by Ray Kuhn
Finally we have made it! We are still two weeks away from the fantasy playoffs, but we have some relief. The bye weeks are over, so that means we have 32 less than ideal situations to choose from while setting our lineups (as opposed to 26 or 28). With the full slate of options, let’s take a look at how our options rank:
- Le’Veon Bell – Pittsburgh Steelers – vs. Green Bay
- Mark Ingram – New Orleans Saints – at LA Rams
- Todd Gurley – Los Angeles Rams – vs. New Orleans
- Melvin Gordon – Los Angeles Chargers – at Dallas
- LeSean McCoy – Buffalo Bills – at Kansas City
- Leonard Fournette – Jacksonville Jaguars – at Arizona
- Kareem Hunt – Kansas City Chiefs – vs. Buffalo
- Alvin Kamara – New Orleans Saints – at LA Rams
- Devonta Freeman – Atlanta Falcons – vs. Tampa Bay
- Jordan Howard – Chicago Bears – at Philadelphia
- Christian McCaffrey – Carolina Panthers – at New York Jets
- DeMarco Murray – Tennessee Titans – at Indianapolis
- Lamar Miller – Houston Texans – at Baltimore
- Carlos Hyde – San Francisco 49ers – vs. Seattle
- Jerick McKinnon – Minnesota Vikings – at Detroit
- Samaje Perine – Washington Redskins – vs. New York Giants
- Joe Mixon – Cincinnati Bengals – vs. Cleveland
- Dion Lewis – New England Patriots – vs. Miami
- Orleans Darkwa – New York Giants – at Washington
- Alfred Morris – Dallas Cowboys – vs. LA Chargers
- Duke Johnson – Cleveland Browns – at Cincinnati
- Jay Ajayi – Philadelphia Eagles – vs. Chicago
- Doug Martin – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – at Atlanta
- Bilal Powell – New York Giants – vs. Carolina
- Alex Collins – Baltimore Ravens – vs. Houston
- Jamaal Williams – Green Bay Packers – at Pittsburgh
- Ameer Abdullah – Detroit Lions – vs. Minnesota
- Tevin Coleman – Atlanta Falcons – vs. Tampa Bay
- Latavius Murray – Minnesota Vikings – at Detroit
- Isaiah Crowell – Cleveland Browns – at Cincinnati
- J.D. McKissic – Seattle Seahawks – at San Francisco
- Adrian Peterson – Arizona Cardinals – vs. Jacksonville
- Kenyan Drake – Miami Dolphins – at New England
- Danny Woodhead – Baltimore Ravens – vs. Houston
- Marshawn Lynch – Oakland Raiders – vs. Denver
- Damien Williams – Miami Dolphins – at New England
- Frank Gore – Indianapolis Colts – vs. Tennesee
- Theo Riddick – Detroit Lions – vs. Minnesota
- C.J Anderson – Denver Broncos – at Oakland
- Rex Burkhead – New England Patriots – vs. Miami
- Despite being hampered by an ankle injury, Leonard Fournette didn’t disappoint last week. After the game he admitted that the ankle will likely bother him for the rest of the season, but you wouldn’t have known it by watching him. I wouldn’t be concerned about missing practice time each week as the Jaguars work to keep their rookie fresh. Even though he was facing a tough defense in Cleveland Fournette eclipsed the 100 yard mark for the third time in his last four games, and for the fourth time this season. He carried the ball 28 times for 111 yards, and while he wasn’t on the field for many passing situations, he caught two passes for seven yards, he still produced. So far he is averaging 4.2 yards per carry with six touchdowns, and I would look for him to continue his success against Arizona.
- Guess who is back? None other than everyone’s favorite PPR option, Danny Woodhead. The Ravens took it slow, but it’s clear he will jump right back into being a central part of their offense. He had just one carry, it is obvious that he is not there to carry the ball, but he was targeted six times. In his first game back Woodhead caught five of them, although it was for an underwhelming 21 yards. Due to Woodhead’s return, Buck Allen had four touches and at this point we can likely move on. This week Baltimore faces Houston, who has the number one run defense, so that means while Alex Collins might have trouble finding room to run and Woodhead should get a lot of work in the passing game once again.
- Oh Lamar Miller. I want to forget about you or simply ignore you, but it’s just not possible. Now that doesn’t mean he is someone to target in DFS, but his workload and production has been too steady, or even uninspiring, to ignore in seasonal leagues. Just as D’Onta Foreman gained 65 yards on 10 carries and scored two touchdowns making you think he was ready to truly eat into Miller’s workload, he promptly tore his Achilles tendon and is out for the season. Last week Miller had 22 carries, but he gained just 61 yards while also catching four passes for 22 yards and a touchdown. Overall he has 162 carries, but is averaging just 3.7 yards per carry and only has two rushing touchdowns. To help replace Foreman the Texans signed Andre Ellington, but as a Miller owner I wouldn’t be concerned. Ellington will have some FLEX appeal in PPR leagues, he has 33 catches for 297 yards, but he won’t eat into Miller’s rushing workload.
- For as good as Kareem Hunt was earlier in the season, things have not been going nearly as well for the rookie as of late. Coming after Kansas City’s bye week, optimism was abound against the Giants on Sunday, but he didn’t exactly come through (or at least not to the extent that fantasy owners thought he would). The Chiefs just looked odd on Sunday, and had Alex Smith drop back an insane 45 times despite the swirling winds. Hunt carried the ball 18 times and managed 73 yards. We are now through five straight weeks of Hunt failing to eclipse 100 yards, and he hasn’t found the end zone on the ground since Week 3. With the Chiefs facing the Bills, who have the leagues second worst rushing defense against fantasy running backs, we shouldn’t be too hard on Hunt.
- We know that the Patriots cycle through running backs, and Dion Lewis is who the dial has landed on the past two weeks. In fact, Lewis has been the focus of New England’s backfield over the past five games as he has averaged 12.6 carries and 57 yards. He has led the Patriots’ backfield in touches over that span, and last week he was also a factor in the passing game with four receptions for 28 yards and a touchdown. This week he gets to face the Dolphins, who generally don’t offer too much resistance to opposing running backs, and I would look for his success to continue. While Lewis’ ownership has increased by 25.6% in ESPN leagues, he is still available in about 33% of leagues.
- Seattle’s backfield has been a mess all season, and at this point, J.D. McKissic is the last man standing. Mike Davis had a cameo Monday night, but thanks to his groin injury he is gone just as quickly as he appeared. Thomas Rawls and Eddie Lacy have both struggled to get anything going, and with CJ Prosise and Chris Carson sidelined that leaves us with McKissic. With seven carries for 30 yards last week, McKissic led Seattle’s running backs in carries. I would expect that to continue this week as he is slated to face the 49ers and their league worst run defense. McKissic will also be a factor in the passing game, and last week he also added five receptions for 23 yards.
Make sure to check out all of our Week 12 rankings: