Week 14 Rankings (2018): Top 40 Running Backs

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Injuries…  Injuries…  Injuries…  As most fantasy owners prepare for Week 1 of the fantasy playoffs they are forced to maneuver around a slew of injuries that will have a significant impact on their lineups.  Already ruled out are James Conner and Matt Breida and there are a slew of others who are either likely to be out (Melvin Gordon) or are questionable (Kerryon Johnson, Chris Carson).  With that in mind let’s take a look at how the rankings fall, with the knowledge that you need to keep a close eye on the news as the week progresses:

  1. Christian McCaffrey – Carolina Panthers – at Cleveland
  2. Ezekiel Elliot – Dallas Cowboys – vs. Philadelphia
  3. Saquan Barkley – New York Giants – at Washington
  4. Leonard Fournette – Jacksonville Jaguars – at Tennessee
  5. Alvin Kamara – New Orleans Saints – at Tampa Bay
  6. Todd Gurley – Los Angeles Rams – at Chicago
  7. Aaron Jones – Green Bay Packers – vs. Atlanta
  8. Philip Lindsay – Denver Broncos – at San Francisco
  9. Joe Mixon – Cincinnati Bengals – at Los Angeles Chargers
  10. Gus Edwards – Baltimore Ravens – at Kansas City
  11. David Johnson – Arizona Cardinals – vs. Detroit
  12. Austin Ekeler – Los Angeles Chargers – vs. Cincinnati
  13. Lamar Miller – Houston Texans – vs. Indianapolis
  14. Sony Michel – New England Patriots – at Miami
  15. Nick Chubb – Cleveland Browns – vs. Carolina
  16. Kerryon Johnson – Detroit Lions – at Arizona
  17. Dalvin Cook – Minnesota Vikings – at Seattle
  18. Jeff Wilson – San Francisco 49ers – vs. Denver
  19. LeSean McCoy – Buffalo Bills – vs. New York Jets
  20. James White – New England Patriots – at Miami
  21. Mark Ingram – New Orleans Saints – at Tampa Bay
  22. Chris Carson – Seattle Seahawks – vs. Minnesota
  23. Tarik Cohen – Chicago Bears – vs. Los Angeles Rams
  24. Josh Adams – Philadelphia Eagles – at Dallas
  25. Jaylen Samuels – Pittsburgh Steelers – at Oakland
  26. Adrian Peterson – Washington Redskins – vs. New York Giants
  27. Marlon Mack – Indianapolis Colts – at Houston
  28. Isaiah Crowell – New York Jets – vs. Buffalo
  29. Spencer Ware – Kansas City Chiefs – vs. Baltimore
  30. Kenyan Drake – Miami Dolphins – vs. New England
  31. Doug Martin – Oakland Raiders – vs. Pittsburgh
  32. Peyton Barber – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – vs. New Orleans
  33. Tevin Coleman – Atlanta Falcons – at Green Bay
  34. Justin Jackson – Los Angeles Chargers – vs. Cincinnati
  35. Chris Thompson – Washington Redskins – vs. New York Giants
  36. Theo Riddick – Detroit Lions – at Arizona
  37. Jordan Howard – Chicago Bears – vs. Los Angeles Rams
  38. Nyheim Hines – Indianapolis Colts – at Houston
  39. Ty Montgomery – Baltimore Ravens – at Kansas City
  40. Dion Lewis – Tennessee Titans – vs. Jacksonville

Thoughts:

  • Without James Conner do we expect the Steelers to lean on one running back?  Will they share carries while taking a more pass heavy approach?  The second option is more likely and while it makes Jaylen Samuels the best option from the backfield he isn’t more than a low-end RB2/FLEX given the risk.
  • Since the Cowboys’ bye week Ezekiel Elliot has been a monster, with 100+ yards in five straight games and continued heavy workloads (23+ carries in three straight games and 5+ receptions in four straight games).  Included in this stretch was a 187 total yard, 2 TD performance against the Eagles, who he’ll draw again this week.  He’s among the elite in the league and should continue to show why.
  • Aaron Jones has found the end zone in four straight games (6 total TD over this stretch) as he’s become the clear top option in Green Bay.  Obviously the coaching change could complicate the picture, at least a little bit, but there’s little reason to think that he won’t carry on as the featured back.  Over the past four weeks the Atlanta Falcons have allowed 191, 122, 141 and 132 rushing yards to opposing running backs, further solidifying Jones’ spot among the Top 10 options for the coming week.
  • After some heavy usage Nick Chubb saw his carries drop to 9, as the Browns fell behind early and needed to play catchup.  While his day was saved by a TD (and he’s scored in four straight games), is that something we are willing to bank on against the Panthers?  He’s obviously still a viable option, but he’s more of a RB2 than a RB1 this week.
  •  It’s been a frustrating season for Leonard Fournette owners, whether it be due to injuries or his recent suspension.  That said when he has been on the field he’s been a highly productive option, with 100+ total yards in each of his past three games (and 5 TD over this stretch).  The matchup against the Titans is not going to be an easy one, though they just watched Isaiah Crowell and the New York Jets torch them for 135 yards on the ground a week after the Tennessee Titans racked up 211 rushing yards and 1 TD.  Don’t make the mistake of shying away from him.
  • Over the past three weeks Gus Edwards has rushed for at least 82 yards per game and now draws a Kansas City defense that saw the Oakland Raiders run for 163 yards and 1 TD against them in Week 13.  Obviously there are questions about Edwards’ health, but if he’s taking the field and ready to roll he’s going to have RB1 upside.  He’s surprisingly become a force and is a must start in all formats.
  • The last time LeSean McCoy faced the Jets he torched them for 113 yards and TD (and the Jets watched the Patriots rush for 206 yards and 1 TD against them in Week 12, their next game after the Buffalo debacle).  It’s hard not to love McCoy as a viable RB2 for the coming week.
  • Both James White and Sony Michel are going to be solid plays this week, though the Dolphins have been more susceptible to those who can run the football.  That’s going to give Michel the edge in the rankings, but don’t let that discourage White owners.  He should produce solid numbers as well.
  • The problem with Kenyan Drake is how many touches is he going to get?  He has 3 TD over his past two games, but he’s averaged just 11 touches per contest.  That’s going to make Drake a high risk, high reward option against the Patriots, though if the Dolphins fall behind early and they are forced to go pass happy Drake is going to look that much better.
  • What’s happened to Tevin Coleman?  He has 34 yards, total, over the past two weeks and has been virtually unusable over the past four.  While there’s still potential, he’s a desperation FLEX play and nothing more.

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Make sure to check out all of our Week 14 rankings:

Quarterbacks
Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Kickers
Defenses
Week 14 Rankings (2018): Top 20 Tight Ends
Week 14 Rankings (2018): Top 25 Quarterbacks

33 comments

  1. Eric says:

    Hey prof- Regarding Edwards, what about his ranking in PPR? I’m struggling with starting him or someone like Jeff Wilson, Samuels or Richard? Edwards has zero catches… thanks again for the help

  2. Artie L says:

    Hi Prof,

    PPR league

    Need 2 RB and a flex out of:

    RB’s
    McCoy
    Ware
    Edwards
    J. Wilson
    Richard

    WR’s
    DJ Moore

    Thanks!

  3. Touchette says:

    Full PPR – Need the following:

    - RB’s (Choose 2): Ingram, Michel, J. Samuels, J. Wilson, or J. Jackson.

    I have Samuels and Michel plugged in at the moment. My worry with Ingram is that if it becomes a shootout, then NO will use more Kamara.

    - Flex (Choose 1): The rest of the above RB’s, Edelman, C.

    Davis, or DJ Moore. I’m leaning either a Ingram or Edelman.

    What are you thoughts?

  4. OtisP says:

    QB – Prescott or Mayfield? I am starting Amari Cooper so hesitant to go heavy on Dallas. As for my flex, need one of J Samuels, Spencer Ware, or Corey Davis – PPR league. Thanks prof.

    • I’d go Mayfield regardless.

      As for the FLEX, I’d lean Samuels but I’m worried about a committee really limiting his opportunities. He’s high risk, high reward. If you wanted to go “safe”, it’s Davis

  5. Krysta says:

    14 Team, PPR.

    1. Assuming Nick Chubb is RB1, Adrian Peterson or Josh Adams as RB2?
    2. Assuming Michael Thomas and JuJu are WR1/2, would you flex Adrian Peterson/Josh Adams, Jarvis Landry, Adam Humphries or Pettis as flex?

  6. Waah says:

    12 Team PPR

    Start 2RB + 2WR + Flex:
    Fournette, L. Miller, Cohen, Gus Edwards
    Odell Beckham, T. Boyd, Landry, J. Reynolds

    I really don’t know to go with Boyd (tough matchup vs Chargers but playing from behind) or Landry (inconsistent) at WR2?

    I have a trade request. Should I trade L. Miller to receive R. Woods? I can plug in the three other RBs and start Odell and R. Woods if I trade. Foreman back maybe to steal a few touches but R. Woods going up against a great Bears D.
    Going up against the highest scoring team in the playoffs, must win

  7. Cara Stewart says:

    Hi,
    Round One playoffs. I lost Melvin Gordon so my number one is Aaron Jones. Then I have a bunch of guys all climbed together. Can you help me pick my number 2 and flex?
    Wilson, White, Ingram, Mack or Martin???
    Thank you!!!

  8. I’d roll Wilson/White (with Ingram close behind White if you don’t trust NE)

  9. Dan says:

    Have to play 2 of 5: Please help.
    Lockett
    Boyd
    Ware
    Josh Adams
    Zay Jones

    Thank you

  10. Ph says:

    Hi Prof. Half point PPR for my season!
    At the RB pick one – Edwards, Wilson, Drake, or Carson

    Thank you!

  11. Carl says:

    In a PPR league. For WR2/fFlex I have to choose between:

    T.Y Hilton
    Jarvis Landry
    Spencer Ware
    Gus Edwards
    Chris Godwin

    Also at QB:
    Deshaun or Jameis?

    Thank you!

  12. Tony says:

    Hello Professor,

    I see that Mixon initially appeared on the injury report (foot), but got a full practice on Friday. Not sure if this, combined with a good chance that the Bengals fall behind quickly, and we see more of Gio, that Mixon isn’t a viable option this week? My other starter is A Jones.

    I agree completely with your assessment of J Samuels; the Steelers throwing more, and with that in mind, I am starting JuJu, and MacDonald. Granted, I’m thinking about starting J Graham instead of MacDonald, especially if I were to start Samuels instead of Mixon?

    I recall a number of weeks when Roethlisberger threw to Conner and had big games from catches rather than runs, so could this be the case for Samuels?

    Naturally, my instinct is to start Mixon, but his foot, and all the rest, concerns me. Given that the Steelers will probably throw a lot, do you think that this would include Samuels? Granted, if I were to start him, I’m not certain that I want three players from one team, then would turn to Graham who should see a lot of passes from Rodgers.

    Anyway, if you have time, I would welcome your perspective on this. Previous feedback has always been very helpful/accurate!

    Thank you very much and good luck in the play-offs!

    Best,
    Tony

    • Tony says:

      Hi,

      As a follow-up, I see that J Wilson is still available on waivers, so he might be a better option than Samuels, but not sure if the case when compared to Mixon?

      Thanks!

      • Wilson and Mixon aren’t that different this week so if you are more comfortable I’d grab Wilson in a heartbeat

        • Tony says:

          Hi Professor,

          Thank you very much for your feedback despite my long comments and questions- I appreciate it!

          I was surprised to see that Wilson was still available, so was able to take him, so thanks again!

          Best,
          tony

  13. Scott says:

    14-team 1/2 PPR. Need to choose an RB2, WR2, and FLEX from the following:
    Ware, Jackson, Gordon, Landry, Sutton. Also leaning Mahomes over Winston for QB.
    Both RBs and all WRs seem to be clustered this week! Thanks.

  14. Kevin says:

    Full PPR. Need 3 out of these.
    Gus Edwards
    LeSean McCoy
    Tarik Cohen
    Justin Jackson
    Thanks Professor!

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