It’s Week 14, which means your spot in the fantasy football playoffs is probably up in the air. If you’re missing key backs from one of the SIX teams that is on bye this week, or you’re just looking for value in Week 14 and into the playoffs, look no further than these five backs.
Kenneth Gainwell, Eagles (8.2% ESPN)
Next up — @ NYG, @ CHI, @ DAL
Gainwell isn’t the flashiest of this bunch, but the ability he flashed in the passing game against the Titans upped his fantasy value. He caught three passes for 38 yards to go along with his three carries for 15 yards. In full-point PPR leagues, he could be worthy of consideration. He also logged eight carries for 39 yards and a touchdown two weeks ago, so his value as a runner is non-trivial.
James Cook, Bills (25.3% ESPN)
Next up — vs. NYJ, vs. MIA, @ CHI
After seeing his touch count drop from 11 to four between Weeks 11 and 12, Cook got 20 touches against the Patriots on Thursday Night Football. He gained 107 all-purpose yards on those touches, which included six catches. It seems like he is starting to get more comfortable in the offense and is becoming a more dynamic weapon amidst Buffalo’s hot streak. The Jets’ 15th-ranked defense against opposing fantasy running backs is the best he will face in the next three weeks; he has favorable matchups when it matters most.
Jerick McKinnon, Chiefs (27.6% ESPN)
Next up — @ DEN, @ HOU, vs. SEA
McKinnon’s primary value has been as a pass catcher for most of this season. In Week 14, though, he picked up 51 yards on eight carries to go along with two catches, one of which went for a touchdown. Playing McKinnon is a dice roll since he is the fifth or sixth option in the Chiefs’ offense, but Patrick Mahomes spreads the ball around and as long as Clyde Edwards-Helaire is out, his upside is going to be higher by virtue of his increased workload.
Zonovan Knight, Jets (39.3% ESPN)
Next up — @ BUF, vs. DET, vs. JAX
It remains to be seen how much longer Knight will remain a key part of the Jets’ offense with Michael Carter potentially set to return by Week 14. One would expect Knight to continue getting touches, though, based on his production when called upon this season. In his last two games, he has carried the ball 29 times for 159 yards and has caught eight passes for 62 yards. While he may not continue carrying the ball 15 times a game, New York should still be getting him at least 10-12 touches, making him a serious RB2 or FLEX option.
Cam Akers, Rams (53.2% ESPN)
Next up — vs. LV, @ GB, vs. DEN
With QB Matthew Stafford done for the year and the Rams sitting at 3-9, L.A. has nothing to play for. They’re not going to be airing it out; Cooper Kupp and Allen Robinson are also both injured. Enter Cam Akers who ran the ball 17 times for 60 yards and two touchdowns in Week 13. Expect Akers to get a heavy workload down the stretch, especially against the Raiders and Packers who rank 30th and 26th respectively against opposing fantasy running backs. If he’s still available in your league, go grab Akers for the stretch run. He looks like a decent bet as a mainstay RB2 for the remainder of the year.