5 RBs Set to Explode in the Fantasy Football Playoffs
Every year, there are those players that go down in history as fantasy football playoffs legends. The running back position in particular has been known for this, as teams sometimes focus on the run as the temperature drops in the winter. Now it’s obvious that the elite running backs can provide this, so they won’t be mentioned. Players like Christian McCaffrey, Derrick Henry, Alvin Kamara, and Dalvin Cook. While they carry teams to the playoffs, it’s often the other guys that win leagues. The up and comers, the underused, or the players who haven’t received as much respect to date. In 2019, Kenyan Drake and Miles Sanders led their owners to the fantasy football championships. They were both respectable players, but neither really took off until the second half of the season.
Now we head into the 2020 fantasy football playoffs, and we are looking for the next select few at running back to carry their teams to the fantasy Gloryland. Below are five running backs that not only have the schedule necessary to blow up over the final weeks but the volume and talent to as well.
5 RBs Ready to Break Out in Fantasy Football Playoffs
David Montgomery – CHI
vs Houston Texans (31st)
at Minnesota Vikings (16th)
at Jacksonville Jaguars (28th)
David Montgomery isn’t good. He is slow, he isn’t agile, and he doesn’t make people miss in the open field. It’s all been said, and it’s wrong. In fact, the reason Montgomery’s numbers are so poor is simply that he plays in a poor offense, behind a bad offensive line. Montgomery may not be an uber-talented running back, but he is better than his pundits lead on.
Montgomery has shown in recent weeks that when the matchup is favorable. Over the past two weeks, he has scored his highest PPR point totals in in his NFL career. First, he scored 25.3 points versus the putrid Green Bay Packers run defense. Montgomery ran for 103 yards on 11 carries, and also caught five passes for 40 yards and a touchdown. He decided to one up that in Week 13 against Detroit, rushing for 72 yards and two touchdowns, and hauling in four passes for 39 yards. All of a sudden, David Montgomery has turned into an RB1 as proof below:
Well, who cares if he’s an RB1 just because he gets the ball a lot right? While he hasn’t been great with his opportunities, Montgomery has raised his numbers from the hideous totals prior to Week 12. In fact, among the aforementioned RB1’s, he is currently averaging more points per opportunity (PpO) than Derrick Henry, Ezekiel Elliot, and Josh Jacobs. With the Bears running back playing at a different level, and the schedule continuing to ease up, fire him up as a confident RB1 play for the fantasy playoffs.
Ronald Jones II – TB
vs Minnesota Vikings (16th)
at Atlanta Falcons (4th)
at Detroit Lions (32nd)
If David Montgomery being an RB1 surprised you, then Ronald Jones should come in equally as surprising. While Jones is far more talented than Montgomery, it seemed like Bruce Arians was looking for alternatives to the talented second-year back. They drafted Ke’Shawn Vaughn in the third round of the 2020 NFL Draft, and then picked up Leonard Fournette in free agency. Well here we are 13 weeks later, and Jones has been the man in Tampa.
Jones has been a roller coaster ride for his fantasy managers, as evidenced by the up and down line graph shown below:
Fresh off a solid showing against Kansas City, Jones will face the Minnesota Vikings beatable front seven. Following that will be a trip to Atlanta against a surprisingly tough Atlanta Falcons run defense. Their numbers are slightly deceptive though, as they haven’t faced many prominent rushing attacks. But the main reason Jones is on this list because of his potential championship week matchup against the Detroit Lions. Simply put, they are the worst defense in football against running backs. Jones will be a top five option at the position, and a potential league winner.
J.K. Dobbins – BAL
at Cleveland Browns (9th)
vs Jacksonville Jaguars (28th)
vs New York Giants (23rd)
This is more of a bold take than anything. There is little reason to believe that J.K. Dobbins will truly take off to end the year. First, he is in a three-headed backfield (four if you count Lamar Jackson). Second, his touchdown upside is limited because of the aforementioned Jackson being such a red zone threat. And third, he is not targeted as often as one would like in the passing game, despite being a borderline elite pass catcher at the position.
With that said, there is a hunch that the Ravens will ride not only Lamar Jackson, but also Dobbins to the playoffs. Simply watching Ravens games it is obvious who the most talented runner is for Baltimore. Mark Ingram’s age is showing. Gus Edwards is a good back, and does what he is supposed to do. But neither is the elusive, electric, and eccentric Dobbins.
As can be seen above, Dobbins and Edwards are now clearly ahead of Mark Ingram in terms of opportunity, and points per opportunity. The Ravens won’t necessarily slow down Edwards’ usage, but expect Dobbins to continue his lead back duties the rest of the season. Dobbins first obstacle will be the Cleveland Browns this week, where he scored his first two career touchdowns against them in Week 1. After Cleveland, it’s smooth sailing, as Dobbins faces the Jaguars and the Giants to close the season. Play Dobbins as a confident RB2, with the upside for a few explosive games to close the season.
J.D. McKissic – WAS
at San Francisco 49ers (6th)
vs Seattle Seahawks (24th)
vs Carolina Panthers (26th)
It is no secret at this point that the Redskins love using J.D. McKissic in the passing game. Perhaps some still don’t recognize that he is second in the NFL in targets among running backs. McKissic’s 78 targets at the position only trail Alvin Kamara on the season.
McKissic’s outlook now looks even brighter as star rookie running back Antonio Gibson suffered a turf toe injury last week. He is destined to miss at least this week, and likely won’t be healthy the rest of the season. McKissic won’t take on Gibson’s entire workload, but he will be on the field even more than before.
Due to his heavy volume in the passing game, the 27-year-old has a safe floor. With Gibson now an unknown, McKissic’s ceiling has expanded greatly. The Redskins are set to take on the Seahawks in Week 15, and the Panthers in Week 16. That is a great duo to face if you are the opposing running back. If you own McKissic, fire him up with confidence in your starting lineup throughout the playoffs.
Myles Gaskin – MIA
vs Kansas City Chiefs (20th)
vs New England Patriots (14th)
at Las Vegas Raiders (29th)
Simply put, when Gaskin has been healthy this season, he has been the bell-cow in Miami. Outside of the first two weeks where the Dolphins were getting a feel for the running back situation, Gaskin has average 21.8 opportunities a game. While he has only averaged 15.3 fantasy points per game in those games, that still puts him solidly in the RB2 range.
Now we factor in Gaskin’s schedule to close the year, and while it isn’t elite, it is not difficult to say the least. He starts against the Chiefs, who have an underrated defense, but they are vulnerable on the ground. The difficult thing here will be how much can the Miami defense slow down Patrick Mahomes and company. If this winds up being a competitive game, Gaskin could have a huge day. Up next will be the Patriots, who aren’t easy, but aren’t theoretically a difficult matchup for running backs. But the primary reason for Gaskin being on this list is due to his Week 16 matchup. If the Gaskin owner makes it to the championship, he has a mouth-watering matchup against the Las Vegas Raiders defense who gets gashed week in and week out. This could be that 20+ point outburst that propels teams to victory. Fire up Gaskin each week in the fantasy playoffs, and pray there is enough gas in “Gas”kin to propel teams to fantasy football championships.
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