Give thanks this week, not only for the holiday but for the end of bye weeks in 2015. However, if you’re a Marshawn Lynch, Justin Forsett or even Devonta Freeman owner, you may not be too thrilled to welcome the holiday season or peruse the Week 12 running back rankings reaction.
Last week, we saw an unsightly injury end Forsett’s season. On the bright side, he did not tear any knee ligaments or injure soft tissue in his lower half, which gets added rest while Forsett nurses his broken right arm for the 2016 season. With Javorius “Buck” Allen taking over Baltimore’s backfield, the running back rankings get drabber.
Perhaps we finally got a clear look at how the Green Bay Packers want to use their pair of RBs. Eddie Lacy looked good on Sunday, especially when he used the spin move to break away. Since Week 2, Lacy hasn’t played more than 58 percent of the Packers’ snaps, but last Sunday, he appeared to reclaim the starting role. However, Starks will still get up to 45 percent of the offensive snaps. In the running back rankings, Lacy sits at 14th while Starks is 32nd.
Eddie Lacy has 15 carries this half, James Starks only 1. Lacy only had 15 carries in a game twice this season before tonight.
— Ryan Wood (@ByRyanWood) November 23, 2015
Meanwhile, two AFC South teams continue to use committee backfields that pose little upside to Fantasy Football owners. So only in a last-ditch effort must you start guys like Alfred Blue, Jonathan Grimes, Bishop Sankey and even Antonio Andrews. Of those four, the highest ranked is Blue at 23rd. The San Diego Chargers’ RBs haven’t been appealing lately, and the Denver Broncos’ Ronnie Hillman (24th) just had a 102-yard game but still carries middling RB2 value. For more tips on setting your lineup this week, take a look at Start/Sit recommendations and the Injury Report. Here’s more reactions from the latest running back rankings.
Week 12 Running Back Rankings Reaction
Who I Like More
Chris Ivory, New York Jets
In Week 12, the Jets play host to the Miami Dolphins who have allowed RBs to rush for the second-highest yard total in 2015 (1,222) and score 12 total TDs. Ivory is among the top eight NFL players in rushing attempts, rushing yards and rushing TDs. The last time he faced the Dolphins, Ivory rushed for 166 yards and a TD.
T.J. Yeldon, Jacksonville Jaguars
At home against arguably the worst run defense, the Chargers’, Yeldon has the chance to shine. He has only two TDs all year, but he’s used consistently as he’s had at least 16 touches in every game since Week 5. While 585 rushing yards across nine games isn’t a top-tier performance, Yeldon gets playing time and is a reliable RB2. But this week, he gets the eight spot on the running back rankings because of his outstanding matchup. The Chargers have allowed 13 TDs and 24.9 Fantasy points per game to RBs.
Devonta Freeman, Atlanta Falcons
This might be a no-brainer, but I need to quell nervous Freeman owners. Freeman has enough time—thus a good shot—to clear the concussion protocol. He’s still tied for the most rushing/receiving TDs in the league (11) and second overall in yards from scrimmage (1,184). This week, the Falcons host the Minnesota Vikings, a team that’s surrendered to RBs 14.9 Fantasy points per game and just four total TDs. Still, Freeman is a clear must-start when he clears the protocol.
Falcons coach Dan Quinn says RB Devonta Freeman is “off to a good start” in the concussion protocol. Word was his symptoms weren’t severe.
— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) November 23, 2015
Matt Forte, Chicago Bears
Even though he falls all the way to 31st in the Week 12 running back rankings, I like Forte on Thanksgiving Day against the Packers. In his 14 games against the Packers, Forte has played them well, averaging more than 112 yards of total offense per game. An MCL sprain makes me cringe with nervousness, but with his proven upside, who are you going to start over him now? Be thankful he’s back in your lineup.
Who I Like Less
Thomas Rawls, Seattle Seahawks
Overall, I like Rawls, he just has to work against one of the toughest run defenses in the league in Week 12. His Week 11 performance (30 rushes for 209 yards and one TD, three receptions for 46 yards and a TD) showed everybody what he can do, but it was also against the San Francisco 49ers, who’ve allowed RBs to score 23.9 Fantasy points per game. Rawls barreled through CB Tramaine Brock for more YAC during an impressive 12-yard reception down the sideline. Rawls’ Week 12 opponents, the Pittsburgh Steelers, have allowed RBs to score only two TDs and 13.9 Fantasy points every game. Despite Rawls jumping all the way to sixth in the running back rankings, I’m nervous about his Week 12.
Charcandrick West, Kansas City Chiefs
Spencer Ware replaced West when West strained his hamstring last Sunday. Even though West is day-to-day, a leg injury is hard for a RB to recover from in one week. When the Chiefs play the Bills this Sunday, it wouldn’t be a shock if Ware stepped up to the occasion as he did with 101 total yards against the Chargers. The Bills are tougher, but they’ve still let RBs score 19.4 Fantasy points per game this year. West still sits inside the Top 20 RBs at 18th in the running back rankings.
DeAngelo Williams, Pittsburgh Steelers
Rawls’ counterpart in Week 12 also makes the dislike list for the same reason: tough matchup. The Seahawks have lets RBs find the end zone just three times. Williams is coming off a bye and a previous great win for the Steelers, but disappointing outing for him (17 carries, 54 yards) against the wimpy Cleveland Browns. Williams is the prime RB for the Steelers, so the opportunity alone gives makes him a high RB2 with a rotten matchup this week.
— NFL (@NFL) November 20, 2015
As usual, we’ll see how injuries, breakout performances and disappointments affect the actual playing time RBs get. In the meantime, we have more than just running back rankings reactions on So Called Fantasy Experts, so make sure to check those out, too.
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