Alfred Morris, Washington Redskins
If you have made it this far trusting this sophomore, congrats. He has been disappointing, but he should be at his best against that suspect Dallas Cowboys defense. The Cowboys are fifth worst against the run and last in fantasy against running backs. Morris should approach 100 combined yards and a touchdown.
Ryan Mathews, San Diego Chargers
Despite boasting a top-10 run defense, the Oakland Raiders have been the sixth-worst team in fantasy against running backs. Most of that recent damage was done by Jamaal Charles‘ 51-point Week 15, but Mathews has been hot too.
He has rushed for back-to-back 100-yard games, and he has a touchdown in five of his past eight games, including three in his past four. Mathews and Danny Woodhead are both starts here.
Giovani Bernard, Cincinnati Bengals
The Bengals gave BenJarvus Green-Ellis just four carries a week ago, so consider that a signal they are ready to give Bernard more of the lion’s share of the duty.
It would be clutch for his fantasy owners in their Super Bowl, especially against a Minnesota Vikings defense that has given up the eighth-most points in fantasy. BGE might vulture a short touchdown, but Bernard will break one or two big runs outside the 10-yard line.
Frank Gore, San Francisco 49ers
If not for ankle and knee issues that had him limited in practice this week, this one wouldn’t even bear mentioning. You should feel confident starting Gore, though, against an Atlanta Falcons defense that has given up the fourth-most rushing yards and the seventh-most points to backs.
The 49ers match up so well for some Monday night magic, you might consider Kendall Hunter a flex play. Both 49ers backs give you a chance for some late points in your Super Bowl.
Jordan Todman, Jacksonville Jaguars
This is a conditional start, assuming Maurice Jones-Drew (hamstring) won’t be able to play Sunday against the Titans. MJD was a full participant in practice Friday, according to the NFL injury report, but he is still listed as questionable.
We should assume MJD will at least be limited if he plays. If you have a need for a fill-in running back, Todman is coming off a 153-yard game and facing a Titans team that is second worst against the position in fantasy.
Andre Brown, New York Giants
He was a bum last week against the Seattle Seahawks, and you shouldn’t feel any more confident in him against that Detroit Lions front four. The Lions have the fourth-best run defense in football, and the Giants have an awful offensive line. They don’t match up well at all here. Expect another long day for Brown and the Giants offense.
Rashard Mendenhall and Andre Ellington, Arizona Cardinals
Mendenhall has been quietly effective for fantasy owners because of his eight touchdowns, including five in the past five games. You cannot trust him or the passing-down back, Ellington, against the Seahawks defense in Seattle, though. Seattle is in the top 10 against the run and has been third best against fantasy backs.
Pierre Thomas and Mark Ingram, New Orleans Saints
We would still consider Darren Sproles in PPR formats, but you have to sit the Saints rushers against the Carolina Panthers defense, especially on the road. The Panthers are second best against the run and fantasy running backs. Thomas and Ingram will total 10 carries for 35 yards without a touchdown, so avoid them in all leagues.
Chris Ogbonnaya, Willis McGahee and Edwin Baker, Cleveland Browns
Not only is McGahee potentially returning to make a further mess of a messy situation, but the Browns are facing a Jets run defense that has been elite all season. It is No. 3 against the run and No. 4 against fantasy backs. You don’t want to touch any Browns back if you’re serious about bringing home a fantasy title this week.
Matt Asiata and Toby Gerhart, Minnesota Vikings
We don’t care how limited you think Adrian Peterson (foot) will be Sunday against the Bengals. That is the fifth-best run defense and sixth-best team against fantasy backs.
You should not consider either the Week 15 star, Asiata, or the returning Gerhart (hamstring) in fantasy lineups. You should fully expect Peterson to play, even if limited. “As far as the foot go[es], I’ll be ready to roll,” Peterson told USA Today’s Tom Pelissero on Friday.
|1||LeSean McCoy||Phi||vs. Chi||1||0|
|2||Jamaal Charles||KC||vs. Ind||2||0|
|3||Matt Forte||Chi||at Phi||4||+1|
|4||Knowshon Moreno||Den||at Hou||8||+4|
|5||Frank Gore||SF||vs. Atl||12||+7|
|6||DeMarco Murray||Dal||at Was||3||-3|
|7||Reggie Bush||Det||vs. NYG||13||+6|
|8||Marshawn Lynch||Sea||vs. Ari||11||+3|
|9||Adrian Peterson||Min||at Cin||6||-3|
|10||Le’Veon Bell||Pit||at GB||7||-3|
|11||Eddie Lacy||GB||vs. Pit||5||-6|
|12||Chris Johnson||Ten||at Jac||15||+3|
|13||Ryan Mathews||SD||vs. Oak||14||+1|
|14||Zac Stacy||StL||vs. TB||9||-5|
|15||Alfred Morris||Was||vs. Dal||10||-5|
|16||Shane Vereen||NE||at Bal||21||+5|
|17||Giovani Bernard||Cin||vs. Min||18||+1|
|18||Rashad Jennings||Oak||at SD||16||-2|
|19||Ray Rice||Bal||vs. NE||22||+3|
|20||C.J. Spiller||Buf||vs. Mia||24||+4|
|21||Danny Woodhead||SD||vs. Oak||29||+8|
|22||Bobby Rainey||TB||at StL||17||-5|
|23||Jordan Todman||Jac||vs. Ten||19||-4|
|24||Steven Jackson||Atl||at SF||25||+1|
|25||Fred Jackson||Buf||vs. Mia||23||-2|
|26||DeAngelo Williams||Car||vs. NO||26||0|
|27||Lamar Miller||Mia||at Buf||31||+4|
|28||Darren Sproles||NO||at Car||39||+11|
|29||Joique Bell||Det||vs. NYG||35||+6|
|30||Dennis Johnson||Hou||vs. Den||28||-2|
|31||BenJarvus Green-Ellis||Cin||vs. Min||32||+1|
|32||Chris Ivory||NYJ||vs. Cle||27||-5|
|33||Andre Brown||NYG||at Det||20||-13|
|34||Kendall Hunter||SF||vs. Atl||48||+14|
|35||Montee Ball||Den||at Hou||30||-5|
|36||Donald Brown||Ind||at KC||38||+2|
|37||Trent Richardson||Ind||at KC||40||+3|
|38||Andre Ellington||Ari||at Sea||34||-4|
|39||Mike Tolbert||Car||vs. NO||43||+4|
|40||Rashard Mendenhall||Ari||at Sea||36||-4|
|41||Stevan Ridley||NE||at Bal||42||+1|
|42||Chris Ogbonnaya||Cle||at NYJ||44||+2|
|43||Daniel Thomas||Mia||at Buf||41||-2|
|44||Knile Davis||KC||vs. Ind||55||+11|
|45||Pierre Thomas||NO||at Car||33||-12|
|46||Willis McGahee||Cle||at NYJ||57||+11|
|47||Bryce Brown||Phi||vs. Chi||56||+9|
|48||Chris Polk||Phi||vs. Chi||75||+27|
|49||LeGarrette Blount||NE||at Bal||46||-3|
|50||Matt Asiata||Min||at Cin||59||+9|
|51||Marcel Reece||Oak||at SD||51||0|
|52||James Starks||GB||vs. Pit||58||+6|
|53||Bernard Pierce||Bal||vs. NE||54||+1|
|54||Robert Turbin||Sea||vs. Ari||76||+22|
|55||Shonn Greene||Ten||at Jac||49||-6|
|56||Roy Helu||Was||vs. Dal||52||-4|
|57||Benny Cunningham||StL||vs. TB||73||+16|
|58||Bilal Powell||NYJ||vs. Cle||47||-11|
|59||Mark Ingram||NO||at Car||62||+3|
|60||Michael Bush||Chi||at Phi||60||0|
|61||Brian Leonard||TB||at StL||72||+11|
|62||Jacquizz Rodgers||Atl||at SF||65||+3|
|63||Brandon Bolden||NE||at Bal||70||+7|
|64||Edwin Baker||Cle||at NYJ||45||-19|