2011 PPR Fantasy Football Week 16: Running Backs (RB) Rankings and Projections

Sean E. Douglas@@seanfantasyinfoSenior Writer IIIDecember 21, 2011

Key RB Injuries

In recent days, a bunch of injuries have surfaced to key running backs as we get set for the most important week of the season.

Below, I have a quick writeup as it stands on Tuesday. Keep an eye on the progress reports for these running backs as we get close to Saturday, as the league will be playing most of it’s games a day early before Christmas.

Maurice Jones-Drew (Ankle) 

After a hot start against the Falcons, Maurice Jones-Drew suffered an ankle injury that slowed him down in the second half. On Saturday, Jones-Drew was held out of practice, but he has the benefit of receiving extra rest since the team played on Thursday.

Felix Jones (Hamstring) 

After solid back-to-back performances, the injury bug is giving Felix Jones problems again, as a tight hamstring held him out of Tuesday’s practice.

Coach Jason Garrett is hopeful that Jones will be back in practice by Wednesday, but fantasy owners clearly must have some concern, because we all know by now that hamstrings can cost players games.

If Jones proves to be healthy, he’s a RB-1 for this week's tasty matchup against the Eagles run defense.

Rashard Mendenhall (Ribs)

Not only do the 49ers have a tough defense, but opposing players tend to come out of contests against them beat up. That was the case for Mendenhall, who now has sore ribs.

Don’t be surprised if he’s a go for the Rams, but Isaac Redman should see at least ten touches; the Steelers are likely to have a big lead in the second half against the Rams at home.

Chris Johnson (Ankle)

The Titans star running back injured his ankle against the Colts and failed to do much in practice on Tuesday. Johnson went as far as to say that trying to make cuts on his ankle is a problem, and that isn’t a good sign, as we’ve seen Adrian Peterson struggle with this issue of late.

Adrian Peterson (Ankle)

All Day was back against the Saints but only carried the football ten times. It appeared the Vikings were content with using Toby Gerhart in passing situations to lighten the snap count on Peterson.

Clearly having problems changing direction, Peterson should be viewed as a RB-2 this week, as the Vikings are likely to keep Gerhart involved in the offense.

Roy Helu (Toe, Ankle)

If you were wondering what happened to Roy Helu as he failed to average two yards per carry on his 23 rushes last week, his ankle and toe injuries were likely the main culprit.

Helu was limited on Tuesday’s practice, but he will hopefully see an increase in practice time on Wednesday. Expect Evan Royster to take on a little more of the workload this week, and Helu should be viewed as a low-end RB-2 or flex play this week.

Willis McGahee (Hamstring)

At first, I thought Willis McGahee was likely to miss the Bills contest or at least be limited. But it appears that he could get the majority of the workload after practicing on Tuesday. Coach John Fox insisted that McGahee could’ve returned to last week's game, but they elected to hold him out because of the way the game was going.

I’m not sure I buy that, but if he can practice throughout the week, fantasy owners would be wise to gamble on him as at least a solid flex play; he faces a weak Bills run defense.

1 LeSean McCoy @ Cowboys
2 Arian Foster @ Colts
3 Ray Rice Browns
4 Reggie Bush @ Patriots
5 Ryan Mathews @ Lions
6 Maurice Jones-Drew (I) @ Titans
7 Shonn Greene Giants
8 C.J. Spiller Broncos
9 Michael Bush @ Chiefs
10 Felix Jones (I) Eagles
11 Rashard Mendenhall (I) Rams
12 Chris Johnson (I) Jaguars
13 Frank Gore @ Seahawks
14 Adrian Peterson (I) @ Redskins
15 Beanie Wells @ Bengals
16 Marshawn Lynch 49ers
17 DeAngelo Williams Buccaneers
18 Michael Turner @ Saints
19 Cedric Benson Cardinals
20 Roy Helu (I) Vikings
21 Darren Sproles Falcons
22 Willis McGahee (I) @ Bills
23 Lance Ball @ Bills
24 Ben Tate @ Colts
25 Ahmad Bradshaw @ Jets
26 Donald Brown Texans
27 Steven Jackson @ Steelers
28 Brandon Jacobs @ Jets
29 Peyton Hillis (I) @ Ravens
30 Ryan Grant Bears
31 LeGarrette Blount @ Panthers
32 Jackie Battle Raiders
33 BenJarvus Green-Ellis Dolphins
34 Kevin Smith (I) Chargers
35 Kalil Bell @Packers
36 Danny Woodhead Dolphins
37 Mike Tolbert @ Lions
38 Toby Gerhart @ Redskins
39 Jonathan Stewart Buccaneers
40 Chris Ivory Falcons
41 Marion Barber @ Packers
42 LaDainian Tomlinson Giants
43 Pierre Thomas Falcons

More WK 16 Rankings – QB | WR | TE | Waivers | Start/Sit |


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