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“Just win baby.” Famous words from ex Oakland Raiders owner, Al Davis. Those words ring true for fantasy owners now more than ever. Week 13 is generally the final week of the regular season for most owners, and for many a win or loss this week will decide their positioning or whether they even make the playoffs. All that matters now is putting the best team possible on the field. “Just win baby.”
Each week, Jake’s article will aim to highlight running backs that you should consider targeting on your league’s waiver wire. I’ve split these players up into three tiers from most desirable to most desperate. Additionally, I’ve included players at the bottom of this list that I would be comfortable cutting as I don’t see them contributing in a major way this season.
Cream of the Crop Running Backs for Week 13 Waiver Wire
These are running backs that I would add no matter what if they are available on your waiver wire. These players have a chance to be starters and weekly contributors to their NFL teams:
Spencer Ware (RB, KC) - 38% owned on Fleaflicker
Knile Davis? Nope. Charcandrick West? Ehh, not really. Third time is the charm? Maybe Spencer Ware is the Jamaal Charles handcuff the turns into a top-10 RB that we’ve all been looking for since Charles’ week 5 injury. Ware was certainly in charge of the Kansas City backfield on Sunday, getting 22 of the 23 RB touches for the Chiefs in their matchup with a normally stingy, Rex Ryan led, Bills run defense. Ware ended the day with 114 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries. He has three touchdowns now in the past two games and just runs hard.
The unknown with Ware is how long the aforementioned West’s hamstring injury will keep him out. If the injury lingers, as hamstring injuries tend to do, Ware is clearly the guy. Even more clear. KC’s schedule is pristine for a fantasy playoff (and real life playoff) run. KC has one of the easiest schedules in the league the rest of the way, especially when it comes to run defenses. KC will see a slightly below average run D, based on the fantasy SOS over at fftoday, in Week 13. Week’s 14 and 16 bring two way below average run D’s in matchups with San Diego and Cleveland which are also both at home. The only difficult matchup is on the road against the Ravens in Week 15, but with all of the injuries to that Baltimore squad one could assume that KC will be playing from ahead and the run game could be good just based on pure volume during the clock killing time.
Joique Bell (RB, DET) - 50% owned on Fleaflicker
When Bell gathered 16 touches two weeks ago, I wrote, “What the Hell, Take a Shot on Bell.” Well, two weeks into the future and that is looking like a pretty good call. Being Thanksgiving, I was able to sit down and watch the entire Lions game, and to my surprise, I didn’t want to rip my eyes out watching Bell and the offense. In fact, at one point I think I threw the word spry around while talking about Joique. Bell didn’t get as many touches as he did two weeks ago, but he made more out of his touches on Thanksgiving. Bell received 7 carries and caught 2 of his 3 targets, totaling 82 yards while also adding a touchdown. The play in particular that stood out to me was a 40-yard catch and run inside the 1 yard line which set him up for his touchdown. Remember, when Bell was at his best, he was a dual threat on the ground and in the aerial game. During his 2012 and 2013 campaigns, Bell averaged 52.5 catches and over 500 yards receiving. If he can get back to that type of back, he will be very useful come the fantasy playoffs.
Honorable Mentions: David Johnson (RB, ARI) - 58% owned
Wait and See Running Backs for Week 13 Waiver Wire
These are running backs highly available on the waiver wire who you should consider stashing if you have room:
Brandon Bolden/James White (RB, NE) - 24% and 41% owned on Fleaflicker
Any seasoned fantasy football fan knows why these two guys are grouped together. In classic Belichick fashion, owners have no clue which of these two backs will be playing the passing down role in compliment to LeGarrette Blount’s bruising running style.
Two weeks ago it was James White who got more of the action, out-snapping Bolden on offense 18-12 and converting those snaps into 46 total yards and two touchdowns. Of course, this week Bolden upped his snap count to 15, and touched the ball on eight of those snaps. Bolden finished the game with 95 total yards, adding a touchdown in the passing game and looking like the backup to Blount. Tread carefully, but the upside is certainly there.
Shaun Draughn (RB, SF) - 15% owned on Fleaflicker
I wrote up Draught as a must-add a few weeks ago and while he did deliver to a certain extent on the field this past Sunday, 20 touches for 86 total yards against a touch Seattle run D, I’m wary that Carlos Hyde is close to returning. It’s just a suspicion, but until that time, Draughn is certainly the running back to own in San Francisco. From the “Just Win Baby” handbook, Draughn does have juicy matchups against Cleveland in Week 14 and Detroit in Week 16.
Honorable Mentions: Antonio Andrews (RB, TEN) - 45% owned, Javorius Allen (RB, BAL) - 50% owned
Hail Mary Running Backs for Week 13 Waiver Wire
These are desperation plays who shouldn’t be starting for you. The injury bug, bye week troubles, or something else needs to be affecting your team to add these players:
Jonathan Grimes (RB, HOU) - 15% owed on Fleaflicker
Grimes is a hard-nosed runner that can catch the ball out of the backfield. Grimes is playing in the #2 role right now behind Alfred Blue, but it games when the Texans are behind, Grimes is the back that is in the game. The Texans play Buffalo, New England, and Indianapolis over the next three weeks and I could see the Texans using Grimes in the situations when they are down in the game.
Honorable Mentions: Theo Riddick (RB, DET) - 29% owned