Week 15 Rankings (2019): Top 40 Running Backs

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Things haven’t gotten any easier at the running back position, though the stakes are getting higher with each passing week. The questions are still there and the picture likely won’t be resolved until Sunday morning, but here is where we stand at the start of the week:

  1. Christian McCaffrey – Carolina Panthers – vs. Seattle
  2. Dalvin Cook – Minnesota Vikings – at LA Chargers
  3. Derrick Henry – Tennessee Titans – vs. Houston
  4. Leonard Fournette – Jacksonville Jaguars – at Oakland
  5. Ezekiel Elliot – Dallas Cowboys – vs. LA Rams
  6. Josh Jacobs – Oakland Raiders – vs. Jacksonville
  7. Saquon Barkley – NY Giants – vs. Miami
  8. Chris Carson – Seattle Seahawks – at Carolina
  9. Aaron Jones – Green Bay Packers – vs. Chicago
  10. Todd Gurley – LA Rams – at Dallas
  11. Alvin Kamara – New Orleans Saints – vs. Indianapolis
  12. Austin Ekeler – LA Chargers – vs. Minnesota
  13. Nick Chubb – Cleveland Browns – at Arizona
  14. Mark Ingram – Baltimore Ravens – vs. NY Jets
  15. Phillip Lindsay – Denver Broncos – at Kansas City
  16. James White – New England Patriots – at Cincinnati
  17. James Conner – Pittsburgh Steelers – vs. Buffalo
  18. Joe Mixon – Cincinnati Bengals – vs. New England
  19. Le’Veon Bell – NY Jets – at Baltimore
  20. Melvin Gordon – LA Chargers – vs. Minnesota
  21. Kenyan Drake – Arizona Cardinals – vs. Cleveland
  22. Marlon Mack – Indianapolis Colts – at New Orleans
  23. Kareem Hunt – Cleveland Browns – at Arizona
  24. Devonta Freeman – Atlanta Falcons – at San Francisco
  25. Miles Sanders – Philadelphia Eagles – at Washington
  26. Adrian Peterson – Washington Redskins – vs. Philadelphia
  27. Raheem Mostert – San Francisco 49ers – vs. Atlanta
  28. David Montgomery – Chicago Bears – at Green Bay
  29. Carlos Hyde – Houston Texans – at Tennessee
  30. Devin Singletary – Buffalo Bills – at Pittsburgh
  31. Tarik Cohen – Chicago Bears – at Green Bay
  32. Patrick Laird – Miami Dolphins – at NY Giants
  33. Bo Scarbrough – Detroit Lions – vs. Tampa Bay
  34. Sony Michel – New England Patriots – at Cincinnati
  35. Damien Williams – Kansas City Chiefs – vs. Denver
  36. Duke Johnson – Houston Texans – at Tennessee
  37. Royce Freeman – Denver Broncos – at Kansas City
  38. Latavius Murray – New Orleans Saints – vs. Indianapolis
  39. Peyton Barber – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – at Detroit
  40. Chris Thompson – Washington Redskins – vs. Philadelphia

Thoughts:

  • There is Christian McCaffrey, and then there is everyone else. It’s easy to take the Carolina running back for granted, but it’s time to maybe take a step back and appreciate how good he has been this season. Depending on your format McCaffrey is outscoring the next closest running back by almost 100 points, and he has been one of the few sure things this season. In only one week has he registered less than 10 points, and in just one other week was he under 20 points (under most scoring systems). That is what happens when you are very close to eclipsing 2,000 total yards for the season while averaging 5.0 yards per carry with 12 touchdowns and also adding 86 receptions for 726 yards and another four touchdowns.
  • Facing the Dolphins should work to Saquon Barkley’s benefit, as it has been a tough season for the Giants’ running back. Obviously he deserves his share of the blame for not returning first round value, but New York’s offense has left a lot to be desired. Things looked a little better with Eli Manning under center last week, but it’s not an ideal situation. Barkley has 610 rushing yards on the season (four yards per carry) as it has been difficult to find room to run. After the the first two games he hasn’t eclipsed the 100 yard mark, and it’s not due to a lack of work. Part of the issue is that he hasn’t been involved in the passing game much as of late, but perhaps a second week under Manning will change things.
  • The Chargers offense has proven that it can support two starting running backs, as we don’t need to spend too much time discussing the virtues of Aaron Ekeler. Even without his 481 rushing yards and three touchdowns, he’s a legitimate option strictly in the passing game. His value is clearly greater in PPR leagues, but with 73 receptions for 830 yards and eight touchdowns he returns consistent value on a weekly basis. He won’t repeat his 213 yards from last week and things will not get easier against the Vikings, but the targets will still be there.
  • Kansas City’s defense isn’t what it once was, and on a weekly basis they are turning opposing running backs into top-five options. That sets things up nicely for Phillip Lindsay as he works towards reaching the 1,000 yard mark for the season (he is currently at 810). Most weeks he comes close to the 20 touch mark, and with six touchdowns there is a roughly 50/50 chance (I know, real groundbreaking stuff) he reaches pay dirt. As far as the receiving game goes he has 33 receptions for 187 yards, so it is more of a complementary aspect to his game.
  • Don’t look now but the San Francisco backfield might belong to Raheem Mostert. It didn’t seem to matter that Tevin Coleman and Matt Brieda were both active last week as Mostert was still the running back to own for the 49ers. It is hard to expect him to get out of the 15-20 touch range, as he had 21 two weeks ago followed by 12 last week. Mostert made good use of his touches as he gained 69 yards on 10 carries while scoring a touchdown to go along with his two receptions for 40 yards and another touchdown.
  • Here we go… After carrying the ball 19 times for 95 yards and a touchdown two weeks ago, Gurley followed that up with 23 carries and four receptions last week against Seattle. For the second straight week he found the end zone and seeing the increase to his workload is a positive development entering the fantasy playoffs. Gurley has proven that he can handle the workload and the Rams appear to be committed to it as the season winds down. Remember we are talking about a player who is a first round talent.

20 COMMENTS

  1. Full PPR. Need 2 RB, 1 WR and Flex.

    RB- Gurley @, Dallas, Ekeler vs Minnesota, Jacobs ( injury ) vs Jacksonville, Bell @ Baltimore.

    WR- Golladay vs Tampa, Woods @Dallas. Parker (concussion)@ NYG.

    I’m thinking this line up:

    WR- Golladay .Flex-Woods
    Agreed?

    RB-(If Jacobs sits) Gurley, Ekeler

    If Jacobs and Parker active not sure what to do on WR and Flex. Thoughts? Please help.

    Thank you.

  2. Standard league
    I Need 2 to start with RB M Ingram & WR D Adams
    I have them Ranked in Order:
    WR D Parker (IF Out of Concussion protocol)
    RB J Conner
    RB K Drake
    WR A Thielen

    1 pt PPR
    Need 3 to go with RB Chubb
    How would you rank them?
    WR D Parker (IF Out of Concussion protocol)
    WR DK Metcalf
    RB D Freeman ATL
    WR A Thielen
    WR C Kirk
    WR JuJu

    QB Garoppolo or Tannehill?

    • For Team 1, I don’t really trust Drake. Is there anything on the wire?

      For Team 2, I’d go Kirk over Thielen and monitor the news on Smith-Schuster

      For the QB, Tannehill (but it’s a coin flip)

  3. Hi Professor,

    Standard league.

    I have Raheem Mosert, Damien Williams, Bell, Mixon, Michel. Theilan, Keenan Allen, and Zac Pascal.

    Need 2 rb, 2 wr, and flex.

    Reluctant to run Bell tonight with that match up and considering Mosert. Darious Slayton and Laird also are on waivers.

    Thank you.

  4. Here we go one more week….
    PPR
    Mahomes or Watson my opponent as Tyreek Hill do I play Mahomes to mitigate damage from Hill?
    WR2 Cupp or AJ Brown
    RB’s I have Kamara and would feel guilty not starting him…. also have Mostert, Mack and DeAndre Washington
    TE Waller or Andrews
    Who would you Flex out of what is left above?
    Thanks as always for the help

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