Fantasy Football RB Rankings Week 13: Who to start, best sleepers at running back

As “Game of Thrones” once popularized, “Winter is coming.” More importantly for us, the fantasy football playoffs are coming — and the roster decisions we make at running back and flex now could play a pivotal role in the fate of our teams a month from now. Our Week 13 fantasy RB rankings for standard leagues will guide you to the studs, sleepers, busts, and injuries of note going into the first weekend of December. 

With the injury bug remaining a weekly nuisance and six teams on bye this week, over 10 fantasy-relevant running backs will be inactive this week. For many owners, that means tough decisions will need to be made at RB and maybe even the flex spot. Just like the NFL is a game of inches, fantasy football is a game of decimals. All too often, every little bit of production counts. 

With all that in mind, let’s get to our rankings and break down fantasy’s most important position. Good luck, check back often, and enjoy the first weekend of December!

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Which RBs are on bye in Week 13?

The Ravens, Bills, Giants, Raiders, Vikings, and Bears all have Week 13 off, taking away a plethora of fantasy-relevant running backs, including Josh Jacobs, Saquon Barkley, and Gus Edwards. We also lose Alexander Mattison, James Cook, and Khalil Herbert. 

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Ravens rookie Keaton Mitchell looks like he’s taking over the Baltimore backfield, so he’ll also be missed, and Ty Chandler has been coming on as of late, too. The loss of all these key backs leaves holes in lineups in both shallow and deep leagues.

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Who are the best fantasy RBs in Week 13?

Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but Christian McCaffrey (@ Eagles in Week 13), Austin Ekeler (@ Patriots), and Raheem Mostert (@ Commanders) are the three most valuable running backs in the NFL. Sure, their squads have road matchups — and CMC faces one of the fiercest front-sevens — but these three have the highest volume and TD upside at the position. 

We absolutely love Travis Etienne Jr. (vs. Bengals), so we’re excited that he was able to return to the game after his chest injury in a big Week 12 win over the Texans. The Steelers’ 1-2 punch of Najee Harris and Jaylen Warren combined for over 150 all-purpose yards and a TD against Cincy last week, so continue starting Etienne with confidence.

Dallas has restored its running game for the home stretch, to the welcomed relief of everyone rostering Tony Pollard (vs. Seahawks). After a mostly underwhelming and TD-less eight-week stretch, Pollard has 189 yards from scrimmage and two TDs over the past two weeks. He gobble-gobbled up the Commanders on Turkey Day and he should do the same against a Seattle D that just let McCaffrey amass 139 yards and two TDs.

Welcome to the top six, Isiah Pacheco (@ Packers)! The Chiefs’ second-year stud has been running hard all season, and he roughed up the division-rival Raiders for 89 yards and two scores in a Week 12 thrashing. Welcome back to the top seven, Rhamondre Stevenson (vs. Chargers), who has been one of New England’s lone bright spots over its four-game losing streak. ‘Mondre put up 107 yards and a TD against the Giants, a line we think he can duplicate against a Chargers front-seven that sorely misses Joey Bosa (foot).

We anticipate a get-right game for Breece Hall (vs. Falcons) considering Alvin Kamara just put up 119 total yards on 19 touches against Atlanta. We also like David Montgomery (@ Saints) despite a tough matchup against New Orleans. Detroit remains a run-first offense, and DMont continues to operate as the lead back and highest-upside standard-league RB over rookie Jahmyr Gibbs.

Rounding out the top 10 is the king, Derrick Henry (vs. Colts), who averaged 4.2 yards per carry and scored two TDs last week against the Panthers. Sure, Indy is better than Carolina, but not by much. Entering Week 12, the Colts had allowed the third-most rushing TDs and eighth-most rushing yards.

Who are the best fantasy RB sleepers, waiver pickups in Week 13?

A lot of fantasy owners probably think the Texans’ Dameon Pierce (vs. Broncos) is nothing more than a low-level handcuff now that Devin Singletary broke out during Pierce’s recent two-week absence with an ankle injury. However, it’s worth noting that Singletary was even more terrible than Pierce on the ground last week, and both received the same number of carries. We have faith in Pierce’s ability to get right against the Broncos, who have surrendered the most fantasy points in the NFL to RBs this season. He might not crack RB2 numbers in 12-team leagues, but he could easily flaunt some flex appeal in a pinch. 

Double-check the availability of Royce Freeman (vs. Browns), who stayed busy in Week 12 despite a banner 200-yard, two-TD day from Kyren Williams in his triumphant return. Freeman got his, too, managing 77 yards and a TD on just 13 carries. Garbage-time stats count all the same in fantasy, and with Cleveland’s Dorian Thompson-Robinson concussed, there could be a lot of garbage time regardless of the Browns’ starting QB. 

Another veteran we’re keeping our eyes on is Jacksonville’s D’Ernest Johnson (vs. Bengals), especially with Travis Etienne Jr. suffering a chest injury that briefly sidelined him against the Texans in Week 12. Last week taught us that Johnson — not rookie Tank Bigsby — would be next in line for the lead role while Bigsby remains the change-of-pace and short-yardage option. Johnson should be rostered in all 12-team leagues, and we say that D’Ernestly (er, earnestly). 

Speaking of injury issues, now seems like a good time to invest in some high-upside handcuffs in preparation for the home stretch. Trade deadlines have passed in most leagues, so grabbing Ezekiel Elliott (vs. Chargers), Josh Kelley (@ Patriots), or Jeff Wilson Jr. (vs. Commanders) as insurance for injury-prone lead backs seems prudent. It helps that all three of those backs could be used as desperation streams since their Week 13 matchups might culminate in long periods of garbage time. 

Who are the biggest potential RB busts in Week 13?

We simply don’t know how to assess De’Von Achane (@ Commanders). He sat in Week 12 after immediately aggravating his knee injury in Week 11, so we’re not sure how much he’ll play, if at all, in Week 13. Even if Achane does suit up, we think Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson Jr. continue to combine for 60-70 percent of the Dolphins’ RB touches against the lowly Commanders’ defense, but for most Achane owners, it will be very difficult to bench the stud if he’s active. All we’re saying is temper your expectations and consider a higher-floor option if you’re projected to win.

We don’t love AJ Dillon (vs. Chiefs) despite Aaron Jones’ knee injury. He has just 72 rushing yards on 28 carries over the past two weeks, and Chris Jones and this KC D have been stout against plodders. We have him within the top 30 because of Jones’ injury, but we don’t feel good about his upside (and basically never do). We also have major reservations about Seattle rookie Zach Charbonnet (@ Cowboys), who faces the unenviable task of starting against America’s No. 1 D/ST. Turkey Day is over, but the Seahawks are starting to look cooked, so even if Kenneth Walker III (oblique) is out again, be careful with Charbonnet.

Speaking of cooked, don’t go anywhere near Carolina’s Chuba Hubbard or Miles Sanders (@ Buccaneers) unless you find yourself in absolute despair at RB. The way to beat Tampa this season has been through the air, not through Vita Vea and its stout front-seven. Things could get really ugly really quickly in this one. 

What are the biggest RB injuries in Week 13?

Like we said in the potential busts section, stud Dolphins back De’Von Achane (knee) could very well be sidelined this week. He missed Miami’s Black Friday beatdown of the Jets in Week 12, one week after returning for just one play in Week 11 following a five-week IR stint. Tread lightly, and make sure Jeff Wilson Jr. isn’t available on your waiver wire. Achane would be higher than No. 24 if we were 100-percent confident he plays and maintains a normal role, but this game could be out of Washington’s reach by halftime. 

Seattle’s Kenneth Walker III (oblique) missed Week 12, and we wouldn’t be surprised in the least if he also sits for Seattle’s Week 13 tilt against the hard-hitting Cowboys. We’ve heard whispers on the Twittersphere (or X-verse) that KW3 might have a sports hernia, which is obviously suboptimal. For now, we have him out of our rankings, as we don’t expect him to play. Keep checking back for updates throughout the week. 

Green Bay’s Aaron Jones has a sprained MCL, and sources have revealed that the Packers currently consider him week-to-week. He only logged four carries before sustaining the injury in Week 11, then he sat for the Packers’ Thanksgiving Day tilt with the Lions. It’s worth noting that the Pack won both those games, and also important to note that Kansas City has a very stout defense. We don’t anticipate seeing Jones this weekend, but we’ll see.

We’ll be updating these standard RB rankings all week, so check back for the latest player movement.

Fantasy RB Rankings Week 13: Who to start, sit at running back

Rankings based on standard, non-PPR scoring

Rank    Player
1    Christian McCaffrey, 49ers @ Eagles
2    Austin Ekeler, Chargers @ Patriots
3    Raheem Mostert, Dolphins @ Commanders
4    Travis Etienne, Jaguars vs. Bengals
5    Tony Pollard, Cowboys vs. Seahawks
6    Isiah Pacheco, Chiefs @ Packers
7    Rhamondre Stevenson, Patriots vs. Chargers
8    Breece Hall, Jets vs. Falcons
9    David Montgomery, Lions @ Saints
10    Derrick Henry, Titans vs. Colts
11    Jonathan Taylor, Colts @ Titans
12    Bijan Robinson, Falcons @ Jets
13    Kyren Williams, Rams vs. Browns
14    Alvin Kamara, Saints vs. Lions
15    Rachaad White, Buccaneers vs. Panthers
16    Brian Robinson Jr., Commanders vs. Dolphins
17    Jahmyr Gibbs, Lions @ Saints
18    D’Andre Swift, Eagles vs. 49ers
19    Joe Mixon, Bengals @ Jaguars
20    Javonte Williams, Broncos @ Texans
21    Jaylen Warren, Steelers vs. Cardinals
22    Jerome Ford, Browns @ Rams
23    Najee Harris, Steelers vs. Cardinals
24    De’Von Achane, Dolphins @ Commanders
25    Devin Singletary, Texans vs. Broncos
26    AJ Dillon, Packers vs. Chiefs
27    Zach Charbonnet, Seahawks @ Cowboys
28    James Conner, Cardinals @ Steelers
29    Kareem Hunt, Browns @ Rams
30    Tyler Allgeier, Falcons @ Jets
31    Dameon Pierce, Texans vs. Broncos
32    Chuba Hubbard, Panthers @ Buccaneers
33    Ezekiel Elliott, Patriots vs. Chargers
34    Miles Sanders, Panthers @ Buccaneers
35    Joshua Kelley, Chargers @ Patriots
36    Royce Freeman, Rams vs. Browns
37    D’Ernest Johnson, Jaguars vs. Bengals
38    Tyjae Spears, Titans vs. Colts
39    Jeff Wilson Jr., Dolphins @ Commanders
40    Zack Moss, Colts @ Titans
41    Kenneth Gainwell, Eagles vs. 49ers
42    Elijah Mitchell, 49ers @ Eagles
43    Tank Bigsby, Jaguars vs. Bengals
44    Chase Edmonds, Buccaneers vs. Panthers
45    Dalvin Cook, Jets vs. Falcons
46    Boston Scott, Eagles vs. 49ers
47    Emari Demercado, Cardinals @ Steelers
48    Jamaal Williams, Saints vs. Lions
49    Rico Dowdle, Cowboys vs. Seahawks
50    Chris Rodriguez Jr., Commanders vs. Dolphins
51    Samaje Perine, Broncos @ Texans
52    Jaleel McLaughlin, Broncos @ Texans

Week 13 RB fantasy projections, rankings from Draft Sharks

Draft Sharks projections for the new week will update every Tuesday and be constantly adjusted throughout the week

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