With Kenneth Walker III (oblique, doubtful) likely out for the Seahawks’ Week 13 Thursday night tilt against the Cowboys, Pete Carroll will turn to rookie Zach Charbonnet for the second straight week. The road has not been easy for Charbonnet, who squared off against the rugged 49ers’ defense last week and gets the tough Cowboys’ defense in Week 13.
But that poses the question: Should fantasy managers start or sit Zach Charbonnet in Week 13?
Let’s dive in.
WHAT DID CHARBONNET DO IN WEEK 12?
In his Week 12 start on Thanksgiving against a physical 49ers defense, Charbonnet was given the keys to the workhorse role. He played 49 of a possible 56 snaps and ran 26 routes (72% route participation), with the team down for most of the game.
When talking about volume, he was given 14 carries and saw four targets against the 49ers. In total, he ran for 47 yards and caught all four of those targets for a disappointing 11 yards. However, the 49ers had a massive time of possession advantage in the first half, which limited Charbonnet to only three carries and no targets in the first stanza.
Although he did not put up monster fantasy numbers or find the end zone, the volume is there for the rookie running back. Over the last two weeks with Walker (mostly) out of the lineup, he’s averaged 19.5 touches and five targets per game.
Not to mention, Carroll adores the back’s versatility and views him as a three-down workhorse.
“He’s got a different running style than Kenny does, but he reads the line of scrimmage well,” Carroll told reporters. “He’s a really good football player. We have a lot of confidence in him. He’s playing down the stretch, in the stretch drive, he’s out there going. That’s just confidence that he’s giving us by who he is and how he practices and how he performs. He hasn’t had a ton of plays yet, but there’s no doubt that he’s in it, and we can count on him.”
THE MATCHUP VS COWBOYS
As expected, the matchup will be a difficult one for Charbonnet. On the season, they’ve only allowed six total touchdowns to running backs and are ninth in defensive rush DVOA.
As seen below, outside of James Conners’ Week 3 performance when he put up 18.6 fantasy points (98 rushing yards and one touchdown), they haven’t allowed over 12.9 fantasy points to an individual running back — a list that includes Christian McCaffrey, Austin Ekeler, D’Andre Swift, and Saquon Barkley.
However, they’ve allowed startable fantasy numbers when adding total fantasy points allowed per running back tandem.
If you combine the three 49ers running backs, the Cowboys defense allowed 36.3 total fantasy points. The Rams’ running backs put up 20.4 fantasy points, the Eagles’ runners scored 17.2 fantasy points, and both the Panthers’ and Commanders’ running backs totaled over 13 fantasy points, respectively.
Given Charbonnet’s expected rushing and receiving workload, he should score quality RB2/Flex numbers — especially in the passing game where Geno Smith is targeting him five times per game over the last two.
START OR SIT ZACH CHARBONNET IN WEEK 13?
The short answer is: yes, you should start Charbonnet in Week 13 vs the Cowboys.
Charbonnet is due for a massive workload, and if the team falls behind, he’s a reliable pass-catcher who can rack up cheap points in half or full PPR settings — aka, he’s a volume-based starter who often chooses violence with the ball in his hands.
Charbonnet is a locked-in RB2 at RB21 (+3 vs ECR) in The Wolf’s Fantasy Week 13 Rankings. As noted, with those six teams on the bye, a talented workhorse, even against a tough defense, should be started in Week 13.
Do you have a critical fantasy football sit/start question involving Charbonnet or anyone else? Subscribe and tune into the Roto Street Journal YouTube channel every Thursday night at 6:45 PM EST and every Sunday at 8:00 AM EST to get those questions answered by The Wolf.