You may be playing for playoff positioning or you may be in your league’s playoffs. These games are important! Injuries and matchups mean everything at this stage of the game. Here are running backs in interesting scenarios to pay close attention to:
Aaron Jones, Green Bay Packers
If you’re smart, you scooped and stashed Jones last week when you saw he began practicing a week ahead of schedule. Jones had one 20 yard carry for the games winning touchdown Sunday but still played behind rookie Jamaal Williams. Williams has played great in Jones absence, but Jones was a bit more explosive. Pick up Jones if he’s still available and keep an eye on reports leading up to the Packers contest vs the Cleveland Browns this week.
Giovani Bernard, Cincinnati Bengals
Jeremy Hill has already hit IR and Joe Mixon entered concussion protocol, leaving Bernard as the lone healthy back with experience for the Bengals. It’s been about 50/50 with guys playing the week after a concussion but this is a bit of a shorter week for Mixon as the Bengals played on Monday night and not Sunday. It’s not a great matchup for Bernard if he gets the nod but he would see volume if Mixon is out.
Peyton Barber, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Doug Martin missed last week and has not been all that effective this year. Dirk Koetter’s job may be on the line so he’s looking to do anything that works. Although they lost in OT to the Packers, the Bucs saw Barber run for 102 yards and catch 4 passes for 41 yards. Even if Doug Martin is healthy, it’s not clear yet that Koetter would want to return to Martin and his 3.2 YPC. The Lions are a favorable matchup to whoever is running the ball for TB as they’ve allowed 16 rushing touchdowns this year.
Kerwynn Williams, Arizona Cardinals
I’m not a fan of Williams but he did produce 97 rushing yards on 16 carries last week in Adrian Peterson’s absence. Peterson did not practice Wednesday and there hasn’t been much information on his injury. The Titans play the run well, but Williams could be in for volume again if you need a plug and play option.
If any of these guys get the starting nod for their team you should feel confident plugging them into your fantasy lineup.