The Bears’ David Montgomery looks to cash in another A+ matchup in the Jaguars, Miles Sanders hopes to stay hot vs. the Cowboys and Detroit’s D’Andre Swift aims to be a difference maker against the Bucs.
Other positions: Quarterback | Receiver | Tight End/Kickers/Defense
Week 16 Running Backs
RB Notes: In need of 321 yards in two games, Derrick Henry’s shot at 2,000 is waning, but the Packers will still do their darndest. Only four teams permit more RB fantasy points. … We can debate the finer Dalvin Cook points against an all-world Saints run defense, but the bottom line is, you’re playing him. Cook has not handled the ball fewer than 22 times since Week 2. … David Montgomery’s league-winning spree will not be halted by the Jaguars. This shameful defense has faced four run-based offenses over the past month and surrendered an average of 190 rushing yards. Montgomery has five touchdowns in his past three games. … Nick Chubb has seen his production slip a bit in recent weeks. 9.5-point home underdogs, the Jets will make sure to get that corrected. … Drew Brees’ Week 15 return provided one of Alvin Kamara’s quieter games of the year. With the Saints majorly banged up at pass catcher, look for the duo to get back on the same page as seven-point home favorites on Christmas Day. Kamara will feast on the ground vs. an injured defense and draw 8-10 looks through the air. … Jamaal Williams (quad) appears unlikely to suit up, leaving Aaron Jones uncontested against the Titans’ soft defense as he comes off a 145-yard ground effort.
Austin Ekeler was noticeably slowed by his quad issue in Week 15, but he still came away with 17 touches for 79 yards. Now 10 days healthier, he is squaring off with a Broncos Defense handing out the fifth most weekly rushing yards. Drew Lock allows opposing offenses to dominate possession and dictate game script. … Jalen Hurts has fully restored Miles Sanders’ RB1 viability. Sanders’ backfield competition has combined for five touches over the past two weeks. Allowing 11 more weekly rushing yards than any other defense, the Cowboys are the ultimate Week 16 reward for any fantasy runner. … Jonathan Taylor’s rank will be hotly debated against the Steelers’ arguably league-best run defense. The Steelers’ talent is still there, but Pittsburgh’s offense is bottom four in time of possession over the past three weeks as it struggles to maintain drives and keep the other team off the field. The Colts’ backfield has been reduced from a three-man ordeal to traditional bell-cow/COP setup. I have faith in Taylor’s workload and big-play ability. … If Ezekiel Elliott sits, Tony Pollard and this three-down workload are a top-10 running back, simple as that. If Zeke plays through his calf ailment, Pollard should find himself in the RB20-24 range, with Zeke checking in around RB28-32. At least that’s my thinking on Thursday.
Although he was clearly nowhere close to 100 percent healthy, Josh Jacobs handled 29 Week 15 touches. The Dolphins are more forgiving on the ground than through the air. The desperate Raiders’ plan isn’t difficult to discern. … D’Andre Swift was finally back to normal in Week 15 and responded with an RB7 effort in half PPR. The Bucs are a brutal matchup, but the Lions have so few other means of moving the ball right now. I will bet on solid volume and big-play potential for a hollowed-out team. … J.K. Dobbins has scored in four straight games and made Mark Ingram a healthy scratch. Gus Edwards is one of the league’s better No. 2s, but Dobbins feels on the verge of a truly blow-up day. … Leonard Fournette’s case is not pleasant to make, but it sure is simple to make. The Bucs are nearly 10-point road favorites. The Lions silver platter the most running back fantasy points. There will be no shortage of Bucs drives to finish near the goal line. … Do I feel good about J.D. McKissic as a mid-range RB2? No. It’s just kind of the inevitable landing spot after McKissic rendered Peyton Barber a Week 15 afterthought. Whether it’s Dwayne Haskins or Alex Smith under center, they will need McKissic’s checkdowns.
Just when Kenyan Drake’s workload was beginning to feel inevitable, it wasn’t. Drake is nevertheless tied for fifth in carries. He’s been an RB2 by average half PPR points all season. Chase Edmonds’ (ankle, knee) health is uncertain.. … It’s been a disappointing two weeks for Kareem Hunt. It is hard to see how that doesn’t change against the Jets. The Browns’ will should be imposed from the opening drive onward. … There’s not much left to say about Mike Davis. It’s all workload, and the workload isn’t even that great anymore. … Having previously caught more than two balls only twice all season, David Johnson corralled 11 in Week 15. Naturally, he remained ineffective on the ground. The game hasn’t really changed here. Deshaun Watson is a quarterback who has traditionally not checked down to running backs. It’s possible, if not probable, that Week 15 was a fluke. … With Myles Gaskin returning from the COVID-19 list, the Dolphins’ backfield is suddenly difficult to peg. The Occam’s razor expectation is that Gaskin has been the man whenever healthy, and that he will get the higher-volume lead. Salvon Ahmed has been good enough that this is unlikely to instantly revert to a one-man band, however.
It never really feels sustainable, but Melvin Gordon just keeps getting it done. He will comfortably finish the season as a top-24 back. … I’ve been all over the map with my Jeff Wilson ranking. Where I am at on Thursday morning: With C.J. Beathard under center, the 49ers’ run-game reliance will be as heavy as ever, and they don’t really trust Tevin Coleman and Jerick McKinnon. Check back on Saturday. … Quietly not terrible against the run, the Falcons won’t make Le’Veon Bell an instant RB1. He’s not even a mid-range RB2 for that matter. It’s also possible the Chiefs aim to keep as much tread on Bell’s tires as possible for the playoffs, liberally mixing in Darrel Williams. … The Jaguars begin the week unsure of James Robinson’s (ankle) status. With Trevor Lawrence on the line, don’t be surprised if he sits. Dare Ogunbowale will be a bottom-basement FLEX if Robinson doesn’t go. … Cam Akers was the correct result, but you could argue the process to go away from Darrell Henderson never made a ton of sense. Now he gets his second chance. This is a conservative ranking, perhaps an unnecessary Malcolm Brown hedge. … The Bengals have been all over the map with their running back usage. Week 15 featured the second most carries of Giovani Bernard’s career. Predictive? Damned if I know. … A lot of Zack Moss’ Week 15 work came with the game out of hand, but it didn’t bring us any closer to understanding the Bills’ backfield delineation.