Fantasy Football Week 14 Rankings: Running Backs

Michael WhooleySenior Writer IDecember 10, 2009

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - NOVEMBER 29: Thomas Jones #20 of the New York Jets rushes against the Carolina Panthers at Giants Stadium on November 29, 2009 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Nick Laham/Getty Images

Congratulations to all of you that have made your fantasy football playoffs. Your hard work has paid off, but it is not time to rest on your laurels.

Making the playoffs is just the first step in the Bruno Boys’ divine plans to make all of you champions. Now that the playoffs are upon us, it continues to get tougher and tougher each week. One mistake can literally cost you your season at this point.

Every position in fantasy football is important, but there may not be a more important position than running back. So, as you ponder your starting lineup for what is very likely a playoff match-up, please enjoy the Bruno Boys Fantasy Football Week 14 Running Back Rankings.

Good luck to all of you in this playoff season. We here at Bruno Boys Fantasy Football hope each and every one of you achieves the ultimate fantasy football success this season.

1. Chris Johnson (Tennessee Titans) vs. St. Louis

In a Week 13 loss to the undefeated Indianapolis Colts, Chris Johnson rushed for more than 110 yards for the seventh straight game.

He has been the best running back in the NFL this season, as made evident by his league leading 1,509 rushing yards through 12 games. He has a legitimate shot at a 2,000 yard rushing season, and he should be in consideration for the NFL MVP award.

Johnson has a great match-up this week against a St. Louis Rams rush defense that is allowing more than 145 rushing yards per game and has allowed 17 rushing touchdowns on the season. He is an elite fantasy running back and should once again be used as a No. 1 fantasy option this week.

Point Projection : 25 points

2. Thomas Jones (New York Jets) at Tampa Bay

In the Jets’ Week 13 victory over the Buffalo Bills, Thomas Jones rushed for 109 yards on 23 carries, but was held without a touchdown. Nevertheless, it was his ninth straight game with double digit fantasy points, giving him 10 double figure fantasy games this season.

He has been one of the most consistent fantasy running backs in 2009, and he should be in line for another big game this week against a Tampa Bay defense that is allowing 160 rushing yards per game and has given up 13 rushing touchdowns this season.

Jones should be used as a No. 1 starting fantasy running back in this match-up.

Point Projection : 22 points

3. Ray Rice (Baltimore Ravens) vs. Detroit

Against a very good Green Bay Packers rush defense, Ray Rice had one of his worst outings of the seasons. He finished the game with 14 carries for 54 yards and three catches for 17 yards in a Baltimore loss to the Packers on Monday night.

Rice did not score a touchdown in the game, and he lost a fumble. He is still having a very good sophomore season, and he should bounce back with a real nice game against a struggling Detroit Lions defense in Week 14.

This is a playoff match-up many fantasy owners have been looking forward to all season. Rice should be used as a must-start No. 1 fantasy running back this week, although it is worth noting that Willis McGahee has taken goal-line snaps away from Rice over the last two weeks.

Point Projection : 20 points

4. Rashard Mendenhall (Pittsburgh Steelers) at Cleveland

Rashard Mendenhall had 20 carries for 103 yards with a touchdown in a Week 13 loss to the Oakland Raiders. It was the first time in nearly a month that he topped the century mark, and it was his first touchdown since Week Six.

This week he gets to face a Cleveland Browns defense that he rushed for 62 yards and a touchdown against earlier this season. Mendenhall should be in line for another good game this week as the Browns are ranked No. 29 in the league in rushing yards allowed and have yielded 14 rushing touchdowns this season.

Use him as a RB1 this week in this AFC North battle.

Point Projection : 19 points

5. Steven Jackson (St. Louis Rams) at Tennessee **CHECK INJURY STATUS**

After missing practice most of the week with back spasms, Steven Jackson was able to play in Week 13 and had 28 carries for 112 yards. He was held out of the end zone after scoring a touchdown in each of the Rams’ four previous games. With 1,120 rushing yards and four touchdowns on the year, he has been the lone bright spot for an otherwise dismal St. Louis offense.

Jackson’s match-up is a nice one for Week 14. As well as the Titans have been playing of late, they have allowed 15+ fantasy points to opposing RBs in each of their last nine games.

Point Projection : 19 points

6. Maurice Jones-Drew (Jacksonville Jaguars) vs. Miami

After scoring at least one touchdown in five straight games, Maurice Jones-Drew failed to score a touchdown for the second straight game during the Jaguars’ Week 13 victory over the Houston Texans. It was, also, the third week in a row that he was held under 80 rushing yards as he finished the game with 24 carries for 76 yards.

In Week 14, he will face a Miami Dolphins defense that is allowing less than 110 yards rushing per game, but has given up 14 rushing touchdowns this season.

Jones-Drew is a weekly must-start and should be used as a No. 1 fantasy running back this week.

Point Projection : 18 points

7. Ricky Williams (Miami Dolphins) at Jacksonville

After posting three straight games with more than 100 yards rushing, Ricky Williams was held to 75 yards on 18 carries in a Week 13 victory over the New England Patriots. Williams, also, failed to find pay dirt for the first time since Week 10.

He has played very well since the season ending injury to Ronnie Brown, and he will look to have another solid outing this week against the Jacksonville Jaguars, who possess a top-10 rush defense. While the match-up is not ideal, Williams heavy work-load and rejuvenated running make him worthy of a fantasy playoff start.

Point Projection : 18 points

8. Adrian Peterson (Minnesota Vikings) vs. Cincinnati

Adrian Peterson had 13 carries for 19 yards in a Week 13 loss to the Arizona Cardinals, in what was his worst rushing performance of the season. He added six receptions for 46 yards in the game, but the five-point outing came at the worst time for fantasy owners who were trying to secure a playoff birth.

With 1,109 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns this season, Peterson remains a must-start fantasy option on a weekly basis. His owners should note, however, that he has another tough match-up this week against a Cincinnati Bengals’ defense that is ranked No. 3 in rushing yards allowed and has given up a mere six rushing touchdowns this season.

Point Projection : 17 points

9. Ryan Grant (Green Bay Packers) at Chicago

In a Week 13 victory over Baltimore, Ryan Grant had just 41 yards rushing on 18 carries and was held out of the end zone against a very good Ravens rush defense. He has 227 carries for 931 yards with five touchdowns through 12 games this season. He has, also, been a factor in the passing game with 23 receptions for 190 yards.

He will look to rebound this week against a Chicago Bears defense that he had 16 carries for 61 yards and a touchdown against in Week One, but the Bears defense has been on a decline since that first game with key injuries to players like linebackers Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs.

As such, consider Grant a low-end No. 1 fantasy running back this week in a bitter division rivalry game.

Point Projection : 17 points

10. Michael Turner (Atlanta Falcons) vs. New Orleans   **CHECK INJURY STATUS**

Michael Turner was inactive for the Falcons’ Week 13 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles with an ankle injury. It was the second game he has missed in the last three weeks due to an ankle injury. Turner’s status is still up in the air for Week 14, so if you were relying on him for a playoff run, you better monitor this situation closely.

When healthy, he is a must-start fantasy option as he has 864 yards rushing with 10 touchdowns in 10 games played this season. If he starts, consider him a low-end RB1 against a New Orleans defense that has allowed 14 rushing touchdowns this season. However, keep in mind that with a high ankle sprain, he is an injury risk, even if he starts.

Point Projection : 16 points

11. Jamaal Charles (Kansas City Chiefs) vs. Buffalo

Jamaal Charles had another solid outing as the starting running back for the Kansas City Chiefs with 18 carries for 56 yards with a touchdown.

The problem is his fumbling issues continued in the game. He fumbled for the third time this season and the second time in the last two weeks.

The Chiefs are very thin at running back, so even with the fumbling problem he should remain the team’s starter.

Charles has scored a touchdown in three of the last four games and should be used as a No. 2 fantasy running back this week against a Bills rush defense that is allowing more than 175 rushing yards per game and has allowed 16 rushing touchdowns this season.

Point Projection : 16 points

12. Joseph Addai (Indianapolis Colts) vs. Denver

Joseph Addai had 21 carries for 79 yards with two touchdowns and added three catches for 17 yards in Week 13. He is having a very solid comeback year after a disappointing and injury plagued 2008 season.

Addai has 935 total yards this season and has scored 12 total touchdowns. He is the clear-cut No. 1 rushing option in Indianapolis and is a key component in the Colts high-powered offense.

Use Addai as a RB2 this week against a Denver rush defense that has allowed double digit fantasy points to opposing RBs in eight of their last nine games.

Point Projection : 16 points

13. Cedric Benson (Cincinnati Bengals) at Minnesota

After missing two weeks with a hip injury, Cedric Benson returned and rushed for 110 yards on 36 carries in Week 13 and didn’t show any ill-effects from the injury. The only thing that could have made the return better was if Benson made a trip to the end zone.

When healthy he has been one of the best running backs in the NFL, as he has rushed for 969 yards in 10 games played with six touchdowns. Benson will have a tough match-up for fantasy purposes this week when he faces a very stout Minnesota rush defense, but owners need to play him regardless.

Remember, Benson has proven he can beat good defenses, going for double digits against the Steelers and Ravens (twice) already this season.

Point Projection : 15 points

14. Frank Gore (San Francisco 49ers) vs. Arizona

In the 49ers’ Week 13 loss to the Seattle Seahawks, Frank Gore had nine carries for 25 yards and added five receptions for 37 yards. He was held without a rushing touchdown for the third consecutive game, and it was the second straight game he was held to less than 35 yards rushing.

He attempts to get back on track this week against a Cardinals’ rush defense that has allowed eight touchdowns and is giving up just over 104 rushing yards per game. Consider Gore a RB2 play for Week 14.

Point Projection i: 14 points

15. Marion Barber (Dallas Cowboys) vs. San Diego

With the Cowboys passing the ball 55 times in a Week 13 loss to the New York Giants, Marion Barber wasn’t a huge factor. He had 15 carries for 36 yards and three receptions for seven yards, while being held out of the end zone for the fifth straight week. He has been a disappointment to fantasy owners this season with only 669 rushing yards and four touchdowns so far this season this season.

Barber has a good match-up this week when Dallas faces a San Diego defense that is allowing more than 117 rushing yards per game and has given up an average of 18.1 fantasy points to opposing RBs each week. Consider him a low-end RB2 this week as he continues to be the No. 1 rushing option in Dallas.

Point Projection : 14 points