Week 12 Fantasy Football Rankings: Top 50 Running Backs

In a way, the 49ers passing attack has been somewhat of a joke as my corny attempt of humor (The Kaepernick Line) illustrates.

Even though the 49ers have struggled with their 32nd-ranked passing offense, they have a top-five rushing offense led by 30-year-old back Frank Gore.

Gore hasn't been spectacular with only two 100-yard rushing games this season, but he had been incredibly consistent with double-digit fantasy points for seven consecutive games before last week.

Against the Saints on Sunday, Gore rushed for only 48 yards on 13 attempts. It was his lowest output since Week 3.

To help Gore get back on track, he has a favorable matchup on Monday Night Football against the Redskins, who have allowed the second-most fantasy points this season.

In their past five games, the Redskins have allowed four different running backs to score 18 fantasy points or more in standard-scoring leagues.

Jennings: An NFL-best 431 YFS over past 3G

Once again, the Raiders were without running back Darren McFadden (hamstring). And once again, Rashad Jennings had a productive outing in his place.

Against the Texans, Jennings carried the ball 22 times for a career-high 150 yards and an 80-yard touchdown.

It was Jennings' second 100-yard game in the three weeks since McFadden aggravated the hamstring injury. During that span, Jennings has a total of 57 carries for 340 yards plus 11 receptions for 91 yards and three total touchdowns.

While several teams have had their bye(s) within the past three weeks, no running back (or player, for that matter) has had more yards from scrimmage (combined rushing and receiving yards) over the past three weeks than Jennings (431).

Whether or not McFadden will be able to return in Week 12 is unclear at this point.

Especially if McFadden misses another game, Jennings will be a must-start against a Titans defense that has allowed two touchdowns to running backs in five consecutive games.

Forte: Double-digit fantasy points in 9 of 10G

With the exception of his Week 10 matchup against the Lions, Bears running back Matt Forte has reached double-digit fantasy points in every other game this season in standard-scoring formats.

Of course, Forte, who has 49 receptions on the season, is a stud in point-per-reception (PPR) formats, he's third among running backs in fantasy points (standard scoring) this season behind Seattle's Marshawn Lynch and Philadelphia's LeSean McCoy.

Provided he stays healthy and maintains his current pace, Forte is on pace for a 16-game stat line of 1,837 yards from scrimmage, 13 touchdowns and 78 receptions, all of which would be career highs for Forte.

Only two teams have allowed more fantasy points to opposing running backs this season than the Rams. Of the 18 games in which a running back has at least 140 rushing yards this season, four of those games were allowed by the Rams.

Rainey: A waiver-wire gem

Entering Week 11, Buccaneers running back Bobby Rainey had a total of 21 career rushing attempts.

Expected to share the workload with teammate Brian Leonard, Rainey ran with his opportunity ... And then he ran some more.

With a week-high 30 rushing attempts, Rainey led the league with 163 rushing yards and scored three touchdowns last week.

Not only did he lead all running backs in fantasy points in Week 11, but he outscored all players including quarterbacks.

With Rainey (32) getting four times as many touches as Leonard (eight), it's clear (or at least appears to be) that he's the guy in the Bucs' backfield and has RB2 upside for the remainder of the year.

When I wrote my waiver-wire post late on Monday night, Rainey was available in more than three-quarters of Yahoo! leagues although that will obviously change once waivers run Tuesday night.

Rainey will have a much tougher matchup this week against the Lions.

Since allowing five rushing touchdowns in the team's first four games, the Lions have not allowed a rushing touchdown in six games and currently rank fifth in the NFL in rushing defense (94.6 yards allowed per game).

Here are some more notes on running backs:

  • Rams rookie running back Zac Stacy has at least 26 carries in three consecutive games and has scored a touchdown in back-to-back games. In addition, he has double-digit fantasy points in four consecutive games. With a favorable matchup against the Bears, Stacy is a clear-cut RB1 this week.
  • Despite a second-quarter fumble (and in Shane Vereen's return game), Patriots running back Stevan Ridley was still able to rush for a touchdown in his fifth consecutive game. During that span, he has a total of seven rushing touchdowns. That said, he played only six snaps in the second half.
  • It was fun while it lasted. Colts running back Trent Richardson scored a touchdown in back-to-back games after being acquired for the team's 2014 first-round pick. Since then, Richardson has scored five fantasy points or less in six consecutive games. In his past three games since the team's bye, he has a total of only 44 rushing yards on 21 carries. To make matters worse, the Cardinals, this week's opponent, have allowed the fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs this season.
  • For the first time this season, Ravens running back Ray Rice rushed for more than 100 yards. With 25 carries against the Bears, he rushed for 131 yards and a touchdown. Unfortunately for Rice and his fantasy owners, the success may be short-lived as this week he faces the Jets, who have allowed the second-fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs this season.
  • Redskins running back Alfred Morris has at least 22 carries in three consecutive games and at least 93 rushing yards in five consecutive games. Even if some of the team's other backs vulture a touchdown or two (or three), Morris has the eighth-most fantasy points this season despite failing to reach 20 fantasy points in any game this season.
  • Broncos running back Knowshon Moreno carried the ball a season-high 27 times (previous high was 19). Although he has nine touchdowns this year, Moreno has now failed to score a touchdown in back-to-back weeks and teammate Montee Ball rushed for two scores on Sunday night. It was also the first time since Week 3 that Moreno did not score double-digit fantasy points.
  • In his past four games, Cardinals rookie Andre Ellington has the following fantasy points: one, 21, six and one. Despite an ideal matchup against the Jaguars last week, Ellington had just three rushing yards on eight carries and lost a few of his dreadlocks.

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Here are my Week 12 fantasy running back rankings (standard scoring):

1. Matt Forte, Chicago Bears (at STL)
2. Jamaal Charles, Kansas City Chiefs (vs. SD)
3. Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings (at GB)
4. Eddie Lacy, Green Bay Packers (vs. MIN)
5. Alfred Morris, Washington Redskins (vs. SF)
6. Knowshon Moreno, Denver Broncos (at NE)
7. Zac Stacy, St. Louis Rams (vs. CHI)
8. Frank Gore, San Francisco 49ers (at WAS)
9. Reggie Bush, Detroit Lions (vs. TB)
10. Ben Tate, Houston Texans (at OAK)
11. Rashad Jennings, Oakland Raiders (vs. TEN)
12. Chris Johnson, Tennessee Titans (at OAK)
13. Andre Brown, New York Giants (vs. DAL)
14. Le'Veon Bell, Pittsburgh Steelers (at CLE)
15. Ryan Mathews, San Diego Chargers (at KC)
16. DeMarco Murray, Dallas Cowboys (at NYG)
17. Maurice Jones-Drew, Jacksonville Jaguars (at HOU)
18. Pierre Thomas, New Orleans Saints (at ATL)
19. Ray Rice, Baltimore Ravens (vs. NYJ)
20. Stevan Ridley, New England Patriots (vs. DEN)
21. Bobby Rainey, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (at DET)
22. Shane Vereen, New England Patriots (vs. DEN)
23. Danny Woodhead, San Diego Chargers (at KC)
24. Chris Ivory, New York Jets (at BAL)
25. Darren Sproles, New Orleans Saints (at ATL)
26. Rashard Mendenhall, Arizona Cardinals (vs. IND)
27. Andre Ellington, Arizona Cardinals (vs. IND)
28. Joique Bell, Detroit Lions (vs. TB)
29. Donald Brown, Indianapolis Colts (at ARI)
30. Steven Jackson, Atlanta Falcons (vs. NO)
31. Lamar Miller, Miami Dolphins (vs. CAR)
32. Trent Richardson, Indianapolis Colts (at ARI)
33. Chris Ogbonnaya, Cleveland Browns (vs. PIT)
34. Brian Leonard, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (at DET)
35. DeAngelo Williams, Carolina Panthers (at MIA)
36. Bilal Powell, New York Jets (at BAL)
37. Mark Ingram, New Orleans Saints (at ATL)
38. Montee Ball, Denver Broncos (at NE)
39. Jacquizz Rodgers, Atlanta Falcons (vs. NO)
40. Roy Helu, Washington Redskins (vs. SF)
41. Mike Tolbert, Carolina Panthers (at MIA)
42. Jonathan Stewart, Carolina Panthers (at MIA)
43. Bernard Pierce, Baltimore Ravens (vs. NYJ)
44. Dennis Johnson, Houston Texans (at OAK)
45. Daniel Thomas, Miami Dolphins (vs. CAR)
46. Shonn Greene, Tennessee Titans (at OAK)
47. James Starks, Green Bay Packers (vs. MIN)
48. Toby Gerhart, Minnesota Vikings (at GB)
49. Kendall Hunter, San Francisco 49ers (at WAS)
50. Brandon Jacobs, New York Giants (vs. DAL)

More Week 12 Fantasy Football Rankings:

Week 12 Daily Fantasy Football Salary-Cap Analysis:

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