Devontae Booker Fantasy Outlook: Add ahead of Sunday’s game

Injuries are always something that fantasy football managers have to navigate, and this year seems to have more of them than usual. This week, a surprise star thrust into the fantasy spotlight could be Las Vegas Raiders RB Devontae Booker, as Josh Jacobs deals with an ankle injury. With ESPN’s Adam Schefter reporting that Jacobs will be out this week, could Booker be a fantasy savior, or is he better left on waivers?

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Update: Josh Jacobs ruled out for Week 13

On Friday, December 4, Josh Jacobs was ruled out through injury. On Saturday Adam Schefter reported that the team hopes to have him back for Week 14. This news clears the way for Devontae Booker to most likely be the Las Vegas Raiders starting running back in Week 13.

Devontae Booker’s 2020 season

So far this season, Devontae Booker has put up some substantial numbers for a backup running back. On the year, Booker has 59 rushes for 326 yards (an astounding 5.53 ypc) and three touchdowns to go with 11 catches on 14 targets for 64 yards through the air. He’s currently RB50 in PPR scoring, which isn’t terrible for a backup running back on a mediocre team like the Raiders.

Related | Waiver Wire Week 13: Add Cam Akers before fantasy playoffs hit

When comparing his stats to what has been expected of him, Booker shines even more. In our Fantasy Points Differential (FPD) metric, Booker is RB13, scoring 19% more points than expected on the season, meaning he’s been very productive with the touches he’s gotten, even though there haven’t been that many.

Devontae Booker shone in Week 10 against his former team

Devontae Booker’s best fantasy performance of the season so far was in Week 10 against the Denver Broncos. He saw 16 carries for 81 yards in that game, with two touchdowns, and had one catch for two yards, giving him 21.3 PPR points on the week. Teammate Josh Jacobs played in the same game and saw 21 carries for 112 yards and two touchdowns along with four catches for 24 yards, scoring 29.6 PPR points. Was this a fluke, or is Denver just bad against running backs as a whole?

Well, on the season, Denver is pretty stout against running backs in terms of fantasy scoring. They are the 11th-toughest team against running backs in our PPR Defense Points Allowed Consistency Score (D-PAC) metric, meaning they don’t consistently allow that kind of production to opposing running backs. However, that single game accounts for over 31% of Booker’s total fantasy points for the entire year, so it’s clearly an outlier for him as well. On top of that, Jacobs did well in the same game, so was it a true coincidence, or is Devontae Booker somehow just as good as Josh Jacobs now?

Josh Jacobs’s season and recent injury

Jacobs himself has been a pretty reliable running back for fantasy managers this season. Jacobs has a fairly high Consistency Score (CS) of 5.17 (RB11) and has scored fewer than 10 PPR points in only three out of 11 games. He’s been seeing more targets out of the backfield this year, which has helped him in PPR formats.

Related | RB Injury Report Week 13: Josh Jacobs, Dalvin Cook highlight Sunday’s injuries

Jacobs is RB6 in PPR scoring on the season with 206 rushes for 782 yards (a meager 3.80 ypc) and nine touchdowns. He’s caught 27 of 34 targets for 175 more yards through the air. All in all, Jacobs has been everything managers expected when they drafted him in the second round of fantasy drafts in August.

Jacobs logged his second straight day without practicing on Thursday, and his status is now in question for the Raiders Week 13 game against the New York Jets. His status on Friday will be very telling as to whether we will see Jacobs on the field on Sunday.

Despite good overall numbers, Jacobs has not maximized his opportunities in 2020

While he’s been a solid RB1 in fantasy for the year, Jacobs hasn’t exactly been a stud either. Jacobs’ FPD of -5% puts him at RB56, meaning he’s been underperforming his expected fantasy output by 5% for the year. Using Next Gen Stats and historical data, we can effectively see what fantasy points Jacobs should be scoring and compare that to his true output. In this regard, Jacobs hasn’t exactly been terrific, even though his stats may say otherwise. He should be performing even better.

That efficiency has shown up in the drop Jacobs has experienced in both his yards per carry and per reception. In his rookie season, Jacobs was averaging 4.8 yards per attempt on the ground and 8.3 yards per reception. In 2020, those numbers have dropped to 3.8 and 6.5, respectively.

Through 11 games, Jacobs has 233 touches for 957 yards and nine touchdowns. If we extrapolate that out to match the 13 games he played in his rookie season, Jacobs is on pace for 275 carries, 10.6 touchdowns, and 1131 rushing yards. While the addition of potentially around three to four touchdowns has been a nice bonus, the potential loss of over 150 rushing yards on 13 more carries is concerning.

What is Devontae Booker’s fantasy outlook for Week 13?

In Week 13, the Raiders fly across the country and face the Jets at 1:00 PM ET, something no west coast team really enjoys. One benefit to this, at least from a fantasy perspective, is that we should know early enough on Sunday if Jacobs will start or not, giving managers ample time to adjust their lineups. If the game were being played Sunday night, fantasy managers might be in more of a bind, so at least there’s that.

If Booker does get the nod, the Jets provide a terrific defense for a backup running back to play against. They are eighth against the RB position in D-PAC, meaning they give up the eighth-most points consistently to the running back position. This should allow Booker to see plenty of chances at racking up points if he’s given the full RB1 treatment by the Raiders.

Related | Start ’em Sit ’em Week 13: David Montgomery, Kyler Murray highlight start/sit this week

As a player to stash and see how things go, there aren’t many options out there better than Devontae Booker this week. Even if Jacobs isn’t officially held out of the game this week, the team may take it easy with him for fear of re-injuring his ankle, leaving many potential points for Booker to soak up. The betting spread favors the Raiders by a full touchdown, so they could be up early and lean on Booker to run out the clock too.

At the very least, Booker should be added in almost every fantasy format available in case he’s named the starter. But even if he’s not, it’s still very likely that Booker could be a worthy flex option depending on how depleted your roster has been due to injuries and bye weeks. Devontae Booker could be a fantasy diamond in the rough this week, so don’t miss out.

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Andrew Hall is a writer for PFN covering the NFL and Fantasy Football. You can follow him on Twitter: @AndrewHallFF.

Andrew Hall is a writer covering the NFL and fantasy football and is a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA). You can follow him on Twitter @AndrewHallFF and find more of his work for Pro Football Network here.