Week 12 Fantasy Football Projections: Running Backs Who Will Deliver Big Games

Ian HanfordFeatured ColumnistNovember 19, 2012

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - OCTOBER 21:  Running back Alfred Morris #46 of the Washington Redskins is tackled by strong safety Stevie Brown #27 of the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium on October 21, 2012 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Alex Trautwig/Getty Images)
Alex Trautwig/Getty Images

Elite production at the running back position can put a fantasy football team over the top.

With playoffs rapidly approaching in fantasy land, one big week could make all the difference. Deciding which running backs to start, aside from the obvious, is critical.

Certain players will always be starters, no matter what. The following three guys probably fall under that category as well, but no one is mistaking them for Adrian Peterson, either.

Let's take a look at three ball-carriers heading for big games in Week 12.


Stevan Ridley

Rob Gronkowski will not be available for Thursday night's prime-time game after breaking his forearm on Sunday (via NFL.com), and that may force New England to switch up its game plan a little bit.

Ridley only had 65 yards against the New York Jets in the first meeting between these two teams, but this is still the 30th-ranked run defense in the NFL. With Gronk out of the lineup, Tom Brady will lean on Ridley more and give him more opportunities to shine.

If you own Ridley in fantasy football land, you probably start him most of the time. This week will be fun, though, because you'll get a nice lump of points right off the bat, giving you an early lead over your opponent.

Ridley has been a pleasant surprise this season, and he's not going to slow down any time soon. With Gronk out, he's going to take on a larger role in this offense for the foreseeable future.


Alfred Morris

Trent Richardson had 95 yards versus Dallas' run defense in Week 11 and LeSean McCoy had a solid week in the game before that, so the room will be there for Morris to maneuver. 

This year's most shocking rookie will take advantage of that.

Dallas' secondary is stellar, so don't expect Mike Shanahan to take many chances with Robert Griffin III through the air, at least early on. 

That leaves Morris to carry the workload, and it's not like he can't handle it. He ran for 76 yards on Sunday, adding to an excellent rookie season so far. He runs perfectly in Shanahan's zone-blocking scheme, using one cut to find daylight. 

Thanksgiving is supposed to be Dallas' day, and the Cowboys will win, but Morris will have himself a day. He's going to get the ball often, and he knows what to do with it.


Doug Martin

Don't rule out a victory for the red-hot Buccaneers in this one, especially with Martin toting the rock. He's emerged as one of the league's most dynamic running backs, and he's only a rookie.

Atlanta may be 9-1, but it's still ranked not great at defending the run. Tampa Bay knows how to use him, and a four-game win streak has this team playing extremely confident football.

Josh Freeman is vastly improved over last season, but Martin's production is why the Bucs are in the NFC wild-card hunt. They will ride the horse that's got them here as they try to hand the Falcons their second loss this season.

Tampa Bay is fun to watch right now, and it's exciting to see what Martin will do next. 

Fantasy owners that drafted Martin are already grinning from ear to ear, and this week will be no different.