Fantasy Football Week 15 Rankings: RB
Week 14 was pretty crazy, although not much crazier than most weeks in the NFL. Think about it -- every week there's some stud running back who comes up short (Adrian Peterson and Rashard Mendenhall were this week's culprits), while some waiver-wire guy manages to find the end zone (kudos to the fortune-tellers who started Rashad Jennings, Willis McGahee, and Javarris James this past week). It's simply more magnified now because of the one-and-done setup of the fantasy football playoffs.
There are a few surprises in this week's rankings, most noticeably the aforementioned A.P. clocking in at No. 20. He's still start-worthy, of course, but I feel a lot more comfortable with the 19 names ahead of him due to two factors. One, his matchup with Chicago is a brutal one (Peterson scored seven points against the Bears in their last meeting). Two, some guy named Joe Webb (or, fantasy gods forbid ... Patrick Ramsey) is on track to be the Vikings' starter this coming weekend.
Now, some might say you have to start Peterson no matter what, and I won't argue with that. All I'll say is that there are tens of thousands -- perhaps more -- fantasy owners out there who are now on the outside looking in at their league's playoffs because they followed that mantra.
My point? Put some thought into each and every one of your roster decisions, especially when it counts the most. If these rankings serve any purpose, it's to get you to do just that.
1. Michael Turner, ATL (at SEA)
2. Darren McFadden, OAK (vs. DEN)
3. Maurice Jones-Drew, JAC (at IND)
4. Arian Foster, HOU (at TEN)
5. Chris Johnson, TEN (vs. HOU)
6. Ray Rice, BAL (vs. NO)
7. Peyton Hillis, CLE (at CIN)
8. LeSean McCoy, PHI (at NYG)
9. Fred Jackson, BUF (at MIA)
10. Steven Jackson, STL (vs. KC)
11. Knowshon Moreno, DEN (at OAK)
12. Rashard Mendenhall, PIT (vs. NYJ)
13. Jonathan Stewart, CAR (vs. ARI)
14. Jamaal Charles, KC (at STL)
15. Ahmad Bradshaw, NYG (vs. PHI)
16. Tim Hightower, ARI (at CAR)
17. LeGarrette Blount, TB (vs. DET)
18. Mike Tolbert, SD (vs. SF)
19. BenJarvus Green-Ellis, NE (vs. GB)
20. Adrian Peterson, MIN (vs. CHI)
21. Ryan Torain, WAS (at DAL)
22. Felix Jones, DAL (vs. WAS)
23. Matt Forte, CHI (at MIN)
24. Brandon Jacobs, NYG (vs. PHI)
25. Ronnie Brown, MIA (vs. BUF)
26. Mike Goodson, CAR (vs. ARI)
27. Ryan Mathews, SD (vs. SF)
28. Jahvid Best, DET (at TB)
29. Cedric Benson, CIN (vs. CLE)
30. Michael Bush, OAK (vs. DEN)
31. Chris Ivory, NO (at BAL)
32. Javarris James, IND (vs. JAC)
33. Brian Westbrook, SF (at SD)
34. Danny Woodhead, NE (vs. GB)
35. Donald Brown, IND (vs. JAC)
36. Ricky Williams, MIA (vs. BUF)
37. Maurice Morris, DET (at TB)
38. Thomas Jones, KC (at STL)
39. Tashard Choice, DAL (vs. WAS)
40. Willis McGahee, BAL (vs. NO)
41. LaDainian Tomlinson, NYJ (at PIT)
42. Rashad Jennings, JAC (at IND)
43. Pierre Thomas, NO (at BAL)
44. Chester Taylor, CHI (at MIN)
45. Shonn Greene, NYJ (at PIT)
46. Beanie Wells, ARI (at CAR)
47. Marshawn Lynch, SEA (vs. ATL)
48. Cadillac Williams, TB (vs. DET)
49. Anthony Dixon, SF (at SD)
50. Reggie Bush, NO (at BAL)
• I was way wrong about Dixon over Westbrook last week, but I don't like either against San Diego in Week 15. My crystal ball tells me this game won't be close. My stat sheet tells me the Chargers held KC -- the league's No. 1 rushing attack -- in check a week ago. Avoid this situation at all costs in standard leagues (Westbrook is still a viable flex play in PPR formats).
• Same goes for the New York Jets running backs. Forget the fact that Tomlinson and Greene haven't seen six in seven weeks; they're facing the Steelers, who've allowed just three rushing scores all year long (only one rushing score since Week 5). Pittsburgh is also ranked first in points per game allowed to opposing rushers (11.5), meaning the Tomlinson/Greene combo will be lucky to combine for double-digit points in Week 15.
• Don't ask me about Green Bay's RB situation; I haven't ranked any of them for a reason. As long as Matt Flynn is in, I'm not brave enough to guess who might lead the team in touches. And even if I were, that guy's chances of scoring would be slim. Plus, they're playing New England, who's on another planet right now both offensively and defensively.
• Donald Brown looks like he'll get another start this week for Indy, but like most weeks, Javarris James is the choice if you're forced to pick between the two. James isn't special, but when Indy gets down near the goal line, there's no doubt he's the guy.