Saturday, December 5, 2020

Week 13 Fantasy Football Half-PPR RB Rankings

Most leagues begin their postseason in Week 14, so it's time for fantasy managers to make their final push to make the playoffs or to improve their seeding. If you drafted Jacksonville Jaguars running back James Robinson, there's a good chance that you're making the playoffs.

The UDFA out of Illinois State has been one of the biggest surprises in the 2020 NFL season. Entering the season as a sleeper, Robinson was the RB62 in terms of Yahoo! ADP and currently ranks fourth in fantasy points scored (across scoring formats).

There are so many interesting aspects to his remarkable rookie performance, but since pulling off an upset in their season opener, the Jags have lost 10 straight. While a few of those losses have been closer lately, the versatile running back has been unaffected by negative game scripts.

Robinson has a minimum of 25 touches in four of his past five games and the exception was a 19-touch outing in a 24-point loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 11.

As the Jags enter the week as nearly a double-digit road underdog, there is little concern for the must-start back. In the team's double-digit losses (five games), Robinson has averaged 4.2/33.6/0.4 receiving on 5.0 targets per game. (The average drops to 2.5/18.7/0.0 on 3.7 targets per game in others.)

Back-to-back rushing titles for Derrick Henry?

One year after winning the rushing title, Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry has been even better in 2020.

Averaging a career-high 114.3 rushing yards per game and leading the NFL in rushing, Henry had 27 carries for 178 yards and three touchdowns in a "difficult" matchup against the Indianapolis Colts in Week 12.

Henry now has 100-plus rushing yards in each of his past three games and seven of 11 games this season. With 20-plus touches in all but one game this season, no running back has more 20-touch games than Henry (10).

Obviously, Henry is matchup-proof, but the Cleveland Browns have allowed the 10th-fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs and the 10th-fewest yards per carry (4.09) to the position. The Titans are one of just three teams with an implied total of at least 30 points this week.

Three elite RBs in TEN-CLE game

The Titans-Browns game doesn't feature just one elite running back. The Browns have one (or two?) as well.

Since returning from his knee injury, Nick Chubb has rushed for 100-plus yards in three consecutive games. While he has only played in five games this season, Chubb now has five 100-yard games.

Despite missing four games, no running back has more 20-yard runs than Chubb (10). In fact, Henry (eight) is the only other player with more than six.

Meanwhile, Kareem Hunt is a high-end RB2 in this matchup as well.

Typically more involved than Chubb as a receiver (although not last week), Hunt has double-digit carries in all 11 games this season. Both Chubb (719) and Hunt (706) rank among the top-10 leading rushers in the NFL.

In the three games since Chubb has returned, Hunt has 42/177/1 rushing and 4/38 receiving on seven targets.

Reversing roles in New Orleans?

The Drew Brees injury has had opposite impacts on New Orleans Saints running backs Alvin Kamara and Latavius Murray.

With exactly 81 receptions in each of his first three NFL seasons, Kamara looked certain to smash that mark in 2020. Since Taysom Hill has taken over as the starter, however, Kamara has one catch for (minus) two yards on three targets in two games. In addition, he has only 24/99/1 rushing over those two games.

In games that Brees has started, Kamara was a top-13 fantasy running back every week. With Hill, he's been the RB22 and RB37, respectively.

On the other hand, Murray has seen a boost in his production. Exploding for 19/124/2 rushing, Murray was the RB3 in Week 12 after finishing as the RB26 in Week 11.

Part of the reason that Kamara had fewer touches in Week 12 was the fact that the Saints dominated the quarterback-less Denver Broncos in their 31-3 win.

Assuming the game is closer this week, Kamara should be more involved than Murray. But unfortunately for Kamara owners, target share (and his floor) will likely be low (lower than usual) again. Meanwhile, Murray is a viable back-end RB2/flex.

Bench Zeke in Week 13?

Over the past six weeks, you would have been served well by benching Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott.

During that stretch, here's the weekly finish for Zeke: RB28, RB40, RB30, RB30, RB4 and RB58, respectively.

Elliott has exceeded 51 rushing yards in only two of his past six games and he has no more than three targets (or two receptions) in five consecutive games.

In a difficult matchup against the Baltimore Ravens, the range of outcomes for one of the league's best backs is extremely wide. While he may not be straight "sit'em" in our Week 13 Fantasy Football Start'em, Sit'em, he's a "bust alert."

Antonio Gibson: Top 10 back this week and rest of way?

Washington Football Team rookie running back Antonio Gibson has become a must-start.

Over his past five games, the hybrid (WR/RB) from Memphis has finished as a top-12 fantasy running back every week. During that five-game stretch, Gibson has scored (at least once) every week and racked up a total of 402 rushing yards and eight touchdowns with 13 catches for 86 yards.

In Week 12, Gibson had a season-high seven targets. Although he has been involved as a receiver with three-plus catches in seven of nine games, the volume of targets that went to J.D. McKissic has been one source of frustration for those that roster Gibson.

(McKissic had 29 total targets in Weeks 9 and 10.)

If the explosive playmaker continues to see his passing-game role expand, Gibson can remain a weekly RB1 for fantasy owners down the stretch.

In fact, Gibson currently sits inside the top 10 of our rest-of-season running back rankings.

The table below lists our fantasy running back rankings for Week 13 using half-PPR scoring.

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