Fantasy News & Analysis

Fantasy Football Rushing Report: Touches, schemes, matchups, more ahead of Week 14

2TB0946 Carolina Panthers running back Chuba Hubbard (30) celebrates after his touchdown run in the fourth quarter during an NFL football game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Sunday, Dec. 3, 2023, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Peter Joneleit)

Chuba Hubbard has a big day in his first game with the Carolina Panthers new coaching staff: In the team’s first game since firing Frank Reich as head coach, Hubbard saw a career-high 25 rush attempts – an encouraging sign for fantasy managers heading into the playoffs.

The Houston Texans lean back toward Dameon Pierce: After totaling just five carries in his Week 12 return from injury, the Texans leaned back into Pierce as the team’s primary runner in Week 13. 

David Montgomery is back in business: Unfortunately for Jahmyr Gibbs’ fantasy managers, the Detroit Lions have resumed their usual shenanigans 

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

Week 13 is officially in the books, and with another round of unfortunate injuries and plenty of question marks remaining in the league’s most confusing backfields. We’re here to help you diagnose them all! Here are five running back takeaways from Week 13’s targets and touches report that could bear a significant impact on running back outlooks in Week 14 and beyond.

WR:CB Matchup Chart

Chuba Hubbard’s back to a workhorse role for the Carolina Panthers

Week 13 marked the Carolina Panthers’ first week without Frank Reich after clearing house the week prior. In that game, third-year running back Chuba Hubbard received a career-high 25 rush attempts, going for 143 rush attempts and two touchdowns, which marked his second consecutive game with a touchdown. The efforts earned him an 82.3 PFF rushing grade, which ranked fourth in the league in Week 13, only behind Christian McCaffrey, Isiah Pacheco and De’Von Achane

Hubbard’s usage in the team’s first game with a new coaching staff, as he totaled 73.5% of the running back carries in Week 13, which is an extremely encouraging sign for his prospects moving forward into the fantasy football playoffs. He’s continued to outshine teammate Miles Sanders in terms of overall efficiency this season, and with this team handing him the keys just in time for the fantasy football playoffs, Hubbard could prove to be a league winner. The Panthers have games against the New Orleans Saints, Atlanta Falcons, Green Bay Packers and Jacksonville Jaguars through the remainder of the season – with the Saints and Jaguars each having allowed 20 or more fantasy points to opposing running backs since Week 7.

Dameon Pierce takes back the lead role for the Houston Texans… but the snaps and efficiency still aren’t there

In his first game returning from an ankle injury in Week 12, Dameon Pierce totaled just five carries while playing 18% of Houston's offensive snaps, working squarely behind teammate Devin Singletary, who dominated in his absence. The Texans shook things up in Week 13, however, shifting back in favor of Pierce in the run game, who totaled 14 carries in comparison to Singletary’s eight. Pierce also saw four of six carries in the red zone and the lone goal-line carry of the week, which he converted for a touchdown.

Despite resuming a decent workload, Pierce was notably inefficient again in Week 13, averaging just 2.73 yards per carry – right in tune with his disappointing 3.0-yard season-long average. He was stuffed on 46.2% of rush attempts – the highest rate of any running back with 10 or more carries on the week — while averaging just 1.5 yards after contact per attempt (second fewest) for a 64.7 PFF rushing grade. Singletary led the running backs room with a 46% snap share on the week, confusing matters further, which makes either of these backs a liability in fantasy football lineups heading into the playoffs.

Chase Brown sees an increased workload for the Cincinnati Bengals

It’s no surprise to see veteran running back Joe Mixon assume the bulk of the work as a rusher, considering that, you know, he’s Joe Mixon. What was surprising in Monday night’s showdown, however, was the involvement of rookie Chase Brown, who totaled a season-high nine touches in Week 13 for 61 total yards – just seven fewer rushing yards than Mixon on 10 fewer rush attempts. Though Brown’s overall participation was quite limited, playing just 11 total snaps on the week, he had an 81.8% touch rate on those snaps – two of which came on the team’s opening drive.  

Though Mixon had a pretty monstrous fantasy day, it’s worth keeping an eye on Brown’s usage moving forward given the shift in usage. Brown has plenty of burst with breakaway run potential, with four of his nine rush attempts in Week 13 going for six or more yards (Mixon, meanwhile, had three such attempts). Brown’s usage shouldn’t deter Mixon managers from rolling him out in full confidence, but in deep leagues, he could be a valuable stash down the stretch, especially if this team looks to emphasize the run game amidst the loss of Joe Burrow for the season.

David Montgomery continues to handle the Lions’ share of the work at RB

While Detroit Lions running back David Montgomery was out managing a rib injury in Weeks 7 and 8, rookie Jahmyr Gibbs had his big breakout with back-to-back weeks as a top-two fantasy running back. It seemed likely that it would be impossible to put that lightning back in the bottle upon his return, however, slowly but surely, it seems that Montgomery is continuing to prove himself a pain to Gibbs managers. Over the past two weeks, Montgomery has totaled 33 carries to Gibbs’ 19, including eight carries in the red zone and one inside the five to snipe the touchdown. 

Gibbs will never be a candidate to sit because of his upside, explosive playmaking ability, and usual involvement as a receiver, but consider Montgomery’s recent usage as more of a general warning that this backfield remains a tumultuous – albeit productive – one for fantasy.

Rookie Chris Rodriguez and Antonio Gibson split work in the second half with Brian Robinson ruled out due to injury

Washington Commanders running back Brian Robinson suffered a hamstring injury that forced him from the game in Week 13, and with that, fantasy managers are likely curious to see who it is that will fill his shoes should he be unable to play following their Week 14 bye. Once Robinson left the contest, subsequently ruled out after halftime, veteran Antonio Gibson split carries evenly with rookie Chris Rodriguez, each with six rush attempts in the second half. It’s worth noting, however, that Gibson saw five of those rush attempts in the third quarter before the game became a total wash in the fourth quarter as the Dolphins took a 45-15 lead. 

The Commanders’ Week 14 bye is well timed, giving Robinson a full week off to “get right” for the remaining four games on their schedule (against the Los Angeles Rams, New York Jets, San Francisco 49ers and Dallas Cowboys – yikes). If he’s unable to play upon return, expect Gibson to be their primary runner with some upside in full-PPR formats given his work as a receiver. However, it could be the case that neither he nor Rodriguez are particularly fantasy relevant considering the challenging matchups remaining on their schedule.


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