Running Back Handcuff Report: Week 13 (2022 Fantasy Football)
There are a few injury situations that will affect handcuffs worth monitoring heading into Week 13. I’ll briefly touch on each one here and how I would handle things for waiver pickups:
Travis Etienne left Sunday’s game with a foot injury. Early reports are that he is fine but given his injury history, JaMycal Hasty should be on the radar. If you roster Etienne, Hasty is your top priority.
Najee Harris went out with an abdominal injury last night. With Jaylen Warren also out for a second straight week, Benny Snell picked up the slack. Warren has a hamstring injury, which can linger. Assuming Harris misses Week 13, Snell should be good for 10-15 touches. He will have minimal pass game involvement, but he played all three snaps the Steelers had inside the 10-yard line. He will be popular on waivers, with good reason.
The Jets made James Robinson a healthy scratch Sunday. Then Michael Carter hurt his ankle. This opened the door for Zonovan Knight, who finished with 17 touches for 103 yards. I can’t imagine Robinson would be inactive if Carter misses this week, but Knight played well Sunday. I don’t get the sense the Jets will play Robinson just because they traded for him. I would throw a few FAAB dollars at him.
Eli Mitchell is out for the rest of the regular season. This puts Jordan Mason back on the radar. He is going to get carries regardless, but with Christian McCaffery‘s knee acting up, he needs to be picked up. I have McCaffery in two leagues and have Mason as my top priority this week.
The usage king of Week 12 was James Conner, who played an absurd 97% of the snaps. He had 28 touches for 140 yards and a receiving touchdown, going over 20 PPR points. Conner’s injury history tells me this type of workload is going to catch up with him at some point. Until that happens, he is locked in as an RB1. That also underscores the importance of having Keontay Ingram rostered if you have Conner. Don’t get caught being below the field here.
Atlanta – Committee
- Cordarelle Patterson (Hold in 12+ Team Leagues)
- Tyler Allgeier (Hold in 12+ Team Leagues)
- Caleb Huntley/Avery Williams (Only if an injury occurs here)
This could be the same blurb copied from last week. The workload was a near 50/50 split, with Cordarelle Patterson and Tyler Allgeier both getting 11 carries (Allgeier had 54 yards, Patterson had 52). However, Patterson did haul in three passes for 19 yards and played on 58% of the snaps, so he technically led the way. The Falcons are one of the most unexciting offenses in football which makes both Allgeier and Patterson low-floor RB2/Flex plays.
Baltimore – Committee
Gus Edwards rushed for 62 yards and a touchdown Sunday. He was the clear leader here with a 51% snap share and 6/10 snaps inside the 10-yard line. Neither Kenyan Drake (24%) nor Justice Hill (21%) offers much for fantasy, with Edwards healthy. Most of Baltimore’s offense flows through Lamar Jackson, too. I don’t have much interest in any piece besides Edwards.
- Starter: Devin Singletary
- Handcuff: James Cook (Hold in 12+ Team Leagues)
- Handcuff: Nyheim Hines (PPR bench stash)
Devin Singletary again had a 70%+ snap share and 15 touches on Thursday. He was in for all the passing down work and played on 5/5 snaps inside the 10-yard line as well. His 80 scrimmage yards leave a little to be desired, but he is Buffalo’s trusted backfield option. James Cook once again operated as the backup but had just four touches on 18% of the snaps. Singletary’s playoff schedule (Chicago and Cincinnati) is among the most favorable of any running back in the league.
D’Onta Foreman and Chuba Hubbard combined for 41 carries Sunday as the Panthers went run-heavy. Foreman finished with 113 yards and was vultured by Sam Darnold at the two-yard line. If he scores, he will be a back-end RB1 on the week. Hubbard had his best game of the season with 64 rushing yards, but Carolina should continue to feature both backs down the stretch. I lean toward Foreman here, as he has more scoring upside than Hubbard.
With Justin Fields missing Week 12 with a shoulder injury, we should be thrilled with David Montgomery’s 113 scrimmage yards. With Darnell Mooney looking lost for the year, I expect Montgomery to take on an even bigger role in the passing game. Montgomery is essentially game script proof, however, so keep firing him up as an RB2. To be noted here, Darrynton Evans played well ahead of Trestan Ebner, playing 32% of the snaps. With Khalil Herbert likely out at least a couple more weeks, Evans makes for an intriguing stash if you want some Montgomery insurance.
Samaje Perine’s Week 12 performance is the nexus for this article. Joe Mixon missed Sunday with a concussion, pushing Perine into an 80% snap share. He responded with a borderline week-winning game, totaling 93 yards and a touchdown on 21 touches (four receptions). While Mixon should be back this week, Perine should be 100% rostered. He might have saved your season if you had him as insurance for Mixon.
Nick Chubb’s touchdown in overtime pushed him to an RB1 finish for Week 12. Before that, he had rushed for 114 yards, going over 1,000 for the season in the process. Chubb continues to impress despite his limited pass-game role (he did have a catch Sunday). Kareem Hunt had six touches for 21 yards, which is a disappointing line given the game script Cleveland was in. It will be interesting to see what happens here with Deshaun Watson back, but I think it should mean good things for both backs.
Dallas – Committee
Tony Pollard came back to earth a bit on Thanksgiving, rushing for 60 yards on 18 carries. He was contained all day, thanks to a Giants defense that made him the focal point of their game plan. Meanwhile, Ezekiel Elliott rushed for 92 yards and a touchdown, outproducing Pollard for the first time in over a month. This was a near 50/50 split, so the committee in Dallas remains unchanged. Pollard should get back on track this week.
Denver – Committee
Moving forward, you can make the case for Latavius Murray being a useful fantasy piece. Just a week ago, he was in a timeshare, and now he is coming off a game with an 82% snap share. He finished with 13 carries for 92 yards, but touchdowns in this offense will be sparse. I can’t imagine things getting better in Denver, but volume is king. If you have Murray, keep rolling him out. Also, to be clear, I have no interest in Marlon Mack, but Mike Boone should be back as soon as next week. He could eat into Murray’s workload.
- Starter: Jamaal Williams (Hold)
- Handcuff: D’Andre Swift (Hold)
- Handcuff: Justin Jackson (Not unless Swift/Williams are hurt)
I was too stubborn to call Jamaal Williams the starter, but Detroit is leaning on him so much that I am rectifying that. He had 18 carries for 66 yards and a touchdown on Thursday, logging a 43% snap share. Williams’s touchdown equity is elite, a function of his getting all the high-value touches inside the 10-yard line. He has virtually no competition there, and Detroit doesn’t trust Jared Goff to make a play down in that area. Detroit’s schedule sets up well for Williams down the stretch too. They should be no worse than three-point underdogs to any team but Minnesota, which means Williams won’t be a victim of the game script. For his part, D’Andre Swift had nine touches and narrowly missed a touchdown on a pass near the end zone. Hopefully, we see him get 100% healthy in the offseason, so he comes at a discount in 2023.
The biggest development here (besides AJ Dillon showing signs of life) is that Aaron Rodgers exited with an injury. Jordan Love came on in relief and breathed some life into the Green Bay offense. It makes me think this group might not be drawing dead down the stretch if Love plays. With the Packers all but eliminated and Rodgers severely banged up, I think it makes a ton of sense to see what they’ve got with Love. Call me nuts, but I like Aaron Jones and Dillon’s prospects in December if they do.
Houston got down 30-0, rendering Dameon Pierce useless on Sunday. How bad was it? Dare Ogunbowale, who rushed for 14 yards, had more yards than Pierce did. There isn’t a lot of hope for Houston to be competent offensively, which makes Pierce a low-floor RB2 who can crater your lineup. With your trade deadline already past, you must ride it out and hope for better days.
Jonathan Taylor had a 92% snap share and 23 touches Monday night, so he is back to form. He finished with 98 scrimmage yards and a touchdown, giving him three straight games with a score. Indianapolis is going to have to grind out games, and it is obvious Jeff Saturday is comfortable with that. With his volume, Taylor is back in the “we can safely rank him as an RB1” conversation each week moving forward.
- Starter: Travis Etienne
- Handcuff: JaMycal Hasty
Travis Etienne left the game Sunday and didn’t return. Doug Pederson said Etienne suffered a minor foot sprain, and Jacksonville was cautious in holding him out. That was probably a wise decision, given his injury history, but I will also be cautious here. JaMycal Hasty played 87% of the snaps after Etienne went out. He isn’t much of a traditional runner, but he did add a 5/67/1 receiving line. I scooped Hasty in a deep dynasty league a couple of weeks ago. I plan on using him if Etienne looks limited at all, as their Week 13 game against Detroit is a dream matchup.
Isaiah Pacheco is locked in as the early down back here, getting 22 carries on a 54% snap share. He finished with 69 yards rushing and a touchdown, so he should be a viable RB2 in standard leagues the rest of the way. McKinnon had his normal share of snaps (31%) and is the passing down back. This is a spot that will occasionally produce a useful score but isn’t necessarily bankable. Obviously, Pacheco is the one you want here, the Melvin Gordon signing notwithstanding. I am not going to react much to that, as it reminds me of the Chiefs’ signing of Le’Veon Bell a couple of years ago. He hardly saw the field and was a non-factor. I would expect the same for Gordon.
Las Vegas Raiders
Josh Jacobs had a career day Sunday, rushing for a whopping 229 yards, including the game-winning touchdown run from 86 yards out in overtime. He also added six receptions for 75 yards in the passing game on his way to a 48-point PPR day. He and Davante Adams are accounting for over 70% of the offense right now, making them fantasy gold. Ameer Abdullah played behind Jacobs and ahead of Zamir White, catching a touchdown in the process. I still think White will be the primary ball carrier if Jacobs gets hurt, making him my preferred handcuff.
Los Angeles Chargers
Austin Ekeler had a typical game with 20 yards rushing but an 11/60/1 receiving line. He was in on 69% of the snaps and ranks 8th in the entire league with 98 targets on the season. That is an insane stat that puts him on pace for an NFL record for targets to a running back. Isaiah Spiller and Joshua Kelley split time behind him. Of the two, I prefer Spiller in a PPR and Kelley in a standard league.
Los Angeles Rams – Committee
It’s hard to envision a scenario where Cam Akers is around for the Rams next year. He was reduced to a 30% snap share despite Los Angeles giving Bryce Perkins his first career start. Rookie Kyren Williams played 72% of the snaps, amassing 14 touches for 60 yards. Williams excels in pass protection, and with Los Angeles in evaluation mode, I would expect to see a lot of him over the next month or so. He should be rostered in all leagues.
Miami – Committee
This was a disappointing day for Jeff Wilson, who was in a smash spot against Houston. Despite Raheem Moster being ruled out, Wilson finished with just 13 carries for 39 yards and a touchdown, despite being in the best game script possible. The touchdown salvaged his day, but 12 PPR points are not what we had in mind here. The silver lining is that Wilson saw a 65% snap share and should be in good spots moving forward. He is a nice piece to have, and I would want as many shares of this offense as I can get.
It was tough sledding for Dalvin Cook on Thursday night. The matchup wasn’t great, and Kirk Cousins played well, so, despite 26 touches, Cook managed just 56 scoreless yards. The good news is Minnesota has a cherry schedule coming up, and Cook should feast. Games against Detroit, New York, and Green Bay could help make Cook part of a lot of championship teams this year. I think we are going to see a big December from him.
New England – Committee
Damien Harris left Thursday night’s game with a thigh injury and did not return. In his absence, Rhamondre Stevenson played 100% of the snaps. I pegged Stevenson as my top sleeper coming into this year, and he hasn’t disappointed. The mark of a truly elite running back is when they can post an RB1 score without finding the end zone. Stevenson did just that Thursday, scoring 20.2 PPR points. He was bolstered by a 9/76 receiving line, and he led New England with 10 targets. Harris missed practice over the weekend, so his status for Thursday night is unclear. Stevenson could be in line for another big workload against Buffalo in a must-win for the Patriots.
Alvin Kamara briefly left the game Sunday but came back and played on 66% of the snaps. His 6/37 receiving line kept him from tanking lineups, but he is more of an RB2 moving forward. I don’t think you can trust any Kamara, but his receiving upside always gives him a PPR appeal and can go off at any point. However, New Orleans is on the road for three of their next four, pushing Kamara down the rankings for me.
New York Giants
Saquon Barkley salvaged his Thanksgiving with an early touchdown. He was otherwise held in check by a very good Dallas defense, finishing with just 52 scrimmage yards on 15 touches and a 75% snap share. The mini-bye comes at a good time for Barkley, who has a chance to get fresh. He has arguably the toughest rest-of-season schedule of any running back in the top 10. Matt Breida played 27% of the snaps but ceded some work to Gary Brightwell. Brightwell out-touched Breida, but this could be more a function of the short week. It is work keeping an eye on moving forward, however.
New York Jets – Committee
- James Robinson (Hold)
- Michael Carter (Hold)
- Zonovan Knight (12+ team league pickup)
- Ty Johnson (Not yet)
James Robinson was a healthy scratch, but the Jets still did not give bell cow usage to Michael Carter. He finished with just eight touches for 36 yards, exiting the game in the 3rd quarter with an ankle injury. Zonovan Knight was the primary beneficiary, playing 69% of the snaps and amassing 100 scrimmage yards on 17 touches. Given the injury to Carter, Knight makes for a speculative add this week, as the Jets were sure to be impressed with how he played.
- Starter: Miles Sanders
- Handcuff: Kenneth Gainwell (Hold if you roster Sanders)
- Handcuff: Boston Scott (Drop)
The Eagles bludgeoned Green Bay Sunday night to the tune of 363 yards rushing. Miles Sanders had his best game of the year, rushing 21 times for 143 yards and two touchdowns. Kenneth Gainwell also got into the act with eight carries for 39 yards and a touchdown of his own. Sanders still played only 54% of the snaps, with Gainwell trailing him at 33%. I would keep Gainwell rostered if I had Sanders or if I had the bench spots for him. When the Eagles get rolling on the ground, they are tough to beat, so I’d look for them to continue this down the stretch.
- Starter: Najee Harris
- Handcuff: Jaylen Warren (Hold in 12+ team PPR leagues)
- Handcuff to the Handcuff: Benny Snell (Pickup)
There is a lot to unpack here with Najee Harris getting hurt Monday night. He has an abdominal injury and didn’t return after the 2nd quarter. I am betting on him missing Week 13. Benny Snell stepped in and played on 68% of the snaps, rushing for 62 yards and a touchdown. We’ve seen Snell produce before, so he will be a popular pickup this week. We will have to see if Jaylen Warren can get back from his hamstring injury, but this might be a split backfield regardless. Hamstrings are tricky, and Pittsburgh might ease him back in. I think Snell is safe for anywhere between 10-15 touches in Week 13 as long as Harris is out, however.
Kenneth Walker’s day would have been a disaster if not for two touchdowns. Despite a 71% snap share, he rushed for just 26 yards and only had one target in the passing game. The on-paper matchup was there, but Las Vegas seems to be figuring some things out in stopping the run in recent weeks. The good news here is the touchdown equity is elite, and Walker is being used heavily in the Red Zone. The yardage on Sunday was a blip, and he will win quite a few leagues this year.
- Starter: Christian McCaffery
- Handcuff: Jordan Mason
I touched on this at the top, but both Christian McCaffery and Elijah Mitchell were banged up Sunday. Mitchell looks like he escaped a serious injury, but a sprained MCL is going to keep him out for the rest of the regular season. McCaffery’s injury was more or less a tweak, but given his injury history, it’s worth monitoring. Jordan Mason should be on the radar if you have McCaffery.
- Starter: Leonard Fournette
- Handcuff: Raachad White (Hold in all formats)
Raachad White’s usage on Sunday was better than any other back not named James Conner this week. He had a 91% snap share and 23 touches (receptions) for 109 scrimmage yards. He was second on the team with nine targets too, running a route on almost 90% of Tom Brady‘s dropbacks. I don’t know that he put Leonard Fournette in his rearview, but he didn’t hurt his case to be the starter either. If he pops for a touchdown, we are looking at him as an RB1 for the rest of the year. Keep rolling with him for as long as Fournette is out.
Derrick Henry was once again held to a snap share in the upper 50% range. He did have 20 touches (for 117 scoreless yards), but Tennessee limits his time on the field. I keep waiting on him to bust out with a 75% snap share, but so far, it hasn’t happened. The Titans may coast to the division title and try to keep Henry fresh for the playoffs in the process. He keeps producing 100-yard games, so snap share is irrelevant as long as that continues.
Washington – Committee
Brian Robinson had his best day as a pro, rushing for 105 yards and catching two passes for 20 yards and a touchdown. This came on just a 49% snap share, so Robinson was busy when he was in the game. Antonio Gibson was still used as the primary passing-down back, and he finished with 54 yards on 12 touches (three receptions). His 39% snap share was his lowest in almost a month, but it makes sense with Washington playing with the lead. The Commanders find themselves in the last playoff spot in the NFC right now. Outside of a matchup with the 49ers in Week 16, they have a favorable schedule for this backfield. While I don’t believe they will win you your league, Washington will lean on them enough to be useful.
- D’Andre Swift (DET) – There is a lot of “what ifs” here, with health being the main one. The ceiling is higher than any back on this list.
- Raachad White (TB) – Insane usage on Sunday.
- Samaje Perine (CIN) – RB1 if he starts again.
- Alexander Mattison (MIN)
- AJ Dillon (GB) – Looked good Sunday night. Jordan Love helps his ceiling.
- Jordan Mason (SF) – One CMC knee tweak from being very relevant.
- James Cook (BUF)
- Jaylen Warren/Benny Snell (PIT) – If Snell is the last man standing this week, he is a must-start.
- Kareem Hunt (CLE)
- Kenneth Gainwell (PHI) – I think he would cede some touches to Boston Scott, but he’s the main backup.
- Keontay Ingram (ARZ) – All that stands between him and 15 touches is James Conner’s injury history.
- Isaiah Spiller (LAC)
- Dontrell Hilliard (TEN)
- Matt Breida (NYG)
- Zonovan Knight (NYJ) – Speculative add here, but he looked great.