The biggest fantasy running back news was Panthers’ superstar Christian McCaffery being sidelined yet again in a very late decision. The pro bowler has now missed 8 games between an ankle injury he suffered earlier this season, and now an ongoing shoulder problem. Backup running back Mike Davis is expected to get another start week 12 at Minnesota.
But another movement that went under-the-radar, is that Giovani Bernard is likely to become the Bengals entire offense. With Joe Burrow’s injury and an inexperienced quarterback now at the helm, it is likely the team will rely on their veteran running back to carry the offense.
If you drafted McCaffery early, your backs have disappointed this season, or you want to create a deeper bench, you should check out my Week 12 RB Fantasy Rankings PPR.
|20||4||Todd Gurley II||Falcons|
|23||4||Melvin Gordon III||Broncos|
|37||7||Ronald Jones II||Buccaneers|
|41||8||Darrell Henderson Jr.||Rams|
|47||9||Benny Snell Jr.||Steelers|
Tier 1 Running Backs
It is no secret that Dalvin Cook is having a monster season, but I want to elaborate on exactly how historic this year has been for the Viking. In an increasingly pass-heavy league, Dalvin Cook is on pace to rush for more yards than any player in 6 years. That is despite Dalvin Cook missing a game earlier this season due to a groin injury. His 118.78 rushing yards per game this year would finish as the 14th best mark by any player all time if the season ended today. His 26.8 fantasy points per game average ranks among one of the best fantasy seasons of all time for a running back. In short, he’s been dominant. Not that matchups matter for Cook, but he is playing a weak Carolina defense on Sunday. He’s an automatic start every week for the rest of the season. I expect him to be the first or second overall draft pick next season.
Alvin Kamara’s incredible fantasy season has been overshadowed by Cook’s, so I want to shine some light on the pro bowler’s year. At RB2 overall, Kamara is averaging well over 20 fantasy points per game. His 4.5 yards per attempt is impressive but it’s catching, not rushing, that makes Kamara score so much for fantasy owners. His 67 receptions on the season ranks 7th overall and 1st among running backs. He is a PPR machine. He is also one of the most consistent players in fantasy, having never fallen below 10 fantasy points and almost always scoring around 20. He is set and forget player that should be drafted early in the next year’s fantasy drafts.
Derrick Henry, unlike Kamara, does not see many receptions. His lucid fantasy value is based on volume alone. His 22.9 rushing attempts per game this year ranks at the very top of the league, with the next most rusher being Dalvin Cook with 22.3. Despite just 12 receptions all season, Henry currently holds the third most fantasy points among running backs. The Titan pro bowler should be similarly started every week.
Aaron Jones, for whatever reason, tends to not receive the credit he deserves. I guess on a team with Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams, it’s tough to share the spotlight. He is quietly having back-to-back very strong seasons. He is set to rush for over a thousand yards again, receive for another 400, and reel in even more catches. His 32 catches on the year ranks 7th among all running backs. Like Kamara, he is very consistent. Jones has never failed to reach double-digit fantasy points in a game this year. I expect him to keep producing against an above average Chicago defense on Sunday.
Josh Jacobs has finally entered the tier 1 rankings after weeks of flirting around it. His 13.4 fantasy points against Kansas City was enough for me to consider him elite. The Raider has now rushed for at least one touchdown in three consecutive games. For a workhorse back that 3rd in the league in attempts, I have more than enough reason to put Jacobs in that tier 1 position.
High-Tier (Not 1) Running Backs
Antonio Gibson is the only running back that is higher on my list every week I’ve done these rankings. continues to produce, and I continue to rank him higher as a result; it’s as simple as that. In his last 4 games, Gibson is averaging 17.8 fantasy points per game. In the same stretch, his worst game was 12.5 fantasy points. Those are really good numbers for a running back drafted in very the late rounds of fantasy, if he was drafted at all. He should be started every week going forward until a defense proves he can be stopped.
To the surprise of everyone, Ezekiel Elliot has been a strange play this season. At the beginning of the year, it looked like he was headed for another top 5 fantasy campaign. But between rotating quarterbacks and a collapsing offense, he began consistently underperforming expectations. From weeks 6 through 9, the pro bowl back had 12 or less fantasy points every game. In the same time period, he entered a touchdown drought of 4 games, the longest of his career. In last week’s upset win over the Vikings, however, Elliot ended it when receiving a 6 yard touchdown pass in the redzone. The score helped him total a fantasy game of 19.4 points, his most since the Cowboys week 5 win against the Giants. It is unclear exaclty how Elliot’s value will shape for the rest of the season, but the return of Andy Dalton is clearly a sign of optimism for the back. You should cautiously start him in your RB2 slot.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire is having a similarly odd year. Confidence from fantasy owners in CEH were at its peak after his week 1 career debut. The rookie scored 19.8 fantasy points, and looked as if he would maintain a key role in the Chiefs 2020 offense. The hype, as it turned out, was an overreaction. The Chief scored less fantasy points in every game but one for his next 8 games. It was believed he was an RB2 at best with a little upside. But last week CEH showed up again, carrying the ball for 2 touchdowns and 69 yards in his 14 carries. The game was coming off a bye week for Kansas City, which gives me reason to believe offensive game planning may have switched in the young back’s favor. He may end up as a top 10 running back after all.
Mike Davis has received a lot more playing time this year than anyone expected. His pro-bowl teammate, Christian McCaffery, has now missed 8 games between ankle and shoulder injuries. In those 8 games Davis has started in this year, he is averaging 16 fantasy points per game. His 49 receptions rank tied for 19th in the league, despite not starting several games. In other words, he is a PPR machine when McCaffery is out. With the shoulder likely sidelinding McCaffery again this week, Davis should be started in every league.
Mid-Tier Running Backs
Raheem Mostert is expected to be back this week after missing 4 games due to an ankle injury. Before the sprain, the 49er was averaging 75 yards through the ground and an additional 37 through the air. With those stats, he was a surprise fantasy star in the beginning of the season. He will be greeted by a tough Rams defense in his return. He is definitely an uncertain start, but worth the risk considering his early success. He rushed for 65 yards in his shortened week 6 game against them before going out with an injury in the 3rd quarter. He’s a strong flex or RB2 option in most leagues.
Just a couple of weeks ago, I listed Wayne Gallman as the last ranked back in my ranking at 50th overall. I wrote a short blurb about him at the end of my article suggesting that he should be interesting to watch as the season progresses. It turns out my assertion was vastly understated. Gallman is turning out to be a strong fantasy start in most leagues. In the Giants past 4 games, Gallman is averaging 15.8 fantasy points. Those are RB2 numbers. The Giants’ back went undrafted in almost every league. By the end of this week, he should be rostered in the majority of leagues, not the 48.8% he currently is. Of every player in the mid-tier rankings, I believe Gallman has by far the most value for his rostered rate. He is playing a Bengals team on Sunday that, without Burrow, is likely to yield plenty of drives to the Giants. Gallman should continue his streak. Snag him off the waiver wire immediately if you can, and don’t be afraid to make him your RB2.
Giovani Bernard’s fantasy value went soaring this week after Joe Burrow’s tragic season ending injury. It is more than likely the Bengals will become a very run heavy offense with Ryan Finnely at QB. In his substitution for Burrow last week, he went 3 for 10 on pass attempts with an interception. Cincinnati will need to rely on their veteran running back for their offense going forward. Look for Bernard to be a second-half of season fantasy stud.
Low-Tier Running Backs
Nyheim Hines had a very disappointing performance last week against Green Bay. After breaking out for 28.5 fantasy points week 11 against Tennessee, the back failed to break double-digits. There was optimism among many, including myself, about Hines’ fantasy value going forward. Now it seems as though his huge game was nothing more than a fluke. He should be paid attention to in fantasy, but should not be a top waiver wire target or start option.
It would be unfair of me to not mention Carlos Hyde’s name in this week’s RB rankings article. The Seahawk tallied a surprise 17.5 fantasy points seemingly out of nowhere last Thursday at home against Arizona. Hyde was coming off a hamstring injury that had sidelined him since week 7. In that game he similarly outperformed expectations, gaining 16.6 points also against Arizona. For games not against the Cardinals, Carlos Hyde is averaging just 5.8 points. For whatever reason, he has Arizona’s number. I don’t expect him to keep his surprise momentum going this week against a disastrous Eagles team, but he is by far the most interesting running back to watch at the bottom of my rankings.
- Week 12 Top Fantasy Football Defenses
- Week 12 Top Waiver Wire Pickups & Adds
- Week 12 QB Waiver Wire Pickups & Adds
- Week 12 RB Waiver Wire Pickups & Adds
- Week 12 WR Waiver Wire Pickups & Adds
- Week 12 DEF/DST Waiver Wire Pickups & Adds
- Week 12 Fantasy Football Rankings (PPR)
- Week 12 QB Fantasy Football Rankings
- Week 12 WR Fantasy Football Rankings (PPR)