Fantasy RB Rankings Week 13: Who to start, sit at running back in fantasy football

It’s going to be a tough week at running back for at least a few fantasy football owners, but some favorable matchups for a few handcuffs create some much-needed sleepers. Our Week 13 fantasy RB rankings try to navigate all the byes, injuries, committees, and good/bad matchups to help with your start ’em, sit ’em decisions.

First, let’s start with the byes. The Panthers, Browns, Packers, and Titans are off this week, which takes away some studs (Christian McCaffrey, Nick Chubb, Aaron Jones), key flexes (Kareem Hunt, AJ Dillon), and matchup-based sleepers (D’Onta Foreman, Dontrell Hilliard). However, all of those backs except Dillon have missed time this year, so fantasy owners should be used to playing without them. 

Quarterback | Wide receiver | Tight end | D/ST | Kicker

The players dealing with injuries are a little trickier since you don’t know if they’ll play. Dalvin Cook (shoulder), Alvin Kamara (knee), Mark Ingram (knee), Jordan Howard (knee), D’Andre Swift (shoulder), and Ezekiel Elliott (knee) are all up in the air for this week, and it’s likely more will wind up being “questionable” by Sunday. The Saints’ backs, Cook, Swift, and Howard are especially interesting because they all have favorable matchups. If they’re out, suddenly Tony Jones Jr. (vs. Cowboys), Jamaal Williams (vs. Vikings), Alexander Mattison (@ Lions), and Boston Scott (@ Jets) become must-starts. 

Quarterback | Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end | D/ST | Kicker

Those won’t be the only sleepers in action. Jeff Wilson Jr. (@ Seahawks), Samaje Perine (vs. Chargers), and J.D. McKissic (@ Raiders) all have top-five matchups. When you add in whoever is the No. 2 for the Lions and Eagles, you have five flex-worthy “handcuffs.” That’s more than most weeks.

On the flip side, the mess that is the Bills backfield has a tough matchup against the Patriots, which actually makes things a little easier. Don’t bother with any Bills’ backs unless you’re desperate. The same goes for Houston’s backs (vs. Colts). Alex Collins (vs. 49ers) still gets enough touches to be a low-end flex, but he’s also in a tough spot. Ditto for Damien Harris and Rhamondre Stevenson (@ Bills), whose timeshare has really reduced both of their values, especially in a tough matchup like this. Some might worry about Devonta Freeman (@ Steelers), but with the way Pittsburgh’s defense has been struggling lately, Freeman is still in play as a flex.

Overall, this is a decent week for RBs. There are some tough matchups for star backs, but as long as they’re active, they should be in your lineups. It’s unlikely most fantasy owners have enough depth to even consider benching someone like Clyde Edwards-Helaire (vs. Broncos) or Javonte Williams (@ Chiefs), so as long as you’re ready for whatever injuries/illnesses rear their ugly heads late in the week, you should be able to field a solid 1-2 punch at RB. 

Note: We’ll be updating these RB rankings throughout the week, so check back for analysis and the latest player movement.

Fantasy RB Rankings Week 13: Who to start at running back

Rankings are based on standard, non-PPR scoring

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