Fantasy Football Playoffs Rankings - Wild Card Round: Running Backs
All three of the NFL's leading rushers will play in this weekend's round of playoff games.
While the fourth- and fifth-leading rushers (Jamaal Charles and Doug Martin, respectively) play for non-playoff teams, the sixth-leading rusher, Houston's Arian Foster, plays this weekend as well.
Here are my running back rankings for this weekend's games only:
1. Adrian Peterson, Vikings (at GB)
As great as Peterson was this season, he was most dominant against the Packers. Peterson had two of his three highest performances of the season against the Packers: 210 and 199 yards, respectively. In addition to a combined 409 rushing yards, Peterson scored three touchdowns (two rushing and one receiving) in those two games.
2. Arian Foster, Texans (vs. CIN)
Although Foster averaged a career-low 4.1 yards per carry, nobody had more carries (351) or rushing touchdowns (15) than Foster. Foster, who also had two receiving touchdowns, scored in all but three games this year.
3. Marshawn Lynch, Seahawks (at WAS)
Closing the season with four consecutive 100-yard games, Lynch finished third in the league in rushing (1,590). Lynch has less than 20 carries in five of his past six games. In addition, he scored a total of seven touchdowns in his final five games.
4. Ray Rice, Ravens (vs IND)
Rice barely played against the Bengals last week, but he has two 100-yard games in the previous three weeks. One of the league's most dynamic backs, Rice should be see a heavy workload against the relatively weak Colts rush defense.
5. Alfred Morris, Redskins (vs SEA)
Last week, Morris set a career high with 200 rushing yards and scored three touchdowns as he set the franchise single-season rushing record as the 'Skins clinched the NFC East. Morris has been remarkably consistent with 75-plus rushing yards in 14 of 16 weeks, but the Seahawks have one of the league's top rush defenses.
6. Vick Ballard, Colts (at BAL)
Ballard has a total of 84 carries in his past four games combined. Although he is only averaging 4.1 yards per carry during that stretch, he has 69 yards or more in each of his past four games.
7. BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Bengals (at HOU)
Green-Ellis sat out last week's game after suffering a hamstring injury in pre-game warmups although he returned to practice on Wednesday. When healthy, The Law Firm has been productive with four 100-yard games in the previous six weeks.
8. DuJuan Harris, Packers (vs MIN)
After scoring in two of his previous three games, Harris got the majority of work in Week 17 with 14 carries for 70 yards. Ryan Grant had only two carries. At this point, it appears as though Harris will get the lion's share of carries.
9. Bernard Pierce, Ravens (vs IND)
Pierce won't get the 22 carries he got last week with Ray Rice playing sparingly, but it's possible he gets close to the 14 carries he had in Week 16 when he ran for 123 yards. Rice had 24 carries and 107 yards in that game.
10. Ben Tate, Texans (vs CIN)
Tate has five or less carries in each of his past three games and a total of 37 rushing yards during that span.
11. Robert Turbin, Seahawks (at WAS)
Turbin is a capable running back if given the opportunity, but Lynch should get the majority of work limiting Turbin's fantasy value.
12. Ryan Grant, Packers (vs MIN)
Just two weeks ago, Grant carried the ball 20 times for 80 yards and two touchdowns in addition to his 34-yard reception. What a difference a week made! Last week, he had two carries for two yards.
13. Alex Green, Packers (vs MIN)
Green was active in Week 17, but he didn't receive any carries. Before missing Week 16 (concussion), Green had double-digit carries in his previous four games.
14. Evan Royster, Redskins (vs SEA)
With Morris being the team's workhorse, Royster has never had more than four carries or 21 rushing yards in any game this season. A best-case (but unlikely) scenario for Royster seems to be similar to Week 9 or 15 when he rushed for a touchdown and had 30 receiving yards.
15. Toby Gerhart, Vikings (at GB)
Unless this game gets out of hand either way, Gerhart's touches will be severely limited as the Vikings pound the rock with Peterson.
I will continue to post the rest of my Wild Card round playoff rankings over the next 24 hours. I posted my Wild Card quarterback rankings earlier.
If you're looking for full playoff fantasy rankings, you can find mine here:
- Quarterback rankings for full postseason
- Running back rankings for full postseason
- Wide receiver rankings for full postseason
- Tight end rankings for full postseason
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