Prioritizing the Wire (Week 12): Which Running Backs Are The Top Names To Target?

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Already preparing to raid the Waiver Wire after Week 9? Let’s take a look at the running back options who may be available (owned in less than 60% of ESPN leagues) and prioritize who you should be targeting and who is better left for someone else:

  1. Wayne Gallman – New York Giants
  2. Cam Akers – Los Angeles Rams
  3. Latavius Murray – New Orleans Saints
  4. Frank Gore – New York Jets
  5. Anthony McFarland – Pittsburgh Steelers
  6. Ito Smith – Atlanta Falcons
  7. Deandre Washington – Miami Dolphins

1) Wayne Gallman – New York Giants

Can someone please explain why Gallman entered Sunday owned in just 57.9% of ESPN formats? He continues to prove that he can be a viable fantasy running back, as he got the bulk of the work against the Bengals and turned 24 carries into 94 yards and 1 TD. Obviously the numbers aren’t going to blow you away (3.9 YPC), but he’s now scored in five straight games as the workload has continued to grow:

  • Week 7 – 10 carries for 34 yards and 1 TD
  • Week 8 – 12 carries for 44 yards and 1 TD
  • Week 9 – 14 carries for 68 yards and 1 TD
  • Week 10 – 18 carries for 53 yards and 2 TD
  • Week 12 – 24 carries for 94 yards and 1 TD

With Alfred Morris and Dion Lewis no threat, Gallman is going to continue to operate as the top option for the Giants. That makes him well worth utilizing in all formats.

2) Cam Akers – Los Angeles Rams

Akers didn’t lead the team in carries in Week 12, but he likely entrenched himself as the leader moving forward:

  • Cam Akers – 9 carries for 84 yards and 1 TD
  • Darrell Henderson – 10 carries for 19 yards
  • Malcolm Brown – 3 carries for 4 yards

In two games since returning from injury Henderson has taken 18 carries for 24 yards. Clearly something isn’t quite right, and while Akers hasn’t been great this season (50 carries for 201 yards) this should start to move him into a bigger role.

3) Latavius Murray – New Orleans Saints

The thought has always been that Alvin Kamara is the top running back in New Orleans, but for the second straight week with Taysum Hill at quarterback it’s been Murray who has been the more impressive runner. Just look at the numbers from Week 12:

  • Latavius Murray – 19 carries for 124 yards and 2 TD
  • Alvin Kamara – 11 carries for 54 yards

Kamara was only targeted two times in the passing game. Over the past two weeks Murray has 31 carries compared to 24 for Kamara. It could be a week-to-week thing, but with Hill starting it would appear that Murray finds himself on RB2/FLEX radars.

4) Frank Gore – New York Jets

With La’Mical Perine sidelined Gore continued to operate as the leader of the backfield and produced some solid numbers (18 carries for 74 yards). He may never put up incredibly impressive numbers, but he’s going to get touches and should give solid production. He’ll be on FLEX radars every week.

5) Anthony McFarland – Pittsburgh Steelers

It will be interesting to see how many games James Conner is forced to miss, as he was recently diagnosed with COVID-19. McFarland likely won’t operate as the true leader, as he’ll share the job with Benny Snell. That said McFarland appeared to have passed Snell on the depth chart, making him the preferred gamble for the short-term.

6) Ito Smith – Atlanta Falcons

Smith’s viability will be tied strictly to the health of Todd Gurley, and while he was impressive you have to wonder how much the big lead the Falcons jumped out to played a role in the touch breakdown:

  • Ito Smith – 12 carries for 65 yards and 1 TD
  • Brian Hill – 11 carries for 55 yards

Smith was also targeted 5 times (4 catches for 10 yards). Smith will never be the leader of the backfield and if Gurley can return in Week 13 he’ll prove to be a complete non-factor.

7) Deandre Washington – Miami Dolphins

Without Myles Gaskin and Salvon Ahmed it was Washington who assumed a lead role and took 13 carries for 49 yards. Once the team gets healthy he’ll be a non-factor and can be ignored in all formats.

Sources – NFL.com, ESPN

2 COMMENTS

  1. What’s up Professor? I added the Philly D yesterday in fear of Pitt game being canceled for week 12. I’m up 18.68. He has Metcalf tonight and I have Miles Sanders. Do you play the Eagles D tonight or cross your fingers and stick with Pitt tomorrow night? I have a feeling it’s gonna come down to the Defense i play unfortunately. Thanks man

    • We haven’t gotten any news today, which I guess is promising for tomorrow’s game to be played. That said, with both teams dealing with positive tests I’m not entirely optimistic.

      I’d probably take the conservative approach

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