Fantasy Football Week 15 Rankings: Top 40 Running Backs

Kevin Hanson@EDSFootballAnalyst IIIDecember 15, 2011

In general, Texans running back Arian Foster is matchup proof. In other words, he should always be in your starting lineup.

But as I tweeted earlier in the week, Foster has perhaps the most fantasy-friendly Week 15 and 16 schedule of any running back (and perhaps ever).

The Texans face the Panthers this week and the Colts next week. Or, in other words, Foster faces two of the three teams that have allowed the most fantasy points to opposing running backs this season.

The most fantasy-friendly teams for running backs (based on fantasy points allowed) are: (1) Carolina Panthers, (2) Tampa Bay Buccaneers and (3) Indianapolis Colts.

Last week, Foster had a very subpar performance, especially compared to what Foster owners have come to expect. Foster rushed for 41 yards and added 33 receiving yards last week and did not score a touchdown, which ended a six-game scoring streak for Foster.

While these matchups are favorable for Foster, they are also favorable for his teammate and backup running back Ben Tate, who becomes at least a flex play in the next two weeks.

Foster has five 100-yard rushing games and three 100-yard receiving games. Meanwhile, Tate has four 100-yard rushing games. And both of them rushed for 100-plus yards against the Browns in Week 9.

Here are some more running back notes for Week 15:

Ravens running back Ray Rice finished with 26 carries for 103 yards and a touchdown in addition to six receptions for 46 yards last week. In his past four games, Rice has 20-plus carries every game and has three 100-yard performances including his career-high 204 rushing yards in Week 13.

After scoring touchdowns in back-to-back games, Colts running back Donald Brown finished with only 28 rushing yards and minus-six receiving yards and no scores last week. Then again, running backs aren't exactly racking up touchdowns against the Ravens run defense.

Running back Michael Turner finished with 21 carries for 76 yards and no touchdowns. While it wasn't a horrible performance, he was much less productive than he was in their first matchup (139 rushing yards and two touchdowns). Turner, who has five 100-yard games and eight rushing touchdowns this season, has been held to 76 yards or less and no touchdowns in three straight games.

Panthers running back DeAngelo Williams had seven carries for 87 yards and a touchdown. In his past four games, Williams has had 69 or more rushing yards in three games and has scored a total of three touchdowns during that span.

Running back Cedric Benson rushed for 21 times for 91 yards, both game highs, against the Texans last week. It was only the fourth game this season that Benson had more than 78 rushing yards. But Benson faces the 32nd-ranked Rams rush defense this week.

Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew scored four touchdowns (two rushing and two receiving) last week. He now has a total of 10 touchdowns on the season and has rushed for 80-plus yards in all but one of his 13 games this season.

LeGarrette Blount rushed for 74 yards and a touchdown last week. Blount now has double-digit fantasy points in three of his past four games.

Although Philadelphia's LeSean McCoy rushed 27 times for only 38 yards last week, he scored two touchdowns and added 33 receiving yards. McCoy now has a total of 17 touchdowns (14 rushing and three receiving) and has scored in all but one game this year.

For a second straight week, Miami running back Reggie Bush rushed for 100-plus yards. Bush had 14 carries for 103 yards and he had five receptions for 27 yards. This week, Bush faces the Bills, who have allowed 100-yard rushers in back-to-back games. That said, Bush faced them three weeks ago and had 15 carries for only 32 yards (but he scored).

Titans running back Chris Johnson finished with only 23 rushing yards on 11 carries last week. He added five receptions for 43 yards. Johnson has a favorable matchup against the Colts this week, but he had only 34 rushing yards the first time he faced them this season.

Coming off a three-touchdown performance, Jets running back Shonn Greene scored another touchdown and led the team in both rushing and receiving last week. Greene carried the ball 24 times for 129 yards and caught three passes for 58 yards. It was only the fourth 100-yard game of his career and the 58 receiving yards was a career high. This week, the Jets face the Eagles, who have allowed 100-yard rushers in back-to-back games.

Running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis finished with less than 20 rushing yards for a second straight week; however, last week he did not find the end zone. It was the fourth time in seven games and the fifth time this season that The Law Firm had less than 20 rushing yards.

Redskins running back Roy Helu rushed 27 times for 126 yards. He became the first Redskins rookie to rush for 100-plus yards in three consecutive games and he has had 23-plus carries in each of those games.

Although the 49ers were without linebacker Patrick Willis last week, Cardinals running back Beanie Wells rushed for only 27 yards on 15 carries. This season, the 49ers have yet to allow a running back gain more than 64 rushing yards (Cedric Benson). This week, the Niners host the Steelers and Rashard Mendenhall on Monday Night Football.

After back-to-back 100-yard games, Willis McGahee rushed for only 34 yards on 17 carries. In his past six games, McGahee has been boom (three 100-yard games) or bust (three games with 34 yards or less).

Raiders running back Michael Bush rushed 23 times for 78 yards and a touchdown. He has now scored in four of five games.

San Diego running back Ryan Mathews rushed for 114 yards on 20 carries and had six receptions for 34 yards last week. It was Mathews' third consecutive game with at least 100 rushing yards.

With Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray out with a broken ankle, Felix Jones has two favorable matchups in Week 15 (Bucs) and Week 16 (Eagles). Against the Giants last week, Jones finished with 16 carries for 106 yards and six receptions for 31 yards.

Here are our top 40 fantasy running backs for Week 15:

1. Arian Foster, Texans (vs. CAR)
2. Ray Rice, Ravens (at SD)
3. LeSean McCoy, Eagles (vs. NYJ)
4. Chris Johnson, Titans (at IND)
5. Adrian Peterson, Vikings (vs. NO)
6. Maurice Jones-Drew, Jaguars (at ATL)
7. Shonn Greene, Jets (at PHI)
8. Marshawn Lynch, Seahawks (at CHI)
9. Roy Helu, Redskins (at NYG)
10. Beanie Wells, Cardinals (vs. CLE)
11. Michael Bush, Raiders (vs. DET)
12. Reggie Bush, Dolphins (at BUF)
13. Michael Turner, Falcons (vs. JAX)
14. Cedric Benson, Bengals (at STL)
15. Felix Jones, Cowboys (at TB)
16. Ryan Mathews, Chargers (vs. BAL)
17. LeGarrette Blount, Buccaneers (vs. DAL)
18. Willis McGahee, Broncos (vs. NE)
19. Steven Jackson, Rams (vs. CIN)
20. Frank Gore, 49ers (vs. PIT)
21. Darren Sproles, Saints (at MIN)
22. Ahmad Bradshaw, Giants (vs. WAS)
23. Marion Barber, Bears (vs SEA)
24. Rashard Mendenhall, Steelers (at SF)
25. C.J. Spiller, Bills (vs. MIA)
26. Kevin Smith, Lions (at OAK)
27. Peyton Hillis, Browns (at ARI)
28. Ben Tate, Texans (vs CAR)
29. Ryan Grant, Packers (at KC)
30. BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Patriots (at DEN)
31. Brandon Jacobs, Giants (vs. WAS)
32. Jonathan Stewart, Panthers (at HOU)
33. DeAngelo Williams, Panthers (at HOU)
34. Donald Brown, Colts (vs. TEN)
35. Pierre Thomas, Saints (at MIN)
36. Mike Tolbert, Chargers (vs. BAL)
37. Christopher Ivory, Saints (at MIN)
38. Toby Gerhart, Vikings (vs. NO)
39. Mark Ingram, Saints (at MIN)
40. Khalil Bell, Bears (vs. SEA)

If you're in a point-per-reception (PPR) league, here are our running back PPR rankings for Week 15.

For more positions and/or flex rankings, visit our fantasy section.

To keep track of our fantasy updates throughout the week, you can (1) follow us on Twitter @EDSFootball or (2) "like" us on Facebook or both.

Good luck in Week 15!


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