Week 12 Rankings (2015): Top 40 Running Backs

by Ray Kuhn

The bye weeks are over, but the injuries have not stopped nor do they appear to be any time soon. Just to make matters a little more stressful, there are three games kicking off on Thursday complicating decisions a little bit. While it will be enjoyable to have a triple-header of football to watch along with your turkey feast, some roster decisions are going to have to be made a little sooner than you might like to. With that in mind let’s jump into the rankings:

  1. Adrian Peterson – Minnesota Vikings – at Atlanta
  2. Todd Gurley – St. Louis – at Cincinnati
  3. Devonta Freeman – Atlanta Falcons – vs. Minnesota
  4. Doug Martin – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – at Indianapolis
  5. T.J. Yeldon – Jacksonville Jaguars – vs. San Diego
  6. Jonathan Stewart – Carolina Panthers – at Dallas
  7. Thomas Rawls – Seattle Seahawks – vs. Pittsburgh
  8. LeSean McCoy – Buffalo Bills – at Kansas City
  9. DeMarco Murray – Philadelphia Eagles – at Detroit
  10. Mark Ingram – New Orleans Saints – at Houston
  11. Eddie Lacy – Green Bay Packers – vs. Chicago
  12. Lamar Miller – Miami Dolphins – at New York Jets
  13. Buck Allen – Baltimore Ravens – at Cleveland
  14. Latavius Murray – Oakland Raiders – at Tennessee
  15. Alfred Blue – Houston Texans – vs. New Orleans
  16. Chris Johnson – Arizona Cardinals – at San Francisco
  17. Giovanni Bernard – Cincinnati Bengals – vs. St. Louis
  18. Matt Forte – Chicago Bears – at Green Bay
  19. DeAngelo Williams – Pittsburgh Steelers – at Seattle
  20. LeGarette Blount – New England Patriots – at Denver
  21. Frank Gore – Indianapolis Colts – vs. Tampa Bay
  22. Danny Woodhead – San Diego Chargers – at Jacksonville
  23. Ronnie Hillman – Denver Broncos – vs. New England
  24. Chris Ivory – New York Jets – at Miami
  25. Spencer Ware – Kansas City Chiefs – vs. Buffalo
  26. Antonio Andrews – Tennessee Titans – vs. Oakland
  27. Matt Jones – Washington Redskins – vs. New York Giants
  28. Jeremy Hill – Cincinnati Bengals – vs. St. Louis
  29. Shaun Draughn – San Francisco 49ers – vs. Arizona
  30. Duke Johnson – Cleveland Browns – vs. Baltimore
  31. Darren Sproles – Philadelphia Eagles -at Detroit
  32. Charles Sims – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – at Indianapolis
  33. Ahmad Bradshaw – Indianapolis Colts – vs. Tampa Bay
  34. James White – New England Patriots – at Denver
  35. Tevin Coleman – Atlanta Falcons – vs. Minnesota
  36. Shane Vereen – New York Giants – at Washington
  37. Theo Riddick – Detroit Lions – vs. Philadelphia
  38. C.J. Anderson – Denver Broncos – vs. New England
  39. Melvin Gordon – San Diego Chargers – at Jacksonville
  40. C.J. Spiller – New Orleans – at Houston


  • At this point, you have to wonder if Marshawn Lynch will return this season or not, as the talk is he’s facing a multi-week absence. With Lynch dealing with what we now know to be a hernia, we have to ask if Thomas Rawls will be a 1,000 yard rusher this season? After gaining 209 yards on the ground this past week he is sitting at 604 yards. He also caught three passes for another 46 yards and found the end zone twice, once through the air and once on the ground. With Lynch being banged up for the majority of the season, Rawls already has four starts under his belt and has topped 100 yards in three of them. It’s hard not to look at Rawls as at least a low end RB1 moving forward.
  • At this point in the season spending a first round draft choice on Eddie Lacy might be ready to pay some dividends. He practiced in “full” on Tuesday and appears good to go for Thursday’s match-up with the Bears. Mike McCarthy has said that it will continue to be a “time-share”, but I would use that term loosely. Last week Lacy and James Starks caught one pass each, but Lacy had 22 carries for 100 yards while Starks carried the ball just eight times for 14 yards. Sign me up for that timeshare moving forward as a Lacy owner. On the season Lacy still has two just touchdowns, but the way he ran on Sunday was perhaps the best he has all season.
  • The early word on Charcandrick West is that he is “day-to-day” for this week with a hamstring strain. My thinking is that West will likely be out at least a week, and with Knile Davis out of the picture Spencer Ware is the back to target. While we certainly saw some good things from Ware last week, don’t expect him to gain 96 yards on 11 carries with 2 TD again this week. Ware entered the game in third quarter and by that point it was already garbage time. That is not to take anything away from him, as he punched in 2 TD and also broke off a 52 yard gain. While Ware certainly belongs on your waiver list, he comes in after Rawls and Buck Allen.
  • T.J. Yeldon was limited entering last Thursday’s game, but he appeared to make it through unscathed. He only carried the ball 14 times, gaining 54 yards, but curiously Denard Robinson received the goal line carries. The good thing for Yeldon owners is that Robinson failed in both of his opportunities. While he had limited success, Yeldon showed explosiveness and did look good running the ball. What is also working in his favor is that with the Thursday game last week, he had 10 days off to recover. Plus, how can you not love his match-up against the Chargers.
  • Chris Ivory had a career day against the Dolphins in Week 4, but I wouldn’t expect a repeat performance. He had difficulty finding room to run last week against Houston, gaining just 36 yards on eight carries. The Jets were trailing for most of the second half but the absence of Nick Mangold also played a factor. After getting off to a fast start Ivory has slowed down and in four of his last five games he has gained 41, 17, 26, and 36 yards respectively. I would look for another option if possible, but it might tough to find one in season long leagues.
  • DeMarco Murray’s first season in Philadelphia has not gone according to plan. Last week there were rumblings that he was not giving full effort, though the comment came after the Eagles were blown out and was based on one specific carry so I’m not sure how much weight I would put on it. He did gain 64 yards on 13 carries, but he was a victim of game flow. With Ryan Mathews sidelined for another week, there is no competition for carries and that has to count for something.

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Make sure to check out all of our Week 12 rankings:

Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Week 12 Rankings (2015): Top 15 Defenses
Week 12 Rankings (2015): Top 25 Tight Ends


  1. Joe says:

    Where does Darren McFadden rank? Not seeing him at all…

  2. Chris says:

    Couple for ya roto

    qb don’t like any of the matchups. Romo, Dalton, Ryan

    need 2rb 2 wr, 1 flex

    AP, Martin, Buck Allen, CJ2K, D Williams, C west

    D Thomas, R cobb, Marshall

    Thanks Roto

  3. Austin Creed says:

    Hey Prof.

    Need help setting up my RB’s, its standard scoring, I have D. Williams, J. Allen, T.Gurley, and L.Miller, which three would you start out of the 4

    Thanks G

  4. Luigi says:

    RBS this week
    GIO bernard, ronnie hillman, lagarrette blount, shaun draughn, alfred blue
    2 to start and possible flex option?

  5. Joe – Ray must’ve inadvertently left him off. He should be a clear RB1 and Top 10 option

    QB – Ryan
    RB – Peterson/Martin
    WR – Thomas/Marshall
    FLEX – Chris Johnson

    Austin Creed – Gurley is the lock. I’d then go Williams/Allen. I’m not sure I trust Miller regardless, but it’s a tougher matchup and he could lose touches to Ajayi.

    Luigi – Blount/Bernard

  6. Sam says:

    Darren Mcfadden, Buck Allen, Tj Yeldon, Thomas Rawls, and Ronnie Hillman. Which 3 to play?

  7. Gern says:

    Okay prof, I think I’ve recovered from Bortles 10 point week….

    Moving forward I have a couple of questions to build my roster. First, Luck. Is it really time to cut bait with him? I have Bortles and Romo and Stafford’s not looking bad of late either (plus he has two juicy match ups during the playoffs), but keeping three QBs is keeping me from Hyde (who’s still available). Suggestion? Second, K. Wright worth considering? I have A. Brown, Evans, Marshall, Hurns, and Amendola and he’d be more depth. Finally, took your advice and dropped Santos for J Brown. Thanks you…

  8. Sam – Rawls / McFadden / Yeldon

    Gern – I’m ok with giving up Luck, because best case appears to be him being back mid-December and there’s no guarantee that there isn’t a setback. As for Wright, you probably don’t need him given your alternatives but I could see him having value (though not more than any of your 5)

  9. Chris w says:

    Ok professor I need to add a back up mind you we are a Keeper league I picked up rawls last week before he got hot
    I have peterson rawls freeman and lynch
    I went to drop lynch and pick someone else up but I’m afraid someone will pick lynch up and use him as a keeper
    The only running backs left are vereen simms white draughn reece
    I have eli manning and the giants aren’t a running offense but we get double points for passing tds to running backs and since I have manning I would get points for him throwing to veree also it is a standard league I’m already in the playoffs but I’m going for a bye now what do I do

  10. Jaden says:


    Would you start Tevin Coleman, Alfred Blue or Delanie Walker in the flex, its a standard league.

    Thanks in advance

  11. Chris W – Is Lynch someone you can keep? Honestly don’t see you using any of the guys who are out there, so if Lynch is an option for you I’d be inclined just to keep him

    Jaden – Amazingly I’d lean Walker, with Coleman as the second choice

  12. Chris w says:

    We only play 2 rbs and I do have 2 of the top rbs so your saying just keep him as dead weight until next friday because that is our last day to drop a player and pick anyone up because they stay on waivers for 2 days

  13. Matthew Summerlin says:

    Hey Prof,

    Here are my starting RBs/WRs/Flex players for week 12

    WRs:Demaryius Thomas
    Allen Robinson
    Flex: CJ2K

    I have Travis Benjamin and Martavis on my bench and , but not sure if they’ll outperform who I have starting. What you think? Half PT. PPR League


  14. Joe says:

    Need to start 2 of these 3 RB’s:
    Rawls, Coleman, or Allen?

    I’m leaning Rawls and Coleman, but Cleveland is terrible against the run.

  15. Matthew Summerlin – Tough to sit the guys you have in there. I stick with the guys you have

    Joe – I’d go Rawls/Allen. I don’t trust Coleman at all

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