Dec. 4 (UPI) — Running back is one of the most important slots to fill in your fantasy football lineup, especially entering the first week of the playoffs. You shouldn’t stray from your elite playmakers, but you should also be mindful of good matchups and bad matchups.
Try to balance those to factors, as well as recent production, when making your ultimate decision of who to start and who to sit.
Try to target players who will be on the field for a lot of snaps and are highly involved in their respective offenses when deciding on starting options for your lineup.
Here are some of my favorite players in this week’s top 30 rankings:
Kareem Hunt might be a factor in slightly limiting Nick Chubb’s workload in the Cleveland Browns backfield, but I still see Chubb having a huge Week 14 against the Cincinnati Bengals. Chubb leads the NFL with 1,175 rushing yards and has seven rushing touchdowns. He will face a Bengals defense allowing the seventh-most fantasy points per game to running backs this week. I see Chubb posting at least 100 yards from scrimmage in this matchup. He also has a solid shot of scoring multiple touchdowns in this home division clash.
Los Angeles Chargers running back Melvin Gordon is my No. 4 option this week. Gordon has had at least 90 yards from scrimmage in four consecutive games entering this game against the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Chargers star had 110 yards from scrimmage on 22 touches in Week 13. The Jaguars are allowing the sixth-most fantasy points per game to running backs. Gordon is a solid RB1 down the stretch.
Minnesota Vikings star Dalvin Cook might be banged up after exiting his Week 13 game early, but he expects to suit up again in Week 14. Cook is my No. 5 option this week. The Vikings running back should never come out of your lineup, but he should explode this week against the Detroit Lions, a unit allowing the third-most fantasy points per game to running backs. You should still continue to monitor his playing status entering this matchup, but if he is good to go, he could carry you into the next round of the playoffs.
Leonard Fournette is a solid RB1 play in Week 14. I have the Jacksonville Jaguars workhorse ranked at No. 8 this week. Fournette is set to face a Los Angeles Chargers defense allowing the eighth-most fantasy points per game to running backs. The Jaguars star only had 38 yards on 14 carries against a tough Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive line in Week 13, but should bounce back in this great matchup.
You probably aren’t in an ideal spot if you must lean on Atlanta Falcons running back Devonta Freeman in the playoffs, but you could do worse. Freeman is set to face the Carolina Panthers, a defense that has allowed a league-high 19 rushing scores and the most fantasy points per game to opposing running backs. He is my No. 17 option this week, landing in RB2 territory. I expect Freeman to score and pile up at least 80 yards from scrimmage in Week 14.
It is always a tough task to figure out the backfield breakdown for the New England Patriots, but I think Sony Michel deserves a strong look in Week 14. The Patriots running back hasn’t eclipsed 100 rushing yards in a game this season, but has six games with at least 80 yards from scrimmage and/or a touchdown. He is my No. 22 option in Week 14 as he gets a matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs. The Chiefs are allowing the second-most fantasy points per game to running backs. The Chiefs have also allowed the second-most rushing yards to running backs and are the only team that has allowed more than 2,000 yards from scrimmage to opposing running backs.
Week 14 fantasy football running back rankings
1. Nick Chubb, Cleveland Browns vs. CIN
2. Derrick Henry, Tennessee Titans at OAK
3. Christian McCaffrey, Carolina Panthers at ATL
4. Melvin Gordon, Los Angeles Chargers at JAX
5. Dalvin Cook, Minnesota Vikings vs. DET
6. Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys at CHI
7. Josh Jacobs, Oakland Raiders vs. TEN
8. Leonard Fournette, Jacksonville Jaguars vs. LAC
9. Todd Gurley, Los Angeles Rams vs. SEA
10. Mark Ingram, Baltimore Ravens at BUF
12. Alvin Kamara, New Orleans Saints vs. SF
16. Phillip Lindsay, Denver Broncos at HOU
17. Devonta Freeman, Atlanta Falcons vs. CAR
19. Joe Mixon, Cincinnati Bengals at CLE
20. Devin Singletary, Buffalo Bills vs. BAL
21. Rashaad Penny, Seattle Seahawks at LAR
22. Sony Michel, New England Patriots vs. KC
23. Miles Sanders, Philadelphia Eagles vs. NYG
24. Benny Snell, Pittsburgh Steelers at ARI
25. Jamaal Williams, Green Bay Packers vs. WAS
27. Austin Ekeler, Los Angeles Chargers at JAX
29. Kareem Hunt, Cleveland Browns vs. CIN
30. Kenyan Drake, Arizona Cardinals vs. PIT