Struggling to decide which fantasy football running backs to start in Week 14? We have you covered. Let’s dive deeper into some of the more ambiguous running-back-by-committee (RBBC) situations for this upcoming week. Also, follow Brett on Twitter @brettpsports.
Research based on 0.5 PPR
Baltimore Ravens (@ KC, Sunday 1:00pm ET)
Any idea which team has given up the most fantasy points to opposing running backs this season? You guessed it, the Chiefs. The Ravens were covered last week, but since then, Alex Collins was placed on IR and Kenneth Dixon has emerged as a contributing factor in the run game. Gus Edwards did sustain a minor ankle injury in the game last week, though he is not listed on the Week 14 injury report. Ty Montgomery mixed in with three rushes and five receptions as well.
This should be a game in which the Ravens will be playing catch-up the majority of the time. The most run-heavy offense in the NFL since Lamar Jackson took over as QB, there should be plenty of rushes to split up between Jackson, Edwards, Dixon and Montgomery. Considering the volume of carries that should be available, as Jackson has been consistently ineffective at moving the ball down the field via the air, Edwards is a great play. Dixon and Montgomery are low-end FLEX candidates simply based on the matchup.
Philadelphia Eagles (@ DAL, Sunday 4:25pm ET)
The return of Darren Sproles has shaken up the Eagles’ backfield even more. Over the last several weeks, the trend seemed to be Josh Adams receiving increasingly more touches; however, Doug Pederson doesn’t care about your fantasy team. He believes sharing is caring. Adams is listed questionable for Week 14, but he did log a limited practice on Wednesday and he should be fine to play.
Corey Clement and Wendell Smallwood should remain minimally involved, especially with Sproles now serving as the primary pass-catching back. Sproles scored while touching the ball just four times last week, so it’s clear the Eagles will use him. Facing a tough Dallas defense that just held the Saints to 10 points last week, Carson Wentz may favor short passes to Sproles to avoid pressure. Both Adams and Sproles are TD-dependent FLEX options this week. Hopefully you have more ideal RB options.
Pittsburgh Steelers (@ OAK, Sunday 4:25pm ET)
If only Le’Veon were here for this juicy matchup… With James Conner sidelined by a high ankle sprain this week and possibly longer, Jaylen Samuels and Stevan Ridley will both step up and split time. If Samuels happens to have TE eligibility in your league, fire him up at TE without hesitation if you need one this week. Although Samuels sounds like the favorite for a larger share of carries, don’t count on it. Ridley is a polished veteran who used to handle goal line duties in New England.
Unfortunately, the two don’t have many significant stats from this year. Last week Samuels scored a receiving TD, but moving forward, time will tell how touches will be dispersed. What we do know, though, is that the Raiders are tied with the Bengals for most rushing yards allowed per game this season (153.3 YPG). The duo of backups should benefit handsomely from this matchup. For fantasy purposes, Ridley’s potential goal line opportunities provide a higher ceiling than Samuels, but Samuels likely has the higher floor. If you’re swinging for the fences against a top seed, Ridley is worth the risk at FLEX. Consider Samuels a RB2 this week.
San Francisco 49ers (vs. DEN, Sunday 4:05pm ET)
Matt Breida has already ruled out with an ankle injury for Week 14, which means it’s Jeff Wilson’s time to shine. The 49ers have had terrible luck with running back injuries this year, but their depth has proven to be an asset. On 23 touches, Wilson had an impressive showing, posting 134 all-purpose yards last week against the Seahawks.
An undrafted rookie out of North Texas, Wilson should see plenty of carries and passes out of the backfield this upcoming week. The Broncos aren’t particularly stingy against opposing runners, currently 23rd in the league in rushing yards allowed per game with 122.1. Having been leapfrogged on the depth chart numerous times this year, backup Alfred Morris poses little threat to Wilson. If you’re in need of a RB2 or FLEX this week, Wilson is a very quality start.
Washington Redskins (vs. NYG, Sunday 1:00pm ET)
Obviously, Adrian Peterson is the clear lead RB. So, why the Redskins? Did anyone see what Tarik Cohen did to the Giants last week? (156 receiving yards on 12 receptions). Guess who fills that pass-catching role for the Redskins… not Peterson. It’s Chris Thompson. Another quick tidbit on Peterson: remember that 90-yard rushing TD on Monday Night Football? Yeah, he finished the night with 98 total rushing yards. Without the big play TD, Peterson had eight rushing yards on eight attempts.
Thompson is now fully healthy and ready to contribute on a depleted Redskins’ offense that desperately needs help. He had 19 receptions and one receiving TD in his first two games this season before a nagging rib injury sustained back in Week 3 sidelined him until last week. Noodle-armed Mark Sanchez will likely look for an easy check-down target, and that’s Thompson. Consider him a solid FLEX play this week.