Fantasy Football Week 14: Must-Start Running Backs for Sunday

Ryan DavenportContributor IDecember 8, 2012

LANDOVER, MD - DECEMBER 03:  Running back Alfred Morris #46 of the Washington Redskins runs the ball in the third quarter against the New York Giants at FedExField on December 3, 2012 in Landover, Maryland.  (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

With only four weeks remaining in the 2012 NFL Season, the stakes are getting progressively higher for the majority of the league's 32 teams.

And things are no different for fantasy football owners. 

Now that we're well into the home stretch of the regular season, fantasy owners can't afford to have a bad week out of a No. 1 running back, because as far too many people find out the hard way, it's tough to win without a strong performance from the backfield. 

Heading into Week 14's slate of Sunday games, here's a look at running backs who should be viewed as must-starts this weekend. 

Alfred Morris 

Though Robert Griffin III has clearly been the story for the Redskins this season, Washington would not have climbed back into the postseason hunt without the overwhelmingly surprising performance of first-year back Alfred Morris, who has eclipsed the 1,100-yard mark just 12 games in. 

On Sunday, Morris and the 'Skins will take on Baltimore in another edition of the "Battle of the Beltways", and the rookie will have a big day against the depleted Ravens defense. 

Heading into Week 14, the Ravens rank 23rd in both passing and rushing yards allowed, and if history has told us anything, it's that Mike Shanahan's teams like to take advantage of weak run defenses when possible. 

Morris has been hot as of late, picking up at least 113 yards against both the Giants and Cowboys, and he'll make it three in a row against Baltimore on Sunday. 

Chris Johnson

Obviously, as one of the game's most dangerous rushers, there aren't many weeks that Chris Johnson isn't an automatic start for every fantasy owner in the country. 

This season, Johnson started the year slowly, but he has picked up steam as the season's worn on. He has nearly 1,000 yards heading into the Titans' Week 14 matchup with the Indianapolis Colts. 

Luckily for Johnson and those who own him, Tennessee is taking on one of the league's worst defenses against the run in the Colts, and with Johnson coming off five straight weeks with no less than 70 all-purpose yards, he's set to have another big day on Sunday. 

Shonn Greene 

As one of the few bright spots on what has been an extremely disappointing Jets team, Shonn Greene has consistently put up solid numbers for New York in 2012. 

Now, with the Jets set to take on the Jaguars and their porous run defense, ranked 31st in the league, Greene is a lock to pile up fantasy points in Week 14. 

Despite the Jets' well-documented offensive struggles, Greene's production has been impressive, as the former Iowa standout has registered at least 60 all-purpose yards in each of his last six games, including two 100-yard rushing games. 

He's in line for a stat-padding game on Sunday, especially if Mark Sanchez continues to struggle mightily through the air.