Fantasy football managers have had a nightmare managing the running back position. Top players like Jonathan Taylor, Dalvin Cook and Najee Harris should have a guaranteed spot in your starting lineup regardless of matchup, but looking at the injury report where players like Aaron Jones, James Robinson and Antonio Gibson — players who should be automatic — are flagged with questionable tags, you are now in need of a serious contingency plan for Week 12.
The position was picked more cleanly than you Thanksgiving Day turkey. You are now forced to use the waiver wire to get help from people you didn’t even know to roster for this season.
It’s crazy, but the Jets-Texans matchup is the one you want to see. Each team is currently at 2-8. One of the main reasons they are both so far behind the pace is because neither side can stop it. They rank 31st against the run in DVOA. The Jets give up the most rushing yards per match and allow a record 20 rushing touchdowns. Their running back position also allows them the highest fantasy points.
The Texans are 23rd on DVOA against running. They have allowed 15 rushing touchdowns and allow for the most fantasy points to runners.
Although Michael Carter, the Jets’ rookie running back, was the team’s leader in the backfield, an ankle injury forced Carter to withdraw. This week Ty Johnson and Tevin Coleman will share that role. Coleman could be more appealing if you are playing in non-PPR leagues. Ty Johnson is the preferred primary passer-catcher for PPR leagues. When Carter left last week’s game, that was the workload distribution, so it becomes more of a “pick your poison” based on scoring format.
Rex Burkhead or David Johnson are the two Houston sides. While the split should be more 50/50 on carries between them, Johnson clearly recognizes the importance of passing from this backfield. Johnson has nine targets in the last two games. The fact that the Jets are 28th in the DVOA against running back-pass-plays should be a compelling option.
Wayne Gallman, Brandon Bolden and Brandon Bolden are two other options. However neither player has a compelling matchup nor a high carry-total. Although it may seem unattractive to use the Jets and Texans, considering the injury and matchups, these could be the best plan for your contingency. Do not be ashamed or lose heart.
Howard Bender, FantasyAlarm.com’s VP Operations and Head of Content is his title. Follow Howard Bender on Twitter @rotobuzzguy and catch him on the award-winning “Fantasy Alarm Radio Show” on the SiriusXM fantasy sports channel weekdays from 6-8 p.m. Go to FantasyAlarm.com for all your fantasy football advice.