Welcome to the Ultimate Zero RB Watchlist where we follow usage patterns, advanced stats, and injuries to locate running back targets for your teams before anyone else even knows about them.
The last ever dolphin message was misinterpreted as a surprisingly sophisticated attempt to do a double backwards somersault through a hoop, whilst whistling the Star-Spangled Banner. But, in fact, the message was this “So long and thanks for all the fish.” – Douglas Adams, Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
With the impending conclusion of the NFL regular season, I’ll take my cue from the dolphins.1Before I grab my towel and head off to grab a Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster at Milliways, let’s take a look at the impact some RBs have had over the course of the fantasy playoffs.2
- If I was able to travel back in time a few weeks and tell you that Derrick Henry was the fantasy playoff MVP, you’d probably not believe me.3 However, having traveled forward in time one second at a time,4I have witnessed Henry set the league on fire over the last three weeks. Before his emergence as a week-winner, Henry was ostensibly a week-loser for the better part of the season. Prior to Henry’s playoff explosion, he cracked double-digit scoring in only four games.5 Henry’s scoring output6 is the fourth-best performance by an RB in the fantasy playoffs, and he’s the only RB to have posted these gaudy totals without eclipsing three targets.
- The relentless turnover at the RB position was one the main themes over the course of the fantasy playoffs. Both Damien Williams and Elijah McGuire were recommended Week 15 waiver pickups who delivered league-winning performances. Williams was the RB1 over the last two weeks and outproduced elite RBs such as Christian McCaffrey and Alvin Kamara. Additionally, McGuire’s 39.6 PPR points were a nifty way to augment your lineup if you were in a bind at RB. McGuire’s two-game output was superior to that of Joe Mixon, Ezekiel Elliott, and Saquon Barkley.Pretty nice consolation prize if you missed snagging Williams on waivers.
- Aaron Jones sprained his MCL in Week 15 and was placed on injured reserve. Jamaal Williams played well in Jones’ absence over the last two weeks and finished the season much better than he started.Williams finally displayed the upside that landed him as the No. 5 RB on Shawn Siegele’s final Zero RB big board. Hopefully Williams was freely available for you on the waiver wire, since he posted a monster Week 16 total.
- Not all waiver wire RBs were a smashing success. With Lamar Miller battling an ankle injury, Alfred Blue and D’Onta Foreman split the rushing workload for the Texans. Blue was less inefficient with his rushing workload and saw decent usage in the receiving game.Unfortunately, Deshaun Watson scored two TDs via the ground which neutered Blue’s value.7 If you started Blue in crucial playoff matchups,8hopefully you were successful in making up the difference with other players. Sometimes you walk the line and sometimes it walks you, I guess.
- The Los Angeles Chargers’ coaching staff learned all the wrong lessons from Justin Jackson’s lone career start last week. Although Jackson was a capable fill-in for Melvin Gordon and Austin Ekeler against the Chiefs, his performance certainly didn’t warrant an increased workload. However, offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt opted to prioritize Jackson in the receiving game over Gordon and Keenan Allen.Jackson led the Chargers with 10 targets and didn’t do much with the volume he received. By not playing their best players, the Chargers lost in embarrassing fashion. Hopefully your Gordon-led fantasy teams avoided a similar fate.
- Has C.J. Anderson forced an RB controversy in Los Angeles? Anderson was released by not once but twice this season,9 yet looked like a generational talent in his debut as a Ram. Despite joining the Rams four days ago, Anderson quickly adapted to the offense and played ahead of two other RBs who’ve spent their entire careers with the Rams.10 I joke about Anderson taking over for Todd Gurley, but we all know he’s simply keeping the seat warm.
- Not the Miami Dolphins (back)
- Weeks 14-16. (back)
- A few weeks ago, the probability of Henry being a fantasy viable contributor mirrored that of time travel. I.E the probability of either event occurring was close to zero. Note this doesn’t apply to best ball leagues. (back)
- very much like you dear reader! (back)
- 15 points in Week 7, 11 points in Week 9, 18 points in Week 10, and 13 points in Week 13. (back)
- 94.3 PPR points (back)
- Foreman caught one touchdown, but his season debut was otherwise a disaster. He gained next to nothing in yardage and coughed up a fumble in the fourth quarter. (back)
- Like I did! Blue managed to outscore Tevin Coleman, which should tell you all you need to know how this championship game went for me. (back)
- Panthers and Raiders (back)
- John Kelly and Justin Davis (back)