Updated 11/27 at 11:45 AM ET. Removed James Robinson. Moved Michael Carter up. Revamped RB15-20 section.
Week 12 Running Backs
RB Notes: We know game script could go haywire for the Giants in Dallas, but the ground is where you want to attack the Cowboys. Saquon Barkley should bounce back from his rare off day in Week 11. … Ken Walker had a down Week 10 headed into the Seahawks' bye, but it wasn't all bad. Each of his six receptions, eight targets and 55 yards receiving were new season highs. As Mike Clay points out, Walker played 43-of-50 snaps against the Bucs, handled all 10 of the team's designed runs and ran a route on 26-of-40 pass plays. That is top-five overall usage. Seattle would be well served by keeping Walker involved as a pass catcher instead of pointlessly rotating in Travis Homer and company. … Opposing Walker will be another back seeing near every-down usage, Josh Jacobs. Jacobs has reached 27 touches each of the past two weeks. The Seahawks are quite forgiving on the ground. … Jonathan Taylor has 49 touches in two games since Jeff Saturday took over as head coach. His snap rate did “decline” to 75 percent in Week 11, but Deon Jackson is just there to keep Taylor fresh, not steal work.
Christian McCaffrey has a modest, by his standards, 32 touches over the past two weeks. That is somewhat misleading thanks to a Week 11 where the 49ers blew the Cardinals out early then gave Elijah Mitchell extensive second half run. CMC will continue to stack up receptions and be the first choice at the goal line, but it is inarguable that Mitchell has lowered his floor a bit. Emphasis on “a bit.” … Dalvin Cook was ripping big gains even as the Vikes got routed by the Cowboys in Week 11. He has a similar setup for Week 12 in an elite Patriots defense that is best approached on the ground. Unlike the Cowboys, the Pats' offense won't be able to bury Minnesota early and dominate game flow. … The Bucs' run defense has stabilized just as the Browns' ground game has finally hit some rough waters. We bet on Nick Chubb every Sunday, but Week 12 managers shouldn't be counting on ceiling to accompany Chubb's floor. … Damien Harris has 23 touches over the past two weeks. That might have been a problem for Rhamondre Stevenson in the past, but he continues to make like Alvin Kamara, gobbling up receptions and high-value touches.
With the Ravens operating as modest four-point road favorites, fantasy managers can be confident Travis Etienne won't get buried by negative game script. Etienne has been held below 70 yards rushing one time in his past six starts. … Lest you think we are being hasty with our Tony Pollard rank after only one week of out-touching Ezekiel Elliott, it's important to remember the circumstances. DAL/MIN was 30-3 early in the third quarter. That is typically when you would call on your thunderous back to close it out. That Pollard still finished with a 21-16 touch advantage is an extremely encouraging sign. Zeke will still out-touch Pollard some weeks, but we know Pollard's handles are of a higher quality. Elliott may also have his work capped as the Cowboys try to limit wear and tear on his troublesome knee. For Week 12, big-play Pollard is facing a Giants defense hemorrhaging 5.3 yards per carry. … The Packers are going to have a hard time through the air vs. Philadelphia. Expect a firm Aaron Jones commitment. … David Montgomery is back to playing almost every snap. It just might not mean as much as we hope on the road against a tough defense, especially if Justin Fields (shoulder) sits.
If Joe Mixon (concussion) gains clearance, it will be vs. a Titans defense that is far stingier on the ground than through the air. He will nevertheless have solid touchdown odds in what should be a close game. … Even in this bad offense, Alvin Kamara is bound for some positive touchdown regression. … Playing on the Texans is finally catching up with Dameon Pierce, though the Dolphins are far from stay-away on the ground. … The Bills have significantly upped their ground commitment since Josh Allen dinged his shoulder, culminating in a -5 percent pass rate over expected against the Browns. Playing on a short week against an awful Lions run defense, we can expect another heavy dose of Devin Singletary on Thanksgiving. … Jeff Wilson had his best overall game of the season heading into the Dolphins' Week 11 bye. He comes out against the Texans' — by far — league-worst run D. Miami is a monumental 13.5-point home favorite. Raheem Mostert is a justifiable FLEX, as well. … Astonishingly, Jamaal Williams leads the NFL in touchdowns, though he isn't catching passes and he's rarely reaching 20 carries. “vs. BUF” isn't a great place to bet on multiple finishes at the rim.
Najee Harris is back to playing every snap. It will continue for Week 12 with Jaylen Warren battling a hamstring injury. It is up to fantasy managers to decide if this means anything. The past two box scores do look nice, while the Steelers have been pleased with Harris' eye test. … Miles Sanders, who cares. … With Clyde Edwards-Helaire felled by a high-ankle sprain, Isiah Pacheco will continue to get comfortable with Chiefs starting duties. Pacheco was galloping like a mad man against the Chargers. The Chiefs are awe-inspiring 15.5-point favorites against the Rams. … There is ample reason to hope this is the week the Bucs commit to Rachaad White over Leonard Fournette, especially since the bye provided a cut-and-dry reset opportunity. We will still believe it when we see it. … I originally had Latavius Murray ranked higher because of his guaranteed touch domination against the Panthers' shoddy run defense. It is just difficult to say what that really gets us at this stage of the game. … I don't know what the upside is with either Antonio Gibson or Brian Robinson. … We can feel slightly better about Michael Carter with the Jets turning to Mike White.