and they are starting Colt McCoy. Look for Philly to control the clock/time of possession.
- Rex Burkhead- A little off the radar if you did not watch last weeks Patriots-Jets game but Sony Michel did exit the game after, what looked liked, getting bent backwards on a hard tackle. He exited the game briefly but did return and had a solid outing. We might not see anything on this with how the Patriots report injuries but with Burkhead getting activated off IR, maybe we see the Patriots lighten the load on Michel to preserve him for a post season run. I reminded you all about Burkhead 2-weeks ago but maybe you can still find him on your wire. You are still starting Michel with confidence, but Burkhead is a worthy bench add for now.
- Carlos Hyde and TJ Yeldon- When I released the Jaguars backfield in week 9 I was hoping to avoid writing about them the rest of the season. Well, here we are in week 13 and I feel obligated to touch on them. Luckily for Fournette owners we do not have a re-injury of his hamstring. Leonard has been a nice treat since returning to our lineups but made a bone-headed move last week and got in to a fight. He found himself at the end of a 1-game NFL suspension on the last weekend of the fantasy football regular season. Honestly, I do not feel comfortable starting either back or really anyone on this squad. The Jags will be led by a new offensive coordinator, starting a 2nd string quarterback, and down arguably their best offensive lineman in Andrew Norwell. Does this sound like a team you want any fantasy stock in? I guess if you are forced to play either then I give the slightest edge to Yeldon in full point PPR formats. I do think the Jaguars would be inclined to see what they have in Hyde after giving up draft capital to acquire him mid-season. Both are dart throw flex plays in a matchup against the Andrew Luck lead Indianapolis Colts.
- Quick Hits– Marlon Mack is still in concussion protocol call, as of Thursday. If he is out, I’m playing Nyheim Hines over Jordan Wilkins. If Mack is active and practices in full on Friday then neither hold much value besides pure handcuffs to Mack. Todd Gurley owners, please grab Maclolm Brown if you have not already. There are reports regarding Gurley suffering a minor ankle sprain against the Chiefs before their bye. We might not see anything on an injury report because of the bye week but grab Brown for insurance. Giovani Bernard has been a non-factor since returning and maybe he is still nursing back from the injury. Hopefully for Mixon owners you have RB depth to look elsewhere because the Bengals offensive stock could not be any lower. Pick up Bernard if you have no other options. I warned you all about Elijah McGuire and his matchups down the stretch. I’m not wasting a roster spot on the Jets backfield unless forced. Both Mike Davis and Rashaad Penny have taken a back seat since Chris Carson returned in Seattle but I’m handcuffing either Davis or Rashaad. A run-first offense and Carson has a history of injuries, both worth a bench spot heading in to the playoffs. If you own Dalvin Cook, check your wire and please add Latavius Murray as your league-mates might have given up on him since Cooks return. Kenyan Drake has been limited this week with a shoulder injury. I do not believe he is at risk of missing time but if he does then Frank Gore is the play.
- Jeff Wilson Jr.- A lot to cover with repeat offenders this week but only one new offender worth mentioning. This is a special one for me as someone from my Alma Mater makes the list, never thought this would happen #GMG. Alfred Morris was a healthy scratch last week and Raheem Mostert has been on IR for a couple of weeks. The 49ers season is over at 2-9, we could see more usage out of their backup RB, Jeff Wilson, if they want to see what they have with him. He averaged 5.1 yards per touch on 8 touches for 41 yards last week and was efficient with his touches in a couple of pre-season games. Matt Breida is on the injury report again this week with a shoulder injury but he has proven to us this season that it’s going to take a broken bone or torn ligament to keep him off the field. Wilson is only a pure handcuff stash for Breida owners.
I wish everyone good luck and victories this weekend if you are fighting for a playoff spot, playing in a first round playoff game, or even better- playing spoiler. As always, keep an eye on the practice/injury report Friday. Tweet me or leave me a comment with your lineup questions. I will tweet out any last minute RB injury news over the weekend. Cheers!