Week 13 Rushing Matchups

by Justin Howe, Devin Knotts, and Keith Roberts, Exclusive to Footballguys.com

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Great Matchups: [BAL] [OAK] [PHI]
Good Matchups: [CAR] [DAL] [LAR] [NE] [NYG] [NYJ] [PIT] [TB] [WAS]
Neutral Matchups: [BUF] [CHI] [DEN] [GB] [HOU] [KC]
Tough Matchups: [CLE] [DET] [IND] [LAC] [MIN] [NO] [SEA] [SF] [TEN]
Bad Matchups: [ARI] [ATL] [CIN] [JAX] [MIA]

PLEASE NOTE: This does NOT replace the Cheatsheet ranking. The Cheatsheet rankings are the final say on where we see a player for that week. The Matchup Breakdowns are simply one more tool in the box when it comes to helping choose your lineup.

Also note, just because a player has a "bad" matchup, it does NOT mean he's not a starter in your league. If Tom Brady is playing the toughest pass defense in the league, that just means he's got a tough matchup that week. He's also your starter unless you're loaded at QB. In the same way, if the worst QB on your roster has a "great" matchup that week, it doesn't necessarily mean he's your starter. It means we think he'll fare better than normal that week.

Bottom line is that the cheatsheets are the final say.

Baltimore Ravens Rushing Offense vs San Francisco 49ers Rushing Defense (Great Matchup)

It’s no surprise that the Ravens offense, featuring a gifted backfield and coordinated by Greg Roman, lead the league with 37 rushes a game. What’s shocking is their efficiency: they’re not only pacing the league in raw yardage (211), but also on a per-carry basis (5.7) by a mile. (The second-place Texans sit way back at 5.0.) The big story, of course, is quarterback Lamar Jackson, who takes a wild 30% of team attempts. Jackson has cleared 60 ground yards in 9 of 11 games thus far, and he’s already found the end zone 6 times. His speed and suddenness are the stuff of nightmares for opposing defenses, so the Ravens lean heavily on his aptitude in the option game. He works nicely in tandem with Mark Ingram, who only sees about half the team’s snaps, but has produced 5.2 yards per rush and 71 a game in his Ravens debut. Bruiser Gus Edwards took on 14 rushes in last week’s blowout win, but his real fantasy value is as a handcuff to the league’s best backfield. This backfield is special, but it wouldn’t be this far off the charts without its line, which continues to dominate the trenches in most of its matchups.

The San Francisco run defense has struggled throughout the season, sitting 19th in raw yardage allowed and 25th on a per-carry basis. They’ve done fine work of late, holding the combination of Aaron Jones, Kenyan Drake, and Chris Carson to just 3.6 yards per rush over the past 3 weeks. But they’ve also allowed strong rushing lines to Drake (15 carries for 110 and a touchdown), Christian McCaffrey (14 for 117 and 1), and Nick Chubb (16 for 87). The front line is imposing, with Arik Armstead and rookie Nick Bosa heading a group that’s tough and stingy at the point of attack. The real problems lie on the second level, where the linebackers are often liabilities in the open field. Fred Warner racks up huge tackle numbers, but has graded poorly across the board as a pursuer and a tackler. Rookie Dre Greenlaw has been up-and-down in place of the injured Kwon Alexander, and the secondary provides limited help in the box. It’s not easy to build a run-game rhythm against the 49ers, who tend to control games and force opponents to throw. But when runners can clear the line of scrimmage, there’s usually opportunity to make an impact. That’s a terrible prognosis with the Ravens’ dominant, multi-faceted ground game next on the docket. The 49ers will need to get creative to contain Lamar Jackson, Mark Ingram, and company.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.

Oakland Raiders Rushing Offense at Kansas City Chiefs Rushing Defense (Great Matchup)

Josh Jacobs and this rushing attack had their first game since Week 1 that they did not average over 4.3 yards-per-carry as they were shut-down by the tough Jets run defense. On the season, however, Jacobs has been tremendous consistently gaining yards and has been one of the backbones of this offense. The offensive line has also been a nice surprise as Richie Incognito continues to play at a high level at the left guard position and center Rodney Hudson has been incredibly consistent as well. The Raiders may be without Hudson this week as he missed practice with an ankle injury on Wednesday and if he is unable to go, this would be a major loss for the Raiders as undrafted rookie Andre James would likely be forced into action this week.

On the year, no team has allowed more fantasy points to running backs than Kansas City as they have allowed the second-most yards to the position and are allowing 5.1 yards-per-carry. This is a unit that was built to use their offense to get ahead in games and have teams abandon the run. Part of the problem for their run defense is that the offense has not been able to pull away as early as they would like thus putting a more concentrated focus on their run defense. The linebacking group for the Chiefs has been a major issue all year with Anthony Hitchens and Damien Wilson both struggling along with safeties who are built to stop the pass in Daniel Sorenson and Juan Thornhill. While this defense has been horrendous so far this year, there is hope as they have allowed just a single 100-yard rushing opponent over their last five games.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.

Philadelphia Eagles Rushing Offense at Miami Dolphins Rushing Defense (Great Matchup)

Philadelphia's number-one running back, Jordan Howard, has missed the last two games due to a shoulder stinger that has his status in question once again leading up to Week 13. In his absence, Miles Sanders has played over 80-percent of the team's offensive snaps, and he should continue to do so if Howard misses out once again this weekend. Miles Sanders' production across these two weeks without Jordan Howard has been unimpressive, topping out at 63 yards on 12 carries last weekend against the Seattle Seahawks. Philadelphia's banged-up offensive line and general lack of a passing attack have stacked the deck against the ground game, righting the ship down the stretch, but a matchup against the Miami Dolphins is as good as it gets this weekend. Without Jordan Howard in the picture, Miles Sanders should be able to scrape together a respectable stat line against one of the league's worst run defenses. If Howard returns to the fold, he and Sanders will likely split work, heavily downgrading the viability of Philadelphia's rookie running back.

On the whole, Miami's defense lacks talent both defending the pass and the run, as they rank 6th-worst in the NFL in fantasy points per game allowed to running backs. As the Dolphins are almost always playing from behind, their opponent's rushing attacks have had no trouble establishing the run, forcing Miami's defense to defend the third-most rushing attempts in the league. The Dolphins' efficiency numbers leave much to be desired, ranking 7th-worst in the NFL at 4.7 yards per carry allowed. This combination of top-tier volume and bottom-rung efficiency fosters a healthy fantasy environment for opposing running backs, as Miami has already allowed 6 100-yard rushing performances this season. Their run defense lacks any positive difference-makers, and although Philadelphia's backfield has been inconsistent and relatively unproductive, especially in recent weeks, the Eagles could be in for a big day on the ground here in Week 13. If Jordan Howard is inactive once again, Miles Sanders should be in for a heavy workload against one of the league's worst run defenses, making him a premier fantasy target this weekend.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.

Carolina Panthers Rushing Offense vs Washington Redskins Rushing Defense (Good Matchup)

Christian McCaffrey rarely, if ever, leaves the field for the Carolina Panthers, and his incredible consistency has placed him atop fantasy leaderboards as the top non-quarterback producer through 10 games this season in almost every scoring format. McCaffrey has found the end zone on the ground in every game except for two this season, to go along with his league-leading 1,123 rushing yards. The third-year running back out of Stanford also spearheads one of the league's most efficient ground-games. McCaffrey's 5.1 yards per carry ranks 5th amongst qualified running backs in the league, and the Panthers' rushing attack, as a whole, ranks second in the league at 5.0 yards per carry. A matchup against the Washington Redskins is not as soft as it seems on the surface, but thanks to another high-volume day for the Panthers' lead-back, Christian McCaffrey should be in for another day of massive production here in Week 13.

Washington's run defense has been tested early and often this season, as they have played from behind for the majority of their 2-9 start, but they've been up to the task from an efficiency point-of-view. The Redskins have defended the 2nd-most rush attempts of any team in the league, which stacks the odds against their run defense as a whole, but their 14th-ranked defense in yards per carry allowed has helped to salvage respectable totals on the ground. The Redskins have allowed the 9th-most fantasy points per game to opposing running backs, including 5 performances of at least 91 rushing yards. Still, gashing the Redskins on the ground is a battle of attrition, as only one of those performances came on less-than 18 carries. Washington's run defense is led by a budding star in the trenches, DaRon Payne. Payne, a second-year interior lineman from Alabama, missed last week's game against Detroit (Bo Scarbrough ran for 98 yards on 18 carries in his absence) due to an ankle injury, and his status is in question once again leading up to this Week 13 matchup. Should he miss out once again, Washington's run defense would be at a significant disadvantage trying to contain the NFL's leading rusher. The team's other notable run-stopper is safety Landon Collins. Collins has always had a nose for the football when defending the run, and although he has fallen short of expectations against the pass this season, he has been everything Washington could have expected against the run. Landon Collins leads the team in tackles with 64 on the season, good for the 6th-most in the NFL, and he is a leading reason the team has been so successful containing big plays and performances (only 1 player has eclipsed 100-yards on the ground) this season. Expect Christian McCaffrey to continue to see his league-leading involvement on the ground against Washington, and if DaRon Payne is inactive once again, his projected efficiency totals will increase significantly.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.

Dallas Cowboys Rushing Offense vs Buffalo Bills Rushing Defense (Good Matchup)

Ezekiel Elliott's status as the Dallas Cowboys' bell-cow running back, as long as he is healthy, is one of the few remaining certainties in the NFL this season. Elliott has played at least 80-percent of offensive snaps for the Cowboys in every game since Week 3, including at least 20 carries in 5 out of the last 6 games. Elliott's volume on the ground is one of the highest and most consistent of any running back in the nation, but his efficiency has been lackluster this season, averaging only 4.3 yards per carry. Dak Prescott and the passing attack have carried the Cowboys' offense. Still, they continue to feed Zeke each week, and running behind one of the NFL's best offensive lines; his efficiency should rebound towards his career average of over 4.6 yards per carry sooner rather than later. Dallas' relative struggles on the ground should not continue much longer this season, and Ezekiel Elliott will be the primary beneficiary of some positive regression in this backfield.

Buffalo's run defense, as is the case with their entire team, has benefited from an exceptionally soft schedule to start the 2019 campaign. This soft schedule has fostered an unexpected 8-3 start for the Bills, where they have consistently played with a lead, disallowing their opponents to attempt to establish the run game on most occasions. Buffalo has defended the 10th-fewest rushing attempts on the season, but they've allowed the 13th-most yards per carry of any team in the league. The Bills have allowed just 3 100-yard rushers this season; however, when opposing running backs have tallied at least 20 carries on the day, they have registered either 75+ yards and a touchdown or surpassed the century mark in all 3 games. The strength of this defense comes in the secondary, where the safeties' willingness to come down in run support has mostly limited explosive plays this season. Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer grade as the team's best run defenders this season, which helps make up for a mediocre front-seven that lacks a true difference-maker against the ground game. Dallas' high-volume rushing attack featuring one of the league's top running back and offensive line combinations will put Buffalo's run defense to the test this week. Expect a heavy dose of Ezekiel Elliott on Thanksgiving Day afternoon, as the Cowboys' top-end offense attempts to expose the Buffalo Bills' defense as an overrated unit bolstered by one of the league's easiest schedules.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.

Los Angeles Rams Rushing Offense at Arizona Cardinals Rushing Defense (Good Matchup)

Todd Gurley's workload and production have taken a nose dive compared to his 2018 numbers, but he remains the team's go-to running back in close games, consistently playing upwards of 75-percent, and sometimes over 90-percent, of the Rams' offensive snaps in close games. Through 10 games into his 2019 season, Todd Gurley has carried the ball more than 20 times on just 1 occasion, and he has yet to surpass the century mark on the ground. The blame for his struggles does not rest solely on his shoulders, however, as the team's offensive line has plummeted from one of the league's best last season to one of the league's worst this year. The Rams' front-line has been plagued with injuries, and most of the players who have stayed healthy have been inconsistent during their time on the field. A soft matchup against the Arizona Cardinals could foster the first 100-yard rushing day of Todd Gurley's season, but if he cannot do it here in Week 13, it is beginning to look increasingly unlikely that he will at any point in 2019.

Arizona's run defense has grades as a slightly-below-average unit across the board this season. Arizona has allowed the 10th-most fantasy points to opposing running backs this season while defending the 11th-most rushing attempts in the NFL. Their 4.3 yards per carry allowed total is an acceptable mark, ranking 15th in the league, and they've allowed 3 100-yard rushers across their 11 games. The standout in this unit is safety Budda Baker. Baker leads the NFL in total tackles, with 71 so far this season, and his versatility defending both the run and the pass from the secondary is key to the team's defensive approach. Missed tackles have plagued this defense all season, as both starting linebackers, Jordan Hicks and Haason Reddick, have missed double-digit tackles. If the Rams play with a lead throughout this game, as they are expected to do, their rushing attack, and especially Todd Gurley, should see significant volume on the ground. This matchup is a prime opportunity for Gurley to finally get on the board with his first 100-yard rushing day of the 2019 campaign after a disappointing start to the season.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.

New England Patriots Rushing Offense at Houston Texans Rushing Defense (Good Matchup)

Sony Michel in a tough matchup against the Cowboys performed admirably rushing for 85 yards on 20 carries last week. Michel was coming off of several games in which he struggled and the volume was declining, so it was good to see the Patriots commit back to their second-year running back and attempt to establish the run in poor weather conditions. The good news for the Patriots is that their offensive line is starting to come together as Isaiah Wynn is back at left tackle, Shaq Mason is starting to play better, and Marcus Cannon’s play is improving at right tackle. This should greatly help Michel and the running game over the rest of the season as the Patriots desperately need a balanced approach to help Tom Brady and the passing game.

The Texans run defense is starting to fall apart over the last two weeks after being dominant for most of the season. Having just allowed two running backs to rush for more than 66 yards (Kamara and McCaffrey), and no running back to rush for over 100 yards, this defense has now allowed back-to-back 100-yard games to the likes of Gus Edwards and Jonathan Williams. So what has changed? Opponents are running right at Angelo Blackson who is filling in for the injured J.J. Watt and has been a tremendous downgrade to this defensive line and a weak link that the Texans will need to figure out. The Texans still have two good linebackers in Zach Cunningham and Benardrick McKinney, but will need the defensive line to play better to get back to their dominant ways.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.

New York Giants Rushing Offense vs Green Bay Packers Rushing Defense (Good Matchup)

Saquon Barkley and the Giants rushing attack has been horrendous since Week 3. Since Week 3, Saquon Barkley is averaging just 2.7 yards per carry and has three games in which he has a 2.0 yards-per-carry or less. Everyone on the offense is to blame for the lack of results as Saquon does not seem to be 100% healthy or trust that he is 100% healthy, the offensive line has been inconsistent as Matt Bitontihas the offensive line ranked 21st overall, Daniel Jones and the wide receivers are to blame for not helping defenses be honest. Overall it is a disaster of a season in for the Giants who have invested a lot to help this running game including trading for right guard Kevin Zeitler who has been their best offensive lineman so far this year.

On the year, the Packers run defense has been their weakness. So far this season, they have allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing running backs, the sixth-most yards, and the second-most touchdowns to the position. They did do a nice job last week holding Tevin Coleman to just 39 yards on 11 carries. The problem for Green Bay has been the overall lack of playmakers on their defense as it is a defense designed to stop the pass as they primarily play a Dime defense as their base set to stop the pass. Kenny Clark has done a nice job at the nose tackle position and Za’Darius Smith has done a nice job on the outside, but the problem is up the middle if teams can control Clark, Blake Martinez has had a tough year at making consistent plays. This is a spot where Saquon Barkley could have a tremendous game this week.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.

New York Jets Rushing Offense at Cincinnati Bengals Rushing Defense (Good Matchup)

At this point, Le’Veon Bell’s weekly rushing lines have gone well past disappointing and into devastating. He dominates the Jets backfield () and has taken 12+ carries in 10 of 11 games. And yet, he hasn’t topped 70 yards in a single one - he’s been held below 50 in 6 of them - while averaging a weak 3.2 yards along the way. One of the era’s most heavily-used backs, he was already showing a dip with the Steelers in 2017. Now running behind a bottom-tier line, and handcuffed to a shaky passing game, Bell has taken quite a drop-off in situation. Up front, the Jets are down their center and both guards from Opening Day and simply aren’t built to grade roads (currently graded C+ in run-blocking by Footballguys’ Matt Bitonti). Bell carries quite a track record, but isn’t in the boat he once was. His Week 13 matchup couldn’t be better, but he hasn’t been nearly productive enough to trust in fantasy.

The Bengals’ nightmarish 2018 hasn’t stopped at their run game, which has faced more attempts and allowed more ground yards than anyone. Thanks to Steelers rookie plodder Benny Snell last Sunday, they’ve now allowed a runner to rack up 98+ yards in 3 straight games and 4 of their last 5. There are few units in football more in need of a talent infusion. Their four-man front is generally solid, with Andrew Billings an above-average nose and Geno Atkins still a dynamic playmaker. But behind them, linebackers Nick Vigil and Germaine Pratt both rank among the league’s weakest run-stoppers, and there’s little rotational depth to speak of. Safeties Jessie Bates and Shawn Williams provide little help, and opposing runners tend to find ample room to maneuver. This may be Le’Veon Bell’s best get-right opportunity thus far.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.

Pittsburgh Steelers Rushing Offense vs Cleveland Browns Rushing Defense (Good Matchup)

With James Conner injured, the Steelers continue to play musical chairs with their ground game. Conner remains iffy with a nagging shoulder injury, and last week, rookie Benny Snell took advantage to the tune of 98 yards (4.7 per carry). Snell isn’t a special athlete - his 4.66 dash and 29.5-inch vertical at this year’s combine didn’t stoke much excitement. But he’s a true grinder at 224 pounds, and he spent last week churning through the Bengals defense and falling forward for extra yardage. If Conner can’t suit up, the team will almost certainly turn again to Snell as the featured runner. They certainly seem to have lost interest in what Jaylen Samuels can do on the ground. With just 7 attempts (for 32 yards) over the past 2 weeks, Samuels is settling into a pass-heavy role firmly behind whoever starts. Conner has a fighting chance to play Sunday, but as a fellow slow-footed bruiser, Snell would project similarly in his place. He’d be working behind an upper-tier line - even with center Maurkice Pouncey suspended - against a Browns run defense that ranks near the bottom of the league.

The Browns have fielded one of 2019’s weaker run defenses, though they’ve at least been strong over the past 3 weeks. They’ve allowed a grand total of just 142 yards to running backs during that span, with none reaching 50 on his own. Prior to that stretch, however, they’d provided very little resistance. Seven different runners have topped 70 yards against this unit, which has struggled without linebacker Christain Kirksey and edge man Olivier Vernon. Rookie Mack Wilson has been atrocious in Kirksey’s place, while Vernon’s consistent sturdiness against the run is hard to replace. That says nothing of Myles Garrett’s playmaking potential on the other side, which is also now shelved. When these teams met 2 weeks ago, the Steelers abandoned the run early but found a few gaps to exploit - as did the Bills in Week 10. This group probably hasn’t improved much by subtraction over the past month; it’s likely still a pretty fruitful matchup.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Rushing Offense at Jacksonville Jaguars Rushing Defense (Good Matchup)

The Tampa Bay rushing offense came back to life last week as they put up 133 rushing yards on the heels of solid days from Ronald Jones and Jameis Winston. Jones led the backfield with 12 carries for 51 yards and a touchdown, but just narrowly out-touched Peyton Barber, who had 11 carries for 32 yards. Jones has now led or tied for leading this backfield in carries in all five games since the Week 7 bye, but both Peyton Barber and Dare Ogunbowale remain involved on the ground. Jameis Winston flashed his rushing prowess last week and has done so much more often in recent weeks. After failing to exceed 15 rushing yards in the six games to open the season, Winston has since averaged 32.4 rushing yards per game in his last five outings. The Buccaneers offensive line continues to play as a below-average unit though, which helps the rushing upside of Winston but will continue to inhibit the committee of running backs in this backfield.

The Jaguars continue to struggle against the run, allowing Derrick Henry to run wild last week as the Titans put up 219 rushing yards and four rushing touchdowns against this Jacksonville defense. This Jaguars team has now given up four 100+ yard rushers and five rushing touchdowns in their last three games, ranking th8em very firmly at the top of the league in fantasy points allowed to running backs over that span. This defense did have some decent games against the run earlier in the season, but only when facing very poor offenses with questionable offensive lines. While Tampa Bay does have a questionable offensive line, their offense is more than capable of putting up points and forcing this defense into another negative game script. Calais Campbell is undoubtedly an elite run-defender, but he can’t do it all and this linebacker group behind him has proven to be one of the worst in the league against the run.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.

Washington Redskins Rushing Offense at Carolina Panthers Rushing Defense (Good Matchup)

The return of Derrius Guice to Washington's backfield has made an already-ugly situation even uglier. The Redskins' 4.1 yards per carry ranks 21st in the NFL to go along with their league-worst 2 rushing touchdowns on the season. No matter who totes the football in their backfield, the results have been horrific through 11 games in 2019. Since Guice returned from injury two weeks ago, he and Adrian Peterson have split snaps at running back for the Redskins. Last weekend, both players tallied 10 carries on the day, with neither running for more than 32 yards. Moving forward, they should continue to split reps, making neither an attractive fantasy option down the home stretch of the season, barring any injuries. Adrian Peterson also proved earlier in the season that a near-bell-cow role running behind Washington's poor offensive line is not a particularly enviable role, anyways. Not even a matchup against Carolina's bottom-tier run defense is enough to make either Derrius Guice or Adrian Peterson a strong option in Week 13.

Carolina's run defense grades as one of the league's weakest run defenses this season despite facing just the 19th-most rushing attempts in the league. The Panthers have allowed over 5.0 yards per carry through the first 11 games of the season, the 3rd-most in the league, to go along with their 6 100-yard rushing performances allowed to opposing backfields (including committees that split a reasonable workload between 2 players.) The Panthers have allowed the 5th-most fantasy points per game to opposing running backs, and this is largely due to uneven run-stopping production throughout the defense. In the trenches, veteran Gerald McCoy grades as an elite run-stopping lineman. However, McCoy is flanked by a group of sub-par run-stoppers unable to hold up their end of the bargain. Then, at linebacker, Luke Keuchly's reputation precedes itself, as he is one of the league's surest tacklers. Unsurprisingly, Keuchly grades also grades as one of the league's premier run-stopping linebackers, but once again, his running mate, Shaq Thompson, slacks in run-support. Thompson is an undersized former-safety whose speed and athleticism prove more useful in coverage than against the run. Aside from the two elite run-stoppers that make up under one-third of the team's front-seven, the Panthers' run defense grades as a well-below-average unit elsewhere. Fortunately, Washington's horrific rushing attack poses little threat to exploit Carolina's defensive weakness here in Week 13.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.

Buffalo Bills Rushing Offense at Dallas Cowboys Rushing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Since returning from injury, Bills' rookie Devin Singletary has taken over as the team's number-one running back in Buffalo's high-volume and high-efficiency rushing attack. Quarterback Josh Allen's athleticism and rushing prowess add an extra element of uncertainty for defenses to account for, which also assists the production of the team's running backs. Singletary has played at least 65-percent of offensive snaps in all 5 games since returning from injury, including games of 15, 20, and 21 carries. Frank Gore's presence in the backfield prevents Singletary from reaching bell-cow status, as Gore commands about 10 carries per game. Singletary's combination of explosiveness and efficiency fosters admirable rushing production, with at least 75 yards on the ground in 3 out of his last 4 games. The team's offensive line is a mediocre unit, but the volume and versatility of the rushing attack have led to this unit ranking 7th in the NFL with 4.7 yards per carry.

The Dallas Cowboys' run defense ranks as a middle-of-the-road unit, allowing the 15th-most fantasy points per game to running backs this season, but those numbers are heavily skewed by a 100-yard and 4-touchdown performance by Aaron Jones in Week 5. The Cowboys have not allowed a 100-yard performance on the ground since this outlier game against the Green Bay Packers, and they field a top-14 defense in the league in yards per carry allowed. In all, Dallas' defense is an above-average unit thanks to a strong front-seven littered with run-stoppers. The Cowboys' defensive line, headlined Demarcus Lawrence on the edge and Christian Covington on the interior, features a deep rotation of strong run-stopping linemen to clog potential running lanes by beating their blockers. Then, at linebacker, Jaylon Smith is coming into his own in his third NFL season, grading as one of the league's premier run-stopping defenders. Smith's incredible defensive IQ and sure tackling abilities have him ranked 9th in the NFL in total tackles through 11 games, with 62 to his name thus far. Buffalo's dynamic rushing attack has had little trouble running the ball in volume, thanks to their soft schedule, throughout the first two-thirds of the NFL season, but a tough matchup against the Dallas Cowboys' will likely limit both their volume and efficiency on the ground in this Thanksgiving Day matchup.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.

Chicago Bears Rushing Offense at Detroit Lions Rushing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

The Bears ground game continued to struggle last week as they totaled just 65 rushing yards against the Giants, marking the fourth straight game in which this offense has failed to exceed the 100-yard mark on the ground. In fact, the Bears backfield has actually failed to exceed even 85 rushing yards in all but one game this season, explaining why this offense ranks near the bottom of the league with only 78.5 rushing yards per game and 3.4 rushing yards per attempt. David Montgomery remains the clear leader in this backfield and has seen 13 or more carries in five straight games, but he is averaging an abysmal 2.6 yards per rush attempt in his last four games since putting up the big 135-yard game in Week 8. Tarik Cohen actually saw the first two carries of the game last week, but it was a mirage as he finished with just six rushing attempts and remains a pass-catching option only. Mitchell Trubisky actually had his best rushing performance of the year last week as he found the end zone with 18 rushing yards. While he does have some mobility, that touchdown was an outlier as Trubisky adds limited upside to one of the league’s most underwhelming rushing offenses.

The Lions actually played well against the run in their loss to Washington last week, holding Washington running backs to an average of just under three yards per carry as they totaled 59 yards on 20 attempts. Take that for face value, however, as Washington owns one of the worst rushing offenses (and worst offenses period) in the league. This Lions defense has given up a slew of fantasy points to the running back position, but much of that is due to the league-leading seven receiving touchdowns and the third-most receiving yards (58) per game allowed to the position. Yes, they have still given up an above-average 99 rushing yards per game and nearly one rushing touchdown per game to running backs, but this defense does have the personnel to match up well against most offensive lines in the league. They also have proven to be taking steps in the right direction in recent weeks, giving up up the eighth-fewest rushing yards per attempt (3.6) over their last five games--including a game in which they pretty much smothered Ezekiel Elliott (16 rushed, 43 yards) two weeks ago. The average Bears offensive line will be without their best player, right tackle Bobby Massie (ankle injury) in this game, which should allow the Lions an opportunity to shine against this beatable rushing offense.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.

Denver Broncos Rushing Offense vs Los Angeles Chargers Rushing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Phillip Lindsay handily led the Broncos backfield for the second straight week, out-rushing Royce Freeman 13-2 last week and 16-8 the week prior. Lindsay has not been particularly flashy with his opportunity to lead this backfield though, averaging just under 4.3 yards per rush attempt with no touchdowns in his last two games. Lindsay has had a relatively low ceiling all season long as his lack of true bell-cow volume makes it tough for him to pad his stats on the ground. Still, though, Lindsay is averaging 4.8 yards per rush attempt and has five rushing touchdowns on the season, making him a decent option at the position. Royce Freeman did play half of the snaps last week, but his loss of volume on the ground puts a big damper on any future contribution to be expected in this backfield. On a positive note for this rushing offense, it looks like right tackle JaWuan James could finally be on pace to suit up this week after returning to practice last week and practicing most of this week. Keep an eye on his status, but having James back on the field could life this Broncos offensive line out of the bottom tier back up to a respectable unit.

The Chargers have been relatively inconsistent against the run this season, coming out strong in games against decent rushing offenses in the Packers, Chiefs, and Texans but falling short against teams like the Colts, Bears, and Broncos. In the last meeting between these two teams (Week 5), Denver running backs rushed for a combined 175 yards and a touchdown as this Chargers front seven simply could not stop them. This is a bottom-10 run defense in terms of fantasy points allowed to running backs (eighth-most), but they have played reasonably well in recent weeks with running backs averaging just 3.6 yards per carry over the past three games. This run defense will receive a boost with the return of safety Derwin James, who was an impressive run-stopping safety during his rookie season last year. They also had starting interior lineman Justin Jones back in the lineup before the bye, as he had been injured since Week 6. While this defense still has some question marks, particularly at linebacker, they are getting healthy and come into this game rested from the Week 12 bye.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.

Green Bay Packers Rushing Offense at New York Giants Rushing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

The Packers offensive line was dominated from the start last week by San Francisco as the combination of the game script and the offensive line issues essentially caused the Packers to struggle mightily on the run as Jones and Jamaal Williams ran the ball 24 times for just 83 yards. This caused Matt LaFleur to come out and state that they need to get Aaron Jones more involved. The Packers offensive line issues are still likely going to be an issue this week as right tackle Bryan Bulaga looks like he will be out with an MCL sprain which will force Alex Light into the starting role after struggling mightily so far this season in his two games where he has seen meaningful playing time. Light and Jimmy Graham could prove to be an issue going forward if Bulaga remains out as both are below average blockers.

The Giants run defense has turned a corner over the last four weeks as they have shut down opponents in three of their last four games holding the Bears, Jets, and Lions to an average of 49 yards rushing in those three games. While the numbers may look impressive, it was against three of the worst run offenses in football. This is an up-and-down unit that while allowing 4.0 yards-per-carry when they get beat they get bad badly as evidenced by Ezekiel Elliott, Chase Edmonds, and Dalvin Cook all rushing for 125 yards or more against this offense since Week 5. The key thing to beating this defense is getting past their defensive line as they have one of the worst linebacking combinations in football with Alec Ogletree and the combination of Deone Bucannon and David Mayo. The Giants also suffered a key injury as run-stopping safety Jabrill Peppers was injured last week and will miss this game.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.

Houston Texans Rushing Offense vs New England Patriots Rushing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

What Carlos Hyde has done this season after being with four organizations in less than a year is nothing more than spectacular. Hyde has run hard behind an offensive line in the bottom-third in the NFL according to Matt Bitonti and for the most part, has been incredibly consistent as he has run for 60 yards or more in six of his last seven games. The one benefit this has had for the Texans is that it has limited the need for Deshaun Watson to have to run as much as he was early on in the season as he has only run the ball 13 times over the last three weeks. The offensive line continues to be an issue for the Texans as outside of Laremy Tunsil, the Texans rookies Tytus Howard at right tackle and Max Scharping at left guard both have struggled on the season.

The Patriots continue to be a mystery when it comes to opposing teams game-planning for them, as opponents seemingly have success, but abandon the run. Opposing running backs are averaging 4.3 yards-per-carry and since Week 7 are allowing 5.1 yards-per-carry which would be amongst the worst in the NFL. The Patriots have now allowed a running back to rush for 70 yards or more in four of the last five games. This is a defense that runs a base Dime defense which is designed to get a lead and force you to throw against them. Where they have struggled over the last five games is that they have not been getting out to the lead that they were earlier in the season. The good news for the Patriots is that Patrick Chung is getting healthier after having been injured in Week 9 and missing Week 10. Chung is a vital part of this rushing defense as he can play the Dime linebacker as well as anyone in the league. This is a defense that will improve, but in close games which this is expected to be, will not be a shut-down defense. Interestingly, the Patriots have only allowed one rushing touchdown to opposing running backs as when they sell out to stop the run by bringing in Lawrence Guy, Danny Shelton, and Elandon Roberts, they are one of the best at doing so.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.

Kansas City Chiefs Rushing Offense vs Oakland Raiders Rushing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Damien Williams looks like he will miss this week with a rib injury which will force LeSean McCoy as the primary ball carrier alongside Darrell Williams. While McCoy has been primarily utilized as a complementary running back, he has performed admirably averaging 5.1 yards-per-carry and consistently finding room to run behind this offensive line. The good news for this offensive line which had been a mediocre group is that they get Eric Fisher back from a groin injury which will push Cam Erving back to the bench which is a major upgrade for the Chiefs this week in both the passing and rushing game.

The Raiders run defense is not built up with a lot of names but has rounded into an average defense. Allowing just 4.0 yards-per-carry to opposing running backs, this defense is led by its defensive tackles in Johnathan Hankins and P.J. Hall who are close to 650 pounds combined and make it incredibly tough to run up the middle against this team. This has taken a lot of pressure off of the linebackers to make plays instead of having to focus on shedding incoming blockers. As a whole, this is a unit that is by no means perfect as they have struggled against elite rushing offenses that can minimize the impact of the defensive tackles but shut down the Chiefs in their first appearance holding the Chiefs to just 32 yards on 21 carries.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.

Cleveland Browns Rushing Offense at Pittsburgh Steelers Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Even with Kareem Hunt on board, Nick Chubb remains the Browns’ clear-cut workhorse on the ground. Chubb has kept up a 70% snap rate with Hunt active, with 20+ carries in all 3 games. The two have very distinct roles, yet share the field often, so both see solid volume. And Chubb continues to prove himself one of the league’s premier young runners, with a fantastic blend of power and one-cut quickness. He’s averaging 5.0 yards per rush behind one of football’s shakiest lines, and he’s topped 85 yards in 8 of his last 9 games. He’s posted big days against both weak and strong defenses alike, and he looks more and more matchup-proof by the week. He churned out 92 tough yards against these Steelers 3 weeks ago For his part, Hunt has been efficient in a change-up role, turning 18 attempts into 79 yards and a short touchdown. But Chubb is the clear featured runner, and he’s given no reason for the Browns to scale back his role.

The Steelers continue to field one of football’s toughest run defenses. It’s true that they’ve allowed 70+ yards to a runner in 4 straight games, and in 5 of their last seven. But it’s worth noting that they’ve faced an imposing list of backs over that span, including Lamar Jackson, Todd Gurley, and Nick Chubb. It also needs pointed out that they’ve allowed just a single touchdown on the ground - a one-yarder by Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield - over that seven-game span. They’ll face the Browns again this Sunday, two weeks after holding Chubb to just 3.4 yards per rush. Even without key contributor Stephon Tuitt, the Steelers boast a deep, imposing front line led by Cameron Heyward and underrated run-stuffer Javon Hargrave. Behind them, rookie linebacker Devin Bush has taken plenty of lumps, but has proven a dynamic blur in sideline-to-sideline pursuit. This unit has some holes to exploit, particularly by fast, one-cut runners in zone-blocking schemes. But they carry a big up-front advantage into Week 13, as well as a strong track record against Chubb. They’re not unbeatable, but it’s never wise to project big ground numbers against the Steelers.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.

Detroit Lions Rushing Offense vs Chicago Bears Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

The Lions backfield was murky and unproductive in the weeks following the loss of Kerryon Johnson, but the injection of Bo Scarbrouigh into this offense has been a positive one as the big-bodied second-year running back has led the backfield in both games he has played, rushing for 153 yards and a touchdown in these past two contests. Scarbrough is a physical runner who has the ability to routinely shed would-be tacklers, and the Lions coaching staff clearly has faith in him considering all other Lions running backs have combined for just 10 carries compared to the 32 for Scarbrough in these last two games. Ty Johnson is seeing the second-most snaps in this backfield, but he has made pretty much no impact, failing to exceed 3.6 yards per carry or 30 rushing yards in a single game. The Lions offensive line has not blocked particularly well for the ground game, but they hope to be fully staffed if right guard Frank Ragnow can return to the lineup from a concussion suffered in Week 11. Even with Ragnow, however, the best this group will be is average while the talent rushing the ball is certainly suspect for the Lions.

The Lions will square off against a banged-up Bears run defense that remains without two of their top run defenders, Akiem Hicks and Danny Trevathan--both of whom will miss this game. This run defense is playing relatively well, but they certainly have shown some vulnerability. Last week was a solid outing, albeit against a less-than-100% Saquon Barkley. The week prior, however, the Bears gave up over 110 rushing yards and two touchdowns to Rams running backs. Prior to Week 10, they had given up at least one rushing touchdown in five straight games along with two 110+ rushing yard performances over that span--all statistics that would have been unheard of in the 2018 season. For this week, however, things still look positive for the Bears. Khalil Mack had quite the bounce-back game last week while lineman Eddie Goldman played a full complement of snaps despite battling through an injury of his own. This Bears defense has the personnel to beat Detroit in the trenches, and they showed it two weeks ago when this defense limited Lions running backs to just 2.8 yards per rush attempt for 61 rushing yards and no touchdowns.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.

Indianapolis Colts Rushing Offense vs Tennessee Titans Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

With Marlon Mack inactive and Jordan Wilkins sidelined with a lingering ankle injury, the Colts rode the hot hand of Jonathan Williams for the second straight week as he rushed 26 times for 104 yards and a touchdown despite the losing effort against the Texans. It took twice as many carries last week, but Williams crossed the 100-yard mark for the second straight week while finding the end zone for the first time this season in his last game. Mack is expected to be sidelined again this week, however, Jordan Wilkins should be available as he was active last week but not quite healthy enough to make it onto the field. Nyhiem Hines did have a nice game with a season-high nine carries for 51 rushing yards last week, but he is still being held to just around a third of the snaps and is a clear secondary option in the ground game. The Colts offensive line is the group carrying this rushing offense, as their top tier play has been on full display and remains a huge reason why this rushing offense ranks third in the league with 144.2 rushing yards per game.

The Titans have an above-average run defense that has performed well for most of the season. The past three games have been rather tumultuous, however, as they have given up the fifth-most fantasy points per game to opposing running backs over that span. In their defense, those games included multi-touchdown outings against Christian McCaffrey and Leonard Fournette along with a meeting with the tip-top Chiefs offense in Week 10. Two of those three games also came without Jurrell Casey in the lineup--their top run-defender. Casey is back and healthy, and he completes what is a very talented defensive line with big-bodied run-stoppers at their disposal. The Titans also recently returned Jayon Brown, who has been one of their best linebackers this season. This Titans linebacker group may not be the best in pass coverage, but they are proficient in stopping the run and should cause problems for the Colts ground game. This Colts offensive line will see one of its stiffest challenges of the season against a fully-staffed and healthy Titans defensive line that held Marlon Mack to just 51 rushing yards on 20 attempts in their last outing. If not for a big run by Jordan Wilkins in that Week 2 meeting, it would have been one of the worst rushing performances of the season by this Colts offense.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.

Los Angeles Chargers Rushing Offense at Denver Broncos Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

The Chargers are coming off a bye as Melvin Gordon strides into this game with three solid performances at his back. Gordon has averaged just under 86 rushing yards per game with three touchdowns in his last three games, compared to averaging just 28 rushing yards per game with one touchdown through his first four games played. The coaching change in Los Angeles certainly looks to have done some good for Gordon, as he is also seeing solid volume and usage. However, this Chargers offense has been rather unpredictable all season long and can very quickly flip to a pass-heavy unit, as displayed during the second half of their last game. Austin Ekeler has regained somewhat of a role on the ground in these past three games, but he is firmly in the RB2 slot behind Gordon as it pertains to rushing the ball. Ekeler will continue to contribute through the air and has maintained a respectable snap count hovering between 40-50 percent, but he can’t be relied upon as a rusher anymore. The bye came at a good time for this offensive line, as both starting tackles had been banged up leading into last week. Left tackle Russell Okung likely has the best shot of returning, but even his status remains in question. If both tackles miss again, this offensive line will rank as one of the worst in the league.

After allowing an average of just 68 rushing yards per game in their previous six games, the Broncos run defense faltered last week, giving up 244 rushing yards to a Bills offense that ran the ball a massive 47 times. With the astonishingly high volume of rushes aside, injuries played a part in Denver’s lapse last week as both linebacker Josey Jewel and interior defender Shelby Harris missed the second half with ankle injuries. Harris hurt his ankle in pre-game warmups and tried to play in the first half, but he had to call it quits after halftime. Neither appears to be at serious risk of missing time this week, which is a great sign--particularly for Harris, who is an anchor of this Broncos defensive line. Denver maintains a fearsome front seven, led by the continued dominant play of A.J. Johnson, who racked up 15 tackles last week and has been astounding during this second half of the season. The Chargers offensive line should struggle mightily in the trenches while a stout secondary and linebacker group should help keep this Chargers rushing offense in check just as they did back in Week 5 when they limited these Chargers running backs to just 38 rushing yards on 15 attempts.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.

Minnesota Vikings Rushing Offense at Seattle Seahawks Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Dalvin Cook is one of the few true bell-cows that remains in the modern NFL, and he plays in one of the league's most run-heavy offenses as well. Cook ranks top-four in the NFL in carries, rushing yards, and rushing touchdowns this year, and he rarely leaves the field for the Minnesota Vikings, especially in close games. Cook regularly plays close to 80-percent of offensive snaps for Minnesota when the game stays close throughout, and his workload is as reliable as they come. Carrying the ball at least 20 times in 4 out of the last 5 games, Cook's rushing volume this season is nearing twice as much as either of his previous two injury-riddled NFL seasons. Coming in off of the team's bye week, Dalvin Cook should be fresh and ready to carry the load on the ground for Minnesota's top-tier rushing attack.

Seattle's run defense ranks in the top third of the NFL in almost every metric this season, which has forced opposing offenses to turn to the passing game more often than not. The Seahawks have defended the 4th-fewest rushing attempts in the league while allowing the 10th-fewest fantasy points per game to opposing running backs. Seattle's defensive line features a deep rotation of run-stopping linemen both along the interior and on the edge. The biggest strength of the unit, however, is the linebacker position, where Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright grade as top-flight run-stoppers year-in and year-out. Both are intelligent veteran linebackers that rarely miss tackles to round out one of the league's strongest run-stopping front-sevens. In the secondary, Seattle made an in-season trade to acquire Quandre Diggs, a notably-strong run-stopping safety from the Detroit Lions. Diggs missed time due to a hamstring injury, but his return to action should bolster the back-end of one of the league's deepest run defenses. The Minnesota Vikings high-volume rushing attack will be in for a long day at the office, attempting to establish the run against Seattle's talented run defense on Monday night here in Week 13.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.

New Orleans Saints Rushing Offense at Atlanta Falcons Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

The New Orleans ground game remains one of football’s most consistently dominant. Armed with a pair of talented runners and arguably the league’s best front line, the Saints predictably sit first in the NFL in rushing attempts and third in raw yardage. Still, it should be noted that this has become a closer timeshare than usual of late. Alvin Kamara took on 76% of team rushes prior to his Week 6 injury, but has been given just 56% over 3 games back. Latavius Murray has settled nicely into the old Mark Ingram role, posting 4.7 yards per carry over the past 6 games. It’s always a boon to work behind the Saints’ elite line, to say nothing of Drew Brees’ arm, which still keeps defenses honest. They project well in virtually any matchup - even against the Falcons’ reborn run defense.

The Atlanta run defense is no juggernaut, but it’s improved steadily from the depths of its 2018. They’re allowing a baseline amount of raw yardage, but only 3.9 per attempt, sixth-best in the league. They’ve faced a Murderer’s Row of elite runners and held tight against the likes of Todd Gurley, David Johnson, and the Saints’ dominant ground game back in Week 10. Tackle Grady Jarrett should be rounding out his first All-Pro season, while linebackers Deion Jones and De’Vondre Campbell have formed one of football’s most reliable duos here in 2019. The secondary is feisty and willing to help in the box, as well. It’s hard to take much away from the earlier matchup between these teams, as the Saints were hamstrung by game flow and forced to abandon the run early. But if nothing else, this is a noticeably tougher battle for their powerful attack than they’re used to seeing in the Falcons.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.

Seattle Seahawks Rushing Offense vs Minnesota Vikings Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

The Seattle Seahawks' rushing attack is one of the league's highest-volume ground-games through the first 11 games of the season, and while they've heavily relied upon Chris Carson as their bell-cow running back, this may be changing in the near future. Carson struggled early in the season with fumbling issues. Fumbling 3 times in the first 3 games of the season, Carson made his way into head coach Pete Carroll's doghouse, playing just 55-percent and 45-percent of offensive snaps in Weeks 2 and 3, respectively. Then, once the team's primary backup, Rashaad Penny, went down with an injury, Carroll had no choice but to turn back to Carson as the bell-cow running back. Now, with the fumbling issues popping back up (four fumbles in his last three games,) Carson's job-security is in jeopardy once again. Carson played just 54-percent of offensive snaps last weekend against the Eagles, while Rashaad Penny impressed in 46-percent of offensive snaps. Penny's strong 14-carry, 129-yard, and 1-touchdown performance against one of the league's best run defenses might earn him increased playing time in the coming weeks as well. While Carson's volume and production have been impressive up until this point in the season, exercise caution projecting his workload in the short-term future, as head coach Pete Carroll has proven intolerant of his issues holding onto the football. Neither running back's workload is safe entering Week 13, and against the Minnesota Vikings, who sport one of the league's best run defenses, it does not project to be a great matchup anyway.

On the year, the Minnesota Vikings' defense has allowed the 4th fewest fantasy points per game to opposing running backs, while also ranking top-10 in yards per carry allowed at just 4.1. The Vikings' front-seven is one of the league's most formidable run-stopping units in the league, and they deserve most of the credit for this impressive performance. Their defensive line is filled with top-end run-stoppers like Everson Griffen and Danielle Hunter on the edge to go along with Shamar Stephens on the interior. Then, at linebacker, Eric Kendricks leads the team with 55 total tackles on the season, which is good enough for 15th in the NFL. Lastly, in the secondary, Anthony Harris is one of the league's best run-stuffing safeties. Harris has a nose for the ball, and he is willing to come down into the box and get physical to help shut down the opposition's rushing attack. The distribution of carries in Seattle's backfield leading up to Week 13 is unclear, given Chris Carson's recent propensity to put the ball on the turf. However, regardless of whether it is Carson or Rashaad Penny carrying the ball, the Seahawks' running backs will have their work cut out for themselves, attempting to establish the run against Minnesota's top-tier run defense.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.

San Francisco 49ers Rushing Offense at Baltimore Ravens Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

The run-dominant 49ers continue to grind away with plenty of rushing volume, but just ho-hum results. Only the Ravens have run the ball more often, but 16 teams have posted more yards on a per-carry basis. To make matters worse, coach Kyle Shanahan has favored a committee approach for much of the year, with Tevin Coleman, Matt Breida, Raheem Mostert, and Jeff Wilson all given roles. But with Breida likely to miss his third straight game, and Wilson fresh off a Week 12 that afforded him just a single snap, there’s some focus for fantasy players looking to mine this backfield. Unless Breida’s outlook takes a big turnaround, Coleman and Mostert will again dominate opportunity. For his part, though, Coleman has been thoroughly mediocre on the ground, producing just 3.9 yards per rush in his San Francisco debut. Over 2 games without Breida, he’s totaled just 53 scoreless yards over 23 attempts. Mostert has been an explosive change-of-pace guy since his mini-breakout last season, though his usage is capped tightly around 6-8 carries. All in all, there’s not much reason to be excited about any of these pieces for Week 13. There’s always week-to-week upside in a Shanahan backfield, but Coleman simply hasn’t looked capable of capitalizing in over a month.

The Baltimore run defense has been stout throughout the year, giving up just 88 yards per game, good for third-best in the NFL. It’s true that a closer look shows those numbers to be a bit deflated by volume. The 9-2 Ravens have faced the league’s fewest attempts (just 20 a game), yet allowed the 19th-most yards per rush (4.3). Still, it’s worth noting that much of their opponents’ production has been weighted by a scattered pair of long runs. Take out an 88-yard run by Nick Chubb back in Week 4 and a garbage-time scamper by Carlos Hyde, and that per-carry mark drops all the way to 3.8. Along the way, they’ve snuffed out the likes of Todd Gurley (6 for 22), David Johnson (7 for 14), and Chris Carson (21 for 65). This unit has spent the year in transition, but still boasts a dominant rotation of down linemen - and could get unsung star Michael Pierce back from injury this weekend. Together, they allow the young linebacking corps to roam and strike, with journeyman Josh Bynes standing out in particular. This isn’t exactly a shutdown unit, and strong, committed ground games (like that of the 49ers) can find success here. But if the Ravens can control this matchup, as they do so often, it’s a strong enough group to keep Kyle Shanahan’s attack in check early.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.

Tennessee Titans Rushing Offense at Indianapolis Colts Rushing Defense (Tough Matchup)

The Titans ground game continued to roll last week as they amassed a total of 219 rushing yards and four rushing touchdowns in the big win over Jacksonville. This offense has now eclipsed 110 rushing yards with at least two rushing touchdowns in three straight games. The offensive line is blocking very well and Derrick Henry, in particular, is really heating up. Henry has rushed for 83 or more yards in five straight games with six rushing touchdowns while ranking as the second-highest scoring fantasy running back over that span. In his last two games, Henry has been stellar as he rushed for 188 yards and two touchdowns against the Chiefs and 159 yards with two touchdowns last week against the Jaguars. Henry also had a nice game the last time he faced the Colts in Week 2, rushing 15 times for 81 yards and a touchdown behind what was a worse offensive line at the time. Henry and this rushing offense are firing on all cylinders now as they roll into Indianapolis.

The Colts defense has been tough on the run this season, giving up just 97 rushing yards per game (9th-fewest) while not allowing a single running back to exceed 88 rushing yards against them. It has been four weeks since this defense has allowed a rushing touchdown to running backs, limiting the position to just the second-fewest fantasy points per game (non-PPR) across their last four outings. They squared off against a hot Texans ground game last week and did a decent job limiting Carlos Hyde to just 67 rushing yards with no touchdowns. Darius Leonard continues to play very well at linebacker and is their top run-defender. The defensive line is also solid, particularly Justin Houston, who will be a mismatch on the outside. The Titans do have a strong offensive line as a whole, though, and will match up well against this Colts front as Derrick Henry tries to wear them down.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.

Arizona Cardinals Rushing Offense vs Los Angeles Rams Rushing Defense (Bad Matchup)

A rash of injuries, along with one significant midseason acquisition, has thrown a wrench into the Arizona Cardinals' backfield. David Johnson has been plagued with injuries over the team's last 3 weeks, which has limited him to a maximum of 29 snaps in any of the games. Additionally, Johnson's original backup, Chase Edmonds, is questionable to play this weekend while he recovers from a long-term hamstring injury. Kenyan Drake, whom the Cardinals acquired from the Miami Dolphins leading up to their Week 9 clash with the San Francisco 49ers, has played a surprisingly large role in the team's backfield. Even when David Johnson was reportedly-healthy in Week 10, Drake still out-snapped him 43-to-29 and out-carried him 10-to-5. Following Arizona's Week 12 bye, David Johnson should be much closer to full-health this weekend, but it is unclear how heavily head coach Kliff Kingsbury plans to rely upon each player if Johnson is back to 100-percent. Both David Johnson and Kenyan Drake should factor into the equation for Arizona's rushing attack here in Week 13; however, the division of labor between the two is as unpredictable as ever. Expect Arizona's backfield to continue to be one of the messiest in the league down the stretch, as the team rosters three capable running backs, two of whom have lingering injury concerns.

The Los Angeles Rams' run defense, headlined by a formidable defensive front, grades as one of the league's best units. Although they have faced the 5th-most volume in the league, their impressive efficiency totals have them ranked as the 14th-best unit in fantasy points per game allowed to running backs. The Rams have allowed just 3 100-yard performances this year, and at 3.7 yards per carry (the 4th-best mark in the NFL,) it's a battle of attrition reaching the century-mark against this unit. In the trenches, Aaron Donald and Michael Brockers grade as two of the league's best defensive linemen against the run, which sets the tone for the entire defense. With this strong duo filling the gaps along the interior, Corey Littleton has impressed clogging rushing lanes and finishing tackles. On the season, Littleton has missed just one tackle, and his improvement this defending the run has been paramount to the defense's success as a whole. In the secondary, Eric Weddle and Jalen Ramsey are willing and capable run-stoppers. Both players grade as top-end run defenders for their respective positions this season, which has helped limit chunk plays on the ground this season. Given Arizona's uncertainty in the backfield and Los Angeles' strength defending the run, the Cardinals' running back situation is an ugly situation all-around here in Week 13.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.

Atlanta Falcons Rushing Offense vs New Orleans Saints Rushing Defense (Bad Matchup)

Devonta Freeman is looking closer and closer to a return, which is certainly welcomed news for the Atlanta ground game. After all, they produced just 111 yards (2.5 per rush) over his 2-game absence. Still, Freeman doesn’t look like a quick fix, and this attack projects to struggle mightily once again. Over his 9 games, Freeman has posted 88 yards twice - and hasn’t topped 40 in any of the others. In those, he’s averaged all of 2.7 yards per carry, and he remains without a rushing touchdown on the season. Freeman is the rare fantasy asset that dominates the backfield (66% of snaps) of a high-volume offense (66 snaps a game), but is no more than a flex consideration. With the wild inconsistency of the Falcons offense - and the underachieving play of his line - Freeman carries a scary floor into every matchup. It’s made even worse by a date with the Saints, whose punishing run defense just thoroughly shut down Christian McCaffrey.

The Saints continue to thoroughly dominate opposing run games on a weekly basis. Dating back to Week 2, they’ve given up just 3.7 yards per rush and 75 a game to opposing runners. They’ve allowed just a single one (Leonard Fournette) to reach 70 yards, and last week held Christian McCaffrey to just 2.9 per carry. Thanks to a stout front line headed by two run-stuffing tackles and a pair of sturdy bookends, the so-so linebacking corps is given tons of space to roam and pursue. And safety Vonn Bell deserves Pro Bowl consideration as a run-stuffer; his playmaking support in the box has been invaluable. Overall, it’s hard to project much Week 13 success for the Falcons’ toothless run game. The Saints allowed them just 3.6 yards per carry just 3 weeks ago, and Devonta Freeman may not be cleared for action by Thursday.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.

Cincinnati Bengals Rushing Offense vs New York Jets Rushing Defense (Bad Matchup)

The Bengals run game remains stuck in neutral. More accurately, it’s well below any neutral range, sitting 25th in yards per rush and 28th per game. Of course, Joe Mixon can hardly be blamed much. With the Cincinnati offense so punchless, the dynamic Mixon spends most of his time smashing into stacked defensive fronts. He runs behind one of the league’s weakest lines, as well. Top blocker Cordy Glenn has finally returned to the lineup, but he’s not nearly enough on his own. From left guard across to right tackle, the Bengals trot out underachieving blockers at every spot. Mixon is an electric runner; it’s exciting to imagine him in one of football’s better offenses. Unfortunately, this situation puts a hard cap on his upside and makes him a volume-dependent fantasy play. There’s simply not enough support for him here - and very little touchdown opportunity.

Week in, week out, the Jets’ smothering run defense continues to stifle strong attacks. New coordinator Gregg Williams always presides over a stout run unit, and this one is no exception. Through 11 weeks, they lead the league in both per-carry and per-game allowances, Only 2 runners - Ezekiel Elliott and Leonard Fournette - have topped 70 in this matchup, and they averaged just 3.9 in the process. Last Sunday, Raiders super-rookie Josh Jacobs managed just 34 on his 10 attempts. The linebackers have actually struggled quite a bit in traffic, but the Jets are getting great work from their up-front rotation, particularly rookies Quinnen Williams and Foley Fatukasi. They’re controlling the trenches and making life easier on the second level, while fantastic young safeties Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye provide help in the box. The Bengals’ shoddy run game faces an uphill battle every week, but this is their stingiest test yet. This has the look of Week 13’s most glaring mismatch.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.

Jacksonville Jaguars Rushing Offense vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers Rushing Defense (Bad Matchup)

Leonard Fournette saw plenty of action in last week’s game against the Titans, and he ran relatively well considering the tough matchup--rushing 24 times for 97 yards and two touchdowns. Those two touchdowns were just his second and third of the season as Fournette finally broke through a scoring slump, which made very little sense considering the volume he has been getting. Volume is certainly a big plus for Fournette in this rushing offense, as he ranks tied as the sixth-most utilized rusher in the league with 206 attempts while last week’s game marked the fifth time this season he has rushed 20 or more times. Fournette is the only viable option for this backfield and should continue to have a big opportunity for carries this week. A couple of guys on this Jaguars offensive line continue to play through injuries, but everyone suited up last week and looks good to go for this one. This is just an average unit though, and they will certainly be at a disadvantage against one of the top run defenses in football here.

Tampa Bay ranks second in the NFL against the run, giving up an average of just 78.7 rushing yards per game overall. Specific to running backs, this group has actually allowed a league-low 62 rushing yards per game and the second-fewest fantasy points per game (non-PPR). That success has been sustained in recent weeks as the Buccaneers have given up just the third-fewest fantasy points to running backs over their last five games. Interior lineman Vita Vea is not only scoring touchdowns on offense nowadays, but he continues to be one of the top run-stopping linemen in the league. Shaquil Barrett continues to wreak havoc in his matchups while play from linebacker Lavonte Davis also remains spectacular. This Tampa Bay front seven should have a clear advantage over Jacksonville here, and they very likely will load the box and force this Jaguars defense to beat them through the air in lieu of giving up a big day to Leonard Fournette.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.

Miami Dolphins Rushing Offense vs Philadelphia Eagles Rushing Defense (Bad Matchup)

The Miami Dolphins' patchwork backfield features one of the least-efficient running backs the league has seen in ages, along with two recently-acquired youngsters to spell him. Kalen Ballage, a second-year running back out of Arizona State, has mustered just 1.9 yards per carry on 71 rushing attempts this season, by far the worst total amongst qualified rushers. Aside from Ballage, Myles Gaskin, a rookie seventh-round selection from Washington, is seeing his snap-count creep up, going from 8-percent to 10-percent, and then to 25-percent over the last 3 weeks, respectively. Lastly, Patrick Laird, an undrafted free agent out of the University of California, has begun to contribute to not only special teams but also offense. Laird's production is ignorable, but his snap-count creeping up to 37-percent last weekend turns this backfield into a true 3-way timeshare for snaps and carries. Given the lack of a true bell-cow running back, along with the team's horrific offensive line, this situation is likely the least-attractive in the entire NFL, especially in a matchup against the Philadelphia Eagles' run defense.

Philadelphia allowed just its second 100-yard performance of the season last week against the Seattle Seahawks, as Rashaad Penny racked up over 50-percent of his total rushing yardage on one 58-yard touchdown scamper early in the 4th quarter. On the season, the Eagles have been one of the most consistent rushing defenses, allowing the 9th fewest fantasy points per game to opposing running backs on just 4.1 yards per carry. Philadelphia's defensive strategy, as dictated by Jim Schwartz, the team's defensive coordinator, is to prioritize stopping the run. Although their defensive personnel, aside from their defensive line, is unimpressive in run-support, their deployment ensures they will not be gashed on the ground in most weeks. Fletcher Cox and Brandon Graham headline the team's run defense in the trenches, as both players, excel at filling running lanes and shedding blocks to blow up plays in the backfield. Graham and Cox get little support elsewhere, as their defense lacks play-makers against the run at either the second or third level. In all, Miami's lackluster ground game will have its work cut out for itself this weekend if they attempt to establish any semblance of a rushing attack on Philadelphia's formidable defense.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.