Week 16 Rankings (2016): Top 40 Running Backs

by Ray Kuhn

Fantasy football is not easy and you need a lot of things to go right to get to this point, so hopefully you still have something to play for this week. While we won’t object to third place, especially if there is a financial benefit, first place is where the glory lies.

Remember that this is a short week. While things still goes through Monday night, the majority of the week’s action will be taking place on Saturday. That means one less day of practice and one less day of decision making. Let’s not waste any time as we jump into the running back rankings for this week:

  1. Le’Veon Bell – Pittsburgh Steelers – vs. Baltimore
  2. Ezekiel Elliot – Dallas Cowboys – vs. Detroit
  3. LeSean McCoy – Buffalo Bills – vs. Miami
  4. DeMarco Murray – Tennessee Titans – at Jacksonville
  5. David Johnson – Arizona Cardinals – at Seattle
  6. Latavius Murray – Oakland Raiders – vs. Indianapolis
  7. Devonta Freeman – Atlanta Falcons – at Carolina
  8. Jordan Howard – Chicago Bears – vs. Washington
  9. Carlos Hyde – San Francisco 49ers – at Los Angeles
  10. LeGarrette Blount – New England Patriots – vs. New York Jets
  11. Lamar Miller – Houston Texans – vs. Cincinnati
  12. Bilal Powell – New York Jets – at New England
  13. Todd Gurley – Los Angeles Rams – vs. San Francisco
  14. Robert Kelley – Washington Redskins – at Chicago
  15. Jay Ajayi – Miami Dolphins – at Buffalo
  16. Spencer Ware – Kansas City Chiefs – vs. Denver
  17. Jeremy Hill – Cincinnati Bengals – at Houston
  18. Frank Gore – Indianapolis Colts – at Oakland
  19. Doug Martin – Tampa Bay Buccanneers – at New Orleans
  20. Mark Ingram – New Orleans Saints – vs. Tampa Bay
  21. Jonathan Stewart – Carolina Panthers – vs. Atlanta
  22. Thomas Rawls – Seattle Seahawks – at Arizona
  23. Ryan Mathews – Philadelphia Eagles – vs. New York Giants
  24. Ty Montgomery – Green Bay Pakcers – vs. Minnesota
  25. Kenneth Farrow – San Diego Chargers – at Cleveland
  26. Kenneth Dixon – Baltimore Ravens – at Pittsburgh
  27. Isaiah Crowell – Cleveland Browns – vs. San Diego
  28. Dion Lewis – New England Patriots – vs. New York Jets
  29. Tevin Coleman – Atlanta Falcons – at Carolina
  30. Theo Riddick – Detroit Lions – at Dallas
  31. Paul Perkins – New York Giants – at Philadelphia
  32. Adrian Peterson – Minnesota Vikings – at Green Bay
  33. Terrance West – Baltimore Ravens – at Pittsburgh
  34. T.J. Yeldon – Jacksonville Jaguars – vs. Tennessee
  35. Duke Johnson – Cleveland Browns – vs. San Diego
  36. Charles Sims – Tampa Bay Buccanneers – at New Orleans
  37. Tim Hightower – New Orleans Saints – vs. Tampa Bay
  38. Rashad Jennings – New York Giants – at Philadelphia
  39. Justin Forsett – Denver Broncos – at Kansas City
  40. Darren Sproles – Philadelphia Eagles – vs. New York Giants


  • It was a weird week for Mark Ingram who had a sideline eruption directed towards Sean Payton. After watching Tim Hightower find the end zone for the second time on the afternoon, fantasy owners would have been well within their rights to act in the same manner. The fact that Hightower carried the ball 11 times for 37 yards or that he caught three passes for another 11 yards shouldn’t have much, if any, fantasy impact. However two of those carries were in goal line situations, and they resulted in touchdowns while Ingram stood on the sideline. On the surface it has been a pretty good season for Ingram who is averaging 5.1 yards per carry on 167 carries, but the last few weeks have been rough for him. Entering action on Sunday he had a combined 14 carries in the past two weeks for 51 yards, on the heels of a 14 carry, 146 yard effort. He was dealing with a toe injury, but there isn’t much of an excuse for his usage. He certainly appeared healthy enough against the Cardinals as he carried the ball 17 times for 78 yards, and caught two passes for another 14 yards. When the Saints played Tampa Bay two weeks ago Ingram gained just 14 yards on seven carries, but there is no reason to think he won’t touch the ball 20 times this week. It is a concern that he only has three touchdowns this season, but you likely are without a better option.
  • Stay away. I’m sure a lot of you have been keeping Adrian Peterson on the end of your bench over the past few weeks just for this week, but resist the temptation. The original thought process was that he would return for this week, only if the Vikings were in playoff contention. After last week’s disaster against the Colts Minnesota’s chances are bleak, and Peterson didn’t do anything to render himself fantasy worthy for the rest of the season. He had just seven touches on the day, six carries for 22 yards and one catch for a yard, but he also lost a fumble and was barely on the field in the second half. As it is Peterson played on just 21% of the Vikings’ snaps, and you can’t expect much more than that for this week. He did have one run of 13 yards in which he showed a little something, but there is not enough to bank on.
  • Kenneth Farrow got his chance, and that is about all you can say for the rookie running back. Farrow was a hot addition this past week and also a popular sleeper option when setting your lineups, but he failed to meet expectations. San Diego did their part as he had 17 touches compared to seven for Ronnie Hillman, but he didn’t show much. Farrow gained 39 yards on his 15 carries, fumbled twice (losing one) and caught two passes for 14 yards against the Raiders. It’s hard to knock the Chargers’ match-up for this week, Cleveland, but, at least early in the week, there are a lot of uncertainties. Melvin Gordon didn’t practice on Tuesday, and while he has spoken to the contrary, it doesn’t appear he will be on the field. If Gordon does appear to be healthy and takes the field then it’s hard to argue with his status as an RB1. However, at least at this point, I am excluding him from my rankings as there is certainly risk involved. Hillman didn’t exactly do too much better, seven carries for 34 yards with 17 of those yards coming on one play, and his role will likely remain unchanged. That means Farrow will be seeing another heavy workload, and despite his lack of success he can’t be ignored when facing the Browns. I would tread carefully, because while there is a high ceiling, we saw the floor the last two weeks.
  • As the Giants get set to clinch a playoff berth, we may be a seeing a changing of the guard in their backfield. Shane Vereen re-injured his triceps so he is now out for the season, which leaves Rashad Jennings and Paul Perkins as the main running backs. The Giants brought Perkins along slowly, but, as they begin to trust him more as a complete back (read: pass protection) he is seeing more time on the field. Jennings will still be a factor, especially on early downs, but his upside is limited. On Sunday Jennings gained just 38 yards on 18 carries, but it also needs to be noted that he was the one carrying the ball in the second half. So far this season he is averaging just 45.2 yards per game and 3.7 yards per carry. Perkins had the best game of his career last week, as he ran it 11 times for 56 yards. The 3.8 yards per carry he is averaging isn’t much better than Jennings, but Perkins has been improving each week and he is the more explosive running back. This is a situation I would like to avoid, but of the two Perkins is the better option.
  • And back to Ty Montgomery we go. The Packers were committed to Montgomery as a running back, and we should be as well. Most importantly the results backed it up. Montgomery gained 162 yards on 16 carries while scoring two touchdowns and ripping of multiple big runs; 61, 36 and 26 yards. This week hey does face a tougher defense in Minnesota, but it’s hard to ignore that type of production and explosiveness.

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Week 16 Rankings (2016): Top 20 Tight Ends
Week 16 Rankings (2016): Top 25 Quarterbacks


  1. Eric B says:

    Hi Prof. Last game for the trophy, last time for advise.
    I guess Rivers over cousins
    2rbs Latavius is a must I figure and Howard but I have L.Miller Ingram and Rawls
    Micheal Thomas or Tyreek Hill
    Probably the most important is Defense. I have Denver & Houston but can pick up LA or Tennesse. Thanks for all ur help. Happy Holidays

  2. Andrew says:

    Hey roto 1 ppr Jordan Matthews or ty Montgomery. Also spencer ware or rob Kelly. Thx

  3. Sravani says:

    Hi Professor,
    Last game for Championship,thanks for all your help. Please help setting the lineup in final game as well The current lineup is as follows

    QB Matt Ryan
    RB Thomas Rawls
    RB Spencer Ware
    WR Jordy Nelson
    WR Malcolm Mitchell
    TE Greg Olsen
    FLEX Leason McCoy
    DST Chargers
    K Nick Novak
    WR Julian Edelman
    WR Rishard Mathews
    WR Tyler Locket
    RB Dion Lewis
    RB Adrian Peterson
    TE Cameron Brate
    QB Ben Rothelisberger

    On Waivers have Giants and Titans available as Defenses
    And Celeb Sturgis as Kicker
    Please suggest if any changes.
    Thank you and appreciate your feedback.

  4. dan says:

    Ryan Mathews versus Bilal Powell

  5. reggie says:

    this week for the marbles – standard scoring

    have McCoy and Julio – what’s your preference for one RB, one WR and one Flex from this group:

    Kelley, Ware, Powell, Montgomery, Baldwin, Watkins
    (I can play Ty Mont at RB WR or Flex as another consideration)

    big thanks RP – its been a great fun year and you’ve been a big part of it!

  6. Minesh says:

    Choose 2 wr 1 flex 1 rb

    Dez vs. Lions
    Williams vs. Browns
    Inman vs. Browns
    Sanders vs. Chiefs
    Watkins vs. Dolphins

    Ajayi vs Bills
    Coleman vs. Panthers
    Farrow vs. Browns

    Thank You

  7. Eric B – Miller, Thomas & Denver is my top choice there

    Andrew – Montgomery for sure. The other spot is close, but I’d lean Kelley

    Sravani – Looks good to me. Good luck!!

    dan – Powell all day

    RB – Powell
    WR – Montgomery
    FLEX – Kelley (though Baldwin is close)
    Thanks for the support & good luck!

    RB – Ajayi
    WR – Bryant & Sanders
    fLEX -I guess Williams

  8. Barney says:

    I have ware Jeremy hill and dion lewis and Sammy Watkins. Need rb2 and flex. 10 team std thanks

  9. Carmen says:

    Hey prof

    Rob Kelley or Rawls for second RB (leaning towards Kelley because of matchup/number of touches)

    Denver’s or Buffalo’s D this week?

    and do you think there’s any problem with Taylor Gabriel at flex this week even with Julio Jones possibly returning? (my other options are britt, crowell, moncrief, diggs and rawls if not at second rb)

  10. V_money says:

    What’s up professor,

    QB-Carr or Rivers?
    WR-2/3- Dontrelle Inman, Allen Robinson, or D Hopkins
    TE-Hunter Henry or Jordan Reed?
    flex- Rashad Jennings or T. Coleman
    Defense- Cardinals or SD

    Thanks again!!

  11. Haggy says:

    Got D.Johnson and kelley at RB and Ware at Flex. What 2 WR’S would you use out of these and would you keep Flex as is… WR’s are T.Williams/ Tyreek Hill/ S.Watkins/ J.J. Nelson/ T.Lockett. Also got Dion Lewis RB on Bench.

  12. Barney – I’m sitting Watkins

    Carmen – Yep, Kelley for me. Denver for the D and there’s no way I’m using Gabriel if Jones is back. I’d roll Rawls.

    QB – Rivers
    WR – Inman/Hopkins
    TE – Henry (doesn’t sound like Reed will be healthy)
    FLEX – Coleman
    D – SD

    Haggy – Hill & Williams at WR. Good luck!

  13. Stephen says:

    Hey prof,

    Qb-rivers or mariota
    Rb-murray or gore for flex?(zeek and J Howard are rb 1-2)
    Wr(2 of 3) – crabtree, Inman or Michael Thomas

    Thanks for your help,


  14. chris says:

    WR2 and flex- I have latavius murray and Inman starting. On the bench– crabtree, Watkins or cobb? also ivory and pryor but not sure about them

  15. STL says:

    Flex (Full Point PPR): Who would you start?

    Taylor Gabriel (even if Jones returns), Kenneth Dixon or Jimmy Graham?


  16. Stephen:
    QB – Rivers
    RB – Murray
    WR – Crabtree/Thomas

    chris – I’d use Crabtree over Inman

    STL – Ugh, I guess Graham but don’t like it

  17. Krysta says:

    I need two RB’s: Jonathan Stewart, Mark Ingram, Justin Forsett (assuming Gordon is out/not reliable in the championship!)?

  18. James says:

    Farrow is on the waivers should I pick him up? Might lose miller this week?

  19. Bman says:

    Hey professor
    Standard league here. First round of finals and I have too many options.
    Need 2 of each and a flex.
    Also luck or cousins?

  20. James – I’d have a very hard time trusting him

    RB – Johnson/Ware
    WR – Mitchell/Crabtree
    FLEX – Stewart

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