It’s win-or-go-home time for plenty of fantasy football owners, but regardless of what you’re playing for this week (seeding, a playoff berth, avoiding last place, pride), the running back position is likely to cause the most start ’em, sit ’em headaches. Our Week 14 fantasy RB rankings can help, but with all the injuries and at least one key bye, finding safe starters and worthwhile sleepers won’t be easy.
The “key bye” we’re referring to is fantasy’s top RB, Jonathan Taylor. He’ll be out this week along with Myles Gaskin, New England’s duo of Damien Harris and Rhamondre Stevenson, and Philadelphia’s mess of a committee. Overall, it’s not a terrible week for RB byes, but there’s never a good time to lose a guy like Taylor, especially if you need to survive and advance.
WEEK 14 STANDARD RANKINGS:
Quarterback | Wide receiver | Tight end | D/ST | Kicker
Injury-wise, plenty of RBs figure to be out or “questionable.” For now, we’re tentatively including Alvin Kamara (knee), Melvin Gordon (hip), and Darrell Henderson (quad), who all essentially missed last week, but we’ll be ready to adjust as needed. Dalvin Cook (shoulder) and D’Andre Swift (shoulder) figure to miss at least one more week, but we’ll also be ready to add those players if we get some surprisingly good news later in the week.
WEEK 14 PPR RANKINGS:
Quarterback | Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end | D/ST | Kicker
Gordon is especially important this week since he has a premium matchup against the Lions. If he’s back, both him and Javonte Williams will be sure starters. They’re not the only committee in good spots this week; however, they might be the only one you feel comfortable trusting. Houston’s tandem of David Johnson and Rex Burkhead (vs. Seahawks), Seattle’s crowded backfield headed up by some combination of Adrian Peterson, Rashaad Penny, and Alex Collins (@ Texans), and Tennessee’s duo of D’Onta Foreman and Dontrell Hilliard (vs. Jaguars) also have great matchups. It’s tough to know which players from those backfields to trust, but given the matchups, Johnson, Burkhead, Foreman, and Hilliard figure to be at least flexes. If Collins (abdomen) is back, it’s impossible to know which Seahawks back will be the top option, but Peterson is likely the best bet for a short TD.
Because most of the highly favorable matchups go to these committees, there are plenty of other usual starters in tough situations. You’re not going to bench Joe Mixon (vs. 49ers), Leonard Fournette (vs. Bills), or James Robinson (@ Titans) — though he needs to stop fumbling and getting benched by his actual team — and you’re likely not even going to sit Devonta Freeman (@ Browns), James Conner (vs. Rams) despite Chase Edmonds (ankle) coming back. A few other guys are a little more borderline, though. Tevin Coleman (vs. Saints), Henderson (@ Cardinals), and Kareem Hunt (vs. Ravens) fall into that category, but Coleman is likely the only one who will be sat by a large chunk of fantasy owners. Buffalo’s duo of Devin Singletary and Matt Breida (@ Buccaneers) should also be on most benches.
There are a few other sleepers, though, if you need to replace the backs above. Mark Ingram (@ Jets) should be able to pay off even if Kamara is back (and he’ll be a must-start if Kamara is out), and Chuba Hubbard (vs. Falcons) looks good this week, too, though we’re somewhat worried about Ameer Abdullah’s role.
We’re at the point in the season where out-of-contention teams could feature a backup RB with little warning and playoff-bound teams could take it easy with a starting back ahead of more important games. There’s only so much we can do to prepare for that, so watching the usage trends and playing the matchups — with an eye on all injuries, of course — is the way to go, even if it means making some tough lineup decisions.
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 14: Who to start at running back
Rankings are based on standard, non-PPR scoring
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