Injuries and bye weeks continue to cause lineup issues, forcing fantasy football managers to face even further difficult lineup decisions. Let’s take a look at our Week 13 RB start ’em and sit ’em plays.
Week 13 Start ‘Em: Running Backs
We are now officially in the back half of the fantasy regular season. The stakes are higher, and every decision feels like it will make or break your season. As always, Pro Football Network will do its best to steer you in the right direction. Let’s get into this week’s start ’em and sit ’em plays at the running back position for Week 13.
Start ‘Em | Boston Scott, Philadelphia Eagles
Add Boston Scott to the list of “every other week” running backs. He’s posted RB3 or better numbers in Weeks 8, 10, and 12. In Weeks 7, 9, and 11, Scott was unstartable.
With that being said, there are reasons to believe in consecutive strong performances from Scott. First, Miles Sanders can’t seem to stay healthy. Last week, he tweaked his ankle and his status for Sunday is uncertain. Second, even if Sanders plays, he’s clearly fallen out of favor with the team in some capacity.
If Sanders is going to be a fantasy-relevant running back, he needs work in the receiving game. Over his past three games played, he’s seen exactly 1 target in each of them. Kenneth Gainwell (a healthy scratch the previous week) was featured in the passing game over Sanders, out-targeting him 4-1.
This is an ideal matchup for the Eagles. The Jets allow the most fantasy points to running backs. Scott had 18 opportunities (targets + carries) last week. Even if Sanders plays, Scott should still see anywhere from 8-12 opportunities. He should have a safe RB3 floor with strong RB2 upside if Sanders doesn’t play or continues to be marginalized.
Start ‘Em | Devonta Freeman, Baltimore Ravens
Last week, Devonta Freeman saw his lowest snap share since becoming the starter. He played 49% of the snaps while Latavius Murray played 44%. While it may seem like the two are in an even split, the work distribution did not match the snaps.
Freeman carried the ball 16 times for 52 yards, adding 1 reception for 8 yards. On the other hand, Murray toted the rock just 8 times for 14 yards. This is still Freeman’s backfield.
The Steelers allow the 13th-most fantasy points to running backs. It’s not the best matchup, but last week, the Steelers were eviscerated by Joe Mixon (28-165-2), and they’re going to be without T.J. Watt due to COVID-19.
Fantasy managers may be feeling uneasy about Freeman after last week’s dud. The reality is with most fringe RB2s, you’re chasing a touchdown. Freeman is a solid bet to score this week, which would make him an RB2 worth starting.
Update: Watt was able to record two consecutive negative tests on Friday and Saturday. He is active. I still like Freeman, but a little less with Watt active.
Week 13 Sit ‘Em: Running Backs
One running back has a decent matchup, but I’d recommend staying away. These running backs should be left on your bench in Week 13.
Sit ‘Em | Damien Harris, New England Patriots
Damien Harris has had his share of quality fantasy outings this season. However, all of them have a common factor: TDs. Harris needs to score to be fantasy-viable.
The Bills allow the third-fewest fantasy points to running backs. Last week, they limited Tony Jones to 27 yards on 16 carries. While Harris is certainly better than Jones, he’s also never getting 16 carries.
Since Rhamondre Stevenson’s breakout game against the Browns, he and Harris have been splitting snaps. Stevenson has played 33% of the snaps in his last two games, with Harris slightly edging him out at 38%. They are essentially alternating drives while Brandon Bolden takes passing-down work.
Against the Bills, there is an increased potential for a negative game script — something the Patriots have not experienced in quite some time. Harris is playing less than 40% of the snaps already, and the Bills have an excellent run defense. All of these factors point to an underwhelming game from Harris.
Sit ‘Em | Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys
Let me preface this by acknowledging that you probably can’t bench Ezekiel Elliott. You also shouldn’t bench Elliott. With all of the injuries at the running back position plus a heavy fantasy bye week, it’s extremely unlikely you have two or three better options. This is more of a “temper expectations memo”…(temper them a lot).
Over the past two weeks, Zeke has carried the ball 9 times in each game. He’s amassed rushing totals of 32 and 25 yards. His fantasy value has been saved by inefficient volume in the receiving game. Dak Prescott has thrown 14 passes in Elliott’s direction over the past two weeks.
This week, the Cowboys play the Saints in New Orleans. The Saints are a pass-funnel defense. They allow the fewest fantasy points to running backs but the fifth-most to wide receivers. The way to beat the Saints is through the air.
Although the Cowboys will be without Mike McCarthy due to a positive COVID-19 test, Kellen Moore has proven to be malleable in his game plans. He attacks opponents’ weaknesses. I expect a pass-heavy game plan. Combine an inefficient Elliott on the ground with an efficient Tony Pollard through the air, unless Elliott falls into the end zone as he did on Thanksgiving, it’s going to be more about Zeke’s floor than ceiling for Thursday night.