Fantasy RB Rankings Week 16: Who to start, sit at running back in fantasy football


Fantasy football owners were treated to a full-on mess of injuries and COVID-related postponements last week, and if it did nothing else, it should've provided a reminder that handcuffing your starting running backs is crucial this time of year. In fact, becoming familiar with a each team's entire depth chart isn't a bad idea. If a team has a breakout, it could affect multiple players, especially in a personnel group. Our Week 16 fantasy RB rankings have to take some educated guesses as to who will be playing and who won't, but there will be plenty of updates necessary throughout the week. 

Elijah Mitchell (knee), D'Andre Swift (shoulder), Kareem Hunt (knee), and Damien Harris (hamstring) were the key backs who missed last week's games because of injuries, and it's unclear if any will be back this week. At this point, it would be somewhat surprising if Swift returned, but the other three could be legit game-time decisions. Jamaal Williams, Phillip Lindsay, and Alexander Mattison were notable backs who missed last week because of COVID protocols, but Williams (@ Falcons) is the only one who would have considerable value if he returned this week (which he likely will). 

Quarterback | Wide receiver | Tight end | D/ST | Kicker

Darrell Henderson (@ Vikings), Michael Carter (vs. Jaguars), Javonte Williams and Melvin Gordon (@ Raiders), Clyde Edwards-Helaire (vs. Steelers), Miles Sanders (@ Giants), and whoever starts for the Lions (@ Falcons) headlines the list of borderline RBs with favorable matchups. With the possible exception of Sanders, most of these guys are safely in 12-team lineups on a weekly basis anyway, but there's no reason to be worried about them this week.

Quarterback | Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end | D/ST | Kicker

Those matchups also create some potential flex opportunities for backups Sony Michel (@ Vikings), Tevin Coleman (vs. Jaguars), Darrel Williams (vs. Steelers), and Jordan Howard (@ Giants). We'll also add committee backs David Johnson and Rex Burkhead (vs. Chargers). However, most fantasy owners would rather opt for a boom-or-bust WR in their flex than a relatively high-floor, low-ceiling RB like those players, especially in PPR leagues. It really comes down to what you think you'll need more to win your matchup. 

WEEK 16 FANTASY: Sleepers | Busts | Start 'em, sit 'em

On the other side of the matchup coin, players like James Conner and Chase Edmonds (vs. Colts), Devonta Freeman (@ Bengals), Chuba Hubbard (vs. Buccaneers), Myles Gaskin (@ Saints), D'Onta Foreman (vs. 49ers), and Devin Singletary (@ Patriots) are the borderline backs in the toughest spots. It's tough to sit Conner because of his TD upside, while Freeman and Foreman are developing relatively safe floors (last week notwithstanding for Freeman), but Edmonds, Hubbard and the Bills aren't worth pinning your hopes on in standard leagues. The same goes for backups Tony Pollard (vs. Washington), AJ Dillon (vs. Browns), and last week's breakout Duke Johnson (@ Saints). Ronald Jones (@ Panthers) would profile similarly to Conner if he's starting in place of Fournette.

WEEK 16 DFS LINEUPS: DraftKings | FanDuel | Yahoo

Again, it's tough to make too many plans at RB (or any position) early in the week. Injuries will pop up, and at this point in the season, teams are much more likely to simply shut down players for the year. If you're still alive in your fantasy playoffs, chances are you're paying close attention, and we'll be here to help fill in the gaps along the way. 

MORE WEEK 16 DFS: Best stacks | Lineup Builder

Note: We'll be updating these RB rankings throughout the week, so check back for analysis and the latest player movement.

Fantasy RB Rankings Week 16: Who to start at running back

Rankings are based on standard, non-PPR scoring

Rank Player
1 Jonathan Taylor, IND @ ARI
2 James Robinson, JAX @ NYJ
3 Cordarrelle Patterson, ATL vs. DET
4 David Montgomery, CHI @ SEA
5 Najee Harris, PIT @ KC
6 Clyde Edwards-Helaire, KC vs. PIT
7 Alvin Kamara, NO vs. MIA
8 Nick Chubb, CLE @ GB
9 Javonte Williams, DEN @ LV
10 Ezekiel Elliott, DAL vs. WAS
11 Sony Michel, LAR @ MIN
12 Alexander Mattison, MIN vs. LAR
13 Joe Mixon, CIN vs. BAL
14 Justin Jackson, LAC @ HOU
15 Melvin Gordon, DEN @ LV
16 Josh Jacobs, LV vs. DEN
17 Aaron Jones, GB vs. CLE
18 Ronald Jones II, TB @ CAR
19 Saquon Barkley, NYG @ PHI
20 Michael Carter, NYJ vs. JAX
21 Rashaad Penny, SEA vs. CHI
22 Miles Sanders, PHI vs. NYG
23 Damien Harris, NE vs. BUF
24 Antonio Gibson, WAS @ DAL
25 Jamaal Williams, DET @ ATL
26 Chase Edmonds, ARI vs. IND
27 D'Onta Foreman, TEN vs. SF
28 Jeff Wilson Jr., SF @ TEN
29 Rex Burkhead, HOU vs. LAC
30 Chuba Hubbard, CAR vs. TB
31 Darrel Williams, KC vs. PIT
32 Darrell Henderson, LAR @ MIN
33 Myles Gaskin, MIA @ NO
34 Devin Singletary, BUF @ NE
35 Jordan Howard, PHI vs. NYG
36 Devonta Freeman, BAL @ CIN
37 Latavius Murray, BAL @ CIN
38 Tevin Coleman, NYJ vs. JAX
39 Tony Pollard, DAL vs. WAS
40 Mark Ingram, NO vs. MIA
41 Brandon Bolden, NE vs. BUF
42 Royce Freeman, HOU vs. LAC
43 AJ Dillon, GB vs. CLE
44 Jaret Patterson, WAS @ DAL
45 Craig Reynolds, DET @ ATL
46 Joshua Kelley, LAC @ HOU
47 Mike Davis, ATL vs. DET
48 Duke Johnson, MIA @ NO
49 Dontrell Hillard, TEN vs. SF
50 Devontae Booker, NYG @ PHI
51 Boston Scott, PHI vs. NYG
52 Jeremy McNichols, TEN vs. SF
53 DeeJay Dallas, SEA vs. CHI
54 Matt Breida, BUF @ NE
55 Phillip Lindsay, MIA @ NO
56 D'Ernest Johnson, CLE @ GB
57 Ameer Abdullah, CAR vs. TB
58 Dare Ogunbowale, JAX @ NYJ
59 Samaje Perine, CIN vs. BAL
60 Kene Nwangwu, MIN vs. LAR
61 Nyheim Hines, IND @ ARI
62 Alex Collins, SEA vs. CHI
63 Ke'Shawn Vaughn, TB @ CAR
64 Peyton Barber, LV vs. DEN
65 Godwin Igwebuike, DET @ ATL
66 Khalil Herbert, CHI @ SEA
67 Jonathan Williams, WAS @ DAL