The playoff buzz is just getting started in the real NFL season, but for fantasy football owners, everything comes down to this weekend, and championship teams will need standout performances from their star running backs.
While debates rage each offseason about running backs’ fantasy value, it is extremely difficult to have any type of success without decent production from the position.
It also helps tremendously to have stars like Adrian Peterson on the roster, and teams playing in the championship right now almost certainly have at least one elite back.
Here are the RBs who will finish the fantasy season with an impressive outing.
Arian Foster, Houston Texans
When the Texans take on the Minnesota Vikings, the two best running backs in the league—in both fantasy and real football—will be battling for the spotlight.
Peterson has had a remarkable campaign after coming off of a major knee surgery, and he has a chance to break Eric Dickerson’s all-time single-season rushing record. Most of the headlines involving a running back in this game will deal with the Vikings’ star.
But Foster will be determined to prove that he can still challenge Peterson’s standing as the best player at his position, and Minnesota’s defense is far less capable than Houston’s.
The Texans will look to build an early lead and feed Foster for the remainder of the game. This will allow the Houston standout to have a productive multi-touchdown day.
Alfred Morris, Washington Redskins
The Redskins are locked in a fierce battle for the NFC East crown, while the Philadelphia Eagles are simply waiting for this season to end. There is little doubt which team will be more motivated in this matchup.
With Robert Griffin III likely returning from injury this week, the Washington backfield will be dynamic and difficult to stop.
Morris has received 20 or more carries in each of the past five weeks, and he will once again get plenty of touches. The Redskins will want to make a statement in this game, and they will pound the ball right at the Eagles.
Philadelphia’s run defense has been mediocre this season and ranks 20th in yards allowed per game. The Eagles’ front-seven will not be able to contain Morris in this contest.
Stevan Ridley, New England Patriots
Ridley was a major disappointment to fantasy owners last week, but facing the San Francisco 49ers is a nightmare for any running back.
A productive running game is vital in the playoffs, and Bill Belichick will want to ensure that Ridley is in rhythm before the regular season ends. He will make it a point to get him a high number of carries against the Jacksonville Jaguars this weekend.
The Jaguars have allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to running back in ESPN leagues this year, and Ridley’s opportunities will lead to impressive production.
Fantasy owners that need one more quality week from Ridley will be extremely pleased.