Week 12 Rankings (2018): Top 40 Running Backs

by Ray Kuhn

We made it through Week 11 (hopefully) with six teams on bye. Things get easier this week as there are just two teams on bye, but the problem is that they are the Rams and Chiefs. Also some roster decisions are going to be a slightly accelerated as there are three games on Thursday. With that being said let’s jump right into this week’s rankings:

  1. Alvin Kamara – New Orleans Saints – vs. Atlanta
  2. Ezekiel Elliot – Dallas Cowboys – vs. Washington
  3. Saquon Barkley – NY Giants – at Philadelphia
  4. Melvin Gordon – LA Chargers – vs. Arizona
  5. James Conner – Pittsburgh Steelers – at Denver
  6. David Johnson – Arizona Cardinals – at LA Chargers
  7. Joe Mixon – Cincinnati Bengals – vs. Cleveland
  8. Christian McCaffrey – Carolina Panthers – vs. Seattle
  9. Leonard Fournette – Jacksonville Jaguars – at Buffalo
  10. Nick Chubb – Cleveland Browns – at Cincinnati
  11. Sony Michel – New England Patriots – at NY Jets
  12. Phillip Lindsay – Denver Broncos – vs. Pittsburgh
  13. Marlon Mack – Indianapolis Colts – vs. Miami
  14. Mark Ingram – New Orleans Saints – vs. Atlanta
  15. Aaron Jones – Green Bay Packers – at Minnesota
  16. Lamar Miller – Houston Texans – vs. Tennessee
  17. Tevin Coleman – Atlanta Falcons – at New Orleans
  18. James White – New England Patriots – at NY Jets
  19. Adrian Peterson – Washington Redskins – at Dallas
  20. Dalvin Cook – Minnesota Vikings – vs. Green Bay
  21. Matt Breida – San Francisco 49ers – at Tampa Bay
  22. Chris Carson – Seattle Seahawks – at Carolina
  23. Dion Lewis – Tennessee Titans – at Houston
  24. Jordan Howard – Chicago Bears – at Detroit
  25. Kenyan Drake – Miami Dolphins – at Indianapolis
  26. LeSean McCoy – Buffalo Bills – vs. Jacksonville
  27. Tarik Cohen – Chicago Bears – at Detroit
  28. Peyton Barber – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – vs. San Francisco
  29. Josh Adams – Philadelphia Eagles – vs. NY Giants
  30. Duke Johnson – Cleveland Browns – at Cincinnati
  31. Theo Riddick – Detroit Lions – vs. Chicago
  32. Isaiah Crowell – NY Jets – vs. New England
  33. Jalen Richard – Oakland Raiders – at Baltimore
  34. Gus Edwards – Baltimore Ravens – vs. Oakland
  35. Ito Smith – Atlanta Falcons – at New Orleans
  36. Elijiah McGuire – NY Jets – vs. New England
  37. Alex Collins – Baltimore Ravens – vs. Oakland
  38. Royce Freeman – Denver Broncos – vs. Pittsburgh
  39. Giovani Bernard – Cincinnati Bengals – vs. Cleveland
  40. Austin Ekeler – LA Chargers – vs. Arizona

Notes:

  • The short week isn’t working in Kerryon Johnson’s favor as he will be sidelined with a knee injury. It appears to be minor enough, but for this week his touches are up for grabs. LeGarrette Blount will continue to handle, or vulture, the goal line and short yardage work but there is nothing to see here. Last week he carried the ball seven times, but the veteran managed just one yard. On the season Blount is averaging 2.3 yards on his 78 carries while scoring three touchdowns and fantasy owners should move onto the next option. While he has just nine carries in eight games, Theo Riddick is going to be the running back on my radar. I still wouldn’t expect to see his carries drastically increase, but even with Johnson in the fold Detroit is looking Riddick’s way quite often in the passing game. With 11 receptions for 90 yards in last two games he has benefited from the departure of Golden Tate, and he should be busy against the Bears.
  • I feel like I talk about Seattle every week, but as long as Chris Carson is healthy there is no need to give their backfield any further attention. Mike Davis and Rashaad Penny combined to touch the ball 14 times last week, and it was clearly Carson’s backfield as he picked up 83 yards on 17 carries. He also scored a touchdown against Green Bay, rebounding from an early game fumble to have yet another productive effort. Through eight games Carson is up to 580 rushing yards (4.5 yards per carry) with three 100-plus yard efforts and 3 TD. In PPR leagues his value is limited, just eight catches, but the guaranteed workload on the ground still makes him a valuable commodity.
  • Sometimes, especially when you are dealing with running backs, it really doesn’t take much. Entering last week Gus Edwards wasn’t on anyone’s radar and it’s very possible most fantasy owners had no idea who he was. The Baltimore running back is going to be one of the more popular options on waiver wires heading into Week 12. We have been left wanting more all season from Alex Collins, and quite frankly he hasn’t returned much in the way of value. Last week Collins managed just 18 yards on seven carries, and the only thing that saved his day was a seven yard TD run. Through 10 games he is averaging 41.1 yards per game and 3.6 yards per carry, but his 7 TD are enough to keep him on our radars; at least for now if there are no better options. As far as Baltimore is concerned Edwards might be that option. Last week he more than doubled his career output with 17 carries for 115 yards and a touchdown. Previously the rookie had gained just 74 yards on 15 carries, and afterwards the coaching staff appeared to talk up Edwards as offering up a skill set they didn’t have. That kind of success has to warrant some attention although you must take it with a grain of salt, and the fact that Baltimore is facing Oakland this week also works in his favor.
  • Peyton Barber hasn’t exactly dazzled this season, but at the same time the Tampa Bay running back job is still his. No one else, we are looking at you Ronald Jones (19 carries for 42 yards and now dealing with a hamstring injury), has done anything to guide the Buccaneers in a different direction either. While Jacquizz Rodgers does have a role in the passing game, he caught eight passes for 102 yards two weeks ago, the same can’t be said for the running game. Rodgers has just 19 carries for 54 yards this season, so as far as the ground game goes it is Barber’s show. In a high scoring game last week he carried the ball 18 times for 106 yards and a TD. While it was just his second touchdown of the season, he came close to a third as he fumbled just prior to crossing the goal line, he does have 543 yards rushing (4.0 yards per carry). This isn’t a truly exciting option, but based on the consistent workload you have to continue looking Barber’s way.
  • If you didn’t quite pay attention or care when Adrian Peterson signed with Washington you are forgiven, but the veteran is certainly proving us wrong. For those who grabbed him late in drafts, you have nothing to complain about as you reap the rewards. Rushing wise it was a quiet game for Peterson last week as he gained just 51 yards on 16 carries, but it was still a successful day as he found his way into the end zone twice. That makes it seven rushing touchdowns this season, who also has one receiving touchdown. Peterson’s 4.2 yards per carry doesn’t exactly jump off the page, but thanks to his heavy workload he has 723 yards on the ground. The veteran isn’t going to generate much upside or excitement, but he is still a solid option. It should be noted that with Alex Smith now sidelined for the season the Washington offense is going to be going in a different direction now with Colt McCoy under center. Opposing defenses will cheat in on the run game, but by the same token the Redskins will likely lean on Peterson.
  • Sorting out the Philadelphia backfield has been challenging after Jay Ajayi’s injury, but Josh Adams is who I am keeping an eye on. Last week’s match-up against the Saints didn’t exactly work in the Eagles’ favor, and that trickled down to the running backs as it wasn’t a positive game flow. It also wasn’t a positive for the Eagles as they were forced to deal with a difficult New Orleans run defense, but Adams did manage to gain 53 yards on seven carries. That included a 28 yard touchdown run as the rookie also added 19 yards on three catches. At this point I am just waiting for the Eagles to expand his role, as on the season he has succeeded when given the chance (6.1 yards per carry on 34 carries).

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

Quarterbacks
Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Kickers
Defenses
Week 12 Rankings (2018): Top 50 Wide Receivers
Week 12 Rankings (2018): Top 20 Tight Ends

25 comments

  1. otisP says:

    PPR league – Josh Adams or Lamar Miller in my flex? Seems like Adams is the higher risk/higher reward player. I need a win this week. Starting James Conner and Tevin Coleman at RB (Hunt is on a bye) and Amari Cooper and DeAndre Hopkins at WR.

  2. Patriots says:

    Good Morning Professor,
    1/2 point ppr, 12 team. Who would you drop to back up zeke or just ride it out? Penny, Dion Lewis, Corey Davis, I’m a Conner owner who has the back up jayleen also. None of these dudes are in my starting lineup btw. I am torn between Dion Lewis and Corey Davis as droppable . Of these two leaning towards Dion, what do you think?
    Thank You

    • Patriots says:

      Actually maybe drop jayleen?

    • I don’t kow that you have enough depth to drop Lewis and I like Davis’ upside. It makes sense to protect yourself, so I guess Davis if you have the WR depth

      • Patriots says:

        The way I was playing it is , with the back ups of zeke and Conner rostered and Penny as a lottery pick for weeks 15 and 16 would be my rb depth. So that’s why I thought getting rid of Dion Lewis. I only have 3 receivers. M Thomas. D Adams and Golladay so that’s why I would keep Corey Davis. Or get rid of Corey Davis and if need be find wr on waivers if needed. Or get rid of Conner back up cause it could be a time share with Ridley anyway. What you think?
        Thank You

  3. carlito says:

    Carson or Robinson (bears) at flex?

  4. Foot Fantasy says:

    Roto Prof,

    Pick 2 fournette, johnson, mack, and mixon.

  5. Ted says:

    Would you play Drake or Riddick this week?

  6. Sheldon says:

    Hi, Prof. It’s 0.5 PPR in my league and I have to pick 2 RBs from: Theo Riddick, Jordan Howard, and Josh Adams. All three have key roles to play. Somehow, I think Chicago will run the ball more with Jordan Howard this week, since Trubisky has already been ruled out. What do you think? Also, Riddick gets more looks, because Kerryon Johnson is out. And Josh Adams get the Hiants, who Philly should beat easily. As you know, Josh Adams is primed to establish himself as Philly’s workhorse in this week’s divisional matchup with the Giants. I would appreciate it if you could let me know your picks and related views. Thanks.

  7. Chris says:

    Jordan Howard or AP?? Leaning to Howard with Daniels as qb they should lean on him but so is the same thing for AP

  8. TD Machine says:

    Happy Thanksgiving Professor,

    I have the following for WR, RB, Flex, which 5 would you go with?

    >CMC, Barkley, Mack, Josh Adams, Chubb, DJ Moore, T. Boyd, Trequan Smith

    Also, thinking of trading Dak ( l have Mayfield/Trubisky) for Cameron Brate; only Olsen for TE currently

    Kicker: Elliott, Sanders, Myers, Fairbairn ( all available)

  9. Max says:

    Should I use a questionable Sony Michel or Dion Lewis in a PPR league

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