Running backs are and always will be the most coveted fantasy commodity—it's why you should honestly draft two of them first in every draft. After the dust settles from the first few weeks of the season, conversations quiet around which running backs to pursue, but 2020 marks an entirely different fantasy season.
This year, there are still worthwhile discussions about which running backs to drop, swap and shop in mid-November. Here is our list for Week 11.
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When Denver signed Melvin Gordon, there was reasonable doubt that Phillip Lindsay would maintain the same level of production as he did in 2019. Those doubts seem to be founded, as Gordon has taken over as the primary Broncos back.
@StacyLinsay Elway has got to go. This man is averaging more than 6 yards per carry and these fools don’t #FeedPhil it’s just ridiculous— Clint Askins (@Clint Askins)1605645441.0
Although Lindsay has been averaging 5.5 yards per carry (1.3 yards more than Gordon), Lindsay has only garnered double-digit touches once all season. Denver simply isn't feeding Lindsay the ball, which is likely a result of Gordon's proficiency as both a pass-catching and blocking back. With Gordon offering a more well-rounded repertoire on the field, it looks like Lindsay will be sidelined unless Gordon is injured. For now, Lindsay belongs on waivers unless he's handcuffed to Gordon.
Ronald Jones & Leonard Fournette
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Among the more intriguing running back situations is the one in Tampa Bay. While Ronald Jones began as the featured back, the signing of former Jaguars star Leonard Fournette complicated the picture. In Week 11, fantasy managers still consider the question: Is there enough work for two viable fantasy backs in Tampa?
The answer is… kind of. Fournette is still getting work, but it hasn't been enough to start him in your lineup—Jones is the back you'll want to back this season.
@YahooFantasy Someone trading Robert Woods for Leonard Fournette in week 2 https://t.co/YPZ2mjX2xx— Roy Winkelman (@Roy Winkelman)1605639722.0
Fournette has seen two touchdowns in seven games, but those touchdowns were both in Week 2. Outside of that exceptional Week 2 showing, Fournette hasn't seen more than 15 carries, nor has he notched more than 52 yards. However, Fournette does catch, which means he still retains some potential fantasy value.
Jones has remained a solid RB all season, dipping below 8 points in half-point PPR leagues only twice this season. One of those weeks was Week 10 against the Saints. On a Tom Brady offense full of options, Jones has found the end zone five times, and he manages 5.1 YPC. Jones is the guy, but Fournette remains a fantasy factor.
If you can include Fournette when trading away, it might be worth doing so—he could get some more solid opportunities as this Bucs offense continues to solidify. And if you can trade for Jones, he's certainly a running back you'll want to keep an eye on after a historic 98-yard run.
By Next Gen Stats, Bucs’ Ronald Jones reached a top speed of 21.19 mph on his 98-yard touchdown run Sunday. Panther… https://t.co/Kbqt4spRXd— Greg Auman (@Greg Auman)1605648110.0
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Julian Edelman is out, right? And the Patriots need to pass to someone, right? And Cam Netwon is still the quarterback, right?
If all the above is true, then why is Jakobi Meyers only rostered in 38 percent of ESPN leagues?
It's a great question: Meyers has been nothing short of impressive since his bounceback game against San Francisco. While he hasn't scored a touchdown (come on, it's still the Patriots we're talking about), he's averaged about 10 yards per reception, making him a reliable passing option in an offense that is still fighting for first downs. As the Patriots build momentum after a big win against Baltimore, Meyers deserves the top spot on your waiver wire list this week against Houston.
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With all of 2020's injuries, there are still running back options on the waiver wire this late in the game. Chargers running back Kalen Ballage is the biggest score you can make if he's still available.
With Austin Ekeler and Justin Jackson injured, Ballage has stepped in with incredible back-to-back performances in the past two weeks. Despite the presence of Troymaine Pope and Joshua Kelley, Ballage seems to have taken the lead in this backfield, which coordinates nicely with an upcoming game against the Jets. Even with Ekeler's potential return in Week 12, Ballage is a talented player who will likely continue to see usage all season.
Running back waiver adds: Kalen Ballage - spot start until Ekeler returns. If JJack is back, temper expectations N… https://t.co/ObCodLyKBD— The Fantasy Break (@The Fantasy Break)1605647961.0
Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Another 2020 anomaly, Ahmed is Miami's main guy because Matt Breida, Jordan Howard and Lynn Bowden are all injured right now. After a meager game against the Cardinals, Ahmed arrived in Week 10 with 21 carries for 85 yards and a touchdown. Whether you have an injured Dolphins RB or need someone to tide you over while your early-round pick is out, Ahmed is poised to make the most out of a matchup against the Broncos this week.
Unless you're the Pittsburgh Steelers, chances are your team is still uncertain about making the playoffs.
The Packers lost, yet the Saints won. The Seahawks won, but so did the Rams. The NFC is in a frenzy, while the Steelers sit atop the AFC waiting for everyone else to catch up. With only five weeks left, the playoff picture is a little fuzzy, but it clarifies with each game.
Likewise, fantasy playoffs are just on the horizon, and unless you're undefeated, there's a strong chance you're still clamoring for a spot.
If you need to make some moves for a playoff berth, here are some suggestions in this week's drops, swaps and shops.
Note: For ESPN Leagues, all public leagues must submit trades before the trade deadline on Wednesday, November 25th at 12 ET. Rules vary within leagues, but this could be your last week for swaps.
As Ferris Bueller might say: The world of sports moves pretty fast; if you don't stop and look around at least once a week, you could miss it.
Here we'll review what you might have missed in the past week all in one place. Why spend hours scrolling through Twitter to catch up on the news you want? We've already done that for you, so remember to check back every Monday to get your dose of weekly sports review.
Taysom Hill, Andy Dalton, and P.J. Walker all lead their teams to Week 11 victories filling in for injured starting QBs. Cleveland moved ahead of the Ravens in the AFC North with their win over the Eagles while Baltimore fell to the Titans. The Steelers continued to roll and now sit at 10-0 atop the NFL. The Colts outlasted the Packers in an overtime thriller as Indianapolis is now positioning themselves as a team nobody wants to see come playoff time as they boast the best defense in the NFL.
Joe Burrow was injured in the Bengals' game against Washington and he miss the remainder of the season with a knee injury. This should make Justin Herbert the odds on favorite to win Rookie of the Year if you're interested in a futures bet.
At this point, I may never bet on the NFC West again.
Week 10 Vibe Check (2-2)
At this point, I may never bet on the NFC West again. After losing to the Rams last week, Seattle turned around and beat the Cardinals on Thursday night. Every matchup in that division is a heavyweight bout and it's hard to justify betting on one when they can all throw a haymaker at any time. Meanwhile, the Bengals weren't ready for a D like the Steelers and the QB of the future looked stuck in the present reality for the time being.
As for our wins, in a shocking turn of events, betting against the Chargers WORKED! Or, perhaps, I should say betting on the Dolphins worked. Brian Flores looks more and more like he was the true key to the Patriots defensive success in recent years. He took on two NFC teams back to back and cruised against the poor, befuddled Chargers. Tua coming into his own has certainly helped, as well.
Brandon Aiyuk tallied a whopping seven catches down in New Orleans, even as the 49ers completely sputtered and blew a chance to upset a Drew Brees-less Saints. This continues a month long streak of calling player props, which is almost certain to end this week after pointing out its existence. *Fingers crossed* *No jinx* *Reverse jinx*