The biggest fantasy news of my rankings is the rise of Jonathan Taylor. The rookie running back has suddenly earned RB1 status after posing a streak of very strong performances. Entering week 15, I have him ranked in the top tier. To find out where other running backs rank, check out my week 15 RB fantasy rankings for PPR leagues.
|Ronald Jones II
|Lynn Bowden Jr.
|Todd Gurley II
|Jeff Wilson Jr.
|Melvin Gordon III
Tier 1 Running Backs
It was yet another monster week by Titans’ running back Derrick Henry. The 26 year old torched Jacksonville for over 200 yards and 2 touchdowns with his explosive, big-play ability. The 36.2 fantasy game was somehow only his third best of the season. Combine that with a very easy matchup, and he overtakes Dalvin Cook in my rankings for the best overall running back entering week 15. Henry should be started in all leagues, and become a top 3 draft pick in next year’s drafts.
Dalvin Cook has finally fallen in my rankings after several weeks of dominance at the top. Somehow his 19 point performance was under average for this year’s RB1. Despite dropping a spot, he remains a dominant player that should be ranked near the top of every fantasy draft board for next year. The Vikings play an above average Chicago defense, but particularly ranks 8th against fantasy running backs. Cook is likely to have another huge game, but don’t be surprised if Derrick Henry out-performs him again this week.
Alvin Kamara’s fantasy value has not fallen significantly without Drew Brees like some predicted. The pro bowler has still averaged over 14 points per game without Brees. Last week he torched Philadelphia for 50 yards rushing and 44 through the air. He added in a rushing touchdown score which helped bring his total to 22.4 fantasy points. It looks like the Saints will keep Brees benched as he continues to become fully healthy, so look for another Taysom Hill and Kamara connection heading into their week 15 matchup against Kansas City. He remains a must-start. I rank Kamara as the RB3 this week.
The headliner of my article comes from a rookie out of Wisconsin. Jonathan Taylor has now recorded 3 consecutive games with 15+ fantasy points, including last week’s monster performance of 30.5. It is clearer than ever that he is the lead back in Indianapolis, with Nyheim Hines seeing significantly less carries every game. The Colts play Houston this week, who ranks 31st against running backs in fantasy. Taylor is a must-start in this game as an RB1. He ranks as my RB4 for week 15.
Nick Chubb has continued to dominate on this Browns’ run heavy offense. The lead back rushed for 17 attempts and 82 yards against Baltimore on Monday. Few players have seen more than Chubb’s 16.67 carries per game, making him a workhorse back on the Browns. Notably, Chubb also has 4 rushing touchdowns in his past 3 games. The Browns play a Giants team on Sunday that has a respectable rushing defense, but with a struggling offense and special teams, expect plenty of opportunities for Chubb to score. He’s my RB5 this week.
David Montgomery has shot up my rankings with 3 consecutive huge performances. Only Christian McCaffery (who surprisingly didn’t play last week and is doubtful this week), ties Montgomery for 3 consecutive games with at least 24 fantasy points (PPR). Last week he rushed for over 100 yards, a touchdown, and 43 more receiving yards against Houston. The Bears travel to Minnesota to play an unimpressive Vikings rushing defense. Montgomery is a must start in all leagues, as he could win your fantasy playoffs. He’s my RB6 entering week 15.
High-Tier (Not 1) Running Backs
Austin Ekeler is not guaranteed to play this weekend. That point needs to be clear before I begin my analysis of this talented Charger. Unfortunately, for Ekeler, this is not the first time he’s dealt with injuries this year. He’s missed 7 weeks mid-season because of a hamstring injury. Now dealing with a quadricep injury, it’s uncertain if he can play again. But in the three performances we’ve seen out of Ekeler since returning from that hamstring injury, he’s played very well. He averages over 19 points per game, largely due to his massive volume as a pass catching option. He averaged 8 receptions in those games, which is huge in PPR leagues. The Chargers travel to Las Vegas to play an unimpressive Raiders defense. Ekeler is an RB1 and my 7th overall best running back for week 15.
Cam Akers has burst on to the front fantasy news after three huge performances. The rookie out of Florida State has 3 consecutive games with at least 14 fantasy points, including two last week in which he tallied 20+ carries. Last week was the best game of the 21 year old’s career, rushing for 171 yards, with 2 catches for 23 more yards. It was a fantasy game of 21.4 points. He is now being used a vital weapon on this Rams’ offense. The Rams play the Jets this week, the most punting team in the league, so look for Akers to have plenty of opportunities to score fantasy points. He’s an RB1, and my 9th overall running back entering week 15.
Wayne Gallman barely continue his 10+ fantasy point streak last week in the Giants’ home blowout loss to the Cardinals. The 26 year old had 57 yards on the ground, with 3 receptions for 16 more yards. It was his 2nd consecutive week without a touchdown. But it was his 7th game with at least 10 fantasy points. He remains a strong running back start option, but should not be considered an RB1. The Giants stay at home this week to play a Browns’ defense that ranks 18th against opposing fantasy running backs. Give Gallman another start, but place him as your RB2 or flex.
Mid-Tier Running Backs
J.D. McKissic’s fantasy value jumped after Antonio Gibson suffered a toe injury in Washington’s week 13 upset over the Steelers. It wasn’t a huge game for McKissic’s start last week at San Francisco, but remains a valuable option heading into week 15. He has averaged 14.2 fantasy points in the last two weeks, and is looking forward to playing a Seattle team that lacks a strong defense. He’s an RB2 or strong flex option entering week 15.
Ronald Jones II now has back-to-back very strong outings. Last week he rushed for 80 yards and a touchdown against Minnesota, just after burning the Chiefs for 66 yards and a receiving touchdown. The two performances have averaged to 16.35 fantasy points per game. Jones will be tested this weekend, however, against a tough Atlanta defense. Cautiously flex Jones in week 15, but remember that he’s more of a risky bet.
Gus Edwards has similarly stringed together strong outings for his team. He has scored 10+ points in consecutive games, including last week when he scored 2 rushing touchdowns with 49 yards at Cleveland. Edwards has been far from elite all year long, but may be used more in the Ravens’ offense with how successful he’s been recently. The Ravens play a weak Jacksonville defense this weekend, so consider flexing Edwards in week 15.
Low-Tier Running Backs
James Connor has taken a fall in my rankings after his disastrous game last week against the Bills. He could only muster 18 yards from 10 attempts with no added yards through the air. Connor has not been having quite the year he’s wanted, but last week’s performance was still very disappointing after returning from covid. Mike Tomlin said that Connor is dealing with a quadriceps injury, and is listed as questionable for next week. If he is able to play, he should not be started in leagues. Keep him benched until Connor can return fully healthy.
Melvin Gordon III has been playing fairly well recently for someone listed so far down in my rankings. But beyond momentary glimpses of greatness from the ex-Charger, Gordon has been unable to do much this year in fantasy. He’s seeing the ball plenty (13.2 attempts per game in last 5 weeks), so there is optimism. But avoid starting him until he can consistently perform. He should be on the radar of managers, but on the starting lineup.
Giovani Bernard may have lost his role as the Bengal’s starting back last week after fumbling the ball on his first carry. The misstep came after two weeks of disappointing starts in replacement of the injured Joe Mixon. With the fantasy playoffs arriving, do not look for Bernard to save your team. He is fantasy irrelevant almost certainly until next year.
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