Fantasy Football Week 13 Workload Watch

Matt Camp@TheMattCampFantasy Football Lead WriterNovember 29, 2018

Fantasy Football Week 13 Workload Watch

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    Jordan Howard is hard to trust if your season is on the line.
    Jordan Howard is hard to trust if your season is on the line.Rick Scuteri/Associated Press

    With only a little time left in the fantasy regular season and the playoffs starting soon, trust in players matters a lot more. We know the floors and ceilings for most guys. This is the time of year when you determine how and if players fit on your roster. 

    Last week's Workload Watch covered just how touchdown-dependent Jordan Howard has been this season. With another disappointing performance in Week 12, he isn't even averaging 10 fantasy points per game. Depending on the size of your roster and starting lineup, keeping Howard around could be a waste of time. There's not enough time for him to earn back trust. 

    The New York Jets backfield looks like a lost cause. The team is bad and out of contention, and with both Isaiah Crowell and Elijah McGuire splitting touches and snaps, neither player is providing anything close to reliable fantasy output. As long as both are active, you should steer clear.

    To learn more about what's going on in the backfields of the Los Angeles Chargers, Indianapolis Colts, Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, Detroit Lions and Philadelphia Eagles, check out the Week 13 BS Meter. The Workload Watch covers eight other running back situations that have the most fantasy implications.


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Atlanta Falcons

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    Tevin Coleman hasn't turned in many big games this season.
    Tevin Coleman hasn't turned in many big games this season.Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

    Week 12 Workload Distribution

    Tevin Coleman: 50% snaps, 8 carries, 6 yards, 0 TD, 4 targets, 3 receptions, 17 yards, 1 TD

    Ito Smith: 37.1% snaps, 4 carries, 0 yards, 0 TD, 2 targets, 2 receptions, 7 yards, 0 TD

    Even though Coleman continues to lead the Falcons backfield, his production has been underwhelming. That doesn't mean he has been bad, because he hasn't, but he seems stifled in this offense thanks to a lack of quality opportunities and the presence of Smith.

    In last week's lopsided loss to the New Orleans Saints, Coleman salvaged a decent fantasy outing with a garbage-time touchdown. Even with the score, Coleman had just 11.1 fantasy points, which made him the No. 24 running back for Week 12. He is averaging 13.5 fantasy points per game, which is outside the top 20 running backs.

    Meanwhile, Smith seems to be nothing more than a nuisance to Coleman's fantasy value. In the last three games, he carried 14 times for 21 yards and caught eight of nine targets for 34 yards. That production turned into just 13.5 fantasy points, so Smith isn't on the fantasy radar. He is averaging 34 percent of the snaps and 7.8 fantasy points per game. 

    Basically, Smith isn't doing enough to have any fantasy value on his own, but he's involved enough to lower Coleman's ceiling. The Falcons are 29th in rushing attempts (21.3), which is likely related to a defense that's allowed the fourth-most points (27.9) on the season. Coleman's opportunities are limited by Smith and game flow because of the team's poor defense, so he's just a decent RB2 with minimal upside.

Chicago Bears

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    Jordan Howard continues to disappoint each week.
    Jordan Howard continues to disappoint each week.Ralph Freso/Associated Press

    Week 12 Workload Distribution

    Jordan Howard: 60.3% snaps, 7 carries, 13 yards, 0 TD, 2 targets, 1 reception, 2 yards, 0 TD

    Tarik Cohen: 37.9% snaps, 3 carries, 14 yards, 0 TD, 8 targets, 7 receptions, 45 yards, 1 TD

    Last week, the Chicago Bears' discussion featured a comparison of Howard's scoring average with and without a touchdown. In his four games with a score, he averaged 14.7 fantasy points per game. Before last week, he had six games without a touchdown and averaged just 7.4 fantasy points per game. Week 12 brought another game without a trip to the end zone, so Howard's FPG in appearances without a touchdown dropped to 6.7. 

    Unlike Howard, Cohen has been able to keep solid fantasy value for the majority of the season. Through 12 weeks, he's averaging 14.4 FPG, which makes him a solid RB2. His role in the passing game has been the biggest reason for his fantasy production, and he's second on the team in targets (63), receptions (47), receiving yards (503) and receiving touchdowns (4). He leads all Bears with six total touchdowns. 

    Chicago doesn't have a receiver with more than 69 targets or 51 receptions, but the Bears do have five players with at least 48 targets and 29 receptions. That does make Cohen a little volatile, although considering he's been one of the busiest parts of the passing game, it's much easier to trust him compared to Howard. Cohen has performed well in his role, while Howard is averaging 3.3 yards per carry.

    Trust in Cohen should remain for the rest of the season, but if you're tired of dealing with Howard's low ceiling and low floor, he could be someone you consider moving on from ahead of the fantasy playoffs.

Cleveland Browns

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    Nick Chubb is doing everything for the Browns.
    Nick Chubb is doing everything for the Browns.Joe Robbins/Getty Images

    Week 12 Workload Distribution

    Nick Chubb: 71.9% snaps, 28 carries, 84 yards, 1 TD, 3 targets, 3 receptions, 44 yards, 1 TD

    Duke Johnson: 28.1% snaps, 2 carries, 16 yards, 0 TD, 2 targets, 1 reception, 23 yards, 0 TD

    When the season began, stashing Chubb seemed like a worthwhile lottery ticket in the hopes he'd carve out a role and potentially take over for Carlos Hyde at some point. If that risk turned into a decent RB2 by year's end, stashing Chubb would be worth it. Obviously, he's blown those expectations away and finds himself in the RB1 conversation. 

    With a great matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals on tap for Chubb in Week 12, he looked primed for a huge performance against one of the worst run defenses in the league. Surprisingly, he didn't have an efficient day on the ground, but he saw enough carries to log his fifth game with at least 80 rushing yards. He has at least 18 carries in every game since taking over for Hyde.

    The beautiful bonus of Chubb's role has been his contributions as a receiver. Two of his six touchdowns in the last five games have come through the air, including a highlight-reel catch against the Bengals. It's not a lot, but he does have nine receptions for 92 yards and two scores on 13 targets this season. 

    Johnson's value is almost completely tied to his role as a receiver. He has just 28 carries for 146 yards and no scores on the ground, but he has 34 receptions for 335 yards and three touchdowns on 44 targets. Unfortunately, he has just five games with at least four receptions and four games with at least 30 yards. 

    In the five games without Hyde, Chubb is in the RB1 tier as the No. 8 running back, with 20.6 fantasy points per game. During that same stretch, Johnson is scoring 11.7 FPG, which makes him a reliable RB3/flex. There shouldn't be much change to the values of either player heading into the final month of the season, so use them accordingly.

Denver Broncos

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    Royce Freeman's return hasn't affected Phillip Lindsay.
    Royce Freeman's return hasn't affected Phillip Lindsay.Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

    Week 12 Workload Distribution

    Phillip Lindsay: 63.2% snaps, 14 carries, 110 yards, 1 TD, 0 targets

    Royce Freeman: 26.3% snaps, 6 carries, 17 yards, 0 TD, 0 targets

    Devontae Booker: 10.5% snaps, 0 carries, 2 targets, 1 reception, 6 yards, 0 TD

    Even though Lindsay has led the Denver Broncos backfield all season, the presence of Freeman and even Booker has been enough to limit his upside. That presence is starting to diminish, which is great news for Lindsay owners.

    In the two games since Freeman returned from injury, he has just 13 carries for 40 yards with a touchdown and a single catch for seven yards on his only target. By comparison, Lindsay has 25 carries for 189 yards and three touchdowns in addition to four receptions for 27 yards on five targets. Booker has been a total non-factor with no carries and two receptions for 10 yards on three targets. 

    In those games, Freeman hasn't played more than 26 percent of the snaps. Before his injury, he had just two games with fewer than 30 percent of the snaps. Lindsay didn't play more than 42 percent of the snaps until Week 7, when he had 59 percent. Since that game, he has been on the field for at least 56 percent of the snaps. His season high came in Week 12, which is a great sign considering both Freeman and Booker were also active.

    The Broncos trust Lindsay, and at 14.8 fantasy points per game, he's given his fantasy owners a great RB2 with RB1 upside. Freeman is nothing more than a depth player, and he would be considered a good handcuff for Lindsay in the fantasy playoffs.

Houston Texans

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    Lamar Miller has settled in as a reliable RB2.
    Lamar Miller has settled in as a reliable RB2.Pablo Martinez Monsivais/Associated Press

    Week 12 Workload Distribution

    Lamar Miller: 61.5% snaps, 12 carries, 162 yards, 1 TD, 1 target, 1 reception, 5 yards, 0 TD

    Alfred Blue: 40% snaps, 13 carries, 49 yards, 0 TD, 1 target, 1 reception, 13 yards, 0 TD

    By sticking with the philosophy of investing in players on contending teams, you add a level of confidence to starting lineup decisions, especially with running backs. For a player like Miller, he plays an active role as the lead back of a division-leading team. Barring an injury, touches shouldn't be a problem. 

    After a slow start, he has gone from a decent RB2 with a high floor to a strong RB2 with a high floor and a rising ceiling. He registered his third 100-yard game in Week 12, the third time he hit that mark in five games. Miller now has five games with 85-plus yards. Surprisingly, he has just a 42-carry lead over Alfred Blue, although the yardage isn't close at 773-392. 

    The problem with Miller is a fairly small role in the passing game. He has just 17 receptions for 132 yards and a touchdown on 26 targets. Of course, there's not much room for him to contribute as a receiver since the Texans are tied for 28th with just 30.4 pass attempts per game. The flip side: 30.8 rush attempts per game, which ranks third behind the New Orleans Saints and Seattle Seahawks. 

    The return of D'Onta Foreman has yet to happen, and there's no guarantee it will this season. He's yet to be activated from the PUP list after tearing his Achilles last season. According to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle, when head coach Bill O'Brien was asked about Foreman's status Tuesday, he said, "Better, not all the way back yet. I think he feels good. We've got a little more time on that decision."

    Since Week 7, Miller is averaging 16.1 FPG as RB20. He's a good RB2 leading a backfield for a team that features the run. With Foreman off the radar and Blue acting as nothing more than a backup, Miller should remain one of the safest fantasy options on one of the hottest teams in the league.

Minnesota Vikings

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    The Minnesota Vikings aren't getting enough out of Dalvin Cook.
    The Minnesota Vikings aren't getting enough out of Dalvin Cook.Jim Mone/Associated Press

    Week 12 Workload Distribution

    Dalvin Cook: 58.6% snaps, 10 carries, 29 yards, 0 TD, 3 targets, 3 receptions, 47 yards, 1 TD

    Latavius Murray: 40% snaps, 11 carries, 33 yards, 0 TD, 0 targets

    When Cook made his return in Week 9, he quieted all doubters with 89 yards on 10 carries and four receptions for 20 yards. It looked like his hamstring issues were behind him, so after the Week 10 bye, he'd be back to must-start status.

    The excitement for his return has quieted down in a hurry after he combined for just 41 yards on 19 carries in the last two games. Murray hasn't been any better with 38 yards on 15 carries, but it's not an encouraging sign to see Cook struggling on the ground and Murray still involved. 

    Cook had an 88-9 percent lead in snap share in Week 11, although that disparity didn't last, as evidenced by the near 60-40 split in Week 12. The biggest difference that remains between the two is in the passing game. In three games since returning, Cook has 10 receptions for 65 yards and a touchdown on 10 targets. During that same time, Murray has one catch for 16 yards on his only target.

    Knowing that Cook had lost nearly six weeks to a hamstring injury, expectations shouldn't have put him back in the RB1 tier. However, after he looked so good in Week 9, the belief that he'd be a strong RB2 was fair. He is averaging just 11.2 fantasy points per game over the last month, so he's been just a decent RB3/flex option. If Cook can improve on the ground and keep the same role in the passing game, he'll get back into the RB2 conversation.

New York Jets

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    Elijah McGuire isn't doing enough to stay on the fantasy radar.
    Elijah McGuire isn't doing enough to stay on the fantasy radar.Mark Brown/Getty Images

    Week 12 Workload Distribution

    Isaiah Crowell: 40.6% snaps, 6 carries, 30 yards, 0 TD, 4 targets, 3 receptions, 30 yards, 0 TD

    Elijah McGuire: 54.7% snaps, 6 carries, 19 yards, 0 TD, 3 targets, 1 reception, 7 yards, 0 TD

    As the New York Jets tumble completely out of contention, the reliability of the fantasy options on the team continues to decrease, specifically in the backfield. 

    When McGuire was activated to the 53-man roster in Week 9, the Jets were already falling apart, so with Bilal Powell out for the season, McGuire seemed to be in line for a significant role. Unfortunately, he's had just 19 carries for 79 yards in three games and seven receptions for 71 yards on 14 targets. That's not poor production, but it's not enough to provide reliable fantasy value. 

    The presence of McGuire has also killed the little fantasy value Crowell had earlier in the season. Since McGuire's return, Crowell has 26 carries for 98 yards and a touchdown in three games. Crowell has had a minor role in the passing game all season. During those three games, he turned eight targets into six receptions for 59 yards. 

    McGuire has out-snapped Crowell in all three games since coming back from a foot injury. Of course, that hasn't meant anything more than two players splitting snaps, carries and targets on a bad team. There's not enough to go around for either player to be considered useful for fantasy, so you can forget about this backfield for the rest of the season.

Oakland Raiders

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    Doug Martin deserves credit for playing well on a bad team.
    Doug Martin deserves credit for playing well on a bad team.Norm Hall/Getty Images

    Week 12 Workload Distribution

    Doug Martin: 48.3% snaps, 11 carries, 51 yards, 1 TD, 4 targets, 3 receptions, 21 yards, 0 TD

    Jalen Richard: 44.8% snaps, 1 carry, 1 yards, 0 TD, 4 targets, 2 receptions, 15 yards, 0 TD

    DeAndre Washington: 13.8% snaps, 3 carries, 8 yards, 0 TD, 1 target, 1 reception, 9 yards, 0 TD

    Unlike the Jets, the Oakland Raiders are still providing a little fantasy production out of the backfield despite a 2-9 record.

    To his credit, Martin has quietly been a reliable replacement for Marshawn Lynch. In five games without Lynch, Martin has 60 carries for 285 yards (4.8 yards per carry) and a touchdown. After Martin suffered an ankle injury in Week 11, it looked like the Raiders might try to take a deeper look at Washington. Instead, Martin's snap share increased from 21 percent to 48 percent while Washington's dropped from 34 percent to 14 percent. 

    Richard took a big hit in his carry share. He had season highs in carries (11) and rushing yards (61) in Week 11, yet he was barely involved on the ground in Week 12. The bigger surprise was Richard's second-worst game as a receiver coming in the loss to the Baltimore Ravens, especially since the Raiders played from behind in the second half. His snap share has fluctuated between 39 percent to 47 percent since Lynch has been gone, but without a fair share of the touches, snaps don't matter.

    Martin is averaging 10.4 fantasy points per game to Richard's 10 FPG since Lynch was placed on injured reserve. That makes both players shaky RB3/flex options.