RB Player Rankings – Week 16
1. Arian Foster (@ Den) – Foster got himself a bit banged up last weekend, but the word is he’s just fine. To be honest, against this Denver defense, I would have had him as my top-ranked RB if he came out there with one leg and a live donkey strapped to his back.
2. Rashard Mendenhall (vs Car) – Mendenhall has been dependable all year as he comes into this game as a top-eight RB in yards, attempts and TDs. Against a bottom-feeding rush D like the Panthers have, I’d be shocked if he doesn’t put up over 100 yards and a TD or two.
3. Darren McFadden (vs Ind) – The kid has a great game combining size, speed and power into one fluid body. The Colts can be beat on the ground, and I expect a ton out of Run DMC this game, but as was shown last week, Bush still has a hold of the goal-line carries.
4. Michael Turner (vs NO) – “The Centaur” has been a beast the second half of the season, and he just loves playing against these pesky Saints. In fact, since he joined the Falcons back in 2008, he’s averaged 105.5 yards/game against them and hasn’t had a game where he didn’t rush for a TD (four games).
5. Chris Johnson (@ KC) – CJ2K has been coming on lately averaging 120.5 yards and one TD over the last couple of games. The return of Kenny Britt seems to have really opened up the running lanes for the Titans, so with Britt and Collins playing well, expect Johnson to keep producing at a high level.
6. Ray Rice (@ Cle) – Rice is coming off of his best game this season and has a prime matchup to continue his roll. The Ravens are starting to increase his touches as they approach the playoffs, so look for Rice to have another nice set of numbers when this one is over.
7. Jamaal Charles (vs Ten) – Tennessee has been pretty stingy against the run this year so I’m not expecting one of Jamaal’s monster efforts, but he’s relatively fresh at this point of the season, so he’s likely to get a bunch of touches and end up with some real nice numbers.
8. Rashad Jennings (vs Was) – Jennings was beginning to see a healthy amount of touches over recent weeks, and he’s about to get a whole lot more. MJD missed practice for a third straight day on Friday and is now listed as ‘doubtful’ for the game on Sunday, which means there’s basically no chance of him playing. Rashad has looked good enough to be a starter this season, but wasn’t ever going to get the chance unless Jones-Drew fell to injury. Now’s his chance. With a matchup against one of the bottom-tier defenses in the league, it wouldn’t surprise me to see numbers close to what MJD was sure to put up this Sunday.
9. Peyton Hillis (vs Bal) – Hillis has definitely slowed down as the season has progressed, but this is also the team he first broke out against when he went for 144 yards and a TD during their first contest. He won’t repeat those numbers, but at least you know he has the potential to.
10. Adrian Peterson (@ Phi) – Purple Jesus sat out last game to rest up his various leg ailments, but my guess is he’ll give it a go this weekend. He’s a warrior in the truest sense of the word and I can’t believe that he’ll let another game go by as he sits on the bench. The Eagles rush D is pretty good, but if AP plays, he should be able to rattle off some nice fantasy numbers.
11. Ryan Torain (@ Jax) – After his 172-yard outburst in Week 14, Torain came out to put up 101 total yards and a TD last weekend against the Cowboys. The Jaguars have about as bad of a defense as Dallas does, so to expect any less would be uncivilized.
12. LeGarrette Blount (vs Sea) – What a great find this monster RB (6’0”, 247 pounds) has been for the Bucs this season. Blount averages 5.7 yards/carry at home so have confidence playing him as an RB2 with upside on your fantasy team this week.
13. LeSean McCoy (vs Min) – McCoy has a variety of skills that he uses throughout a game and all he needs are enough touches to make them work for your fantasy team. If he gets 20 touches in this one, which he should, you can expect a fine day from your RB2.
14. BenJarvus Green-Ellis (@ Buf) – Buffalo has the worst rush D in the league, so expect some real nice numbers this week out of The Law Firm. In their last match, Green-Ellis had one TD with 98 yards on 16 carries (6.1 YPC) if that’s any sort of gauge for you. Danny Woodhead also had a TD in the game.
15. Knowshon Moreno (vs Hou) – If Moreno’s rib injury is minor and he plays this weekend, he’ll do just fine as an RB2 for your fantasy team. Be sure to check the news throughout the week to be sure though as you don’t want to be caught with him in your lineup while sitting on the Donkeys bench.
16. Steven Jackson (vs SF) – One of The Beast’s five rushing touchdowns came against the ‘Niners earlier this season, but you can’t expect too much with San Fran not allowing a 100-yard rusher in their past 20 games straight. He’ll have some decent numbers, but likely no more than an average RB2.
17. Ahmad Bradshaw (@ GB) – The 5’9” Little Engine that could will be depended on to churn his wheels this weekend against one of the toughest defenses in the league. His dynamic play will be a big difference in what could make or break the Giants season. Bet on a solid RB2 performance.
18. Fred Jackson (vs NE) – The Bills will need Freddy to perform well in this one if they expect to keep the game close. He’s not a special back by any means, but he is the type who can do it all and will be asked to do so this Sunday. 100 total yards and a TD isn’t out of the question.
19. Marshawn Lynch (@ TB) – I actually like Lynch a bit this week. Tampa has a rush D that might not be able to stop my pet slug, so look for Seattle to get Fugly going in this one.
20. Mike Tolbert (@ Cin) – A touchdown is a given this Sunday, though I expect Mathews to get himself quite a few carries as a warm-up for the post-season.
21. Tashard Choice (@ Ari) – I have Choice ranked over Felix this week due to a couple of reasons. First, being the goal-line back against a team giving up the fourth most rushing touchdowns gives him some nice value to begin with. Second, with Felix being banged up yet again, Choice may actually get the majority of carries in this one. If you’re looking for a big upside guy this week, Tashard fits the bill.
22. Cedric Benson (vs SD) – Benson had his best game of the year against the Browns last weekend, but don’t expect that to continue. The Bengals have decided to finally use a fullback, so Ceddy could do a little bit of damage this weekend, but the San Diego rush D is pretty formidable, so don’t expect more than flex numbers this Sunday.
23. Donald Brown (@ Oak) – Addai might actually return this week, and if he does, Brown’s value is severely hampered. Check the news throughout the week to see if he is worth the gamble or not because if he suits up, the carries will likely be split, thus giving Addai the better value seeing that he’s the better all-around RB. If he doesn’t return, the Raiders are one of the lower-tier defenses against the run, so judging on what Donald did last week; you should probably be able to take a chance on him.
24. Danny Woodhead (@ Buf) – I am going to repeat this statement until Danny Woodhead is a household name: The records this kid set at both his High School in North Platte, Wisconsin and at his D-II school at Chadron State College are simply staggering. I mean Madden 2011-style staggering. As in the kid averaged 183 rushing yards/game over FOUR YEARS at Chadron State (212.0 was his highest average – Junior Year) and had 109 total TDs during that time (38 was his most – Junior Year). He rushed for more than 200 yards in a game 19 of his 39 appearances and scored in 37 straight contests, both NCAA records. Just to top it all off, Woodhead also ran track in High School for one year and broke his school’s 100-meter record with a time of 10.5 seconds. Undrafted or not, this kid is special. Beyond that, watch Brady use him extensively out of the backfield this week against a Buffalo defense that covers receivers fairly well—but not so much the quick little running backs.
25. Matt Forte (vs NYJ) – Forte looks as good as he has in his entire career right now, and he’ll be counted on to produce some tough yards this Sunday. He’s had a lot of trouble in the past against crushing rush defenses like the Jets have, but with enough touches, he could put up low-end RB2 fantasy numbers by the end of the game.
26. Brian Westbrook (@ StL) – Is Westy a candidate to put up RB1 numbers? No chance. Will he put up solid numbers across the board while having the potential for a TD along the way? Hell yeah! If you’re looking for a steady option, Westy could work.
27. Felix Jones (@ Ari) – Felix has been playing well lately and has a prime matchup with one of the worst rush Ds in the league this week, but due to his latest injury (bruised shin), there’s no guarantee he’ll get the majority of touches on Saturday… or to even play at all for that matter! If he makes a go of it, he has a chance to put up over 100 total yards in this one, but he still loses some value with Choice being the goal-line back.
28. Ronnie Brown (vs Det) – The Lions give up far too many yards and TDs to running backs not to consider Ronnie as an option here. He has been a huge disappointment overall this season, but if you’re in need of a flex, take a shot.
29. Michael Bush (vs Ind) – If/when the Raiders get down to the two-yard line, Bush will get a TD. Otherwise, he’ll likely get a handful of carries to spell McFadden, but not a whole lot more than that.
30. Jonathan Stewart (@ Pit) – A lot of people gave up on Stewart earlier in the year, and if you’re one of them, you’re likely pretty bummed you did. Over his last four games, Stewart has averaged 115 yards on 5.9 yards per carry, and though he won’t come close to these numbers against the Steelers, with Troy Polamalu, he might be able to take one into the endzone.
31. Brandon Jacobs (@ GB) – Jacobs won’t be able to do much against the Packers front seven so temper your expectations in this one. 10 carries might be his max in this one.
32. Chris Ivory (@ Atl) – Ivory should be back this week and the Saints will need to use him. The Falcons can be pretty hard-nosed against the run, so in order to get the tough first downs and keep the rest of the defense honest, Ivory will need to throw his power around a little bit. Expect the red-zone carries to float his way as well.
33. Ryan Mathews (@ Cin) – I can actually see the rookie getting 20 touches this weekend against a Bengals team that won’t be able to put up much of a fight. How much that produces from a fantasy aspect, I’m not sure, but he’s definitely worth playing as a flex this Sunday.
34. LaDainian Tomlinson (@ Chi) – Just stay away from the Jets' backfield for the rest of the season. Neither LT21 nor Greene can get on a roll with the carries being split, and the trend is not likely to change against the third-ranked rush D in the league.
35. Tim Hightower (vs Dal) – With this game possibly becoming a shootout, I’m not really expecting much from the Cards backfield in this one. Hightower gets the nod over Wells not only because Beanie has sucked this year, but because he’s also the guy they use in passing situations.
36. Pierre Thomas (@ Atl) – Pierre hasn’t looked like his old self yet, but the Saints will want to get him rolling a bit before the playoffs, so he’ll get his touches. However, if Ivory returns this week (which he should), he might have to split carries.
37. Maurice Morris (@ Mia) – Morris seems to have taken over as the lead back at this point in the year, though he’s not going to be worth any more than a flex play against a Miami defense that has given up just 12 points a game the last three weeks.
38. Shonn Greene (@ Chi) – The Jets backfield hasn’t scored a touchdown since Week 6 this season. Just stay away unless one of them gets hurt.
39. Thomas Jones (vs Ten) – Jones just isn’t getting enough touches anymore to do the type of fantasy damage you’re looking for at this point in the season. With the Titans only giving up seven rushing TDs this season, which is the reason you’d be playing TJ anyway, you can’t very well depend on him this fantasy playoff week.
40. Toby Gerhart (@ Phi) - Gerhart ran real well against the Bears last weekend in place of Peterson, but with AP back, he’s not going to be worth all that much. He’ll likely get a good 10 carries or so to spell AP as the Vikings won’t want to risk overloading their injured back of the future, so it’s not beyond the realm of possibility to see some decent stats.