Tony Pollard and Ezekiel Elliott are poised for a super spot with the Texans, Joe Mixon (concussion) is finally making a comeback against the Browns and D’Andre Swift is trying to prove his Week 13 outburst was no fluke.
Other Positions: Quarterback | Receiver | Tight End/Kicker/Defense
Week 14 running backs
RB Notes: Josh Jacobs sees Derrick Henry type workloads while actually involved in the passing game and has grown too big to fail. This is particularly considered a favorite on the touchdown road for a short-week matchup with the Rams’ collapsed defense. … Brock Purdy may finally have resolved the 49ers’ identity crisis with Christian McCaffrey. Without Jimmy Garoppolo and Elijah Mitchell, there’s no plan B, except maybe Deebo Samuel amping up tempo changes. McCaffrey Has be the heartbeat of the crime. Purdy, of course, committed to him in week 13. The only fly in the Week 14 ointment is a Bucs defense, which gave up the second-least RB receptions. … Austin Ekeler is on course for 121 receptions, which would break Christian McCaffrey’s 2019 running back record by five. … Derrick Henry has averaged just 2.77 yards on 75 carries in his last four appearances. It’s not like the Big Dog, which usually grinds defenses to dust at this point in the season. A Jaguars D that didn’t even appear on the field against the Lions last Sunday could be the right point Henry has been waiting for.
Speaking of attrition, Saquon Barkley has averaged just 2.82 yards per carry over the past three weeks while only rushing for over 10 yards. Despite being more forgiving on the ground than in the air, the Eagles won’t make life any easier on Sunday. … Averaging five catches a week and 93 yards from scrimmage, Rhamondre Stevenson is the only player doing his job on the Patriots offense. At least according to EPA per Rush, the Cardinals are a dead-on average running defense. Damien Harris (hamstring) status is unclear. … If Week 13 was any indication, the Browns haven’t nailed their offensive approach after Deshaun Watson. Expect greater engagement from Nick Chubb against a Bengals defense that ranks under seven per rush in EPA. That’s as long as the nearly fake street dog Browns can keep things close. … I don’t recall ever placing two running backs from the same team in the top 12, but Tony Pollard and Ezekiel Elliott will be there in Week 14. It helps that six backfields are bye. It Yes, really helps that the cowboys are 17-point home favorite against the worst defense in the league. Let’s just hope Malik Davis doesn’t get too much time to kill in the second half.
As fun as the Lions have gotten, they’re still an EPA bottom three-run defense, one coughing up 5.2 yards per carry. Dalvin Cook will have plenty of room to work within the contours of the 52.5 buck. … Joe Mixon (concussion) returns against a Browns run D that’s the worst in the league by some standards. The only concern might be that the Bengals lighten his load somewhat after Samaje Perine’s successful two-game fill-in stint. … The Jags failed to sustain drives in Week 13, limiting Travis Etienne’s volume. To reach 16 touches in a 40-14 loss was something of a triumph. Unfortunately, the Titans are ground-locked, making Etienne a ground-based and non-ceiling-seeking option for week 14. … Despite allowing a few blow-up plays, the Pats have generally held their own against the run. James Conner is still well-rested from his departure and his best week as a cardinal. The Cardinals may want to limit Kyler Murray’s attempts against Bill Belichick. … D’Onta Foreman, who is dealing with foot and rib issues stemming from the Panthers’ departure, is a riskier RB2 than he otherwise would be for a Plus matchup against the Seahawks.
Back to my old self? D’Andre Swift was off the injury report for the first time since the opener, reaching 18 touches and clearing 1100 yards from scrimmage for the first time in Week 1 and leading the Lions backfield in seconds. He’s back on the injury report now with an ankle problem, but it should just be rep management after his best workload of the season. Swift needs to be in the lineups for this 52.5 total showdown. … It’s hard to say what happened to Jeff Wilson in his one-touch week 13. I would have to imagine it was a game script deviation in a competition where the Dolphins just played poorly against an elite defense. Wilson, the Dolphins’ lead pure runner, has an A+ bounce back spot against the Chargers’ historically poor run defense. … Rachaad White and Leonard Fournette played to the hilt and a standstill in Week 13. I’m expecting something similar on Sunday, but I’ll give the more explosive White the leaderboard lead over the 49ers’ elite defense. … Just to survive, I’d expect the Rams to stay with Cam Akers for Thursday night’s short-week date with the Raiders. He’s one of the few remaining skill players with meaningful experience on Sean McVay’s offense.
James Cook’s backcourt takeover in Week 13 was a game, but it was pretty convincing. I’m showing everything the Bills aren’t getting out of Devin Singletary — especially receptions and big on-site wins — and I’d expect Cook to get a long lead-back look before the Bills head to the post-season meat grinder. … Michael Carter (ankle) is not on the injury report but Jets coach Robert Saleh has insisted Zonovan Knight is “not going anywhere”. With two performances better than anything Carter has put on this year, we’d expect Knight to remain the Jets’ lead. Gang Green looks for reasons not to use Carter. Knight gave them another. … Travis Homer (knee) practices. Ken Walker (ankle) and DeeJay Dallas (ankle) are not. Tony Jones is not good enough to be on the field. Homer is worth a desperate move against the Panthers. … The Browns appear to have lost all interest in Kareem Hunt as a concept. … With the Ravens back at number one at quarterback, despite last week’s bizarre usage, expect another replay of the running game for Gus Edwards.