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Week 12 Rest of Season Fantasy Football Running Back Rankings: Cautious on Devonta Freeman

Up to date rankings of NFL RBs for the remainder of the 2015 fantasy football season before Week 12.

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Nothing makes the NFL more fun than fantasy football and few things make fantasy sports more fun than rankings, rankings, and more rankings. RBs are ranked in this post with the ESPN and Yahoo! standard fractional scoring.

Players who receive point-per-reception (PPR) bumps are noted with the asterisk. Consult my weekly Depth Charts and Volatility post, where we analyze all of the timeshares where multiple backs are involved for teams. The top of these ranks generally favor backs involved in the receiving game, as it is, because the bellcow RBs who largely are involved in the passing game are largely unaffected when their respective teams abandon the run.

Rank Player Team Last Week
1 Todd Gurley Rams 1
2 Adrian Peterson Vikings 3
3 DeMarco Murray* Eagles 4
4 Darren McFadden* Cowboys 7
5 Thomas Rawls Seahawks 35
6 Charcandrick West* Chiefs 5
7 Devonta Freeman* Falcons 2
8 LeSean McCoy* Bills 10
9 Jonathan Stewart Falcons 18
10 Chris Ivory Jets 6
11 Mark Ingram* Saints 9
12 Doug Martin Buccaneers 15
13 Lamar Miller* Dolphins 8
14 DeAngelo Williams* Steelers 11
15 LeGarrette Blount Patriots 13
16 Eddie Lacy Packers 29
17 T.J. Yeldon Jaguars 20
18 Latavius Murray Raiders 14
19 Giovani Bernard* Bengals 27
20 Chris Johnson Cardinals 16
21 Danny Woodhead* Chargers 12
22 Javorius "Buck" Allen Ravens ---
23 Matt Forte* Bears 19
24 Jeremy Langford* Bears 23
25 Frank Gore Colts 21
26 Ronnie Hillman Broncos 26
27 Tevin Coleman Falcons 46
28 Jeremy Hill Bengals 32
29 Karlos Williams Bills 25
30 Ryan Mathews Eagles 30
31 Spencer Ware Chiefs ---
32 Carlos Hyde 49ers 28
33 Antonio Andrews Titans 31
34 Matt Jones* Washington 33
35 Duke Johnson* Browns 34
36 James Starks* Packers 26
37 Melvin Gordon* Chargers 37
38 James White* Patriots 39
39 Ahmad Bradshaw* Colts ---
40 Marshawn Lynch Seahawks 17
41 Robert Turbin Cowboys ---
42 Jerick McKinnon VIkings 45
43 Charles Sims* Buccaneers 38
44 Jay Ajayi Dolphins 36
45 Alfred Blue Texans 52
46 Shaun Draughn* 49ers 53
47 Rashad Jennings* Giants 48
48 Bilal Powell* Jets 47
49 Andre Ellington* Cardinals 40
50 Shane Vereen* Giants 43

Notes:

  • As we go down the rankings, there is an increase in the weight of strength of schedule. Where we have healthy paths to the playoffs, playoff schedules matter more than the coming weeks; where we are fighting for playoff spots, we need to get to the playoffs to even make the playoffs relevant. Check the schedules.

  • Devonta Freeman is simply at the bottom of the top tier because the others are at less risk of missing time. I hate concussions. I hate them in real life, but--to a lesser, yet contextually relevant degree--they are volatility enhancers in fantasy. We don't know if they will play until close to gametime and we don't really know if they should be out there when they are out there and can leave games early. Total mess.

    Equally cautious on Charcandrick West (hamstring). Hamstrings are also day-today injuries where a guy feels OK on Friday, but cannot go on Sunday; or he is active and feeling great early Sunday, but leaves the game in an early series and does not return.

  • These rankings devalue the messiest backfield situations noted in the Depth Charts and Volatility post. I don't care how talented a guy is if he doesn't get the ball. There are tons of new entries into the rankings because guys who never get the ball can start getting dropped for handcuffs and these handcuffs are shoved ahead of wasted roster spaces. The rankings are cut off at RB50 because we really should be focused on handcuffing after the top-40. Bye weeks are done and our benches should reflect insurance more than hope in bad starters and mid-range volume receiving backs who do not score TDs.

  • Bellcows always get the edge. There aren't many of them, so the value in scarcity increases for those backs with lesser variance. As we go down the rankings, the bad bellcows who we can never trust in our lineup lose value to receiving backups with more upside in whom we can reasonably instill hope. The bad bellcows are not only unstartable, but untradeable, and that is a recipe for a wasted roster spot. This is the reasoning for the huge shakeup in the top-10, as volume trends are setting in.

  • Do your research and use rankings cautiously, as they are always a work-in-progress. Rankings are a bad tools to tell us what to do. They are conversation starters, tier setters, value mirrors, and a combination of the scientific explanations of what has happened with the art of predicting what will happen. Feel free to supply contrary evidence to me on Twitter at @AlexSontySBN or in the comments. They will help me help you.