Fantasy RB Rankings Week 16: Who to start, sit at running back in fantasy football

Fantasy football owners were treated to a full-on mess of injuries and COVID-related postponements last week, and if it did nothing else, it should’ve provided a reminder that handcuffing your starting running backs is crucial this time of year. In fact, becoming familiar with a each team’s entire depth chart isn’t a bad idea. If a team has a breakout, it could affect multiple players, especially in a personnel group. Our Week 16 fantasy RB rankings have to take some educated guesses as to who will be playing and who won’t, but there will be plenty of updates necessary throughout the week.ย 

Elijah Mitchell (knee), D’Andre Swift (shoulder), Kareem Hunt (knee), and Damien Harris (hamstring) were the key backs who missed last week’s games because of injuries, and it’s unclear if any will be back this week. At this point, it would be somewhat surprising if Swift returned, but the other three could be legit game-time decisions. Jamaal Williams, Phillip Lindsay, and Alexander Mattison were notable backs who missed last week because of COVID protocols, but Williams (@ Falcons) is the only one who would have considerable value if he returned this week (which he likely will).ย 

Quarterback | Wide receiver | Tight end | D/ST | Kicker

Darrell Henderson (@ Vikings), Michael Carter (vs. Jaguars), Javonte Williams and Melvin Gordon (@ Raiders), Clyde Edwards-Helaire (vs. Steelers), Miles Sanders (@ Giants), and whoever starts for the Lions (@ Falcons) headlines the list of borderline RBs with favorable matchups. With the possible exception of Sanders, most of these guys are safely in 12-team lineups on a weekly basis anyway, but there’s no reason to be worried about them this week.

Quarterback | Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end | D/ST | Kicker

Those matchups also create some potential flex opportunities for backups Sony Michel (@ Vikings), Tevin Coleman (vs. Jaguars), Darrel Williams (vs. Steelers), and Jordan Howard (@ Giants). We’ll also add committee backs David Johnson and Rex Burkhead (vs. Chargers). However, most fantasy owners would rather opt for a boom-or-bust WR in their flex than a relatively high-floor, low-ceiling RB like those players, especially in PPR leagues. It really comes down to what you think you’ll need more to win your matchup.ย 

On the other side of the matchup coin, players like James Conner and Chase Edmonds (vs. Colts), Devonta Freeman (@ Bengals), Chuba Hubbard (vs. Buccaneers), Myles Gaskin (@ Saints), D’Onta Foreman (vs. 49ers), and Devin Singletary (@ Patriots) are the borderline backs in the toughest spots. It’s tough to sit Conner because of his TD upside, while Freeman and Foreman are developing relatively safe floors (last week notwithstanding for Freeman), but Edmonds, Hubbard and the Bills aren’t worth pinning your hopes on in standard leagues. The same goes for backups Tony Pollard (vs. Washington), AJ Dillon (vs. Browns), and last week’s breakout Duke Johnson (@ Saints). Ronald Jones (@ Panthers) would profile similarly to Conner if he’s starting in place of Fournette.

Again, it’s tough to make too many plans at RB (or any position) early in the week. Injuries will pop up, and at this point in the season, teams are much more likely to simply shut down players for the year. If you’re still alive in your fantasy playoffs, chances are you’re paying close attention, and we’ll be here to help fill in the gaps along the way.ย 

Note: We’ll be updating these RB rankings throughout the week, so check back for analysis and the latest player movement.

Fantasy RB Rankings Week 16: Who to start at running back

Rankings are based on standard, non-PPR scoring

Rank Player
1 Jonathan Taylor, IND @ ARI
2 Austin Ekeler, LAC @ HOU
3 James Robinson, JAX @ NYJ
4 Cordarrelle Patterson, ATL vs. DET
5 David Montgomery, CHI @ SEA
6 Najee Harris, PIT @ KC
7 Dalvin Cook, MIN vs. LAR
8 Leonard Fournette, TB @ CAR
9 Clyde Edwards-Helaire, KC vs. PIT
10 Darrell Henderson, LAR @ MIN
11 Alvin Kamara, NO vs. MIA
12 Nick Chubb, CLE @ GB
13 Javonte Williams, DEN @ LV
14 Ezekiel Elliott, DAL vs. WAS
15 Antonio Gibson, WAS @ DAL
16 Joe Mixon, CIN vs. BAL
17 Melvin Gordon, DEN @ LV
18 Josh Jacobs, LV vs. DEN
19 Aaron Jones, GB vs. CLE
20 Saquon Barkley, NYG @ PHI
21 Michael Carter, NYJ vs. JAX
22 Rashaad Penny, SEA vs. CHI
23 Miles Sanders, PHI vs. NYG
24 James Conner, ARI vs. IND
25 D’Andre Swift, DET @ ATL
26 Elijah Mitchell, SF @ TEN
27 Devonta Freeman, BAL @ CIN
28 D’Onta Foreman, TEN vs. SF
29 Damien Harris, NE vs. BUF
30 Rex Burkhead, HOU vs. LAC
31 Chuba Hubbard, CAR vs. TB
32 Jamaal Williams, DET @ ATL
33 Darrel Williams, KC vs. PIT
34 David Johnson, HOU vs. LAC
35 Chase Edmonds, ARI vs. IND
36 Myles Gaskin, MIA @ NO
37 Devin Singletary, BUF @ NE
38 Sony Michel, LAR @ MIN
39 Jordan Howard, PHI vs. NYG
40 Tevin Coleman, NYJ vs. JAX
41 Rhamondre Stevenson, NE vs. BUF
42 Tony Pollard, DAL vs. WAS
43 Mark Ingram, NO vs. MIA
44 AJ Dillon, GB vs. CLE
45 J.D. McKissic, WAS @ DAL
46 Justin Jackson, LAC @ HOU
47 Mike Davis, ATL vs. DET
48 Latavius Murray, BAL @ CIN
49 Duke Johnson, MIA @ NO
50 Dontrell Hilliard, TEN vs. SF
51 Devontae Booker, NYG @ PHI
52 Boston Scott, PHI vs. NYG
53 Jeremy McNichols, TEN vs. SF
54 Alexander Mattison, MIN vs. LAR
55 Matt Breida, BUF @ NE
56 Phillip Lindsay, MIA @ NO
57 Joshua Kelley, LAC @ HOU
58 D’Ernest Johnson, CLE @ GB
59 Ameer Abdullah, CAR vs. TB
60 Carlos Hyde, JAX @ NYJ
61 Samaje Perine, CIN vs. BAL
62 Nyheim Hines, IND @ ARI
63 Craig Reynolds, DET @ ATL
64 Alex Collins, SEA vs. CHI
65 Jeff Wilson Jr., SF @ TEN
66 Ronald Jones II, TB @ CAR
67 Peyton Barber, LV vs. DEN
68 Godwin Igwebuike, DET @ ATL
69 Brandon Bolden, NE vs. BUF
70 Royce Freeman, HOU vs. LAC
71 Khalil Herbert, CHI @ SEA
72 Jaret Patterson, WAS @ DAL

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