Week 12 (2014) Rankings – Top 40 Running Backs

by Ray Kuhn

As we enter Week 12, and also the last week of byes, it is important not to try and reinvent the wheel regarding running backs. You must go with the hot hand, and go with opportunity. Touches are what matter here and just about every option must be reviewed. For the most part, these situations are fluid, and don’t be afraid to make what would have been considered in unorthodox roster decision just a few months ago. The good thing, is that only Le’Veon Bell must be replaced because of a bye week. Aside from Ahmad Bradshaw, there were no major injuries either.

Let’s take a look at how the running backs rank for Week 12:

  1. Demarco Murray – Dallas Cowboys – at New York Giants
  2. Jamaal Charles – Kansas City Chiefs – at Oakland
  3. Matt Forte – Chicago Bears – vs. Tampa Bay
  4. Arian Foster – Houston Texans – vs. Cincinnati
  5. Eddie Lacy – Green Bay Packers – at Minnesota
  6. Marshawn Lynch – Seattle Seahawks – vs. Arizona
  7. LeSean McCoy – Philadelphia Eagles – vs. Tennessee
  8. Mark Ingram – New Orleans Saints – vs. Baltimore
  9. Giovanni Bernard – Cincinnati Bengals – at Houston
  10. Rashad Jennings – New York Giants – vs. Dallas
  11. Justin Forsett – Baltimore Ravens – at New Orleans Saints
  12. Adrian Peterson – Minnesota Vikings – vs. Green Bay
  13. Trent Richardson – Indianapolis Colts – vs. Jacksonville
  14. CJ Anderson – Denver Broncos – vs. Miami
  15. Bishop Sankey – Tennessee Titans – at Philadelphia
  16. Lamar Miller – Miami Dolphins – at Denver
  17. Shane Vereen – New England Patriots – vs. Detroit
  18. Andre Ellington – Arizona Cardinals – at Seattle
  19. Tre Mason – St. Louis Rams – at San Diego
  20. Isiah Crowell – Cleveland Browns – at Atlanta
  21. Fred Jackson – Buffalo Bills – vs. New York Jets
  22. Alfred Morris – Washington Redskins – at San Francisco
  23. Jonas Gray – New England Patriots – vs. Detroit
  24. Steven Jackson – Atlanta Falcons – vs. Cleveland
  25. Frank Gore – San Francisco 49ers – vs. Washington
  26. Denard Robinson – Jacksonville Jaguars – at Indianapolis
  27. Ryan Mathews – San Diego Chargers – vs. St. Louis
  28. Charles Sims – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – at Chicago
  29. Darren McFadden – Oakland Raiders – vs. Kansas City
  30. Joique Bell – Detroit Lions – at New England
  31. Chris Ivory – New York Jets – at Buffalo
  32. Jeremy Hill – Cincinnati Bengals – at Houston
  33. Reggie Bush – Detroit Lions – at New England
  34. Branden Oliver – San Diego Chargers – vs. St. Louis
  35. Darren Sproles – Philadelphia Eagles – vs. Tennessee
  36. Terrence West – Cleveland Browns – at Atlanta
  37. Bryce Brown – Buffalo Bills – vs. New York Jets
  38. Carlos Hyde – San Francisco 49ers – vs. Washington
  39. Roy Helu – Washington Redksins – at San Francisco
  40. Montee Ball – Denver Broncos – vs. Miami


  • Let’s just start off here by saying that while we all have knowledge of the legal system to varying degrees, this is a website about fantasy football. So with that being said, I am doing these rankings under the assumption that Adrian Peterson will be active this week. We might know as soon as Wednesday, or as late as Saturday. How this shakes out is anyone’s guess, so I just slotted Peterson in as the last RB1 (in a 12 team league), if he is allowed to play. My assumption is that he has stayed in shape would be ready to return to the lineup, but what we get out of him, if anything this season is anyone’s guess. Should Peterson not be in the lineup, Jerick McKinnon in as an RB2 right ahead of Steven Jackson.
  • C.J. Anderson didn’t do much in his first opportunity to be “the guy” as a running back. Anderson gained just 29 yards on nine carries in what was just a mess of a game for Denver. But Anderson didn’t totally abandon his fantasy owners as he caught eight passes for 86 yards. Beyond the fact that Anderson will continue as the Broncos number one running back, those catches are a very good sign for his outlook. Peyton Manning is very judicious with the football, and you have to like Anderson being targeted that many times. He also showed after the catching the ball that he has an explosiveness and a nose for making plays.
  • Rashad Jennings disappointed fantasy owners that were looking for more in his return. Jennings only gained 59 yards on the ground, but it is a good sign that he carried the ball 22 times and came out of it unscathed. It is clear that Jennings is back to being New York’s feature back, so at least you can bank on a guaranteed 20-25 touches this week.
  • I am not saying you should drop Bobby Rainey, but then again he was not included in my rankings above for a reason. With Doug Martin sidelined once again this week, it was clear that Tampa Bay wants Charles Sims to be the man in their backfield. After carrying the load for most of the season, Rainey got just five carries this week and gained only four yards. Rainey really did not have much of an impact after Tampa’s first offensive series, while Charles Sims had 16 touches and led the backs with 33 touches. Sims only gained 44 yards so it is not like he had enough success to advocate starting him, but it was only his second career game, and the opportunity is there. He is someone to watch at a minimum for the rest of the season.
  • All things considered, Trent Richardson has actually been having a decent season in 2014. But were it not for Ahmad Bradshaw’s season ending injury, he would be ranked at least 10 spots lower. Richardson is averaging just 3.4 yards a carry while scoring two touchdowns while adding 22 catches for 203 yards. Bradshaw has been somewhat of a touchdown vulture to Richardson, but now the Colts have no choice but to rely on him. This week might be the highest we rank Richardson as I expect the Colts to get an early lead against Jacksonville and then use Richardson to run out the clock. But he is not someone I would want to have to rely on in the playoffs.


Week 12 (2014) Rankings - Top 15 Defenses
Week 12 (2014) Rankings - Top 15 Kickers


  1. Andy says:

    So Hill goes back to being a backup? Given the production he has given the Bengals, I would suspect more of a 60-40 split in Hill’s favor over Bernard, who hasnt been able to stay healthy with a full workload. The logical step would be Hill on 1st and 2nd and Bernard on 3rd. At any rate, 32nd seems a good deal low on Hill.

    • Ray Kuhn says:

      I think Bernard will be more than just a 3rd down back. I don’t see Hill really getting more than 10-15 touches, 32 could prove to be a good deal by a few spots, but that’s really based on whether he finds the end zone.


  2. Dale H says:

    Is it time to drop hillman or ball. Is Thompkson worth a shot. Also is it safe to get rid of harvin for a backup defense or ??

    • Ray Kuhn says:

      Def drop Hillman, and Ball could probably be dropped. I do think Thompson is worth a shot, and I would hang on to Harvin.


  3. smidge says:

    I had to drop Bradshaw but I was able to pick up Vereen, Crowell and Hyde.. I have McCoy as my disappointing RB1..
    Who do I start with him or should I keep scouring waiver wire?
    Non PPR

  4. Matt says:

    Everyone’s got Mark Ingram in or around the top 10. Baltimore surprisingly has the #1 defense against the run, and that makes me nervous. Are we just counting on volume to justify such a high projection?

  5. Gamer says:

    12 team, non-PPR Flex question; Pick two: I’ve typically used Tate as one, but a bit concerned about weather and NE D. Thanks!
    – Tre Meson
    – Jonas Gray
    – Golden Tate
    – Lamar Miller
    – Michael Crabtree
    – Alfred Blue
    – Brandon Oliver

  6. Corey says:

    McKinnon’s rank with Tate in town?

    • Ray Kuhn says:

      I’d keep it as a low end RB2. I think Tate is more insurance and an option for next year, but McKinnon should still get 15 touches. And it usually takes RB’s a week or two to adjust to a new team


  7. Mike from LA says:

    Standard League

    RB1 – Forte
    RB2 – J. McKinnon, L. Miller, or A. Ellington????

    PPR League

    TE – J. Thomas or C. Fleener?
    Flex – J. Thomas, C. Fleener, CJ Anderson, C. Ivory???

    Thank you Ray!

  8. Drew says:

    Hey roto need a rb 2 and a flex in a 12 team ppr. I got some rough choices. I have blue, Bryce brown, Reggie bush, Jonas gray and garcon. I can also grab off the waivers shorts, Hawkins or devante adams(prob my best choices). Any help appreciated.

  9. Dale H says:

    Got Murry and Ingram at RB. For flex would you use Ellington, Stills, or Harvin. Like Stills at home and match up now that cooks is out. What’s your opinion prof. Got Calvin Johnson and Beckham Jr at WR.

    • Dale H says:

      Still could use your opinion prof.

      • Dale H says:

        Most would use Ellington at flex but I think he is in for a long day and with Taylor back to get goal line work i am thinking WR in flex..just overthinking maybe..I do that.. your opinion.

        • Ray Kuhn says:

          I’m using Ellington at Flex, he is the best player of the bunch and is also guaranteed to get the most touches as he has every week this season. Seattle’s defense is also not exactly what they once were.


  10. Adel says:

    Assuming Foster doesn’t play, would you start Alfred Blue or Jeremy Hill?

    • Ray Kuhn says:

      My initial preference would be Hill. I think I have him ranked too low, and depending on what it looks like the split will be with him and Bernard, I like Hill better.


  11. Steve says:

    Alfred Blue or Fred Jackson at flex? The Texans have a better matchup But I’m not sure how many carries blue will get with foster back..Jackson is playing the tough jets run defense..what do you think

  12. Gamer says:

    non-PPR: Pick one: Tre Mason, Alfred Blue, Lamar Miller, Jonas Gray. Had Mason in, but it’s sounding like Foster may be out. Thanks!

  13. Gamer says:

    .5 PPR; Currently starting:
    WR1 Cobb
    WR2 Gordon
    RB1 Forte
    RB2 CJ Anderson
    Flex Rashad Jennings

    Question: Would you start Emmanuel Sanders or Vereen over any of them? Thanks.

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