Welcome to the Ultimate Zero RB Watchlist where we follow usage patterns, advanced stats, and injuries to locate RB targets for your teams before anyone else even knows about them.
By now you know how this goes. I write words that become the intro and then we get into the running back usage. But it’s playoff time! So let’s not waste time and dive right into it.
- Matt Breida re-aggrevated his ankle injury last Sunday, which led to Jeff Wilson working as the clear lead running back for the 49ers. Wilson performed well in Breida’s absence, posting a total of 134 yards from scrimmage. Wilson’s total expected points for Week 13 ranked sixth among all NFL RBs. It’s unlikely that Wilson sees nine targets again, but he’s flashed his receiving skills over the last two weeks. Wilson’s receiving ability should come as no surprise, since he caught 53 passes in his final two seasons at North Texas. I expect that Wilson will be the clear lead RB over Alfred Morris for as long as Breida is sidelined.
- Since the Eagles’ Week 9 bye, Josh Adams appears to have emerged as the primary ball-carrier. Over the last three weeks, Adams has led the Eagles in snaps, rushing attempts, and red zone opportunity. Note that Corey Clement continues to lead this backfield in targets and receiving expected points. Clement should continue to see the bulk of the RB targets, since he’s the most efficient receiver in the backfield.
- Doug Martin was 10th among all NFL RBs in total EP for Week 13. Since Marshawn Lynch was placed on injured reserve back in Week 7, Martin has returned low-end RB2 numbers. Jalen Richard is the clear pass-catching RB, and as a result has stifled any upside Martin presents.Given how poor the Oakland offense is, neither Martin nor Richard possess much touchdown potential. However both players are solid floor plays and can be started as desperation flexes.
- Since returning from injury in Week 11, Chris Carson has worked as Seattle’s lead RB. Carson’s “emergence” as a receiver is one of the more interesting developments about this backfield. Although Rashaad Penny has the edge over Mike Davis in rush attempts, Davis has earned more targets. Neither player is fantasy viable for as long as Carson is healthy.
- In Melvin Gordon’s absence, Austin Ekeler saw work as the primary RB for the Chargers last week. Ekeler was fairly inefficient with his volume, posting negative ruFPOE and reFPOE.Ekeler’s inefficiency opened the door for Justin Jackson, who impressed on his limited opportunity. Jackson was productive in college as a runner and receiver, and possibly has forced the Chargers coaches into expanding his workload. He’ll be a viable flex option for as long as Gordon is sidelined.
- Unfortunately Malcolm Brown suffered a shoulder injury last week and his season is over. I expect that John Kelly will be promoted to Todd Gurley’s backup. Kelly was the 13th best RB prospect per Anthony Amico’s model and was 12th per the RotoViz Prospect Lab. What I’m trying to say here is: Kelly is good at football and you should pick him up if he’s on your waiver wire. Although there isn’t much opportunity for Kelly playing behind Gurley, he should be in a position to benefit if the Rams opt to rest Gurley once they clinch the top-playoff seed.
- D’Onta Foreman is set to make his season debut this Sunday. I don’t expect that Foreman will be a fantasy viable asset over the next few weeks, but he makes for a decent speculative add. Hopefully Foreman is able to overtake Alfred Blue before the regular season is over. Lamar Miller has posted RB2 numbers or better since the Texans’ Week 10 bye and has a fairly soft schedule for the rest of the season.Given that Miller is the Texans’ primary RB, I expect that he will return high-end RB2 value over the course of the fantasy playoffs.