Week 12 Fantasy Football Rankings: Sneaky Good Running Back Options This Week

Alex BallentineFeatured ColumnistNovember 23, 2012

OAKLAND, CA - NOVEMBER 18: Marcel Reece #45 of the Oakland Raiders is hit by David Hawthorne #57 of the New Orleans Saints  at O.co Coliseum on November 18, 2012 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Finding a quality running back when you don't have studs on your roster can be a difficult task for any fantasy football manager. 

With most teams going to a pass-heavy attack and featuring a running back by committee, it has become more and more difficult to find a sure-thing at the running back position. For fantasy owners trying to make that final push before a playoff run, that's a problem. 

Those looking for a solution to their running back woes need not give up, though. There are a few options this week that can make you look like the smartest guy in the room (or your league). 


Marcel Reece, Oakland Raiders

Reece took over the starting running back job for the Raiders after Darren McFadden went down with an ankle injury. He didn't disappoint those who were brave enough to insert him into their lineups from the waiver wire last week—he racked up 19 points in standard scoring formats.

With Reece taking on the Cincinnati Bengals this week, he'll see a much better run defense. However, that shouldn't deter him from putting up starter worthy numbers. 

Along with being an extremely tough runner, the converted fullback is more than capable of making plays in the passing game. In his last three games with the Raiders he has notched reception totals of eight, seven and four with over 90 yards in two of those games. 

Even if Reece struggles to get the run game going, you can be sure he'll still get points when Carson Palmer drops back to pass.


Ronnie Hillman, Denver Broncos

With Willis McGahee out for the rest of the season, Ronnie Hillman becomes the logical next man up for the Broncos.

The rookie hasn't had much of an opportunity to show what he can do this season, but he has the versatility to be a valuable member of the offense. In limited action last week he only put up five points but a full week of practice should have him producing on the level of McGahee.

Well, that and the fact he's playing the lowly Kansas City Chiefs. The Chiefs have been among the NFL's worst run defenses and should offer Hillman an enticing matchup to put up plenty of points.


Ryan Mathews, San Diego Chargers

Fantasy owners expecting Mathews to be an elite back this season have been seriously disappointed. 

Between injuries and a newly-formed platoon with Jackie Battle, Mathews has failed to live up to the stud expectations that surrounded him.

After four weeks of subpar production, this should be the week that Mathews reminds folks why he was hyped to begin with. 

Many will look at his matchup with the Ravens and instantly get timid about his chances to produce. However, the Ravens defense is the seventh worst unit against the rush this season and should offer Mathews the opportunity to find holes and exploit them.