Week 11 Running Backs
RB Notes: Leading all running backs in yards from scrimmage even though the Giants have already had their bye, Saquon Barkley has a home smash spot against a Lions defense surrendering the second most rushing yards. … The way to get the Eagles is on the ground, and that's where the Colts will be committed the rest of the way. Now essentially an every-snap player with Nyheim Hines in Buffalo, a healthy Jonathan Taylor has a scarily-high ceiling for the season's stretch run. … Christian McCaffrey got an October surprise in November when Elijah Mitchell (knee) came off injured reserve to what amounted to a near-even role with CMC. Lest fantasy managers think it was a freak game flow occurrence against a weak run defense, coach Kyle Shanahan claimed the opposite. “That kind of was our goal before the game started, was to have a goal to have about even carries.” Shanny, of course, says a lot of things, but it is safe to assume Mitchell's touches will not be plunging to zero. What we also know is that CMC should monopolize the high-value handles, as he did in Week 10 even as Mitchell out-touched him 19-18. CMC falls down a few spots in the ranks but maintains his week-winning upside. For his part, Mitchell is a floor-based FLEX with a narrow path to spiked weeks.
Although Austin Ekeler will likely be dealing with the healthy returns of Mike Williams (ankle) and Keenan Allen (hamstring), he will maintain his role. That, after all, has been the case through years of good Williams and Allen health. … It has been a bizarre two weeks for Derrick Henry. What we know is, on a short week against a bad Packers run defense, he is all but certain to reach 20 carries for the first time in three games. … As theorized last week, Dalvin Cook has begun his inevitable regression to the mean. Of course, his monster Week 10 was largely built on the back of one run. He will nevertheless be in a good spot to do it again in a high-totaled contest against a soft Cowboys run defense. … Dameon Pierce is one of 2022's most bankable “hell or high water” backs. No matter what, he is getting his carries. His floor is high enough to give him some runway over others' ceilings. … Despite last week's dud, Nick Chubb's floor is one of the only ones you will find higher than Pierce's. Even in a brutal scoring environment that has the Browns as touchdown-plus 'dogs to the Bills, we will keep placing our Chubb bets.
We are trusting the process with Josh Jacobs' locked-in touches as a road underdog in a low-totaled affair against an elite defense. … Rhamondre Stevenson has been more Alvin Kamara than Alvin Kamara this season. Hopefully that remains the case coming off the Patriots' bye, which gave Damien Harris' balky hamstring a week to get closer to full health. With Stevenson seeing most of the high-value touches, he maintains both an RB1 floor and ceiling even though Harris figures to continue seeing 10-12 carries in this run-first attack. … With the Packers' offense back on the upswing, Aaron Jones has spiked two weeks out of three. The Titans are tougher on the ground than through the air. … Joe Mixon finally regressed to the scoring mean with his four-touchdown Week 9 but comes off bye against a Steelers defense that is much more susceptible to the pass than run. It feels appropriate to rank Mixon as the borderline RB1 he has been for most of 2022 instead of the RB1 overall he was two weeks ago. … Bad as the Rams have been, the Saints' offense hasn't been much better. Alvin Kamara scored a check-down victory when New Orleans announced it was sticking with Andy Dalton under center, but LAR/NO boasts arguably the week's worst scoring environment.
With Khalil Herbert (hip) on injured reserve, we are once again going back to the David Montgomery well. Only five teams allow more running back fantasy points than the Falcons, and Vegas has pushed the CHI/ATL total near 50. … Ezekiel Elliott (knee) seems likely to return, but Tony Pollard has probably finally flipped the dynamic in the Cowboys' backfield. At least for a likely shootout like Sunday's date with the Vikings, Pollard now gets the rankings advantage. … James Conner played 96 percent of the Cardinals' snaps in Week 10. Maybe Keaontay Ingram will cut into that following Eno Benjamin's shock release, but Conner's playing time keeps him in the high-end RB2 mix despite being a massive home 'dog against the 49ers. … Good as D'Onta Foreman has been, there are just a few too many trapdoors for him to fall through in an offense that is somehow once again being quarterbacked by Baker Mayfield. He is a low-end RB2. … Antonio Gibson will play through his knee injury against the Texans, but Brian Robinson's carries advantage gives him the rankings advantage against the Texans' league-worst run defense. The time to point chase is now.
The touch separation has not been what we would like between Michael Carter and James Robinson, but I will continue to rank Carter as if he will get the first “hot hand” opportunity, and that he will be the most likely to develop it. … Cordarrelle Patterson has been unimpressive since returning from injured reserve two games ago, but he is the kind of player who should be expected to thrive in the kind of scoring environment he will encounter against the Bears' crumbled defense. … It's not so much the fact that Isiah Pacheco carried the ball 16 times against the Jags. It's that Clyde Edwards-Helaire played fewer than five snaps. Why would that genie go back in the bottle? The Chargers are a green light matchup. … Najee Harris has “staved off elimination” for the time being, but the Steelers' ground game will not find the environs as appealing as it did against the Saints. Jaylen Warren's play-making could be needed more than it was in Week 10. … It is difficult to ignore the way the Ravens committed to Gus Edwards following his return from the PUP list, but the same is true of Kenyan Drake's Week 9 performance. Even with Edwards (hamstring) back in the saddle, I will give Drake the Week 11 rankings advantage.