Running Back Handcuff Report: Week 14 (2022 Fantasy Football)
This will be the last installment of the handcuff report for this year. If you’ve followed along, I just want to express how much I appreciate you reading. This article is something I enjoy typing up each week and I know I have had a few of you reach out on Twitter to discuss Sit/Starts and pickups based on the information here. I hope you’ve found this piece helpful and will see you back in this space next September.
Arizona gets their bye week to let James Conner get right for the stretch run. He should get plenty of touches in December.
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)
Tyler Allgeier and Cordarelle Patterson continue to split the work for Atlanta, with neither being an exciting option. Patterson looks better but Arthur Smith seems intent on limiting him to 12-15 touches per week. This will continue to be a frustrating backfield and I can’t recommend either back at this point as the workload split and lack of touchdowns make them unappealing.
Baltimore – Committee
The matchup with Denver was terrible and Lamar Jackson got hurt so this was a rough spot on Sunday. Backup QB Tyler Huntley led the Ravens with 41 yards rushing while Kenyan Drake saw the highest snap share at 48%. Gus Edwards only saw 25% of the snaps, which was odd given the scenario with Jackson being out. I would bet against Jackson playing this week, but the Ravens get a winnable matchup on the ground with Pittsburgh. I am firing up Edwards if I have him.
- Starter: Devin Singletary
- Handcuff: James Cook (Hold in 12+ Team Leagues)
- Handcuff: Nyheim Hines (PPR bench stash)
James Cook and Devin Singletary both had a 44% snap share, with Cook handling 20 touches for over 100 scrimmage yards. All that word salad is to say that I’m not overly concerned about Singletary here. Buffalo got out to a 17-7 lead that felt much bigger, so giving Cook the lion’s share of touches was probably to preserve Singletary a bit. Still, Cook’s role has grown enough to where he merits Flex consideration each week.
The Panthers had a bye to figure some things out offensively. It looks like Sam Darnold will be the starter moving forward with the release of Baker Mayfield. I don’t think that has a lot of bearing on the backfield here, but it is worth noting.
David Montgomery continued to quietly put up RB2 numbers, playing on 78% of the snaps. He had 61 yards rushing and a touchdown on 14 carries, playing on most passing downs and getting the lone snap inside the 10-yard line (he scored on that snap). Darrynton Evans has rendered Trestan Ebner irrelevant but Khalil Herbert is due back soon. It will be interesting to see if Chicago uses Herbert the way they were before he got injured. If they do, downgrade Montgomery.
Samaje Perine is out here saving some teams from missing the playoffs. He was a bell-cow Sunday, playing 83% of the snaps and getting a whopping 27 touches. His six receptions pushed him over 20 PPR points for the week, making him an RB1. I had him ranked too low all season as he is a top-five handcuff, possibly top-three.
Nick Chubb was in a smash spot Sunday but disappointed with just 80 scoreless yards rushing. Chubb only played 52% of the snaps, another oddity given the game flow. Cleveland looked really bad offensively, and with Deshaun Watson having a considerable amount of rust to shake off, this could be a situation that takes a few weeks to get off the ground. I still think the Browns are in a better spot offensively than they’ve been in years so I am not concerned with Chubb.
Ezekiel Elliott out-snapped Tony Pollard (56% to 45%), which is a slightly concerning development but the game flow favored Elliott in a big way. Pollard still managed 106 total yards and two touchdowns as he continues to be as awesome as he is efficient. I think Elliott will be plenty useful over the next two weeks as Dallas gets Houston and Jacksonville. Both running backs are RB2’s with Pollard having an RB1 ceiling in a PPR.
Latavius Murray saw a 67% snap share which turned into 21 touches. He only managed 61 scoreless yards but his four receptions pushed him past 10 PPR points for the day. Denver hates scoring touchdowns so Murray’s upside is inherently capped but he will fall into the end zone a time or two over the next couple of weeks. If you have him, there are worse options than a running back with his volume.
Detroit – Committee
A week after I christened Jamaal Williams the starter, D’Andre Swift comes out and out-snaps (51%-31%) him. Swift also had 18 touches for 121 yards and a touchdown, scoring 22 PPR points in the process. For his part, Williams scored his 14th touchdown of the year but Swift didn’t carry an injury designation Sunday and looked great. He should be safe to start moving forward. As for Williams, this clouds his overall outlook but his touchdown upside is something we need to account for. He is more of a low-end RB2 for me.
Aaron Jones left the game intermittently with a shin injury which led A.J. Dillon to have his best game of the year. Dillon finished with 93 yards rushing and a touchdown to go with a 3/26 receiving line. Green Bay has a Week 14 bye to get Jones back to full health but if he remains out, Dillon becomes a borderline RB1 who would potentially have a 75% snap share. You will need to monitor practice reports over the next two weeks.
Dameon Pierce had his best game in a month, rushing for 73 yards and adding a 3/22 receiving line on a 74% snap share. If Pierce can add that type of production in the passing game, I feel much better about his prospects down the stretch. The ceiling is still low and he won’t have a plethora of scoring opportunities, but volume is king and he is getting plenty of that.
The Colts’ offense is Jonathan Taylor and nothing else at this point. Taylor played 83% of the snaps, soaking up 24 total touches for 103 yards. Taylor is going to get 20+ touches every week, making his workload one of the most bankable in fantasy. He is an RB1 for the rest of the season.
Travis Etienne didn’t show any lingering issues with his foot, playing 87% of the snaps Sunday. He largely disappointed, however, with just 66 scrimmage yards on 17 touches. Outside of a Week 17 game with Houston, this was arguably the best matchup Etienne will have for the remainder of the season. He will be in the RB1 conversation because of his talent and workload but Jacksonville will have its ups and downs offensively as they continue to find their way.
- Isaiah Pacheco (Hold)
- Jerick McKinnon (Hold 12+ team PPR leagues only)
If you look at the box score, you would think Isaiah Pacheco has taken the reigns here. Looking a bit closer, Pacheco and Jerick McKinnon split snaps evenly at 46% so while Pacheco’s touch share (16 total) is encouraging, McKinnon still saw 10 touches of his own. Pacheco is still returning kicks as well so it would seem he is still working his way into the circle of trust.
Las Vegas Raiders
Josh Jacobs continues to churn out big games, rushing for 144 yards and a touchdown this week. He had a 76% snap share and 28 touches, giving him one of the safest weekly floors of any running back. While Zamir White is the best bet for early down work, Ameer Abdullah would be a sneaky PPR pickup in the event Jacobs misses any time down the stretch. He’s mixed in on passing downs even with Jacobs getting such a massive touch share. If you have a roster spot this week, he makes for a good speculative add.
Los Angeles Chargers
- Starter: Austin Ekeler
- Handcuff: Isaiah Spiller (Roster if you have Ekeler)
- Handcuff: Joshua Kelley (Consider picking up this week)
Austin Ekeler continues to shine as a top-tier PPR play with a floor of 12-15 points. He had a 5/67 receiving line to boost his meager rushing output of just 35 yards. The Chargers will lean heavily on him down the stretch as they make their playoff push. Joshua Kelley played well ahead of Isaiah Spiller so your guess is as good as mine on who the handcuff would be.
Los Angeles Rams – Committee
This situation is not one I am going to spend a lot of time on. Cam Akers paced this backfield with 17 carries on a 73% snap share in a competitive game environment. Kyren Williams was in a similar spot last week when Los Angeles was playing from behind, so this is a game script-dependent timeshare and should remain that way.
Miami – Committee
Raheem Mostert operated as the primary running back with a 60% snap share Sunday but still had just seven carries for 30 yards. Jeffrey Wilson only had one carry, which is odd given the recent split between these two when both were healthy. The only thing I can think of is that Wilson was so mediocre last week against Houston, the coaching staff thought Mostert gave them more upside. Monitor this moving forward but don’t drop Wilson this week.
It was a tough matchup for Dalvin Cook on Sunday but he once again had a 70% snap share and got 22 touches. He rushed for 86 yards and a touchdown and, as I mentioned last week, he has some really strong matchups on the horizon. Minnesota needs to keep pace with Philadelphia and Cook will be a big part of that down the stretch. Alexander Mattison scored a touchdown Sunday and would be a locked-in RB1 if Cook gets hurt.
New England – Committee
About the only thing that New England had going for it last Thursday was Rhamondre Stevenson. He continued to produce in PPR scoring with a 6/24 receiving line to go with 54 rushing yards. With Damien Harris sidelined, Stevenson saw 98% of the snaps. Stevenson should be locked in for a 70% touch share but when Harris is healthy, he will eat into that. The Patriots will need to get production out of their backfield over the next five games if they want to stay in the playoff picture.
Alvin Kamara scored 42 fantasy points back in Week 6 against Las Vegas. He’s scored a total of 42 fantasy points in five games since then. You have to start him if you’ve got him but this is a bad situation for him right now.
New York Giants
It ended up being a useful fantasy day for Saquon Barkley, as he found the end zone and turned in 81 total yards. His five receptions were icing on the cake as Barkley finished as an RB1 for the first time since Week 10. The upcoming schedule for the Giants isn’t great (Philadelphia, Washington, Indianapolis) but Barkley’s volume alone will get him there most weeks. Just know things could be lean during your playoffs due to the matchups.
New York Jets – Committee
Zonovan Knight won a few people their matchups this week. He saw a 55% snap share and totaled 118 yards. He also chipped in five receptions, giving him a borderline RB1 week. The Jets ran 82 plays which helped him get there but if Michael Carter remains sidelined with an injury, you should keep firing Knight up.
- Starter: Miles Sanders
- Handcuff: Kenneth Gainwell (Hold if you roster Sanders)
- Handcuff: Boston Scott (Drop)
A week after rushing for over 350 yards against Green Bay, the Eagles showed off their offensive diversity and had Jalen Hurts throw for 380. That didn’t leave much meat on the bone for Miles Sanders and Kenneth Gainwell here. Sanders did manage to hit paydirt, salvaging his final fantasy line. The Eagles are playing well right now and Sanders will be a rock-solid RB2 without much issue most weeks for your playoff matchups.
- Starter: Najee Harris
- Handcuff: Jaylen Warren (Hold in 12+ team PPR leagues)
- Handcuff to the Handcuff: Benny Snell (Drop)
Najee Harris saw a 66% snap share, somewhat of a surprise given his injury last Monday. He rushed for 86 yards and managed to clear 10 PPR points. Jaylen Warren saw a 20% snap share and most of the passing down work while Benny Snell mixed in on 14% of the snaps. Pittsburgh has got back to being a run-based offense to protect Kenny Pickett. The formula seems to be working so Harris will be a touchdown-dependent RB2 moving forward.
Kenneth Walker’s foot sprain is something to monitor this week. DeeJay Dallas was the primary running back after the injury, playing 57% of the snaps and leading the team in touches. Tony Jones mixed in with the absence of Travis Homer but I think this would be Dallas getting the early down work (10-12 carries, maybe 2-3 targets) with Homer playing on passing downs (5-6 carries, 4-5 targets). Neither is crazy appealing but if you lost Walker and are in a pinch, I would prioritize Homer in a PPR and Dallas in a standard league.
It will be on Christian McCaffery to have a huge December if the 49ers are going to win the NFC West. With third-stringer Brock Purdy taking the reigns of the offense, McCaffery will be leaned on heavily. If Sunday is any indication, he will be up for the task. He played 81% of the snaps, putting to rest any concerns about his knee. He looked like vintage CMC, tallying an 8/80/1 receiving line to go with 66 rushing yards. If you have McCaffery, it’s go time.
Leonard Fournette led the way on Monday with a 60% snap share and narrowly out-touched Rachaad White 16-15. It was White, however, who caught the winning touchdown pass so he was still plenty involved. It will take an injury for either of these backs to hit their ceiling moving forward so if you start them, know they are floor plays.
The Titans were never really in the game on Sunday, getting blown out by Philadelphia. Henry once again played just 55% of the snaps so, at this point, I don’t know if this is load management or if he is nursing an injury. He hasn’t rushed for 100 yards in a game since Week 9 and he’s scored just one touchdown in his last four games. The good news is that he gets the Jaguars, Chargers and Texans in the next three weeks. Hopefully, the Big Dawg gets to eat.
Washington – Committee
Antonio Gibson technically played more snaps but that was a function of the game flow and overtime. Brian Robinson looked really good here and his 21 carries for 96 yards would have made for a great day had he scored. Still, seeing Robinson go for nearly 100 yards was a good sign on a sub-50% snap rate. When he’s on the field, he gets the ball so if he starts punching in a few scores, we are in business.
- Tony Pollard (DAL) – Our King.
- Samaje Perine (CIN) – I had him too low.
- Alexander Mattison (MIN)
- AJ Dillon (GB) – Monitor Aaron Jones
- Rachaad White (TB) – Lenny returned and ate up snaps.
- Jordan Mason (SF) – Hold ’em if you have him.
- James Cook (BUF)
- Jaylen Warren – Steelers are running more. Would likely cede touches to Benny Snell in some capacity.
- Kareem Hunt (CLE) – Increased snap rate with Deshaun Watson.
- Kenneth Gainwell (PHI)
- Keontay Ingram (ARZ)
- Travis Homer/DeeJay Dallas (SEA) – PPR/Standard
- Isaiah Spiller (LAC)
- Dontrell Hilliard (TEN) – Henry’s snap rates have me concerned.
- Matt Breida (NYG)
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