Fantasy Football Believe It or Not: Can you trust Raheem Mostert, Kareem Hunt for the playoffs?
Heath Cummings tackles what we learned in Week 13 and what it means for the Fantasy playoffs, beginning with some of the most interesting running back situations in the league.
For most Fantasy leagues, Week 13 is the last week of the regular season. Congratulations on making the playoffs! I hope this series played a small part in helping you get there. As we head into the playoffs, our decision making has to change a bit. Less than half of the league is even, and the competition each week gets much more difficult. So, we've got to make better decisions, and that starts with analyzing what we just saw.
Coming out of Week 13, we are faced with some significant questions we need answers to. Do we have a new lead running back in San Francisco? Do we have two starting-caliber backs in Cleveland? Do we have any in Kansas City? Let's go through all that and more in this week's Believe It or Not.
Mostert ran wild on Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens. He out-touched Tevin Coleman 21 to six and totaled 154 yards against one of the leagues best defenses. To put that in perspective, Coleman has 122 rushing yards in his past five games combined.
This is a team that wants to be run-heavy and has the elite defense to make it work. They've struggled to find "the guy" all season, but on Sunday Mostert stepped into that role. He's not just a must-add, he's a must-start.
Verdict: Don't believe it.
Matt Breida is supposed to be back in Week 14, and I expect this backfield to be as messy as ever as a result. I still believe Breida and Coleman are the two most talented backs, so I can't believe Mostert is going to hold on to this role through the Fantasy playoffs. Besides, we've seen this before.
Coleman had 118 yards and four touchdowns in Week 8. The nest week he was out-touched and out-played by Breida. Breida had 129 yards and two scores in Week 5. The next week Coleman played more snaps, saw more touches, and produced more Fantasy points. Mostert himself had 151 total yards and a score in Week 2. In Week 3, Breida got more work and Jeff Wilson scored more Fantasy points.
Mostert is a good add and a fine flex if you find yourself in need in Week 14, but I wouldn't count on him holding on to his job.
There was concern when Chubb became eligible that the Browns running back situation could get messy as well. So far, it mostly hasn't been a problem. Chubb has at least 17 touches in every game since Hunt's suspension ended and Hunt has managed to score double-digit PPR points in all four games he's played. They face the Bengals and Cardinals in the first two weeks of the Fantasy playoffs and you can feel confident starting both of them.
Verdict: Believe it.
I know Chubb fell short in Week 13, but that matchup was far more difficult than what he'll face the next two weeks. Since Week 10, this duo ranks ninth and 10th in PPR scoring at the running back position. The Browns have consolidated the offense around their best playmakers and it's worked out very well for Fantasy purposes. Expect to see both of these backs in my top-25 the next two weeks.
You can't trust any Chiefs running backs in the Fantasy playoffs.
This probably seems like a weird premise since three Chiefs running backs scored touchdowns in Week 13. Unfortunately they don't face the Raiders again. Due to injuries and other factors, the promise of the Andy Reid running back has not come true in 2019. No Chiefs running back has reached even 450 rushing yards or 200 receiving yards.
This has been a less productive version of the situation in San Francisco. We don't know the health status of Darrel Williams or Damien Williams, and LeSean McCoy was just a healthy scratch a few weeks ago. Darwin Thompson was great in garbage time Sunday but he also has 20 touches on the season. You'd be better off not starting a Chiefs running back.
Verdict: Believe it.
Even if both Williams are out in Week 14 it's hard to get excited about McCoy and Thompson in a committee against the Patriots. There have only been two instances all year where a running back (Damien Williams) received more than 14 touches in a game for the Chiefs. Every running back but McCoy has averaged below four yards per carry. Unless Damien Williams is a full participant all week long I don't see any way to trust a Chiefs running back right now.
James Washington is a trustworthy No. 2 WR rest of season.
We talk about guys making "the leap" but it's always a little scary to say it's happening in the moment. That's why we've been slow to say it with Devante Parker (he's definitely made it). But Washington has received even less attention. Washington has scored double-digit Fantasy points in four of his past five games and has topped 90 yards with a touchdown in three of those contests. He's done it with Mason Rudolph and Devlin Hodges throwing him the ball. The former second round pick is playing up to his pedigree and needs to be in your starting lineup.
Verdict: Don't believe it.
Washington still looks more like a boom-or-bust No. 3 who has boomed two weeks in a row. Over this five game stretch he's averaging fewer than six targets per game, and he only received four targets in Hodges' first start. I'm not saying you can't start Washington; he could win a league for you. Just keep in mind his floor is still almost non-existent with this volume.
Jack Doyle is a top-10 tight end.
In his first game without Eric Ebron Doyle saw 11 targets against the Titans. That answers the question right there, but I can go on. He caught six of those targets for 73 yards and scored his third touchdown in five weeks. T.Y. Hilton will be back eventually but Ebron is out for the year, and that makes Doyle a top-10 option.
Verdict: Believe it.
As much as we've struggled with this position, how could we deny it? Doyle already ranks 13th at the position and he's only played one game without Ebron. At a position with only seven dependable options for most of the season, Doyle is a solid No. 8, which hopefully means no one who is in the Fantasy playoffs will have to worry about streaming tight end.
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