Fantasy Football Week 12 Rankings: Running Backs

Michael WhooleySenior Writer INovember 26, 2009

CHARLOTTE, NC - NOVEMBER 19:  Ricky Williams #34 of the Miami Dolphins runs away from Richard Marshall #31 of the Carolina Panthers during their game at Bank of America Stadium on November 19, 2009 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

As we head into Week 12 of NFL action, we are, yet again, one week closer to the fantasy football playoffs.

Starting back in the summer when we put together our draft strategies, rankings and cheat sheets, this is what all our hard work was for—a chance to make the playoffs and fight for a fantasy football championship.

So, with just two weeks left in the regular season in most leagues, it is definitely not the time to start slacking. We must continue to work hard and make sure that we are making the right decisions at each and every position on our fantasy roster.

There have been a lot of injuries at the running back position over the past couple of weeks, which has made evaluating this very important position even more difficult than normal. So, as you filter through all the injuries and look for the best matchups that will help you to a very important victory this week, the Bruno Boys are here as always with the Bruno Boys Fantasy Football Week 12 Running Back Rankings.

1. Ricky Williams (Miami Dolphins) @ Buffalo

Starting in place of the injured Ronnie Brown, who is out for the season, Ricky Williams had his best game in years in a Week 11 victory over the Carolina Panthers. He had 22 carries for 119 yards with two touchdowns and added two catches for 19 yards with another touchdown. He is having career resurgence this year with 889 total yards and 10 total touchdowns in 10 games.

Williams has a great matchup in Week 12 and should be used as a high-end RB1 when the Dolphins face a Buffalo Bills defense that is not very good against the run. The Bills are allowing more than 165 rushing yards per game and have given up 15 rushing touchdowns this season.

Point Projection: 24 points

2. Adrian Peterson (Minnesota Vikings) vs. Chicago

With 24 carries for 82 yards and four receptions for 16 yards, Adrian Peterson had a bad game by his standards last week against the Seattle Seahawks, but don’t let the down week discourage you. He is still one of the top running backs in all of football with 1,005 yards rushing and 11 touchdowns through 10 games this season.

This week he gets to play the Vikings’ division rival, the Chicago Bears, who he has had an excellent career against. Peterson has scored at least one touchdown in each of four career games against the Bears, and he has rushed for more than 100 yards in three of the games, including more than 200 yards in one game.

As always, Peterson is a RB1 option and should be in your starting lineup this and every week.

Point Projection: 21 points

3. Chris Johnson (Tennessee Titans) vs. Arizona

Chris Johnson extended his NFL-leading rushing total when he had 29 carries for 151 yards in the Titans' victory over the Houston Texans on Monday night last week. It was his fourth straight game with 24 or more carries and his fifth straight game with over 125 yards rushing.

He has 1,242 rushing yards this season and has a realistic shot at surpassing the 2,000-yard mark this season. The only downside to his Week 11 game was the fact that he was held without a touchdown, but he does have nine total touchdowns on the season.

Johnson is currently the best running back in football, and he should continue to be in your starting lineup on a weekly basis as an elite fantasy option regardless of the matchup.

Point Projection: 20 points

4. DeAngelo Williams (Carolina Panthers) @ New York Jets

DeAngelo Williams broke the 100-yard rushing mark for the fourth time in his last six games when he carried the ball 13 times for 122 yards in a Week 11 loss to the Miami Dolphins, but he did not find the end zone. He has 982 rushing yards with seven touchdowns this season, and he continues to be the top running back in Carolina, even though he shares carries with Jonathan Stewart.

Williams should be in your starting lineup as a No. 1 fantasy running back this week against a New York Jets defense that has given up 20-plus fantasy points to the running back position in each of their last two games.

Point Projection: 18 points

5. Steven Jackson (St. Louis Rams) vs. Seattle

After not scoring a single touchdown in the first seven games of the season, Steven Jackson scored a touchdown for the third straight game in a Week 11 loss to the Arizona Cardinals. He had 24 carries for 116 yards in the game, and it was the fourth straight game that he topped the century mark. He is the only consistent option in a St. Louis offense that continues to struggle.

Jackson should once again be in your starting lineup as a No. 1 running back when the Rams take on the Seattle Seahawks in Week 12. The Seahawks have allowed 1,100 rushing yards and eight rushing touchdowns through 10 games this season.

Point Projection: 18 points

6. Maurice Jones-Drew (Jacksonville Jaguars) @ San Francisco

Maurice Jones-Drew was expected to have a huge game last week. It was a David versus Goliath type of matchup when Jones-Drew, who has been one of the best fantasy running backs this season, faced off against the Buffalo Bills, who had the league’s No. 32-ranked run defense going into the game. Unfortunately, for his owners, he managed just 13 fantasy points in Jacksonville’s victory.

This week he will have a tough matchup against a San Francisco defense that has been very good against the run this season but did allow Green Bay’s Ryan Grant to rush for 129 yards and a touchdown in a Week 11 loss. Jones-Drew is a weekly must-start and should be used as a No. 1 running back this week.

Point Projection: 18 points

7. Thomas Jones (New York Jets) vs. Carolina

For the fourth time in five games, Thomas Jones rushed for more than 100 yards in a game when he had 21 carries for 103 yards last week against the New England Patriots. He did not record a catch or score a touchdown but had a solid game against a good rush defense. He has scored in double figures in eight of 10 games this season and is the clear-cut No. 1 rushing option for the Jets.

Jones should be used as a RB1 this week against a Carolina Panthers rush defense that is allowing 130.7 rushing yards per game and has given up 11 rushing touchdowns in 10 games this season.

Point Projection: 18 points

8. Frank Gore (San Francisco 49ers) vs. Jacksonville

Frank Gore had just seven carries for 59 yards in a Week 11 loss to the Green Bay Packers. However, he did score a touchdown for the fourth straight game when he caught a 10-yard touchdown pass with less than three minutes to play in the game. The 49ers were down 20-3 less than halfway through the second quarter and were forced to abandon the run, which kept Gore neutralized.

This week San Francisco will face a Jacksonville team that is not as strong against the run as the Packers, as they are allowing 112.1 rushing yards per game. Gore should be used as a No. 1 fantasy running back this week against the Jaguars.

Point Projection: 17 points

9. LaDainian Tomlinson (San Diego Chargers) vs. Kansas City

LaDainian Tomlinson had 20 carries for 73 yards with a touchdown in a Week 11 win over the Denver Broncos. He appears fully recovered from an early season injury and has had 18 or more carries is five of the Chargers' last six games. He is San Diego’s top running back option, something made evident by the fact that he has scored five touchdowns in his last three games.

This week he gets to face a Kansas City rush defense that is allowing more than 135 rushing yards per game and has given up nine rushing touchdowns in 10 games. Tomlinson should be in your starting lineup as a RB1 fantasy option against the Chiefs.

Point Projection: 17 points

10. Ryan Grant (Green Bay Packers) @ Detroit

Facing a San Francisco rush defense that was allowing just 87.7 yards per game, Grant had 21 carries for 129 yards with a touchdown in a Week 11 win. It was the second game this season in which he crossed the 100-yard mark, and it was the third time in five games he scored a touchdown. It was, also, the seventh time in 10 games that he has scored double-figure fantasy points.

This week the Packers head to Detroit to face the Lions on Thanksgiving Day. He has faced the Lions five times in his career and is averaging 74.8 yards per game with two touchdowns, including a 90-yard effort on 24 carries in Week Six. Use Grant as a low-end No. 1 running back option this week against the Lions.

Point Projection: 17 points

11. Marion Barber (Dallas Cowboys) vs. Oakland

Marion Barber had his best rushing performance since Week Two when he rushed for 99 yards on 20 carries against the Washington Redskins in Week 11, but for the third straight game, he did not score a touchdown. However, it was the first time he surpassed 53 yards rushing in six games. He appears to be fully recovered from a nagging thumb injury that has bothered him of late.

He has an excellent matchup in Week 12 against an Oakland Raiders defense that is allowing 157.7 rushing yards per game and has given up 16 rushing touchdowns through 10 games. Coming off a solid performance last week, Barber should be used as a low-end No. 1 fantasy running back when the Raiders come to town.

Point Projection: 16 points

12. Cedric Benson (Cincinnati Bengals) vs. Cleveland **CHECK INJURY STATUS**

Cedric Benson missed the Bengals’ Week 11 loss to the Oakland Raiders with a hip injury. He has been a workhorse for Cincinnati this season, and in nine games played, he has 205 carries for 859 yards with six touchdowns.

If Benson is able to play this week, he has an excellent matchup against a Cleveland defense that is near the bottom of the NFL against the run, ranking 29th, and he should be used as a low-end RB1. If Benson is unable to play in the game, look for rookie Bernard Scott to get the start for the second straight week.

Point Projection: 16 points

13. Joseph Addai (Indianapolis Colts) @ Houston **CHECK INJURY STATUS**

In a Week 11 victory over the Baltimore Ravens, Joseph Addai had a season-high 74 yards rushing on 19 carries with a touchdown. Even though he has yet to reach 100yards rushing in a game, he has scored a touchdown in seven of 10 games this season and has scored 10 total touchdowns on the year.

This week, he has a solid matchup against a Houston defense that he had more than 100 total yards and two total touchdowns against in a Week Nine outing. Continue to use Addai as a No. 2 fantasy running back this week against the Texans.

Point Projection: 16 points

14. Ray Rice (Baltimore Ravens) vs. Pittsburgh

Even though Ray Rice’s four-game touchdown streak came to an end in the Ravens’ Week 11 loss to the undefeated Indianapolis Colts, he had a very good all-around game. He finished the game with 20 carries for 71 yards and seven receptions for 64 yards. He has scored double-digit fantasy points in nine of Baltimore’s 10 games this season and is the clear-cut No. 1 running back for the Ravens.

Rice will have a tough matchup this week against the Pittsburgh Steelers, who have allowed less than 70 rushing yards per game and have given up just two rushing touchdowns this season. Rice should be used as a RB2 against the Steelers; even if they slow him down in the running game, he is a threat catching the ball out of the backfield.

Point Projection: 15 points

15. Jason Snelling (Atlanta Falcons) vs. Tampa Bay **CHECK M. TURNER’S INJURY STATUS**

Getting his first start of the season and second of his career, Jason Snelling had a good performance filling in for the injured Michael Turner. He finished the game with 25 carries for 76 yards with two touchdowns in a Week 11 loss to the New York Giants. The only downside to his game was that he averaged just 3.0 yards per carry.

If Turner and Jerious Norwood remain inactive for Week 12, Snelling should be used as a RB2 against the Buccaneers. Make sure you keep an eye on Turner’s status though before inserting Snelling into your starting lineup.

Point Projection: 15 points