It’s that time of the year, the majority of fantasy leagues are entering the last week of the regular season. Fantasy owners that have secured a playoff spot need to prepare themselves for a championship victory. One way to protect yourself through the playoffs is by grabbing your stud running back handcuff. Unless you own two top 10 QBs, there is no reason to hold two quarterbacks. There is no point wasting bench spots with players that are never going to hit your starting lineup. Nothing is worse than losing Dalvin Cook while you are in the hunt for fantasy football glory only to find that you have no shot at grabbing Alexander Mattison because of low waiver priority or min FAAB budget. Make sure you grab your insurance policy before the price increases. Chris Carson owners are learning that lesson this week. Don’t get caught with your pants down and good luck as you jockey for playoff positioning.
Week 12 Offenders
Chris Carson owners, do not panic! You’ve followed along all season and already have Penny sitting on your bench. Rashaad Penny‘s 14 carries for 129 and a TD was more a result of the game flow than Carson losing his job. The Eagles have one of the best run defenses in the league, still ranking in the top 5 fewest yards allowed per game following Sunday’s leakage to Penny. Rashaad’s usage was a result of the Seahawks offense inability to get much going through the first half of the game. Pete Carrol decided to give the Eagles different looks with Penny in the game, and it worked. Has Penny earned more touches? Sure, but Carson will continue to be the lead dog in this backfield unless his fumbling issues resurface. Carson still handled more offensive snaps on Sunday (53%) than Penny (46%), and this was only Penny’s second game to record over 30 offensive snaps this season. If Penny continues to receive the snaps down the stretch he’ll enter weekly flex territory, but we need to see it another week before we can trust him near our lineups. The Seahawks have tough matchups with Minnesota and Los Angeles Rams on deck, but have a sweet finish in weeks 15-16 against Carolina and Arizona. Sunday was a reminder that owning your insurance policy is crucial at this time of they year. Penny was a free acquisition prior to Sunday and now you’ll be fighting every other owner chasing Penny’s box score. Carson owners need to spend top waiver priority or FAAB budget to secure Penny for the playoffs.
Jay Ajayi – PHI – It doesn’t look like Jordan Howard is any closer to suiting up in week 13. Per Eagles reporter Jeff McLane, Doug Pederson said Howard has yet to regain strength in his shoulder. Nothing has been reported about Howard getting cleared for contact either. Miles Sanders handled the lions share of the snaps at running back against the Seahawks (84%), but Jay Ajayi received his first touches since joining the Eagles and returning to football since his knee injury suffered a year ago. Ajayi handled 33% of the running back carries but only recorded 9 snaps to Sanders 64. If Howard remains sidelined, Ajayi could carve himself a role down the stretch against plus matchups @MIA wk13, vs NYG wk14, and @WSH wk15. Doug Pederson and RB coach Duce Staley have consistently utilized a running back rotation in Philly. We’ll need to see Ajayi’s snaps increase this week to become a priority add, but he should be on everyone’s watch list heading into the fantasy playoffs. If you have the bench size or play in a deeper league, then Ajayi is worth a stash.
Qadree Ollison – ATL – Another week without Devonta Freeman and another poor performance by the Atlanta run game. Brian Hill put up another dud, taking his 9 carries for an embarrassing 14 yards (1.9 ypc). Hill still found the field for 56% of the Falcons offensive snaps (51) and Qadree Ollison was 2nd in line with 26% (23). For a 2nd week in a row, it was Ollison that found pay dirt. Devonta Freeman was unable to find the practice field last week and will need to turn in at least a limited session this week to have a shot at playing. If Freeman remains sidelined, we could see the rookie Ollison take over this backfield after 2-weeks in a row of Brian Hill underperforming. As mentioned multiple times over the past few weeks, the Atlanta running game does not warrant a high priority add regardless of who is leading the charge. Ollison is nearly watch list material or a speculative add in the deepest of formats.
Benny Snell – PIT – Snell needs to be rostered for as long as Conner is sidelined. James Conner has yet to return to practice since injuring his shoulder early in week 11 against Cleveland. Benny was on the field for 48% of the Steelers offensive snaps and handled 68% of the running back carries. Jaylen Samuels was second in RB snaps with 22 (29%). Jaylen only carried the ball 2 times, but remains the preferred pass catcher out of the Steelers backfield. Snell was impressive against Cincinnati, almost clearing 100 yards on the ground, and averaging a healthy 4.7 yards per carry on 21 attempts for 98 yards. With Jaylen’s inability to take control of early down and goal line work (2.6 yards per carry on the season), Snell has a clear path for a lead role in this offense. Check you waivers this week to see if Benny is still available.
Jonathan Williams – IND – For a second week in a row, Williams recorded over 100 yards rushing with Marlon Mack sidelined. Jonathan had an impressive outing on Thursday Night football against a decent Texans run defense, taking 26 carries for 104 yards and a tuddie. Marlon Mack had surgery to his fractured hand and the Colts are expecting to be without Mack for a few weeks (reported by 107.5 the Fan). Mack will most likely miss the rest of the fantasy season and the majority, if not all, of the fantasy playoffs. Williams has shown that ability and has earned the trust from this coaching staff to handle a bell cow’s workload. Handling 75% of the Colts running back carries in week 11, Jordan Wilkins failed to record a touch and Nyheim Hines remained as the change of pass/3rd down back. If Williams wasn’t scooped up in your league, make sure to place your bids or utilize your top wavier priority. The Colts offense is 3rd in the league in rushing attempts per game and rushing yards per game.
Bo Scarborough – DET – Still available in over 50% of ESPN leagues, Bo will be a top waiver add for week 12 after taking 18 carries for 98 yards against the Washington Redskins. TY Johnson only handled 4 carries and JD McKissic 1. Bo has earned the starting job in this offense with Kerryon Johnson on IR. I warn everyone to temper expectation with Bo and the Lions running game the rest of the season. Detroit has matchups against the following top ranked rushing defenses, vs CHI wk 13 – @ MIN wk14 – vs TB wk15 – @ DEN wk16. Making Bo a desperation start throughout the fantasy playoffs.
As always, leave your lineup questions below or you can @ me on twitter. Good luck in week 13!