Week 15 Fantasy Football Rankings: Top 50 Running Backs

Kevin Hanson@EDSFootballAnalyst IIIDecember 15, 2012

SAN DIEGO, CA - DECEMBER 02:  Running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis #42 of the Cincinnati Bengals carries the ball against the San Diego Chargers in the second half at Qualcomm Stadium on December 2, 2012 in San Diego, California. The Bengals defeated the Chargers 20-13.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

Cincinnati Bengals running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis rushed for 106 yards and a touchdown in the team's win over the Eagles on Thursday Night Football.

It marked the fourth time in five games that "The Law Firm" went over the century mark.

He now has 543 yards and three scores in his past five games, but he will have a tough matchup in Week 16 against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Meanwhile, Philadelphia Eagles rookie Bryce Brown followed up last week's dud performance with another dud. He carried the ball 16 times for only 34 yards.

In Weeks 12 and 13, Brown had 43 carries for 347 yards and four touchdowns. In Weeks 14 and 15, he had 28 carries for 40 yards and no scores.

If you started Brown and advanced to the championship next week in spite of him, the Eagles face the Redskins, which rank seventh in the NFL in rushing defense. Then again, it's certainly possible (likely) that LeSean McCoy returns from the concussion injury he suffered four weeks ago.

Adrian Peterson Within Striking Distance of Dickerson's Record

If LeBron James asked me, "Which way do you want me to go by you?" in a game of one-on-one, there is little doubt that he would beat me off the dribble even though I knew which way he would go.

One could make a similar comparison for Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson.

Although opposing defenses know that he is virtually the only option in the Vikings offense, especially since the injury to Percy Harvin, Peterson has still rushed for 100-plus yards in each of his past seven games.

During that seven-game span, Peterson has 1,101 rushing yards on 152 carries, which is 7.24 yards per carry, to go along with his eight rushing touchdowns. He also has 18 receptions for 82 yards since Week 7.

Coincidentally, Cleveland Browns rookie Trent Richardson has the same number of carries during that stretch yet has only 529 yards. While that enormous gap between their numbers makes Richardson's 529 yards seem low, he ranks 11th in the NFL in rushing during that span.

Another way to look at it is Peterson's 1,101 yards in the past seven games would have ranked him inside the top 10 in rushing for all of 2011.

With a per-game average of 123.1 yards per game, Peterson is on pace to finish with 1,970 rushing yards and is within striking distance of Eric Dickerson's single-season record of 2,105 yards.

Michael (No Longer) "The Burner" Turner

Atlanta Falcons running back Michael Turner carried the ball seven times last week for 14 yards, both of which were season lows.

In his past five games, however, Turner has three games with less than 20 rushing yards. In addition, he has 15 carries or less in each game during that stretch.

Turner has a total of only 175 rushing yards and a yards-per-carry average of 2.92 over the course of the past five games.

As bad as he has been, the good news is Turner has a streak of four consecutive games with a score and has scored in five of his past six.

This weekend, the Falcons host the New York Giants, which have allowed only seven rushing touchdowns this season. Only five teams have allowed fewer.

With Ahmad Bradshaw out, Another Big Day for David Wilson?

Giants running back Ahmad Bradshaw sprained his knee in last week's win over the New Orleans Saints and will miss the team's Week 15 matchup against the Falcons.

Last week, rookie David Wilson rushed for a career-high 100 yards, scored two touchdowns and finished second in fantasy points among all running backs.

Wilson, who was the team's first-round pick, generated plenty of buzz up until his regular-season debut when he fumbled on his second career carry.

Since then, he has spent the majority of time in coach Tom Coughlin's doghouse, at least on offense.

Out of necessity (injuries), Wilson gets a chance to shine in the semifinal round of the fantasy playoffs in most leagues.

The Falcons have allowed the seventh-most fantasy points to opposing running backs this season.

Marshawn Lynch Even Better After Getting Paid

After he signed a long-term deal with the Seattle Seahawks in the offseason, many wondered whether Marshawn Lynch would be able to duplicate last year's success.

Not only has he duplicated it, he has exceeded it.

Lynch has rushed for a career-high 1,266 yards and ranks second in the league behind only Peterson.

In the Seahawks' rout of the Cardinals, Lynch rushed for 128 yards—his seventh 100-yard game—and scored three touchdowns last week.

The Seahawks face the Buffalo Bills, which have allowed the third-most fantasy points to opposing running backs this season.

That said, they have been much better recently. Through Week 9, the Bills allowed five 100-yard rushers. Since then, they have allowed none.

In the past four weeks, only St. Louis Rams running back Steven Jackson (64 yards on 19 carries) has more than 41 rushing yards against the Bills.

Here are my fantasy rankings for the running backs yet to play in Week 15 (standard-scoring):

1. Adrian Peterson, Vikings (at STL)
2. Arian Foster, Texans (vs. IND)
3. Doug Martin, Buccaneers (at NO)
4. Marshawn Lynch, Seahawks (at BUF)
5. Ray Rice, Ravens (vs. DEN)
6. Jamaal Charles, Chiefs (at OAK)
7. Trent Richardson, Browns (vs. WAS)
8. Alfred Morris, Redskins (at CLE)
9. Chris Johnson, Titans (vs. NYJ)
10. David Wilson, Giants (at ATL)
11. Matt Forte, Bears (vs. GB)
12. C.J. Spiller, Bills (vs. SEA)
13. Frank Gore, 49ers (at NE)
14. Knowshon Moreno, Broncos (at BAL)
15. Darren McFadden, Raiders (vs. KC)
16. Steven Jackson, Rams (vs. MIN)
17. DeMarco Murray, Cowboys (vs. PIT)
18. Mikel Leshoure, Lions (at ARI)
19. Stevan Ridley, Patriots (vs. SF)
20. Reggie Bush, Dolphins (vs. JAX)
21. Ryan Mathews, Chargers (vs CAR)
22. Shonn Greene, Jets (at TEN)
23. Darren Sproles, Saints (vs. TB)
24. Jonathan Dwyer, Steelers (at DAL)
25. Vick Ballard, Colts (at HOU)
26. Michael Turner, Falcons (vs. NYG)
27. DeAngelo Williams, Panthers (at SD)
28. Montell Owens, Jaguars (at MIA)
29. Bilal Powell, Jets (at TEN)
30. Alex Green, Packers (at CHI)
31. Joique Bell, Lions (at ARI)
32. Jacquizz Rodgers, Falcons (vs. NYG)
33. Beanie Wells, Cardinals (vs. DET)
34. Daniel Thomas, Dolphins (vs. JAX)
35. Mark Ingram, Saints (vs. TB)
36. Marcel Reece, Raiders (vs. KC)
37. Pierre Thomas, Saints (vs. TB)
38. Michael Bush, Bears (vs. GB)
39. Felix Jones, Cowboys (vs. PIT)
40. Shane Vereen, Patriots (vs. SF)
41. Mike Tolbert, Cardinals (at SD)
42. Peyton Hillis, Chiefs (at OAK)
43. Isaac Redman, Steelers (at DAL)
44. Robert Turbin, Seahawks (at BUF)
45. Ben Tate, Texans (vs. IND)
46. LaRod Stephens-Howling, Cardinals (vs. DET)
47. Danny Woodhead, Patriots (vs. SF)
48. LaMichael James, 49ers (at NE)
49. Ronnie Hillman, Broncos (at BAL)
50. Darryl Richardson, Rams (vs. MIN)

[Note: Players in the Thursday Night Football matchup have been removed.]

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