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Week 13 Running Backs - Waiver Wire Pickups and Adds

We have now entered the planning process for Week 13, and it is amazing how quickly we have progressed to this point of the season. Some of you are focused on constructing lineups that will advance into the fantasy playoffs, while others have begun fine-tuning your rosters that have already secured a place in the postseason. With the playoffs rapidly approaching, it is highly recommended that you examine the Week 14-16 matchups for any backs that you are considering or currently own. Because it is important to establish which players will be performing against formidable defensive units, and which runners will have the benefit of lining up against vulnerable opponents.

Fortunately, you now have an opportunity to utilize your waiver wire in order to secure any backs that have enticing matchups later this season, along with the runners who can be beneficial to your efforts this week. You no longer will be contending with unwanted bye weeks, and instead can focus on other aspects of roster planning during the critical weeks that remain.

This article will assist you in locating the best waiver wire options to target. These recommendations will appear in three tiers - beginning with the most enticing and progressing to runners that are available if you are contending with desperation. You will also find a group of backs that can be dropped in order for you to secure your replacements. Here are this week's most viable waiver wire options at the running back position.

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Frontrunners - Week 13 Waiver Wire Running Backs

These backs should be your top priorities among the runners that are available on most waiver wires. Some will be more beneficial in PPR formats than standard. All players have 60% or less ownership in typical fantasy leagues.  

Josh Adams, Philadelphia Eagles - 54% owned

After multiple weeks of advising potential owners to add Adams when he was readily available on waiver wires, he has clearly emerged as the Eagles' most effective back. The rookie officially confiscated RB1 duties after being allotted 22 carries in Week 12, and he capitalized by rumbling for a season-high 84 yards and a touchdown. He has now scored in two consecutive games while averaging an impressive 6.2 YPC on 45 attempts since Week 8. Corey Clement has averaged just 5.5-touches-per-game since Week 10, while Wendell Smallwood’s value has drifted to a remote region beyond the fantasy landscape after he registered just one touch in Philadelphia’s last two contests combined. Since his emergence in Week 8, Adams has been an enticing roster component for anyone who seized him from the waiver wire, because he provides the potential to be a difference maker during the fantasy postseason. He somehow has remained available in 46% of all leagues, but your opportunity to add him will be ending this week.

Doug Martin, Oakland Raiders - 47% owned

Owners in over 50% of leagues have openly eschewed adding Martin. But he has now commandeered 60 carries since assuming lead back responsibilities during Week 8 while attaining double-digit rushing attempts in five consecutive games (13/11/15/10/11). He has also performed effectively in his expanded role, by rushing for 285 yards and averaging a surprisingly robust 4.8 YPC. He also ran proficiently in Week 12 while generating 72 total yards and his first touchdown of the season. While Jalen Richard's usage as a receiver will keep him involved in Oakland's offense, that should not discourage you from adding Martin. Richard received a paltry three touches in Week 12, as Martin confiscated the vast majority of opportunities that were distributed to Oakland’s backfield. If your roster is encumbered by injuries or inefficiency at running back. Martin presents you with an opportunity to secure a back who operates as his team’s primary runner.

Theo Riddick, Detroit Lions - 52% owned

Riddick collected all seven of his targets against the Bears on Thanksgiving Day and has now caught 25 of his 28 targets since Week 9. That has helped him accrue 25 receptions for 174 yards during that four-game sequence, which includes the seven catches and 48 yards that he accumulated against Chicago. Riddick's output will be generated almost solely through his role as Detroit's receiving back, but the consistency in which he is deployed in that capacity creates the appeal for adding him. He has been targeted at least six times (8/7/6/7) in all four games since returning from a knee injury, which includes three targets in the red zone. Owners who are attempting to locate a reliable flex option in PPR leagues can do far worse than Riddick, who appears destined to sustain the 7 targets-per-game and 6.3 receptions-per-game averages that he has attained since Week 9.


In The Running - Week 13 Waiver Wire Running Backs

These backs remain available on the waiver wire but are not necessarily must-adds.

LeGarrette Blount, Detroit Lions - 14% owned

Blount will be turning 32 in early December, and no longer possesses the ability to perform as he did in 2016, when he generated 1,161 yards and 18 touchdowns. Prior to Week 12, there was very little from this year's performances or his anemic 2.8 YPC that supplied the incentive to trust him in your lineup. But he is included among this week’s roster additions due to the mammoth number of opportunities that he will be entrusted with as the Detroit’s lead back, while Kerryon Johnson remains sidelined. He carried a season-high 19 times versus Chicago on Thanksgiving Day and responded by producing a season-best 88 yards and two touchdowns. The 4.6 YPC that he registered was also his highest since Week 2, and Blount could thrive when he lines up against the 23rd and 29th  ranked run defenses of the Rams and Cardinals in Weeks 13-14. That makes him worthy of consideration for your rosters.

Jalen Richard, Oakland Raiders - 42% owned

You have already observed the rationale for adding Doug Martin, who has performed far more proficiently than expected and has certainly demonstrated more burst than he displayed before Marshawn Lynch's groin injury. But even though Richard's usage was reduced in Week 12, his extensive deployment as the Raiders' pass-catching back should resume this week. Richard has
maintained a steady presence among the league leaders in receptions at his position and has now collected of 53 of his 63 targets for 447 yards. Oakland should be trailing throughout this week's matchup with Kansas City, which should compel Jon Gruden to dial up a sizable number of passes to Richard. Any increase in his rushing attempts represents a bonus for anyone who owns him, and he remains a viable waiver wire option in PPR leagues.

Justin Jackson, Los Angeles Chargers - 0% owned

Even when it appears that your roster is set at running back, the volatility of the position can alter that equation at any time. In many cases, it occurs because the runner that you have been counting on suddenly develops an injury. Anyone who owns Melvin Gordon is now contending with this problematic situation (knee), due to the uncertainty surrounding whether he will be absent from the lineup. Those who handcuffed him with Austin Ekeler already possess an option if Gordon is sidelined. But Ekeler's ability to absorb a substantial workhorse is questionable, which vaults Jackson into fantasy relevance. The rookie entered Week 12 with just seven touches throughout the entire season, before he received seven carries against the Cardinals. He has instantly become an intriguing roster addition, who could capture a respectable number of carries if Gordon is absent.  That would make him a potential flex option if that scenario occurs.


Dark Horses - Week 13 Waiver Wire Running Backs 

This group consists of running backs that can be added if you are willing to wait for the possibility of a larger role during the year, or consider your situation to be desperate due to injuries or byes. 

Rex Burkhead, New England Patriots -19% owned

Anyone who invested in Burkhead during the draft process ultimately was disappointed in their investment. Because his touch total was steadily declining in Weeks 1-3 (19/6/2) even before his neck injury that culminated with New England sending Burkhead to injured reserve. However, the Patriots have activated him, which places Burkhead in position to split touches with Sony Michel and James White this week against Minnesota. Michel has been entrusted with responsibilities as the Patriots' primary rusher and should remain in that capacity after accruing a season-high 133 yards on 21 carries in Week 12. It is also unlikely that Burkhead will overtake White as the team's top pass-catching back after White averaged 68 YPG as a receiver from Weeks 4-9. But Burkhead will receive a combination of carries and targets, which provides the incentive to stash him now - in hopes that he becomes a legitimate flex option in upcoming weeks.

Malcolm Brown, Los Angeles Rams - 7% owned

This is a very strong recommendation for all Todd Gurley owners, and a suggestion for anyone who has both the roster space and a safely secured spot in their league’s postseason. We were reminded that Gurley actually remains human even after his transformation into the post- Jeff Fisher era when an ankle issue reduced his workload in Week 11. That resulted in a nightmarish development for anyone who had been dependent upon the RB1 in fantasy scoring to deliver output that matched his usual point production in order to win their matchups. If he were to encounter a debilitating health problem of any kind, Brown could instantly erupt for excellent numbers while functioning as the workhorse back for the highly explosive Ram offense. Gurley owners should make sure that they will not have to experience this scenario without Brown safely installed on their roster, while anyone else who adds him now might reap massive dividends if Brown suddenly becomes an RB1 during critical postseason matchups.

Jaylen Samuels, Pittsburgh Steelers - 6% owned

He has been allotted a grand total of 14 touches throughout the season, with eight of them taking place in Week 10. But what has been a nondescript rookie season for this fifth-round draft pick could change drastically if James Conner is forced to the sidelines due to injury. Samuels has the size and versatility to perform in several positions, which could provide Mike Tomlin with sufficient motivation to incorporate him into the Steelers' offense even if Conner is healthy. THat favorable combination of attributes also supplies the potential for Randy Fichtner to schematically take advantage of Samuels' hybrid capabilities with scripted plays. He is currently a roster stash, who also presents Conner owners with an excellent handcuff option. But there is potential for his value to rise substantially.


Also-Rans - Time To Say Goodbye

These backs can be dropped in order to secure an RB with greater potential to bolster your scoring during the year.

Latavius Murray, Minnesota Vikings - 65% owned
While it is understandable that anyone who owns Dalvin Cook would opt to keep Murray on their rosters as a stress-eliminating insurance policy, there is limited justification for anyone else to maintain a roster spot for a back whose workload has been drastically reduced. After averaging 20 touches-per game from Weeks 6-8, Murray's average has dropped to just 8.6 touches-per-game since Cook returned from his troublesome hamstring issue in Week 9. Murray's efficiency has also declined in lockstep with his reduced responsibilities, as the 5.1 YPC average that he attained during that sequence of games in which he operated as the Vikings' RB1 has declined to just 2.5 YPC since Cook's reemergence. Murray has also failed to surpass 3.1 YPC during those contests, and his usefulness is reserved only for anyone who owns Cook.

Derrick Henry, Tennessee Titans - 59% owned
If you have Henry on your roster, his ability to contribute to your weekly scoring is contingent upon a convergence of factors that are not necessarily easy to attain First, Marcus Mariota needs to remain healthy since any reemergence of Blaine Gabbert under center will demolish all chances of success for Tennessee's offense. Also, the Titans need to be operating with a favorable game script in order for Henry to attain a reasonable number of carries. Finally, he has devolved into extreme touchdown dependence after failing to rush for 60 yards in any of his 11 games this season. When you also blend his 3.7 YPC into the equation, it is very likely that your waiver wire contains a back that is in a better position to help you during these remaining weeks.

Chris Thompson, Washington Redskins - 54% owned

Thompson generated a career-best 804 total yards during the first 10 games of his 2017 regular season before a broken fibula concluded what had been his breakout year. His performance before that season-ending health issue may still be a factor that compels owners in 46% of all leagues to maintain a roster spot on the talented but oft-injured back. But several different rib issues have limited Thompson to a grand total of 28 snaps since Week 5, while the latest injury has kept him affixed to the sidelines since Week 8. The best treatment for his rib problem is rest, which creates uncertainty regarding how extensive his usage will be if he returns to the field in Week 13. The upcoming schedule is also challenging, as he would be contending with the Eagles this week, while also facing the units that have yielded the second and fourth-fewest fantasy points to opposing runners in Weeks 15-16 (Jacksonville/Tennessee). There are other backs currently residing on waiver wires that present a more favorable forecast than Thompson moving forward.

More Waiver Wire Adds and Pickups

Check out RotoBaller's famous fantasy football draft sleepers and waiver wire pickups list, updated regularly!

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