Two backup running backs may have just been thrust into starting consideration for your fantasy football team after injuries struck the likes of Kenneth Walker III and Aaron Jones on Sunday. Which begs the question, who is the better fantasy option at the RB position between Zach Charbonnet and AJ Dillon heading into Week 12?
Zach Charbonnet’s Week 12 Fantasy Outlook
There is little doubt some fantasy managers have been stashing away Charbonnet on their bench just in case a scenario like this played out with an injury to Walker. The talented rookie from UCLA saw a season-high 15 carries against the Los Angeles Rams after Walker sustained an oblique injury in the first half of the Seattle Seahawks‘ 17-16 loss on Sunday.
Sure, 69 total yards on 21 total touches weren’t exactly earth-shattering, but Charbonnet managed to produce 12.9 fantasy points in PPR formats by catching all six of his targets, which speaks to his three-down skill set. The Seahawks had no reservations whatsoever about giving him 15 carries when Walker went down, and he should be considered an RB2 option this week if Walker is unavailable.
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However, Charbonnet’s starting debut may have a capped fantasy ceiling in Week 12 against a San Francisco 49ers defense that is giving an average of just 81 yards on the ground and 15.6 fantasy points to opposing RBs on a per-game basis.
Charbonnet should see enough work in the passing game this week — after catching a season-high six receptions against the Rams — to give him a reliable fantasy floor. However, he could struggle with his efficiency on the ground against a stout 49ers defensive unit, which will keep him out of the top 15 in my rankings at the RB position this week.
AJ Dillon’s Week 12 Fantasy Outlook
After Jones has sustained yet another injury, Dillon is once again lined up for an expanded role to lead the Green Bay Packers‘ backfield if the former misses any time in the coming weeks.
Unfortunately, Dillon essentially had the opportunity to see a feature role in the Packers’ running game earlier this season when Jones missed three out of the first five games of the year while battling a hamstring injury. For context, Dillon totaled just 164 rushing yards on 46 carries to go with just one reception for eight yards and a score while Jones was out of the lineup.
If his production and usage earlier this season are any indicator of what fantasy managers can expect from him down the back half of the season with Jones potentially out of the lineup, then Dillon should be considered a fringe top-30 play at the RB position.
Should You Start Charbonnet or Dillon This Week?
Both backs face tough fantasy matchups in Week 12. As mentioned, Charbonnet will square off against the 49ers, while Dillon faces a Detroit Lions defense that held him to just 11 yards on five carries back in Week 4.
Ultimately, Charbonnet feels like the more explosive option in a better offense with a high fantasy floor as a pass catcher in a leading role. Dillon is still in consideration for your Flex position, but Charbonnet feels like the better play across the board regardless of fantasy format in Week 12.
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