It's Fantasy Championship time in some leagues, and injury worries with James Conner, Derrick Henry, Tony Pollard, Antonio Gibson, Travis Homer and Marlon Mack will make things tougher for some of those Fantasy managers. Plus pre-playoffs rest could make things even trickier.
Jamey Eisenberg has his Start and Sit calls for RB here. His Waiver Wire column also can direct you to the best options that may be available in your leagues. And don't forget to check out Heath Cummings' running back preview for more help with matchup notes, Week 18 numbers to know and more.
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Cam Akers RB
LAR L.A. Rams • #3
Age: 23 • Experience: 3 yrs.
Akers is on fire and should stay hot for one more week against the Seahawks in Week 18. He has either 100 total yards or a touchdown in five games in a row, and this streak started against Seattle in Week 13 when he had 17 carries for 60 yards and two touchdowns, along with one catch for no yards on one target. In his past two games against Denver and the Chargers, Akers has combined for 241 rushing yards and three touchdowns on 42 carries. The Seahawks have allowed nine total touchdowns to running backs in their past six games and six running backs to score at least 12 PPR points over that span.
Najee Harris RB
PIT Pittsburgh • #22
Age: 25 • Experience: 3 yrs.
Harris was a bust to start the season, but he's closing the year on a high note with at least 14 PPR points in three games in a row, including 20 PPR points at Baltimore in Week 17. I love that he has eight catches in his past two games against the Raiders and Ravens on 12 targets, and hopefully he stays involved in the passing game again in Week 18 against the Browns. Cleveland has allowed a running back to score at least 12 PPR points in 11 of the past 12 games, with 14 running backs hitting that mark over that span. Harris had 12 PPR points against the Browns in Week 3 and has 69 carries for 335 yards and three touchdowns and nine catches for 52 yards in three career games against Cleveland.
Zack Moss RB
IND Indianapolis • #21
Age: 25 • Experience: 4 yrs.
It might be tough to trust Moss if this is your Fantasy championship, but he should do well against the Texans at home. Houston is No. 1 in most Fantasy points allowed to opposing running backs, and seven running backs in the past six games have scored at least 12 PPR points against the Texans. Moss has run well in the three games since Jonathan Taylor (ankle) got hurt with 41 carries for 220 yards (5.4 yards per carry), but he's yet to score and has just one catch for 5 yards on two targets. But I'll take a chance on Moss this week given his expected workload and matchup, and he should finish as a top-20 running back in all leagues.
ATL Atlanta • #25
Age: 23 • Experience: 2 yrs.
Allgeier was great as the Start of the Week in Week 17, scoring 16 PPR points against Arizona with 20 carries for 83 yards and a touchdown and one catch for 12 yards on one target. He's now scored at least 15 PPR points in three games in a row, and he should finish the season strong against the Buccaneers, who aren't expected to play their starters for much of the game, if at all. Allgeier needs 100 yards for a 1,000-yard season, so hopefully he gets enough carries to make that happen, and I like him once again as a standout No. 2 Fantasy running back in all leagues.
Age: 24 • Experience: 4 yrs.
I liked Swift as a starting Fantasy running back in this column last week, and he delivered a monster game with 26 PPR points against Chicago with 11 carries for 28 yards and a touchdown, along with four catches for 39 yards and a touchdown on four targets. It was great for Swift and Jamaal Williams -- he had 157 total yards and a touchdown on 23 touches -- that Justin Jackson (hip) was out against the Bears, and we'll see if Jackson can return in Week 18. The Packers have limited the running game for Miami and Minnesota the past two weeks, but prior to that, five running backs in a row scored at least 13 PPR points against Green Bay. I like Swift and Williams as No. 2 Fantasy options this week, with Swift the better start in PPR given his work in the passing game.
MIA Miami • #31
Age: 31 • Experience: 9 yrs.
With Skylar Thompson starting at quarterback for the Dolphins due to injuries for Tua Tagovailoa (concussion) and Teddy Bridgewater (finger), along with the matchup against the Jets, we could see Mostert and Jeff Wilson heavily involved in the passing game again in Week 18. In Week 17 against the Patriots, Mostert had nine carries for 29 yards and eight catches for 62 yards and a touchdown on eight targets. Wilson had 15 carries for 45 yards and three catches for 31 yards on seven targets. Both are flex options, and the Jets have allowed a running back to catch at least three passes in three games in a row. Mostert also had 18 carries for 113 yards and a touchdown and one catch for 9 yards against the Jets in Week 5, although that was before Wilson was acquired from the 49ers via trade.
KC Kansas City • #10
Age: 24 • Experience: 2 yrs.
Jerick McKinnon is a must-start Fantasy running back at this point, but Pacheco can be used as a flex option against the Raiders in Week 18. The matchup is great since Las Vegas has allowed 11 of the past 12 opposing running backs to score at least 15 PPR points. While McKinnon is more likely to reach that total than Pacheco, this could be a game where the Chiefs lean on Pacheco prior to the playoffs. And he has scored at least 12 PPR points in four of his past six games.
MIN Minnesota • #2
Age: 24 • Experience: 5 yrs.
There's a good chance that the Vikings don't play Dalvin Cook for the entire game against the Bears in Week 18, which means we could get additional playing time for Mattison. And in deeper leagues, that makes him a flex play given the matchup. Chicago is No. 3 in most Fantasy points allowed to opposing running backs, and five running backs in the past four games have scored at least 17 PPR points against the Bears, including D'Andre Swift and Jamaal Williams in Week 17. If Mattison were guaranteed to get double digits in touches this week then he could be a standout Fantasy option in all leagues.
LAC L.A. Chargers • #25
Age: 25 • Experience: 4 yrs.
If the Chargers don't want to overwork Austin Ekeler with the playoffs on the horizon then we might see Kelley get more work in Week 18 against the Broncos. The Chargers need to win in Week 18 to lock up the No. 5 seed, which is desirable because they would play the AFC South winner. Kelley could be a flex option with an increased workload, and he has two games this season with at least 10 carries. He scored a touchdown in both of them and averaged 13.0 PPR points.
Jordan Mason RB
SF San Francisco • #24
Age: 24 • Experience: 2 yrs.
The 49ers might not want to overwork Christian McCaffrey in Week 18 against the Cardinals, especially if they aren't guaranteed to get a first-round bye. Mason might get the chance for an increased workload against Arizona, and this is a fantastic matchup since the Cardinals are No. 4 in most Fantasy points allowed to opposing running backs. In the past three weeks, three pairs of running backs have scored at least 15 PPR points against Arizona with Latavius Murray and Marlon Mack in Week 15, Leonard Fournette and Rachaad White in Week 16 and Tyler Allgeier and Cordarrelle Patterson in Week 17. There's a chance Elijah Mitchell (knee) could play this week also, and if that happens then I would prefer him over Mason in this game against Arizona.
CHI Chicago • #21
Age: 27 • Experience: 6 yrs.
Foreman had a disappointing game in Week 17 at Tampa Bay with 13 carries for 35 yards and no catches, and he's now scored eight PPR points or less in three of his past four games. He could have another poor outing in Week 18 at the Saints, who have allowed just two rushing touchdowns to running backs since Week 8. Foreman will continue to share touches with Chuba Hubbard, and Foreman's lack of work in the passing game makes him risky when facing a top-tier run defense. He should only be considered a flex option in non-PPR leagues.
NYG N.Y. Giants • #26
Age: 26 • Experience: 6 yrs.
I don't expect Barkley to play much, if at all, in Week 18 at the Eagles. The Giants have nothing to play for with the No. 6 seed locked up in the NFC, and risking Barkley with an injury in a game right before the playoffs makes little sense. The Giants should lean on Matt Breida and Gary Brightwell in this matchup, with Breida getting a slight nod as a flex option in most leagues, and keep Barkley on the bench to make sure he's fresh for the postseason.
TB Tampa Bay • #7
Age: 28 • Experience: 7 yrs.
Fournette might play if the Buccaneers decide not to rest players in Week 18 at Atlanta, but that doesn't make sense to me. Tampa Bay shouldn't risk any of its main players with the No. 4 seed in the NFC locked up, and Fournette is a veteran with little to gain by playing against the Falcons. Instead, the Buccaneers should give more work to Rachaad White or even Ke'Shawn Vaughn, who has sleeper appeal in deeper leagues. Keep an eye on what's said out of Tampa Bay, but plan to be without Fournette in your Week 18 Fantasy lineups.
J.K. Dobbins RB
BAL Baltimore • #27
Age: 24 • Experience: 4 yrs.
Dobbins ran well in Week 17 against Pittsburgh, but he had an empty stat line with 17 carries for 93 yards and no touchdowns or targets for nine PPR points. That's the fear with Dobbins when he's not running for 125 yards that if he doesn't score a touchdown he's going to hurt your Fantasy team, especially with a limited role in the passing game. The Bengals are a tough matchup since Cincinnati has allowed just three running backs all season to eclipse 70 rushing yards. And the Bengals have held Derrick Henry, Nick Chubb, Leonard Fournette and Rhamondre Stevenson to 44 rushing yards or less over the past five games. I like Dobbins as just a flex this week, with his value higher in non-PPR leagues.