Week 15 Fantasy Football Rankings: Updated Top 50 Running Backs

One of the sure-fire fantasy matchups over the past half-season has been to start your running back(s) against the Bears.

In seven of their past eight games beginning in Week 6, the Bears have allowed a 100-yard rusher in all but one game. The lone exception during that span was the 95 rushing yards they allowed to Washington's Alfred Morris in Week 7.

This week, the Bears will host the Browns, who have struggled to run the ball. In fact, second-year receiver Josh Gordon led the team in rushing last week with 34 yards on his only carry.

Over the past four games, Browns running back Chris Ogbonnaya leads the team in yards from scrimmage (207). While Willis McGahee leads the team in carries (38) during that span, he averaged only 3.03 yards per carry and has 133 YFS in those four games.

Regardless of how poorly McGahee has run the ball, a concussion will sideline him for this week, which could give Silent G a healthy workload against a porous run defense. In their past eight games, the Bears have allowed 11 running backs to score double-digit fantasy points.

During that span, the Bears have allowed 1,359 rushing yards to opposing running backs for an average of 5.81 yards per carry and 11 touchdowns in addition to 16 receptions for 70 yards.

[Related: Ogbonnaya is a FanDuel bargain at the RB-minimum salary of $4,500 this week.]

Vereen: 33 catches for 315 yards in past 4G

Since returning from short-term IR, Patriots running back Shane Vereen has a total of 24 carries for 85 yards in four games.

That said, Vereen finds himself inside my top-10 fantasy running backs in standard-scoring leagues this week — largely due to his production as a receiver.

During that same four-game span, Vereen has 33 receptions for 315 yards. That means, he is averaging exactly 100 yards from scrimmage in his past four games and he has scored in consecutive weeks.

With Rob Gronkowski suffering a torn ACL, Vereen will continue to be featured prominently in the passing game and he had season highs of 12 catches on 17 targets for 153 yards last week.

SJax to pound Washington into submission?

Falcons running back Steven Jackson is finally healthy and he has 54 carries for 218 yards and three touchdowns in his past three games.

While he didn't find the end zone last week, he had his best performance in that stretch on a per-carry basis as he averaged 4.7 yards per carry in Week 14.

As Jackson continues to look better, he gets a favorable matchup against a team that seemed to throw in the towel last week. In the process, the Redskins allowed a total of 189 rushing yards and a total of three touchdowns to the Chiefs running backs.

Not only have they allowed the second-most fantasy points to opposing running backs this season, but they have allowed a total of 19 touchdowns this season to running backs including multiple touchdowns in four of their past five games.

Some more notes on running backs:

  • Packers running back Eddie Lacy (ankle) is listed as probable on the team's injury report and is set up for a monster performance against the Cowboys, who have the league's most fantasy-friendly defense for running backs. Lacy was the subject of my bold prediction for the week on our weekly podcast.

  • Eagles running back LeSean McCoy rushed for a franchise-record 217 yards and two touchdowns against the Lions in Week 14. Before allowing the record-setting performance, the Lions had held opposing running backs (as a team) to 61 rushing yards or less in eight consecutive games. McCoy gets three favorable matchups to close the season against the Vikings, Bears and Cowboys (all top-four matchups for fantasy RBs).

  • Baltimore's running back Ray Rice has been one of the league's biggest disappointments from a fantasy perspective. Rice has rushed for more than 45 yards in only three games this season and is averaging a career-low 3.0 yards per carry. Although he has missed one game, he is barely on pace for 1,000 yards from scrimmage (1,005 to be exact). Unfortunately for his fantasy owners, he faces the stout Lions run defense this week.

  • Cardinals running back Rashard Mendenhall has rushed for a touchdown in three of his past four games. This week's opponent, the Titans have allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing running backs and multiple touchdowns to running backs in six of their past eight games.

  • Since becoming the team's featured back, Rams rookie running back Zac Stacy rushed for his fewest yards (25) when he faced the Cardinals last week, but he rushed for his fifth touchdown in the past five games. The Cardinals have allowed the fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs this season and therefore Stacy has a slightly more favorable matchup this week against the Saints.

  • Although Titans running back Chris Johnson has had an up-and-down season, he has the seventh-most fantasy points among running backs this year. That said, he faces the Cardinals this week and they have the potential to bottle up the boom-or-bust back.

  • Bears running back Matt Forte rushed for 102 yards on 20 carries and added seven catches for 73 yards and a touchdown in last week's win over the Cowboys. On the season, he now has double-digit fantasy points in all but two games. With only a few games to go, Forte is on pace for 1,958 yards from scrimmage and 80 receptions this season.

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Here are my Week 15 fantasy running back rankings (standard scoring):

1. LeSean McCoy, Philadelphia Eagles (at MIN)
2. Jamaal Charles, Kansas City Chiefs (at OAK)
3. Eddie Lacy, Green Bay Packers (at DAL)
4. Matt Forte, Chicago Bears (at CLE)
5. Marshawn Lynch, Seattle Seahawks (at NYG)
6. DeMarco Murray, Dallas Cowboys (vs. GB)
7. Shane Vereen, New England Patriots (at MIA)
8. Steven Jackson, Atlanta Falcons (vs. WAS)
9. Zac Stacy, St. Louis Rams (vs. NO)
10. Alfred Morris, Washington Redskins (at ATL)
11. Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings (vs. PHI)
12. Giovani Bernard, Cincinnati Bengals (at PIT)
13. Le'Veon Bell, Pittsburgh Steelers (vs. CIN)
14. Andre Brown, New York Giants (vs. SEA)
15. Reggie Bush, Detroit Lions (vs. BAL)
16. Frank Gore, San Francisco 49ers (at TB)
17. C.J. Spiller, Buffalo Bills (at JAX)
18. Chris Ogbonnaya, Cleveland Browns (vs. CHI)
19. Bobby Rainey, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (vs. SF)
20. Ben Tate, Houston Texans (at IND)
21. Rashad Jennings, Oakland Raiders (vs. KC)
22. Rashard Mendenhall, Arizona Cardinals (at TEN)
23. Chris Johnson, Tennessee Titans (vs. ARI)
24. Fred Jackson, Buffalo Bills (at JAX)
25. Jordan Todman, Jacksonville Jaguars (vs. BUF)
26. Andre Ellington, Arizona Cardinals (at TEN)
27. DeAngelo Williams, Carolina Panthers (vs. NYJ)
28. Chris Ivory, New York Jets (at CAR)
29. Ray Rice, Baltimore Ravens (at DET)
30. Joique Bell, Detroit Lions (vs. BAL)
31. Pierre Thomas, New Orleans Saints (at STL)
32. Donald Brown, Indianapolis Colts (vs. HOU)
33. Trent Richardson, Indianapolis Colts (vs. HOU)
34. BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Cincinnati Bengals (at PIT)
35. Stevan Ridley, New England Patriots (at MIA)
36. Toby Gerhart, Minnesota Vikings (vs. PHI)
37. Lamar Miller, Miami Dolphins (vs. NE)
38. Darren Sproles, New Orleans Saints (at STL)
39. James Starks, Green Bay Packers (at DAL)
40. Mike Tolbert, Carolina Panthers (vs. NYJ)
41. LeGarrette Blount, New England Patriots (at MIA)
42. Daniel Thomas, Miami Dolphins (vs. NE)
43. Marcel Reece, Oakland Raiders (vs. KC)
44. Bilal Powell, New York Jets (at CAR)
45. Jacquizz Rodgers, Atlanta Falcons (vs. WAS)
46. Fozzy Whittaker, Cleveland Browns (vs. CHI)
47. Shonn Greene, Tennessee Titans (vs. ARI)
48. Mark Ingram, New Orleans Saints (at STL)
49. Matt Asiata, Minnesota Vikings (vs. PHI)
50. Roy Helu, Washington Redskins (at ATL)

* Note: I have removed DEN/SD running backs since they have already played this week.

More Week 15 Fantasy Football Rankings:

Week 15 Daily Fantasy Football Salary-Cap Analysis:

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