by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
Injuries… Injuries… Injuries… As most fantasy owners prepare for Week 1 of the fantasy playoffs they are forced to maneuver around a slew of injuries that will have a significant impact on their lineups. Already ruled out are James Conner and Matt Breida and there are a slew of others who are either likely to be out (Melvin Gordon) or are questionable (Kerryon Johnson, Chris Carson). With that in mind let’s take a look at how the rankings fall, with the knowledge that you need to keep a close eye on the news as the week progresses:
- Christian McCaffrey – Carolina Panthers – at Cleveland
- Ezekiel Elliot – Dallas Cowboys – vs. Philadelphia
- Saquan Barkley – New York Giants – at Washington
- Leonard Fournette – Jacksonville Jaguars – at Tennessee
- Alvin Kamara – New Orleans Saints – at Tampa Bay
- Todd Gurley – Los Angeles Rams – at Chicago
- Aaron Jones – Green Bay Packers – vs. Atlanta
- Philip Lindsay – Denver Broncos – at San Francisco
- Joe Mixon – Cincinnati Bengals – at Los Angeles Chargers
- Gus Edwards – Baltimore Ravens – at Kansas City
- David Johnson – Arizona Cardinals – vs. Detroit
- Austin Ekeler – Los Angeles Chargers – vs. Cincinnati
- Lamar Miller – Houston Texans – vs. Indianapolis
- Sony Michel – New England Patriots – at Miami
- Nick Chubb – Cleveland Browns – vs. Carolina
- Kerryon Johnson – Detroit Lions – at Arizona
- Dalvin Cook – Minnesota Vikings – at Seattle
- Jeff Wilson – San Francisco 49ers – vs. Denver
- LeSean McCoy – Buffalo Bills – vs. New York Jets
- James White – New England Patriots – at Miami
- Mark Ingram – New Orleans Saints – at Tampa Bay
- Chris Carson – Seattle Seahawks – vs. Minnesota
- Tarik Cohen – Chicago Bears – vs. Los Angeles Rams
- Josh Adams – Philadelphia Eagles – at Dallas
- Jaylen Samuels – Pittsburgh Steelers – at Oakland
- Adrian Peterson – Washington Redskins – vs. New York Giants
- Marlon Mack – Indianapolis Colts – at Houston
- Isaiah Crowell – New York Jets – vs. Buffalo
- Spencer Ware – Kansas City Chiefs – vs. Baltimore
- Kenyan Drake – Miami Dolphins – vs. New England
- Doug Martin – Oakland Raiders – vs. Pittsburgh
- Peyton Barber – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – vs. New Orleans
- Tevin Coleman – Atlanta Falcons – at Green Bay
- Justin Jackson – Los Angeles Chargers – vs. Cincinnati
- Chris Thompson – Washington Redskins – vs. New York Giants
- Theo Riddick – Detroit Lions – at Arizona
- Jordan Howard – Chicago Bears – vs. Los Angeles Rams
- Nyheim Hines – Indianapolis Colts – at Houston
- Ty Montgomery – Baltimore Ravens – at Kansas City
- Dion Lewis – Tennessee Titans – vs. Jacksonville
- Without James Conner do we expect the Steelers to lean on one running back? Will they share carries while taking a more pass heavy approach? The second option is more likely and while it makes Jaylen Samuels the best option from the backfield he isn’t more than a low-end RB2/FLEX given the risk.
- Since the Cowboys’ bye week Ezekiel Elliot has been a monster, with 100+ yards in five straight games and continued heavy workloads (23+ carries in three straight games and 5+ receptions in four straight games). Included in this stretch was a 187 total yard, 2 TD performance against the Eagles, who he’ll draw again this week. He’s among the elite in the league and should continue to show why.
- Aaron Jones has found the end zone in four straight games (6 total TD over this stretch) as he’s become the clear top option in Green Bay. Obviously the coaching change could complicate the picture, at least a little bit, but there’s little reason to think that he won’t carry on as the featured back. Over the past four weeks the Atlanta Falcons have allowed 191, 122, 141 and 132 rushing yards to opposing running backs, further solidifying Jones’ spot among the Top 10 options for the coming week.
- After some heavy usage Nick Chubb saw his carries drop to 9, as the Browns fell behind early and needed to play catchup. While his day was saved by a TD (and he’s scored in four straight games), is that something we are willing to bank on against the Panthers? He’s obviously still a viable option, but he’s more of a RB2 than a RB1 this week.
- It’s been a frustrating season for Leonard Fournette owners, whether it be due to injuries or his recent suspension. That said when he has been on the field he’s been a highly productive option, with 100+ total yards in each of his past three games (and 5 TD over this stretch). The matchup against the Titans is not going to be an easy one, though they just watched Isaiah Crowell and the New York Jets torch them for 135 yards on the ground a week after the Tennessee Titans racked up 211 rushing yards and 1 TD. Don’t make the mistake of shying away from him.
- Over the past three weeks Gus Edwards has rushed for at least 82 yards per game and now draws a Kansas City defense that saw the Oakland Raiders run for 163 yards and 1 TD against them in Week 13. Obviously there are questions about Edwards’ health, but if he’s taking the field and ready to roll he’s going to have RB1 upside. He’s surprisingly become a force and is a must start in all formats.
- The last time LeSean McCoy faced the Jets he torched them for 113 yards and TD (and the Jets watched the Patriots rush for 206 yards and 1 TD against them in Week 12, their next game after the Buffalo debacle). It’s hard not to love McCoy as a viable RB2 for the coming week.
- Both James White and Sony Michel are going to be solid plays this week, though the Dolphins have been more susceptible to those who can run the football. That’s going to give Michel the edge in the rankings, but don’t let that discourage White owners. He should produce solid numbers as well.
- The problem with Kenyan Drake is how many touches is he going to get? He has 3 TD over his past two games, but he’s averaged just 11 touches per contest. That’s going to make Drake a high risk, high reward option against the Patriots, though if the Dolphins fall behind early and they are forced to go pass happy Drake is going to look that much better.
- What’s happened to Tevin Coleman? He has 34 yards, total, over the past two weeks and has been virtually unusable over the past four. While there’s still potential, he’s a desperation FLEX play and nothing more.
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Make sure to check out all of our Week 14 rankings: