RB Watch List Week 14: The Playoffs Are Here

It was a brutal week at the running back position. Todd Gurley, Matt Forte, Wendell Smallwood, Mark Ingram, Rashad Jennings, Kenneth Dixon, James Starks, Tim Hightower, Dion Lewis, and Theo Riddick all recorded fewer than five expected points in the running game (ruEP). 

Lamar Miller and Tevin Coleman eclipsed that level in ruEP but dipped below five actual rush points due to poor efficiency. Miller was especially poor with -4.4 rushing fantasy points over expectation (ruFPOE).

Let’s take a look at the news and usage surrounding fantasy-relevant backfields as we move into the playoffs.

  • Doug Martin has been a trade target for weeks due to matchups with New Orleans in Weeks 14 and 16. Unfortunately, the Saints have largely rectified their defensive issues, while Martin has slogged his way to 2.98 yards per carry on the season. Jacquizz Rodgers has struggled to be even a replacement level player throughout his career. That he’s in the mix for an expanded role underlines the frustration with Martin, a back Tampa Bay signed to a 5-year, $35 million contract in the offseason.1 Charles Sims is also expected to be activated this week.
  • Jeremy Hill ranked No. 6 in ruEP last week at 14.4, his somewhat hilarious 23-33-1 line rescued in part by the score. Hill continues to be one of the top goal line backs with a 4.1 percent TD rate. He should run freely against a Cleveland defense that is 29th in RB scoring.
  • Devontae Booker tied with Frank Gore for No. 9 in ruEP with 10.6, but matched his season average with -1.1 ruFPOE. He added very little in the passing game and is expected to split carries with Justin Forsett this week. These types of committees can shift quickly, but Forsett now looks like the favorite to lead the Broncos backfield down the stretch.
  • LeSean McCoy ripped through the Oakland defense to the tune of 8.7 ruEP, 4.3 ruFPOE, 11 reEP, and 2.1 reFPOE, gaudy numbers that gave him 26.1 overall. Surprisingly, Mike Gillislee actually had more expected points due to goal line work. The hyper-handcuff converted those opportunities and continued his breakout season with 16.9. He will continue as a threat to vulture scores.
  • Carlos Hyde has the No. 4 schedule for the fantasy semis and finals (and may help owners this week as well against a collapsing Jets squad). Hyde is averaging 14.1 expected points per game. In Week 15 he gets a Falcons squad that was shredded by Spencer Ware and rank No. 31 in RB points allowed. In Week 16 the Rams represent one of the few opponents that shouldn’t blow out the 49ers in the first half.
  • The Ravens and Giants have been two of the most frustrating teams to play this season. After a week where it looked like Kenneth Dixon might finally take over, Terrance West exploded for 21.8 points, more than doubling up expectation in the run game – 5.2 ruEP, 5.8 ruFPOE – and adding a 7.0 reEP. The receiving value is probably the bigger surprise and will be hard to duplicate in a tough matchup with New England.
  • The Giants can’t run the ball and frequently give up on their starter. Rashad Jennings lost carries to Paul Perkins in the second half but continued to operate as the receiving back. He earned 15 percent of the team’s targets in the loss to Pittsburgh, the third time he’s seen at least 14 percent of the targets in the last four games. Unfortunately, Shane Vereen may be poised to return and send his value to zero.

A Buy Low Machine Look at the Playoffs


Let me know which RBs you’re considering for your playoff run in the comments.

The Numbers

PLAYERTeamruEP Wk13ruFPOE Wk13reEP Wk13reFPOE Wk13ruEP SeasonruFPOE SeasonreEP SeasonreFPOE Season
Jordan HowardCHI20.29.51.5-
Devonta FreemanATL16.21.45.9310.5-
David JohnsonARI15.3-0.917.76.412.41.512.21
Latavius MurrayOAK15.257.2-
Le'Veon BellPIT14.7-
Jeremy HillCIN14.4-5.14-
Ezekiel ElliottDAL11.92.77.3-1.412.
Doug MartinTB11.7-
Frank GoreIND10.6-2.71.1-1.19.5-
Devontae BookerDEN10.6-1.11.6-0.46.9-1.13.2-0.4
Carlos HydeSF10.5-1.32.8-
Rob KelleyWAS10.1-3.81.5-1.56.611.6-0.6
Melvin GordonSD104.481.413.7-
Mike GillisleeBUF9.67.3003.
LeGarrette BlountNE9.15.700131.50.9-0.1
LeSean McCoyBUF8.74.3112.19.545.40.6
Spencer WareKC8.70.211.7-0.48.7-
Thomas RawlsSEA814.
Denard RobinsonJAC8-
Lamar MillerHOU6.6-
Tevin ColemanATL6.4-1.53-
Darren SprolesPHI6.
T.J. YeldonJAC5.8-0.310.2-4.54.4-0.86.1-0.3
Jay AjayiMIA5.60.59.8-
Terrance WestBAL5.25.873.88-0.13.7-0.6
Jalen RichardOAK5.10.2002.
Jonathan StewartCAR501.4-0.110.5-0.21.8-0.8
Todd GurleyLA4.8-14.6-1.79.7-2.15.4-0.6
Zach ZennerDET4.4-0.4004.7-
Robert TurbinIND4.43.2002.20.82.8-0.5
Troymaine PopeSEA4.3-
Christine MichaelGB4.2-2.3006.713.7-0.4
Jerick McKinnonMIN4.2-0.111.415.4-1.63.5-0.2
Matt ForteNYJ4.1-1.662.410.4-0.450.1
Rex BurkheadCIN3.70.17.6-
Wendell SmallwoodPHI3.6-1.74.1-4.13.8-0.51.6-0.6
Dwayne WashingtonDET3.5-
Jacquizz RodgersTB3.3-
Jonathan GrimesHOU3.311.
Benny CunninghamLA3.2-3.3001.6-0.63.2-0.7
Kapri BibbsDEN3.11.8001.8-
Mark IngramNO30.77.3-
Paul PerkinsNYG30.8002.8-
Alfred BlueHOU2.813.1-0.82.8-0.21-0.6
Matt AsiataMIN2.70.31.7-16.4-1.230.3
Theo RiddickDET2.7-2.514.1-1.65.1-0.910.81.2
Dion LewisNE2.60.16.8-1.73.3-0.87.4-1.3
Rashad JenningsNYG2.5-0.696.47.7-
Andre EllingtonARI2.5-22.7-0.71.2-0.51.9-0.5
Josh FergusonIND2.5-1.4000.9-0.65-0.2
Kenneth DixonBAL2.
Shaun DraughnSF2.3-0.32.5-2.51.9-
Bilal PowellNYJ2.1-1.80.9-
James StarksGB2-1.9004.2-
Kenneth FarrowSD1.7-0.2001.3-0.30.6-0.4
Mike TolbertCAR1.70.41.3-1.31.3-0.71.3-0.3
Peyton BarberTB1.5-0.9003.20.11.2-0.2
James WhiteNE1.50.28-2.21.2-
DuJuan HarrisSF1.1-0.3002.8-0.51.92
Chris ThompsonWAS11.
Ka'Deem CareyCHI0.9-0.11.3-1.31.6-0.21.2-0.1
Jordan TodmanIND0.9-0.6000.80.50.5-0.5
Juwan ThompsonDEN0.8-0.3002.21.100
Tim HightowerNO0.7-0.21.406.4-230.7
Jeremy LangfordCHI0.7-0.5003.80.33.3-0.7
Damien WilliamsMIA0.7-
Alfred MorrisDAL0.50.6002.70.20.5-0.2
Charcandrick WestKC0.5-0.5002.6-0.93.5-0.3
Fozzy WhittakerCAR0.5-0.2001.703.40.1
Kenyan DrakeMIA0.5-0.41.401.
Reggie BushBUF0.30001-
DeMarco MurrayTEN000011.716.71.1
Isaiah CrowellCLE00007.
Cameron Artis-PayneCAR00006.
Chris IvoryJAC00006.4-1.13.10
DeAngelo WilliamsPIT00005.41.14.5-0.2
Justin ForsettDEN00004.3-1.65.1-1.3
Derrick HenryTEN00003.
DeAndre WashingtonOAK00003.2-0.22.5-0.5
Terron WardATL00003.1-0.61.2-0.5
Akeem HuntHOU00002.6-0.30.8-0.5
Duke JohnsonCLE00002.60.27.7-0.6
Jonathan WilliamsBUF00002.6-0.40.4-0.3
Jamize OlawaleOAK00001.701.51.9
Kenjon BarnerPHI003.7-2.51.710.9-0.3
Mike DavisSF00001.50.31.2-0.3
Knile DavisKC00001.2-0.81.7-0.2
Alex CollinsSEA00001.
Lance DunbarDAL00000.90.12.3-0.1
Dexter McClusterSD00000.3-0.33-1.2
Travaris CadetNO008.12.20.2-0.16.4-0.8
Taiwan JonesOAK001.40.70.1-

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  1. The contract includes $7M guaranteed in 2017.  (back)
By Shawn Siegele | @ff_contrarian | Archive

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