Running Back Rundown: Who To Buy, Who To Sell & More After Week 13 (David Johnson, Raheem Mostert, Ronald Jones & More)


With many teams heading towards a running back by committee, fantasy owners constantly need to be analyzing the situations and determining who has value and is worth utilizing.  Let’s take a look at some of the key situations from yesterday and try to determine who should be used and who should be ignored:

Arizona Cardinals
Is It Time For David Johnson’s Role To Expand Again…

Johnson has seemingly fallen behind Kenyan Drake in the pecking order, but after Week 13 could that change again:

  • Kenyan Drake – 13 carries for 31 yards (2.4 YPC)
  • David Johnson – 4 carries for 15 yards (3.8 YPC)

Obviously Johnson’s performance wasn’t tremendous, though after a big first game for Drake he hasn’t done much. Over three games he’s gotten 39 carries, going for 133 yards (3.4 YPC). While that doesn’t mean that Johnson is immediately going to be thrust back into the lead back role, but don’t be surprised if his role starts to grow once again.

Verdict – Downgrade Drake down your weekly rankings

Buffalo Bills
Devin Singletary Is Officially In Control Of The Backfield…

We’ve been waiting for Buffalo to turn the reigns over to Singletary over Frank Gore, and while Gore remained a part of the offense Singletary again showed he was the far more explosive option:

  • Rushing – 14 carries for 63 yards
  • Receiving – 3 catches for 38 yards & 1 TD

Gore had 10 touches for 25 yards, and while he should continue to see 8-12 touches per week he’s nothing more than a handcuff.

Action – Gore is droppable, as his only value is as a handcuff

Green Bay Packers
What’s Gone Wrong With Aaron Jones…

While he had a 3 TD game mixed in, Jones has averaged 3.8 YPC or worse in three of his past four games and has been particularly bad over the past two weeks:

  • at San Francisco – 13 carries for 38 yards (2.9 YPC)
  • at New York Giants – 11 carries for 18 yards (1.8 YPC)

Neither were particularly easy matchups (the Giants have been playing much better against opposing running backs in recent weeks), but Jamaal Williams has been out performing him (24 carries for 86 yards). At this point the two can be considered in a nearly even timeshare, and that’s going to drag them both down the rankings.

Action – Drop both Jones & Williams down your rankings, but don’t do anything dramatic

Houston Texans
Could Duke Johnson Emerge As The Leader…

Taking on the Patriots, there is no doubt who the better performer was:

  • Duke Johnson – 9 carries for 36 yards (4.0 YPC); 5 catches for 54 yards & 1 TD
  • Carlos Hyde – 10 carries for 17 yards (1.7 YPC); 1 catch for 5 yards

Obviously no decisions should be made based on one game. Overall this season Hyde has averaged 4.6 yards/carry, with 853 yards on 184 carries. Meanwhile Johnson’s 9 carries tied his season high, so it’s impossible to think that this one will suddenly translate into a lead role. While he’s a solid option in PPR formats, Hyde is going to remain the fantasy favorite for now.

Action – Don’t expect a change in the pecking order

Indianapolis Colts
So Much For Jonathan Williams Leading The Way…

Maybe it was due to poor performance, but after Williams worked as the bell cow in Week 12 he shared to load in Week 13 against Tennessee:

  • Jordan Wilkins – 11 carries for 47 yards (4.3 YPC)
  • Jonathan Wilkins – 8 carries for 14 yards (1.8 YPC)

The fact is that both alternatives are keeping the seat warm until Marlon Mack is healthy and ready to return. There’s a chance that comes for Week 14, but time will tell. Both Williams and Wilkins are worth owning, though neither should be trusted as more than a FLEX play.

Action – Stay the course, but be ready to move on when Mack returns

Miami Dolphins
At Least It Wasn’t The Kalen Ballage Show Again…

The Dolphins got the W, and while none of the running backs really thrived at least it wasn’t Ballage that led the way:

  • Myles Gaskin – 2 carries for 20 yards
  • Patrick Laird – 10 carries for 5 yards and 1 TD
  • Kalen Ballage – 3 carries for 0 yards

Laird added 4 receptions for 43 yards, so his day wasn’t a complete bust (especially with the TD). Time will tell if Laird and/or Gaskin get more opportunities moving forward, but the big takeaway here is that the Dolphins have seemingly moved on from Ballage.

Action – Ballage is droppable; Both Gaskin & Laird are worth stashing

San Francisco 49ers
Has Raheem Mostert Earned A Bigger Role…

Everyone has assumed that Tevin Coleman was “the man” for San Francisco, but yesterday’s usage/performance against the Ravens tells a different story:

  • Raheem Mostert – 19 carries for 146 yards and 1 TD (7.7 YPC)
  • Tevin Coleman – 5 carries for 6 yards

Mostert did have a 40-yard run to buoy the numbers, but even if you remove that he ran for 106 yards on 18 carries. It’s the fifth straight game of 40 yards or less for Coleman, while Mostert has dominated over the past two weeks (25 carries for 191 yards and 2 TD). A return from Matt Breida could change the narrative slightly, but at this point Mostert is a must own.

Action – Mostert is a must add option, if he’s still on the waiver wire

Tampa Bay Buccaneers
New Confusion Created…

It’s not like Peyton Barber was particularly good, but he operated as the lead back in this one:

  • Peyton Barber – 17 carries, 44 yards, 2 TD
  • Ronald Jones – 6 carries, 8 yards

Barber averaged 2.6 YPC on the day and has a meager 3.4 YPC overall this season (105 carries for 352 yards). While the TD were nice, he’s nowhere close to trustworthy in what will likely be a confusing committee.

Action – Keep both Barber & Jones on your bench for now

Sources – ESPN,

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  1. Well since my question involves Aaron Jones, I’ll ask it here. Start 5 out if these. Tyreek Hill, Julio Jones, Odell Beckham, Josh Jacobs, Le’Veon Bell, and Aaron Jones. 1 pt PPR

  2. 14 Team, 1/2 PPR. RBs Nick Chubb, Leonard Fournette, Ronald Jones II and Jamaal Williams.

    1. What are your thoughts on keeping or dropping Ronald Jones II? My opponent has Peyton Barber (plus Devonta Freeman and LeVeon Bell) if that changes anything?

    2. I don’t have Kareem Hunt…what are your thoughts on handcuffing Ryquell Armstead?

    3. If no to #2, thoughts on picking up a “must have” handcuff (Raheem Mostert, Reggie Bonnafon, Malcolm Brown, Tony Pollard, Wayne Gallman or Justice vs. stashing a DST? Opponent has Philly and Rams.


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