dalvin-cook-vikings-2.jpg

For most of this season, I've tried to manage expectations for running backs coming off of extended absences. I just don't feel comfortable with the potential for re-injury and concerns their workload might be managed. That's why you don't see D'Andre Swift in my top-20 running backs despite Dan Campbell saying he will play this week. Swift is a high-upside No. 2 running back but I wouldn't be surprised if he shares with both Jamaal Williams and Craig Reynolds.

For Dalvin Cook and Austin Ekeler it hasn't been an extended absence, just one week, but it was due to COVID and we have seen some players struggle in their first week back, most notably Tyreek Hill last week. We also saw Nick Chubb run all over the Lions in his first game back, so it's no sure thing.

That uncertainty is enough to keep Ekeler and Cook outside of my top-five, where they normally reside. You're probably still starting them, but I would prefer Chase Edmonds (unless James Conner returns), David Montgomery, and Ronald Jones amongst others. 

Ultimately these decisions come down to a risk calculation in your head and your other options on the bench. There are very few backs with more upside than Cook, Ekeler, and Swift. But there may be a lot of backs with a higher floor.

Let's get to the rest of the Week 17 RB Preview:

Week 17 RB Preview
RB Preview
Who's Out

The following players are not being projected to play Week 17 at this time. Here's what it means:

Who's Out
Projections powered by Sportsline
PHI Philadelphia • #26
Age: 25 • Experience: 4 yrs.
At least one of the Eagles running backs should have a big day in Week 17
KC Kansas City • #25
Age: 23 • Experience: 2 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ CIN KC -5 O/U 49.5
OPP VS RB
19th
PROJ PTS
1.6
RB RNK
NR
YTD Stats
RUYDS
517
REC
19
REYDS
129
TD
6
FPTS/G
11.8
Darrel Williams is a must-add if available and Derrick Gore could be a good flex.
JAC Jacksonville • #25
Age: 23 • Experience: Rookie
Dare Ogunbowale is a flex at best.
RB Preview
Numbers to know
RB Preview
Matchups that matter
Matchups that Matter
Projections powered by Sportsline
CHI Chicago • #32
Age: 24 • Experience: 4 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs NYG CHI -6.5 O/U 37.5
OPP VS RB
25th
PROJ PTS
13.5
RB RNK
5th
YTD Stats
RUYDS
713
REC
38
REYDS
277
TD
5
FPTS/G
15
NYG N.Y. Giants • #26
Age: 25 • Experience: 4 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ CHI CHI -6.5 O/U 37.5
OPP VS RB
17th
PROJ PTS
13.6
RB RNK
21st
YTD Stats
RUYDS
461
REC
38
REYDS
244
TD
4
FPTS/G
11.9
NYJ N.Y. Jets • #32
Age: 23 • Experience: Rookie
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs TB TB -13 O/U 45.5
OPP VS RB
8th
PROJ PTS
10.5
RB RNK
23rd
YTD Stats
RUYDS
566
REC
35
REYDS
316
TD
4
FPTS/G
12.1
ATL Atlanta • #84
Age: 31 • Experience: 10 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ BUF BUF -14.5 O/U 44.5
OPP VS RB
18th
PROJ PTS
11.8
RB RNK
25th
YTD Stats
RUYDS
579
REC
49
REYDS
523
TD
11
FPTS/G
16.1
SF San Francisco • #30
Age: 26 • Experience: 4 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs HOU SF -12.5 O/U 44
OPP VS RB
29th
PROJ PTS
10
RB RNK
17th
YTD Stats
RUYDS
294
REC
7
REYDS
31
TD
2
FPTS/G
7.4
SEA Seattle • #20
Age: 26 • Experience: 5 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs DET SEA -7 O/U 42.5
OPP VS RB
26th
PROJ PTS
11.5
RB RNK
16th
YTD Stats
RUYDS
389
REC
4
REYDS
33
TD
3
FPTS/G
8
RB Preview
Waiver Wire Targets
Week 17 Adds
PHI Philadelphia • #24
Age: 27 • Experience: 7 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ WAS PHI -3.5 O/U 45
OPP VS RB
15th
RB RNK
NR
ROSTERED
29%
YTD Stats
RUYDS
380
REC
2
REYDS
19
TD
3
FPTS/G
10
Howard needs to get cleared from his stinger, assuming he does, he's our favorite Eagles' back.
PHI Philadelphia • #35
Age: 27 • Experience: 4 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ WAS PHI -3.5 O/U 45
OPP VS RB
15th
RB RNK
20th
ROSTERED
57%
YTD Stats
RUYDS
326
REC
9
REYDS
44
TD
5
FPTS/G
4.9
Scott is a high-end flex with Howard and a must-start running back without.
HOU Houston • #28
Age: 31 • Experience: 10 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ SF SF -12.5 O/U 44
OPP VS RB
12th
RB RNK
34th
ROSTERED
42%
YTD Stats
RUYDS
356
REC
16
REYDS
112
TD
3
FPTS/G
5.8
Burkhead is a high-end flex assuming David Johnson doesn't return. But this is a much worse matchup than he had last week.
HOU Houston • #33
Age: 28 • Experience: 4 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ NE NE -16 O/U 41.5
OPP VS RB
20th
RB RNK
31st
ROSTERED
22%
YTD Stats
RUYDS
71
REC
8
REYDS
57
TD
1
FPTS/G
1.8
This is an uninspiring selection, but he's a volume-based flex who will probably be better in PPR.
PHI Philadelphia • #14
Age: 23 • Experience: Rookie
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ WAS PHI -3.5 O/U 45
OPP VS RB
15th
RB RNK
36th
ROSTERED
28%
YTD Stats
RUYDS
209
REC
29
REYDS
244
TD
5
FPTS/G
7.5
Gainwell has very little floor and could be useless if Howard is active. He also has more upside than Burkhead or Ogunbowale if Howard is out.
KC Kansas City • #40
Age: 27 • Experience: 2 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ CIN KC -5 O/U 51
OPP VS RB
19th
RB RNK
NR
ROSTERED
10%
YTD Stats
RUYDS
189
REC
7
REYDS
97
TD
2
FPTS/G
5.3
Gore has the two longest plays by a Chiefs running back this season. Think of him like a boom/bust flex with big-play upside.
RB Preview
DFS Plays
Top Play
Projections powered by Sportsline
MIA Miami • #2
Age: 26 • Experience: 5 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ DAL DAL -5 O/U 51.5
OPP VS RB
5th
PROJ PTS
13.9
RB RNK
3rd
YTD Stats
RUYDS
539
REC
38
REYDS
282
TD
2
FPTS/G
11.8
As long as Conner is out, Edmonds is the clear top running back play this week.
Contrarian Play
Projections powered by Sportsline
PHI Philadelphia • #35
Age: 27 • Experience: 4 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ WAS PHI -4 O/U 46.5
OPP VS RB
15th
PROJ PTS
10.2
RB RNK
22nd
YTD Stats
RUYDS
326
REC
9
REYDS
44
TD
5
FPTS/G
4.9
Scott is just a good play, not contrarian at all, if Howard is out. But if Howard suits up, Scott is one of my favorite zags.
RB Preview
Heath's Projections