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Week 13 Rankings (2016): Top 40 Running Backs

Thursday, December 1, 2016 8:15
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(Before It's News)

by Will Overton

It is week 13, quite possibly the final week of the regular season for many fantasy football players. Unfortunately for some reason the NFL has felt the need to put a couple of bye week teams in the mix, which could really throw a wrench in fantasy teams plans. We’re here to help and we’re giving you our Top 40 Running Backs for this week:

  1. David Johnson – Arizona Cardinals vs. Washington
  2. Ezekiel Elliot – Dallas Cowboys @ Minnesota
  3. Le’veon Bell – Pittsburgh Steelers vs. NY Giants
  4. LeSean McCoy – Buffalo Bills @ Oakland
  5. Melvin Gordon – San Diego Chargers  vs. Tampa Bay
  6. Jordan Howard – Chicago Bears vs. San Francisco
  7. Doug Martin – Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ San Diego
  8. Lamar Miller – Houston Texans @ Green Bay
  9. Mark Ingram – New Orleans Saints vs. Detroit
  10. Carlos Hyde – San Francisco 49ers @ Chicago
  11. Devonta Freeman – Atlanta Falcons vs. Kansas City
  12. Spencer Ware – Kansas City Chiefs @ Atlanta
  13. Matt Forte – New York Jets vs. Indianapolis
  14. LeGarrette Blount – New England Patriots vs. Los Angeles
  15. Todd Gurley – Los Angeles Rams @ New England
  16. Jay Ajayi – Miami Dolphins @ Baltimore
  17. Devontae Booker – Denver Broncos @ Jacksonville
  18. Thomas Rawls – Seattle Seahawks vs. Carolina
  19. Theo Riddick – Detroit Lions @ New Orleans
  20. Latavius Murray – Oakland Raiders vs. Buffalo
  21. Jonathan Stewart – Carolina Panthers @ Seattle
  22. Frank Gore – Indianapolis Colts @ NY Jets
  23. Jeremy Hill – Cincinnati Bengals vs. Philadelphia
  24. Robert Kelley – Washington Redskins @ Arizona
  25. Dion Lewis – New England Patriots vs. Los Angeles
  26. Rashad Jennings – New York Giants @ Pittsburgh
  27. Kenneth Dixon – Baltimore Ravens  vs. Miami
  28. Tim Hightower – New Orleans Saints vs. Detroit
  29. James Starks – Green Bay Packers  vs. Houston
  30. Wendell Smallwood – Philadelphia Eagles @ Cincinnati
  31. Matt Asiata – Minnesota Vikings vs. Dallas
  32. Tevin Coleman – Atlanta Falcons vs. Kansas City
  33. James White – New England Patriots vs. Los Angeles
  34. Chris Ivory – Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Denver
  35. Terrance West – Baltimore Ravens vs. Miami
  36. Darren Sproles – Philadelphia Eagles @ Cincinnati
  37. T.J. Yeldon – Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Denver
  38. Jerick McKinnon – Minnesota Vikings vs. Dallas
  39. Bilal Powell – New York Jets vs. Indianapolis
  40. Chris Thompson – Washington Redskins @ Arizona

Thoughts:

  • For the last four weeks Jordan Howard is averaging 103.5 yards per game and even though he has only scored once he has been one of the most consistent and solid backs in the league. Now the hot hand is going up against the worst run defense in the league in the San Francisco 49ers. He is clear cut RB1 this week and is in line to be one of the best backs out there this week.
  • On the other side of the ball will be Carlos Hyde who I am seeing as a fringe RB1 as well. A healthy Hyde is a very talented back and right now he is about as healthy as he’s been. The Bears run defense isn’t as bad as San Francisco, but they certainly aren’t good and I think Hyde loads up on carries. He has also been more involved in the passing game lately, catching eight passes in the last two games, and catching a TD last week.
  • It’s been nice to see Doug Martin picking back up the lion’s share of the carries in Tampa Bay and settling back into a major role. In the last two weeks he has carried the ball 47 times and also has five catches. These two games were against the Chiefs and Seahawks and he’s amassed 150 yards in them. Now he gets a nice big step down in competition against the San Diego Chargers and if he gets another 20 – 25 carries he could have a huge day.
  • The production from Thomas Rawls thus far has been less than impressive, but I am riding with him as an RB2 again this week. There are few backs who get almost all the touches in a backfield and for better or worse he is in that position right now. Rawls has a decent matchup here and a good chance to get back on track. If he fails to produce like a starting running back this ranking will have to be re-evaluated next week and going forward.
  • In his second week back on the field Dion Lewis saw more snaps, almost drawing even with LaGarette Blount and James White. I expect yet another uptick in snaps , likely rising above at least White in terms of snap count. White has held his own this season in Lewis’ absence, but Lewis is the more talented running back. Lewis is getting more involved in the passing game now and I can see this week being a big step up against an overrated Los Angeles Rams defense.
  • The situation in Baltimore is an interesting one to keep an eye on as we saw a shift towards Kenneth Dixon getting more snaps and touches then Terrence West. Over the last five weeks West has seen a sharp decline in production, averaging just 2.9 YPC while doing almost nothing in the receiving game. Meanwhile in the same five games Dixon has averaged 4.1 YPC and is much more active catching the football. Dixon is a back with solid upside, but I think the carry share between Dixon and West will continue to hamper both players’ overall value week to week.

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