Fantasy Football Week 16 Rankings: Top 40 Running Backs

Eric StashinSenior Writer IDecember 21, 2011

SAN DIEGO, CA - DECEMBER 18:  Ray Rice #27 of the Baltimore Ravens runs the ball against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium on December 18, 2011 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

There are plenty of questions this week as you try to set up your lineup. 

How far do you downgrade Marshawn Lynch due to his matchup with the 49ers?  How good of an option is Reggie Bush against the Patriots?  What should you do with Kevin Smith? 

Let’s look at these questions and all the rest for the coming week:

  1. Ray Rice – Baltimore Ravens – vs. Cleveland
  2. Arian Foster – Houston Texans – at Indianapolis
  3. Maurice Jones-Drew – Jacksonville Jaguars – at Tennessee
  4. LeSean McCoy – Philadelphia Eagles – at Dallas
  5. Adrian Peterson – Minnesota Vikings – at Washington
  6. Michael Bush – Oakland Raiders – at Kansas City
  7. Reggie Bush – Miami Dolphins – at New England
  8. Ryan Mathews – San Diego Chargers – at Detroit
  9. Rashard Mendenhall – Pittsburgh Steelers – vs. St. Louis
  10. Chris Johnson – Tennessee Titans – vs. Jacksonville
  11. Willis McGahee – Denver Broncos – at Buffalo
  12. Shonn Greene – New York Jets – vs. New York Giants
  13. Roy Helu – Washington Redskins – vs. Minnesota
  14. Felix Jones – Dallas Cowboys – vs. Philadelphia
  15. Michael Turner – Atlanta Falcons – at New Orleans
  16. Marshawn Lynch – Seattle Seahawks – vs. San Francisco
  17. Frank Gore – San Francisco 49ers – at Seattle
  18. C.J. Spiller – Buffalo Bills – vs. Denver
  19. Cedric Benson – Cincinnati Bengals – vs. Arizona
  20. Darren Sproles – New Orleans Saints – vs. Atlanta
  21. LeGarrette Blount – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – at Carolina
  22. Ahmad Bradshaw – New York Giants – at New York Jets
  23. Donald Brown – Indianapolis Colts – vs. Houston
  24. Beanie Wells – Arizona Cardinals – at Cincinnati
  25. Kevin Smith – Detroit Lions – vs. San Diego
  26. Jonathan Stewart – Carolina Panthers – vs. Tampa Bay
  27. Peyton Hillis – Cleveland Browns – at Baltimore
  28. Steven Jackson – St. Louis Rams – at Pittsburgh
  29. Kahlil Bell – Chicago Bears – at Green Bay
  30. BenJarvus Green-Ellis – New England Patriots – vs. Miami
  31. DeAngelo Williams – Carolina Panthers – vs. Tampa Bay
  32. Ryan Grant – Green Bay Packers – vs. Chicago
  33. Ben Tate – Houston Texans – at Indianapolis
  34. Brandon Jacobs – New York Giants – at New York Jets
  35. Mike Tolbert – San Diego Chargers – at Detroit
  36. LaDainian Tomlinson – New York Jets – vs. New York Giants
  37. Pierre Thomas – New Orleans Saints – vs. Atlanta
  38. Toby Gerhart – Minnesota Vikings – at Washington
  39. Marion Barber – Chicago Bears – at Green Bay
  40. Lance Ball – Denver Broncos – at Buffalo

Maurice Jones-Drew

Maurice Jones-Drew has had more than 100 total yards each of the past six weeks.  Over that span, he has scored seven TDs, including four touchdowns in Week 14. 

It would be hard not to love him this week regardless of the matchup, wouldn’t it?

Adrian Peterson

Adrian Peterson rushed the ball 10 times for 60 yards in his return to the lineup, while Toby Gerhart got just two carries (though he had two receiving touchdowns). 

Obviously, playing from behind helped to limit Peterson’s touches, but it’s clear that Peterson is healthy.  Look for him to play a major role in his matchup with the Redskins, making him a clear-cut RB1.

Rashard Mendenhall

It is Rashard Mendenhall’s chance to take on the worst rushing defense in the league, as he gets the Rams, who have allowed 153.4 rushing yards per game and 12 rushing TDs. 

He hasn’t been tremendous this season, but you have to like him this week with your fantasy title on the line.

Willis McGahee

Who is going to benefit more from the matchup with the Buffalo Bills—Willis McGahee or Tim Tebow

McGahee was only given seven carries in Week 15, though he took them for 70 yards (and the Broncos had to try to keep up with the Patriots).  As a low-end RB1/high-end RB2, he should be a good play for the coming week.

Michael Turner

It could be a down week for Michael Turner, as the Falcons could easily turn to an aerial attack to try to keep pace with the New Orleans Saints. 

That’s not to say that he isn’t a usable option, but consider him a RB2.

Reggie Bush

Generally you would think taking on the Patriots could mean less rushing attempts, limiting a running back's value.  With Reggie Bush, however, that’s just not the case, because he is just as dangerous (if not more so) in the passing game. 

Look for Bush to be an important cog in the Miami attack with the potential to post significant numbers.

Kevin Smith

Does anyone truly trust Kevin Smith at this point? 

He’s a RB2, but there are just too many question marks surrounding him to consider him a must-start option.

LeGarrette Blount

LeGarrette Blount has a good matchup, but he is coming off a terrible performance as he rushed the ball nine times for 21 yards. 

Of course, before we say it is a positive matchup, Blount managed just 11 carries for 19 yards the last time he faced the Panthers in Week 13. 

He has just 114 yards on 38 carries in his past three games.  Does he sound like a good bet to lay your fantasy title hopes on the line with?  He’s a RB2, at best.

Jonathan Stewart and DeAngelo Williams

Jonathan Stewart and DeAngelo Williams continue to take carries away from each other, hurting both of their fantasy appeals. 

It’s just something that we all should have accepted by now.

Marshawn Lynch

Despite taking on the San Francisco 49ers, how do you downgrade Marshawn Lynch very far? 

He has at least one TD in 10 straight games, including five touchdowns in his past three games.  With the way he’s going, it is impossible to sit him down at this point.

Make sure to check out all of our Week 16 articles:


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