Through the first 15 games of the season, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Carolina Panthers have allowed the most and second-most fantasy points to opposing running backs, respectively.
This week, these two teams will meet for the second time this season.
Many owners could be relying on one of three running backs in this game to take advantage of this favorable matchup in order to take home the title in their fantasy football league(s).
The first time around, Bucs running back LeGarrette Blount and Panthers running back DeAngelo Williams had disappointing performances. Both running backs had 11 carries and Williams and Blount finished with 29 and 19 rushing yards, respectively.
Carolina's Jonathan Stewart was the only running back in that game to finish with double-digit fantasy points. The Daily Show had 99 yards from scrimmage (80 rushing yards and 19 receiving yards) and scored a touchdown.
Over the past five weeks, Blount has been relatively inconsistent. During that span, he has three games with double-digit fantasy points by rushing for 100-plus yards and/or scoring a touchdown. In the other two games during that stretch, Blount has 21 or less rushing yards and a total of three fantasy points.
With that Bucs game being the exception, Williams has had 60-plus rushing yards and a touchdown (or two) in three of his past four games. On the other hand, Stewart has less than 50 rushing yards in two straight games.
Of these three running backs, Blount is the highest in my rankings only due to the fact that it's more likely that he gets the majority of Tampa Bay's carries. Carolina's workload is trickier to predict.
Here are some more running back notes for Week 16:
- With three more touchdowns against the Jets in Week 15, Eagles running back LeSean McCoy has now scored a total of 20 touchdowns this season. In his first two NFL seasons, McCoy had a total of 13 touchdowns. McCoy, who has six 100-yard games, ranks second in the NFL in rushing (1,274 yards) after Jacksonville's Maurice Jones-Drew.
- For the third straight season, Jones-Drew has reached 1,300 rushing yards. More impressively, MJD has 80-plus rushing yards in 13 of 14 games with the Titans and Colts defenses remaining. McCoy is second with 10 80-yard games and no other player has more than seven games.
- If you're a glass-half-full guy, Patriots running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis has scored in three of his past four games and has a total of four touchdowns during that span. If you're a glass-half-empty guy, Green-Ellis has less than 20 rushing yards in three straight games and in five of his past eight games.
- Redskins running back Roy Helu had a three-game streak of 100-yard games come to an end last week. That said, Helu has at least 23 carries in four straight games and has a total of 96 carries and 16 receptions during that four-game span. Helu is dealing with toe and knee issues, but he is expected to play this week.
- Miami's Reggie Bush became the fifth player this season to rush for 200-plus yards when he ran for a career-high 203 yards against the Bills last week. Bush has three straight 100-yard games and no running back has more rushing yards (467) over the past four weeks than Bush.
- Speaking of 200-yard rushers, Baltimore's Ray Rice faces the Browns this week. In his first matchup against the Browns, Rice finished with a career-high 204 yards and a touchdown.
- Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch has scored at least one touchdown in each of his past 10 games this season. Although Lynch ran for only 42 yards, his lowest total since Week 8, he scored two more touchdowns last week. On the season, Lynch has a total of 12 touchdowns, but this week he faces the 49ers, who are the only team in the NFL to not allow a rushing touchdown this season. Take our poll on whether or not Lynch will rush for a touchdown this week.
- Last week, Texans running back Arian Foster rushed for 109 yards and a touchdown and had five receptions for 58 yards. On the season, Foster has 1,066 rushing yards, 50 receptions for 601 receiving yards and has scored a total of 11 touchdowns despite missing two games. This week, he faces the Colts, who have allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing running backs this season.
- Cowboys running back Felix Jones has back-to-back 100-yard games and he gets another favorable matchup against the Eagles this week. The Eagles have allowed two 100-yard rushers in the past three weeks. However, Jones has missed practice on Tuesday and Wednesday.
- Chicago's Kahlil Bell, who was on list of waiver-wire options before last week, led the Bears in rushing (65 yards) and receiving (43 yards) in addition to scoring its only touchdown in Week 15. Since he had five receptions in the game, Bell finished with a total of 21 points in point-per-reception (PPR) leagues.
Here are our top 40 fantasy running backs for Week 16:
1. Ray Rice, Ravens (vs CLE)
2. Arian Foster, Texans (at IND)
3. LeSean McCoy, Eagles (at DAL)
4. Maurice Jones-Drew, Jaguars (at TEN)
5. Ryan Mathews, Chargers (at DET)
6. Michael Bush, Raiders (at KC)
7. Reggie Bush, Dolphins (at NE)
8. Rashard Mendenhall, Steelers (vs STL)
9. Adrian Peterson, Vikings (at WAS)
10. Shonn Greene, Jets (vs NYG)
11. Chris Johnson, Titans (vs JAX)
12. Michael Turner, Falcons (at NO)
13. Roy Helu, Redskins (vs MIN)
14. C.J. Spiller, Bills (vs DEN)
15. Marshawn Lynch, Seahawks (vs SF)
16. Willis McGahee, Broncos (at BUF)
17. Felix Jones, Cowboys (vs PHI)
18. Cedric Benson, Bengals (vs ARI)
19. Frank Gore, 49ers (at SEA)
20. LeGarrette Blount, Buccaneers (at CAR)
21. Beanie Wells, Cardinals (at CIN)
22. Steven Jackson, Rams (at PIT)
23. Ahmad Bradshaw, Giants (at NYJ)
24. DeAngelo Williams, Panthers (vs TB)
25. Darren Sproles, Saints (vs ATL)
26. Jonathan Stewart, Panthers (vs TB)
27. Donald Brown, Colts (vs HOU)
28. Kevin Smith, Lions (vs SD)
29. Kahlil Bell, Bears (at GB)
30. Peyton Hillis, Browns (at BAL)
31. BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Patriots (vs MIA)
32. Ben Tate, Texans (at IND)
33. Pierre Thomas, Saints (vs ATL)
34. Ryan Grant, Packers (vs CHI)
35. Marion Barber, Bears (at GB)
36. Mike Tolbert, Chargers (at DET)
37. Brandon Jacobs, Giants (at NYJ)
38. Lance Ball, Broncos (at BUF)
39. Christopher Ivory, Saints (vs ATL)
40. Toby Gerhart, Vikings (at WAS)
If you're in a point-per-reception (PPR) league, here are our running back PPR rankings for Week 16.
For more positions and/or flex rankings, visit our fantasy section.
Good luck in Week 16!