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Zero RB AFC Watch List – Priming for the Playoffs

The Ultimate Zero RB Watch List helps you keep track of every backfield development in the AFC and provides a wealth of weekly and seasonal advanced stats.

As we head into the fantasy playoffs, let’s reflect on where things stand from a Zero RB perspective. One of the reasons that the strategy works is because points at RB are much more replaceable than any other.1 The bottom line is that if you lost David Johnson early, you would have had an easier time replacing those points than if you had lost Odell Beckham.

Here are the top-12 RBs over the past four games.2

  1. Alvin Kamara
  2. Mark Ingram
  3. Todd Gurley
  4. Jamaal Williams
  5. Rex Burkhead
  6. Le’Veon Bell
  7. Latavius Murray
  8. DeMarco Murray
  9. LeSean McCoy 
  10. Tevin Coleman
  11. Dion Lewis
  12. Austin Ekeler

In the most crucial stretch of the fantasy regular season, only three of the top-12 RBs were taken in the first two rounds of fantasy drafts: Gurley, Bell, and Murray. And despite his RB1 status of late, Murray’s owners are probably not doing cartwheels over his performance. The rest of the list is littered with guys available in the fourth round or later, and in the case of Ekeler and Lewis, completely free.

Let’s look at the major backfield developments as we head into Week 1 of the fantasy playoffs. That is followed by expected points tables, first for Week 13, followed by seasonal totals. Both charts are sortable by team.

New England Patriots

Rex Burkhead had the seventh-most valuable rushing workload on the week,3 more valuable than that of Todd Gurley and Melvin Gordon, and the best mark among Patriots backs. He has surpassed 15 fantasy points in every week but one since Week 8, has scored five TDs in his last four games, and now gets a good matchup against the Dolphins. However, his receiving totals were hurt by the re-emergence of James White, who had the most valuable receiving load on the team at 7.3 (the 14th-highest reEP in the league this week). White also hurt the bottom line for Dion Lewis, who scored under 10 PPR points for the first time in a month.

Burkhead is the safest–and likely the highest-ceiling option–of all Patriots backs for the playoffs. Lewis is also a consideration, but obviously carries some risk.

New York Jets

Bilal Powell had the most valuable workload of any back on Sunday–nearly three times as valuable as Matt Forte’s, despite getting just three more carries. Both had three catches, but Forte found pay dirt on one and ended up outscoring Powell on the week. This backfield is currently as muddled as any in the AFC, but if forced to choose, I’d start Forte in Week 14 against Denver based on his superior efficiency and steady role in the passing game. The Denver defense has slipped in recent months, but they’ve only only allowed an 80-yard rusher twice on the season. I’d be eyeing other options at RB in Week 14.

Miami Dolphins

Kenyan Drake cashed in on his big opportunity with Damien Williams out, piling up 120 yards on the ground, the most yards surrendered by the Broncos all season. He performed over rushing expectation while also tacking on the third-most valuable receiving load in the AFC at 7.8 reEP.

Drake will be worth a start in a neutral matchup against the Patriots in Week 14. The health status of Damien Williams is very much up in the air this week, but even if he does return, I tend to think that Drake’s positive play, combined with Williams nursing an injury, should give him the edge in any potential committee.

Week 13 Expected Points and Points Over Expectation

PLAYERTeamruEP Week 13ruFPOE Week 13reEP Week 13reFPOE Week 13
Bilal PowellNYJ21.4-10.65.4-3.2
Leonard FournetteJAX12.3-0.66.2-1
Rex BurkheadNE11.886.4-0.9
Kenyan DrakeMIA10.77.37.8-2.7
Melvin GordonLAC10.6-
Marshawn LynchOAK8.
Alex CollinsBAL811.52.81.5
Lamar MillerHOU7.6-25.62.2
Matt ForteNYJ7.4-
LeSean McCoyBUF7.329.4-6.5
C.J. AndersonDEN7.1-0.410-1.7
Dion LewisNE6.82.400
Frank GoreIND5.80.300
Javorius AllenBAL5.4-
Derrick HenryTEN5.211.700
DeMarco MurrayTEN5.21.430.3
Isaiah CrowellCLE4.8-0.71.30
Kareem HuntKC4.3-0.36.4-1.1
Duke JohnsonCLE3.8-3.65.7-2.7
Alfred BlueHOU3.6-
DeAndre WashingtonOAK34.600
Marlon MackIND2.71.92.8-1
Elijah McGuireNYJ2.6-0.600
Chris IvoryJAX2.4-1.22-0.7
Senorise PerryMIA2.3-0.100
James WhiteNE2.2-0.47.3-0.1
Austin EkelerLAC1.70.24.2-0.1
Danny WoodheadBAL1.6-
Jamaal CharlesDEN1.3-
Devontae BookerDEN0.9-0.11.4-0.4
Akeem HuntKC0.5-
Jalen RichardOAK0.404.4-2.9
T.J. YeldonJAX002.61.9

Denver Broncos

After leading the Broncos in fantasy points over the previous four games, Devontae Booker naturally had the fewest carries and fewest targets of all Broncos backs this week, as well as the lowest ruEP and reEP by a wide margin. C.J. Anderson and Jamaal Charles had 12 targets between them in a game where they trailed the whole way. The Broncos are likely to be playing from behind against the Patriots this week too, but I’m not risking a starting spot on any of these guys.

Baltimore Ravens

It’s a shame that Alex Collins is said to be dealing with migraine headaches, clouding his Week 14 status. Not only because some positive TD regression has helped him settle in as a solid RB2 option in recent weeks, but also because he’s responsible for two of the top TD celebrations of the year.


If cleared, Collins is Flex worthy in a matchup against the Steelers, who may have lost their top tackler, Ryan Shazier, to a serious back injury.  Otherwise, expect a timeshare with Javorius Allen leading the way on the ground and Danny Woodhead playing a larger passing role than the four targets per game he’s had since returning from injury.

Cincinnati Bengals

Is it possible that the Bengals best back has been the backup the entire time? That sure looks like a possibility after Giovanni Bernard averaged 5.9 YPC, piling up 77 yards on 13 carries against a Shazier-less Steelers defense that surrenders the eighth-fewest fantasy points to RBs. With Joe Mixon’s concussion making him iffy at best on a short week, Bernard needs to be added in all formats for his Week 14 matchup against the Bears. Jeremy Hill is on the I.R., and Bernard projects to get a heavy load on the ground and through the air in Week 1 of the fantasy playoffs. Mixon’s status is a situation to monitor throughout the week.

Tennessee Titans

In Week 13, Derrick Henry had a less valuable workload (ruEP) than someone called Elijah Penny, a player so unheralded that he went almost a full calendar year between Rotoworld blurbs. Well played, Mularkey.

Despite this continual and criminal under usage, Henry was still the RB14 this week, turning 11 carries into 109 yards and a TD. The only development here is that there are no developments. Barring an injury to DeMarco Murray, Henry won’t be the playoff MVP this year. He’s a high-risk, low-reward Flex play.

RB Fantasy Playoff Schedules


RB Advanced Stats – Full Season

PLAYERTeamruEP SeasonruFPOE SeasonreEP SeasonreFPOE SeasonPPR Season
Todd GurleyLAR143.5-1.6100.521.8264.2
Le'Veon BellPIT140.6-12.5115.7-15.1228.7
Melvin GordonLAC123.9-16.494.81.4203.7
LeSean McCoyBUF118.5-9.493.2-8.8193.5
Leonard FournetteJAX118.
Carlos HydeSF116.1-22.8110.6-27.9176
Ezekiel ElliottDAL114.65.734.615.4170.3
Jordan HowardCHI113.83.736.2-10.6143.1
Mark IngramNO112.833.477.5-10213.7
Lamar MillerHOU100.7-11.659.120.8169
Kareem HuntKC99.917.16423.7204.7
Jonathan StewartCAR99.8-28.717.4-187.5
LeGarrette BlountPHI92.1-
C.J. AndersonDEN90.8-13.643.9-3.5117.6
Latavius MurrayMIN89.6-2.416-0.1103.1
Joe MixonCIN88-15.638.613.2124.2
Frank GoreIND86.6-5.438-1.1118.1
Isaiah CrowellCLE85.9-14.441.9-3.9109.5
Marshawn LynchOAK83.18.726.5-2.7115.6
Adrian PetersonARZ81.6-16.727.1-9.182.9
Jay AjayiPHI81.5-0.139-10.5109.9
DeMarco MurrayTEN81.20.654.68.2144.6
Ameer AbdullahDET80.6-
Devonta FreemanATL78.610.335.9-1.5123.3
Tevin ColemanATL78.3849.18.4143.8
Bilal PowellNYJ77.1-8.943.7-5.7106.2
Javorius AllenBAL73.2-1979.7-5.3128.6
Alex CollinsBAL7222.922.7-4.2113.4
Derrick HenryTEN71.91517.1-4.699.4
Samaje PerineWAS69.2-16.721.69.984
Orleans DarkwaNYG685.128.3-3.198.3
Mike GillisleeNE66.8-7.30059.5
Jerick McKinnonMIN65.2-5.878.73.2141.3
Dion LewisNE63.913.122.86.9106.7
Doug MartinTAM63.4-13.821.1-8.162.6
Jamaal WilliamsGB56.2-4.527.79.588.9
Chris IvoryJAX54.9-19.741.33.279.7
Alvin KamaraNO51.950.7105.839.6248
Rob KelleyWAS46.9-9.59.1-3.343.2
Ty MontgomeryGB44.70.647.5-1.291.6
Matt ForteNYJ43.60.954.110.4109
Christian McCaffreyCAR43.2-2.81380.1178.5
Dalvin CookMIN43.24.223.6-3.667.4
Elijah McGuireNYJ43-724.3-258.3
Alfred MorrisDAL41.375.5-1.352.5
D'Onta ForemanHOU40.83.910.43.959
Eddie LacyGB39.8-
Rex BurkheadNE39.82.644.617.8104.8
Marlon MackIND39.7-0.432.44.376
Jamaal CharlesDEN39.5-335.4-3.768.2
Jacquizz RodgersTB39.3-9.112.5-0.142.6
Aaron JonesGB37.425.322-12.472.3
Tarik CohenCHI36.53.474.41.5120.85
Wayne GallmanNYG36.2-9.133.2-5.355
Corey ClementPHI34.116.913.214.678.8
Duke JohnsonCLE33.46.39514.6149.3
Thomas RawlsSEA33.3-20.415.3-0.927.3
Peyton BarberTAM32.7-1.712.72.546.2
Kenyan DrakeMIA32.311.733.91.179
Matt BreidaSF321.647.3-8.372.6
Chris ThompsonWAS31.99.580.133.9155.4
Mike TolbertBUF31.7-7.819.6-1.542
Theo RiddickDET30.9-6.772.711.6108.5
Rod SmithDAL30.5-2.314.9-2.440.7
Devontae BookerDEN27-435.95.564.4
Chris CarsonSEA25.1-4.311.57.439.7
Jalen RichardOAK24.84.544.15.478.8
James WhiteNE24.6-7.593.410.6121.1
Kerwynn WilliamsARZ24.3-1.7110.834.4
DeAndre WashingtonOAK24.1250.10.877
Damien WilliamsMIA23.2-
Wendell SmallwoodPHI23-0.221.6-3.740.7
Austin EkelerLAC22.59.349.122.2103.1
Terrance WestBAL21.44.54.9-0.630.2
Corey GrantJAX21.
Chris JohnsonARZ21-9.681.320.7
Malcolm BrownLAR20.8-17.22.429.4
Robert TurbinIND20.4-9.114.6025.9
Dwayne WashingtonDET19.9-15.530.47.8
Jeremy HillCIN18.4-
Paul PerkinsNYG17.8-10.512.1-1.617.8
Giovani BernardCIN16.8-4.743.48.764.2
Shane VereenNYG15.5-4.3570.466.6
T.J. YeldonJAX15.210.732.6-0.957.6
Mike DavisSEA14.4-7.985.820.3
Alfred BlueHOU13.8-7.86-1.210.8
Andre EllingtonARZ12.1-1.280.6-7.384.2
James ConnerPIT11.4-0.11.4-1.411.3
Terron WardATL11.1-
Cameron Artis-PayneCAR10.33.61.4-0.215.1
Charles SimsTB9.4-2.157.1-1.562.9
Branden OliverLAC9-2.912.7-5.713.1
Tion GreenDET8.62.50011.1
Zach ZennerDET8.30.31.4-1.48.6
Kenjon BarnerPHI7.62.29.5-1.318
Darren SprolesPHI7.4-1.317.2-2.920.4
Jamize OlawaleOAK7.338.90.419.6
Travaris CadetBUF6.
David JohnsonARZ6.5-4.213.1-0.315.1
Elijhaa PennyARZ6.

  1. Except for perhaps the quarterback, but everyone already knows not to draft those early.  (back)
  2. Heading into Monday Night Football.  (back)
  3. Heading into Monday Night Football.  (back)

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