Fantasy Football RB Playoff Rankings: Wild Card Round
Earlier today, I posted my fantasy quarterback rankings for the Wild Card round of the playoffs and now it's time to turn my attention to the running backs.
Here are my top 20 fantasy running back rankings for this round of the playoffs:
1. Jamaal Charles, Kansas City Chiefs (at IND)
Even though LeSean McCoy rushed for more yards and set the Eagles single-season record for yards from scrimmage, Charles has been more consistent and just as productive. In fact, no running back had more fantasy points this season than Charles. (McCoy was second.)
Charles set a career high with 1,980 yards from scrimmage and led the NFL in touchdowns (19) in only 15 games. Only three players had at least 100 yards from scrimmage in more than eight games: Charles (13), Matt Forte (12) and McCoy (11).
2. LeSean McCoy, Philadelphia Eagles (vs. NO)
Not really No. 2 in my rankings, McCoy is more like 1(a). He led the NFL in rushing with 1,609 yards and he added 52 catches for 539 yards while scoring a total of 11 touchdowns. This season, he rushed for 100-plus yards seven times and went over 150 rushing yards four times including a franchise-record 217 yards.
3. Ryan Mathews, San Diego Chargers (at CIN)
From Week 6 through the end of the season, Mathews was one of the league's best running backs. During that stretch, he went over 100 rushing yards six times including three of his past four games. In fact, McCoy (1,093) and Eddie Lacy (1,028) are the only two running backs to have more rushing yards than Mathews (1,021) during that span.
Over his past eight games, Mathews has double-digit fantasy points in seven of those games. Unfortunately the one exception was his first matchup against this week's opponent, but he did score nine fantasy points in that game as he rushed 14 times for 61 yards.
4. Eddie Lacy, Green Bay Packers (vs. SF)
A concussion forced Lacy out of the second game of the season (and his career) after just one carry and he missed Week 3 as well because of that. After the team's bye in Week 4, however, Lacy has been dominant.
From Weeks 5 to 17, Lacy had 20-plus carries in 10 of 13 games. Not only did he rush for 1,127 yards during that span, but he has also rushed for 10 touchdowns in his past 11 games.
Lacy did rush for a touchdown in Week 1 against the 49ers, but San Francisco has one of the league's best rush defenses and overall defenses.
5. Frank Gore, San Francisco 49ers (at GB)
Despite being 30 years old, Gore had another solid season as he rushed for 1,128 yards and nine touchdowns. With the exception of 853 rushing yards in 11 games in 2010, Gore has rushed for more than 1,000 yards in the other seven of the past eight seasons.
Only three teams allowed more yards per carry than the Packers (4.6) and as you can imagine, none of those teams are in the playoffs.
6. Giovani Bernard, Cincinnati Bengals (vs. SD)
Bernard had an excellent rookie season with 1,209 yards from scrimmage, 56 receptions and a total of eight touchdowns. With at least 13 touches in eight consecutive games, Bernard has averaged 16 touches and 85.6 YFS per game during that span.
Since Week 9, the Chargers have allowed 11 rushing touchdowns to running backs.
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7. Danny Woodhead, San Diego Chargers (at CIN)
Both Mathews and Woodhead finished among the top 20 among running backs in fantasy points this season. Since the team's bye in Week 8, however, Woodhead has double-digit fantasy points in only two of nine games and at least part of that is due to how productive Mathews has been.
Only Pierre Thomas has more receptions than Woodhead among running backs and he has more value in formats that award a point (or half-point) per reception.
8. Donald Brown, Indianapolis Colts (vs. KC)
While he has been productive overall, Brown's fantasy production has been inconsistent. In his past eight games, Brown has four games with 12 or more fantasy points and three games with three points or less.
From Weeks 1 to 8, the Chiefs allowed running backs (as a group) to score 20-plus fantasy points only once. From Weeks 9 to 16, the Chiefs have allowed backs to collectively score at least 20 fantasy points in seven of eight games.
9. Pierre Thomas, New Orleans Saints (at PHI)
As noted earlier, no running back has more receptions than Thomas this year, but he has 21 rushing yards or less and eight carries or less in five consecutive games.
10. BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Cincinnati Bengals (vs. SD)
The Law Firm has scored four of his seven rushing touchdowns this season in the past five weeks. Much less dynamic than Bernard, his fantasy value is largely tied to his ability to rush for a touchdown (or two). As noted earlier, the Bolts have allowed 11 rushing TDs to running backs since Week 9.
11. Trent Richardson, Indianapolis Colts (vs. KC)
One of the biggest disappointments in fantasy football this year, Richardson has been more productive over the past month than he has at any other point of the season. Over his past four games, TRich has 152 rushing yards, 14 catches for 138 yards and two scores.
12. Darren Sproles, New Orleans Saints (at PHI)
Like Thomas, Sproles is one of two Saints' running backs with at least 70 receptions, but Sproles has not had more than five fantasy points since Week 10 against the Cowboys.
Here are the rest of the top 20 running backs for this week's playoff games:
13. Bryce Brown, Philadelphia Eagles (vs. NO)
14. Mark Ingram, New Orleans Saints (at PHI)
15. James Starks, Green Bay Packers (vs. SF)
16. Kendall Hunter, San Francisco 49ers (at GB)
17. Knile Davis, Kansas City Chiefs (at IND)
18. Chris Polk, Philadelphia Eagles (vs. NO)
19. John Kuhn, Green Bay Packers (vs. SF)
20. Ronnie Brown, San Diego Chargers (at CIN)
Alternatively, you can view my full playoff rankings here.
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