Week 16 Rankings: Top 40 Running Backs

There are plenty of questions this week as you try to setup your lineup.  How far do you downgrade Marshawn Lynch due to his matchup with the 49ers?  How good of an option is Reggie Bush against the Patriots?  What should you do with Kevin Smith?  Let’s look at these questions and all the rest for the coming week:

  1. Ray Rice – Baltimore Ravens – vs. Cleveland
  2. Arian Foster – Houston Texans – at Indianapolis
  3. Maurice Jones-Drew – Jacksonville Jaguars – at Tennessee
  4. LeSean McCoy – Philadelphia Eagles – at Dallas
  5. Adrian Peterson – Minnesota Vikings – at Washington
  6. Michael Bush – Oakland Raiders – at Kansas City
  7. Reggie Bush – Miami Dolphins – at New England
  8. Ryan Mathews – San Diego Chargers – at Detroit
  9. Rashard Mendenhall – Pittsburgh Steelers – vs. St. Louis
  10. Chris Johnson – Tennessee Titans – vs. Jacksonville
  11. Willis McGahee – Denver Broncos – at Buffalo
  12. Shonn Greene – New York Jets – vs. New York Giants
  13. Roy Helu – Washington Redskins – vs. Minnesota
  14. Felix Jones – Dallas Cowboys – vs. Philadelphia
  15. Michael Turner – Atlanta Falcons – at New Orleans
  16. Marshawn Lynch – Seattle Seahawks – vs. San Francisco
  17. Frank Gore – San Francisco 49ers – at Seattle
  18. C.J. Spiller – Buffalo Bills – vs. Denver
  19. Cedric Benson – Cincinnati Bengals – vs. Arizona
  20. Darren Sproles – New Orleans Saints – vs. Atlanta
  21. LeGarrette Blount – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – at Carolina
  22. Ahmad Bradshaw – New York Giants – at New York Jets
  23. Donald Brown – Indianapolis Colts – vs. Houston
  24. Beanie Wells – Arizona Cardinals – at Cincinnati
  25. Kevin Smith – Detroit Lions – vs. San Diego
  26. Jonathan Stewart – Carolina Panthers – vs. Tampa Bay
  27. Peyton Hillis – Cleveland Browns – at Baltimore
  28. Steven Jackson – St. Louis Rams – at Pittsburgh
  29. Kahlil Bell – Chicago Bears – at Green Bay
  30. BenJarvus Green-Ellis – New England Patriots – vs. Miami
  31. DeAngelo Williams – Carolina Panthers – vs. Tampa Bay
  32. Ryan Grant – Green Bay Packers – vs. Chicago
  33. Ben Tate – Houston Texans – at Indianapolis
  34. Brandon Jacobs – New York Giants – at New York Jets
  35. Mike Tolbert – San Diego Chargers – at Detroit
  36. LaDainian Tomlinson – New York Jets – vs. New York Giants
  37. Pierre Thomas – New Orleans Saints – vs. Atlanta
  38. Toby Gerhart – Minnesota Vikings – at Washington
  39. Marion Barber – Chicago Bears – at Green Bay
  40. Lance Ball – Denver Broncos – at Buffalo


  • Maurice Jones-Drew has had over 100 total yards each of the past six weeks.  Over that span he has scored 7 TD, including four touchdowns in Week 14.  It would be hard not to love him this week regardless of the matchup, wouldn’t it?
  • Adrian Peterson rushed the ball 10 times for 60 yards in his return to the lineup, while Toby Gerhart got just two carries (though he had two receiving touchdowns).  Obviously playing from behind helped to limit Peterson’s touches, but it’s clear that Peterson is healthy.  Look for him to play a major role in his matchup with the Redskins, making him a clear-cut RB1.
  • It is Rashard Mendenhall’s chance to take on the worst rushing defense in the league, as he gets the Rams who have allowed 153.4 rushing yards per game and 12 rushing TD.  He hasn’t been tremendous this season, but you have to like him this week with your fantasy title on the line.
  • Who is going to benefit more from the matchup with the Buffalo Bills, Willis McGahee or Tim Tebow?  McGahee was only given 7 carries in Week 15, though he took them for 70 yards (and the Broncos had to try to keep up with the Patriots).  As a low-end RB1/high-end RB2 he should be a good play for the coming week.
  • It could be a down week for Michael Turner, as the Falcons could easily turn to an aerial attack to try and keep pace with the New Orleans Saints.  That’s not to say that he isn’t a usable option, but consider him a RB2.
  • Generally you would think taking on the Patriots could mean less rushing attempts, limiting a running backs value.  With Reggie Bush, however, that’s just not the case because he is just as dangerous (if not more so) in the passing game.  Look for Bush to be an important cog in the Miami attack with the potential to post significant numbers.
  • Does anyone truly trust Kevin Smith at this point?  He’s a RB2, but there are just too many question marks surrounding him to consider him a must start option.
  • LeGarrette Blount has a good matchup, but he is coming off a terrible performance as he rushed the ball 9 times for 21 yards.  Of course, before we say it is a positive matchup Blount managed just 11 carries for 19 yards the last time he faced the Panthers in Week 13.  He has just 114 yards on 38 carries in his past three games.  Does he sound like a good bet to lay your fantasy title hopes on the line with?  He’s a RB2, at best.
  • Jonathan Stewart and DeAngelo Williams continue to take carries away from each other, hurting both of their fantasy appeals.  It’s just something that we all should have accepted by now.
  • Despite taking on the San Francisco 49ers, how do you downgrade Marshawn Lynch very far?  He has at least 1 TD in ten straight games, including five touchdowns in his past three games.  With the way he’s going it is impossible to sit him down at this point.

***** Attention Fantasy Baseball Players!  Pre-order the Rotoprofessor 2012 Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide, complete with updates from January through the start of the season, for just $6!  To place your order click here. *****

Make sure to check out all of our Week 16 articles:

Week 16 Rankings: Top 50 Wide Receivers
Week 16 Rankings: Top 25 Quarterbacks


  1. josh says:

    who should i start this week 2RB 2WR 1Flex?


    Arian Foster, Darren Sproles, Kahlil Bell, Toby Gerhart, Peyton Hillis, Mike Tolbert


    Steve Smith, Santana Moss, Jordy Nelson, Dwayne Bowe, Demaryius Thomas

  2. Jason says:



  3. josh – Here’s how I’d set it:
    RB – Foster & Sproles
    WR – Nelson & Smith
    FLEX – Bowe or Thomas, it’s a coin flip

    Jason – I’d set it up like this:
    QB – Romo
    RB – Mendenhall & Greene
    WR – Johnson, Marshall & Nicks
    FLEX – McGahee (as long as he is healthy)

  4. Aaron says:

    2 RB, 2 WR, 1 Flex

    RB- Jones-Drew,CJ,Helu,K.Smith, S.Greene
    WR- Roddy White, Antonio Brown,Dez,Demaryius,

  5. Bryan says:


    Who do you like better in flex position this week: Khalil Bell(now that Barber is out) vs Packers or Santana Moss vs Vikings?


  6. Aaron says:

    Sup Roto,

    Pick 1

    K Bell, R Grant, K Smith…
    Im leaning towards Bell obviously due to Barber being out, I think he’ll actually have a big day.

  7. Bryan – I would go with the RB and I have a feeling Bell is going to have a big day. I’d def. go with him.

    Aaron – As I just said, I agree with you. A healthy Smith would probably be the pick, but he also is a huge risk. I agree with going with Bell.

  8. Alan says:

    I’m contemplating using Damarious Thomas in my Flex. I currently have M. Turner in @ my Flex position. Who would be a better play? It’s a full point PPR.

  9. Dean says:

    Championship week- 2 RB’s to choose, from these three: Adrian Peterson, Michael Bush, and Ryan Matthews… I love the matchups for Matthews and Bush, but… can you think of sitting AP in the championship? Especially with high ankle sprain?? Sigh….

  10. Dean says:

    3 Receivers: Megatron, Jordy, Colston, Dem. Thomas… who do you sit?

  11. Ben says:

    Choose 2 WRS: Nate Burelson, Nate Washington, Darrius Heyward-Bey, Donald Driver, Harry Douglas, and Devery Henderson.
    One RB: Kahlil Bell or Chris Johnson(injured, questionable… I feel like Bell has a huge game

  12. Alan – I know Thomas has been great, but I generally side with the RB because there is a little bit more certainty. I would probably roll with Turner, even in a potential shootout.

    Dean – I would keep AP in there as the upside is way too high. That said, I believe all three of them are Top 8 RB, so if there was anyone who could afford to sit him down due to injury concerns I would say it would be you. If you want to play it “safe”, you can leave him on the bench and not hurt your chances of winning. Otherwise, I’d go with AP & Bush.

    Dean – Johnson, Nelson & Colston. I know Thomas has been great, but he has to be on the bench given your other options.

    Ben – Washington & Heyward-Bey for the WR spot. I think Johnson is the better play, but I don’t disagree about Bell having a big day.

  13. Ski says:

    Please Help; 2 week of 2 week superbowl for all the chips…
    1QB 2RB 1FLEX 2WR 1TE
    QB: T. Brady
    RB: A. Peterson, M. Turner (atl), D. Sprolles
    WR: P. Harvin, L. Robinson (Dal), V. Cruz, DeSean Jackson
    TE: A. Hernandez

    Down by 30ish after first week of superbowl, opponent has already started A. Foster for 22 pts, so has a 50 lead, so I need some shoot for the moon and/or some play it safe??? No pts for receptions, just yards & TDS.

    I like Sprolles & Turner PRIMARILY for the fact that they play on Monday night & give me a little hope (and I’m off from work to watch that game–not off today).


    Oh, DEF: Eagles or Broncos

    • Well, let’s hope we can get this done for you as you definitely are in a whole. Luckily you have the pieces in place that could get the job done! Here’s how I’d roll:

      QB – Brady
      RB – Peterson & Turner
      WR – Cruz & Harvin (though, Robinson is extremely close to both of them. I would definitely play Cruz. I am torn between Robinson & Harvin. Harvin probably has slightly more upside, given the other options Dallas has to throw the ball to. I would go with your gut between these two)
      TE – Hernandez
      FLEX – Sproles
      D – I’d say Denver, though I don’t love either of them. Is it to late to hit waivers?

  14. Ski says:

    If this helps, this is the team I’m trying to catch up with:
    QB Rex Grossman
    RB Arian Foster 22
    RB Michael Bush
    FLEX Santana Moss
    WR Calvin Johnson
    WR Wes Welker
    TE Greg Olsen
    D/ST 49ers
    K Sebastian Janikowski

    with Julio Jones on the bench (but has been on his bench for a few weeks now??).

    Thanks again. I’ve heard you are THE MAN!!!!

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