Rico Dowdle or Kenny McIntosh: Should Fantasy Manager Start Either Backup RB in Week 13?

Should either Rico Dowdle or Kenny McIntosh be starting for fantasy football managers in Week 13, and if so, which one makes more sense?

For the most part, Thursday Night Football in Week 13 looks pretty clean-cut for fantasy football managers. With some stud names and seemingly clear backfield situations, the options for this week appear obvious. However, that doesn’t mean we can’t get some surprises in the form of backup RBs Rico Dowdle and Kenny McIntosh.

Let’s take a look at whether Dowdle or McIntosh could be a fantasy option in Week 13, and whether either is worth risking in lineups this week.

Should You Start Rico Dowdle or Kenny McIntosh in Week 13?

In Pro Football Network’s Start/Sit Optimizer, our Consensus Rankings say that, between the two, Dowdle is the player to start. His projected 7.3 fantasy points in PPR scoring include 41.4 rushing yards, one reception, and around five receiving yards. His projected stat line outperforms McIntosh’s consensus projections (3.5 points) by a reasonably significant amount.

My ranking for these two running backs aligns with the consensus. Dowdle has a more clearly defined role within the Dallas Cowboys offense than McIntosh, who has yet to touch the ball on offense in an NFL game. However, in a 12-team league, even with six teams on a bye, you hopefully don’t need to gamble on either back this week.

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Dowdle has had some nice games, but for the most part, any fantasy relevance will be touchdown-dependent. Meanwhile, we have no idea whether McIntosh will even touch the ball. The signs seem to point that Kenneth Walker III is doubtful to play, but it could be another ramp-up week like we saw on Thanksgiving.

Dowdle’s Fantasy Outlook in Week 13

Dowdle has been a tricky RB to work out for fantasy purposes this year. He has had a couple of really big games in terms of fantasy points, but they’ve mostly been touchdown-dependent. The third-year RB out of South Carolina has only topped 50 combined yards on one occasion this year and has gone over 40 yards on just two others.

It’s hard to even say he’s a consistent PPR option. Dowdle has 10 receptions in 11 games this year and was not targeted in three of the past six games. In all likelihood, it’s going to take either a touchdown or a Tony Pollard injury to make him fantasy-relevant this week. Neither of those you can count on.

If you’re desperate for an option on Thursday Night Football, Dowdle is arguably a safer play than McIntosh. However, outside of deep leagues where any RB that may touch the ball carries value, it’s hard to start him with any confidence in Week 13.

McIntosh’s Fantasy Outlook in Week 13

In projecting McIntosh, we’re getting into the area of speculation. It’s clear the Seattle Seahawks‘ coaching staff seems to like the seventh-round rookie out of Georgia. They likely would not have stuck with him to this point through his injury and subsequent return otherwise. Yet, we have no idea if that will result in 5-10 carries, more than that, or nothing this week.

Head coach Pete Carroll was asked about McIntosh on Tuesday, and he gave a mixed answer about how the rookie is developing.

“We continue to see how precise he is with his runs; he reads the line of scrimmage really well. We just needed more turns in order to see him, and we kind of elevated his sense for the running game. It was really obvious this week. He did a really nice job.”

For those of you who don’t speak Carroll, that’s basically a stock answer where he commits to nothing and praises a player while offering areas for improvement at the same time. Essentially, it told us little as to whether McIntosh might get snaps with the offense this week.

One major warning for fantasy managers is that McIntosh is not the same type of back as other rookies we’ve seen succeed this year, such as Keaton Mitchell and De’Von Achane. That pairing has done their damage with speed. Both were in the 4.3-second region during their 40-yard dash, while McIntosh was in the 4.6 region.

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That’s not to say McIntosh cannot succeed in the NFL. But his value looks more set to come from bruising runs than break-away speed.

That doesn’t diminish the possibility for huge value from McIntosh. Derrick Henry only ran a 4.54-second 40-yard dash, which is less than 0.1 of a second faster than McIntosh. It just might be more dependent on touchdowns and breaking tackles with force than the pure speed of Achane and Mitchell.

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