Fantasy Football Playoff RB Rankings (Divisional Round)
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Here are my fantasy running back rankings for the Divisional Round of the playoffs:
1. Marshawn Lynch, Seattle Seahawks (vs. NO)
For a third consecutive season, Lynch rushed for more than 1,200 yards and double-digit touchdowns. Over the past three seasons, Lynch has the most rushing touchdowns (35) and only Adrian Peterson (4,333) has more rushing yards than Lynch (4,051).
In the final 13 games of the season, Lynch scored double-digit fantasy points in all but three of those games. One of those three games was to the Saints, against whom he had 16 carries for 45 yards.
Of course, the last time he faced the Saints in the postseason, Lynch threw Saints defenders around (literally) like they were rag dolls (see video below).
2. Knowshon Moreno, Denver Broncos (vs. SD)
One of five running backs to score 200-plus fantasy points on the season, Moreno was a huge bargain last August in fantasy drafts. Moreno rushed for 1,038 yards, added 60 receptions for 548 yards and had a total of 13 touchdowns this season. All of those were career numbers for Moreno.
3. Ryan Mathews, San Diego Chargers (at DEN)
Since Week 6, Mathews has been one of the most productive running backs in football. In fact, he is one of only three running backs to rush for 1,000-plus yards from that point through the end of the regular season. The other two backs to do so, LeSean McCoy and Eddie Lacy, are on teams that have been knocked out of the playoffs.
The only concern at this point with Mathews is his ankle. He has played (and at a high level) through that injury at the end of the regular season, but he sat most of the second half last week. In his last game against the Broncos (Week 15), Mathews rushed for 127 yards and a touchdown.
4. Frank Gore, San Francisco 49ers (at CAR)
Gore turned 30 years old before the start of the season and while he averaged a career-low 4.1 yards per carry, he once again rushed for more than 1,100 yards. Except for an injury-shortened season (2010), Gore has rushed for 1,000-plus yards every year since 2006.
In his first matchup against the Panthers, the 49ers offense generally struggled, but Gore ran the ball well (82 yards on 16 carries).
5. Donald Brown, Indianapolis Colts (at NE)
Brown has rushed for a touchdown in three consecutive games including last week's incredible come-from-behind win over the Chiefs. In addition to those three touchdowns, Brown has caught an additional two touchdowns.
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6. Danny Woodhead, San Diego Chargers (at DEN)
Depending on Mathews' ankle, Woodhead could see a significant workload again this weekend. Last week against the Bengals, he had 15 carries for 54 yards and a touchdown plus two catches for 14 yards.
7. Shane Vereen, New England Patriots (vs. IND)
Despite missing half of the season, Vereen still hauled in 47 receptions for 427 yards and three touchdowns. Even if he doesn't get many carries (only nine carries in his past four games combined), Vereen has the potential to have a huge game from his receiving numbers alone.
8. DeAngelo Williams, Carolina Panthers (vs. SF)
From a playoff standpoint, it's good news for the Panthers that Jonathan Stewart practiced fully on Wednesday and is expected to return on Sunday. From a fantasy perspective, however, The Daily Show's return detracts from the fantasy value of D-Will and Touchdown Mike.
9. LeGarrette Blount, New England Patriots (vs. IND)
Just like everyone expected (right?!), it was Blount — not Vereen or Stevan Ridley — that led the Patriots running backs in fantasy points this season. Of course, Vereen missed eight games with a broken wrist as he was placed on short-term IR, but Blount had 40 carries for 265 yards and four touchdowns in the final two games of the regular season.
10. Mark Ingram, New Orleans Saints (at SEA)
After missing last week's game, Pierre Thomas (chest) did not practice on Wednesday and it's unclear if he will be available for this weekend's game. Especially if he isn't, it means that Ingram should get a relatively heavy workload again. Ingram had 18 carries for 97 yards and a touchdown plus three catches for 17 yards last weekend.
Here are the next 10 running backs:
11. Stevan Ridley, New England Patriots (vs. IND)
12. Montee Ball, Denver Broncos (vs. SD)
13. Pierre Thomas, New Orleans Saints (at SEA)
14. Mike Tolbert, Carolina Panthers (vs. SF)
15. Darren Sproles, New Orleans Saints (at SEA)
16. Trent Richardson, Indianapolis Colts (at NE)
17. Kendall Hunter, San Francisco 49ers (at CAR)
18. Jonathan Stewart, Carolina Panthers (vs. SF)
19. Robert Turbin, Seattle Seahawks (vs. NO)
20. Ronnie Brown, San Diego Chargers (at DEN)