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Running Back Roundup: Week 16 (2019 Fantasy Football)

by Zachary Hanshew | @ZaktheMonster | Featured Writer
Dec 18, 2019

Kenyan Drake blew up with four TDs in Week 15.

Another week has come and gone, and somehow, we’re on to fantasy championship week. If you’re still reading fantasy articles this late in the year, you’re either in contention for the whole enchilada, or you’re perusing these words with clenched fists, wondering what went wrong. Either way, there was plenty to get excited about in Week 15 among the league’s running backs, highlighted by Kenyan Drake’s enormous, four-touchdown game, Joe Mixon’s continued late-season resurgence, Miles Sanders’ breakout, and Mike Boone’s warm welcome to the NFL.

Each week, we’ll offer a look at the biggest performances, busts, timeshare situations, and storylines you need to be aware of to make the best fantasy lineup decisions possible. Let’s jump into our Running Back Roundup for Week 16!

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Week 14 Rushing Leaders

1. Kenyan Drake (ARI): 137
2. Joe Mixon (CIN): 136
3. Chris Carson (SEA): 133
4. Tony Pollard (DAL): 131
5. Nick Chubb (CLE): 127

Week 14 Scrimmage Yards Leaders

1. Christian McCaffrey (CAR): 175
2. Miles Sanders (PHI): 172
3. Ezekiel Elliott (DAL): 160
4. Joe Mixon (CIN): 156
5. Nick Chubb (CLE): 148

Week 14 Fantasy Leaders (PPR)

1. Kenyan Drake (ARI): 40.6
2. Christian McCaffrey (CAR): 38.5
3. Miles Sanders (PHI): 37.2
4. Ezekiel Elliott (DAL): 32.0
5. Saquon Barkley (NYG): 31.3

Week 14 Biggest Busts

1. LeSean McCoy (KC): 1.6
2. Phillip Lindsay (DEN): 3.2
3. Dalvin Cook (MIN): 7.3
4. Devonta Freeman (ATL): 7.5
5. Melvin Gordon (LAC): 9.4

New England Patriots

Sony Michel: 19 carries, 89 rushing yards, 14-yard reception
James White: 3 carries, 13 rushing yards, 3 receptions, 49 receiving yards, reception TD
Rex Burkhead: 6 carries, 53 rushing yards, 2 receptions, 6 receiving yards

Michel had a huge bounce-back after managing 53 total yards over the last two weeks, racking up his first 100-yard effort since Week 6. He led the backfield comfortably in touches, though he was still out-played on a per-touch basis by both James White and Rex Burkhead. Michel always has the potential to take on a huge workload and produce fantasy-relevant stat lines, though his inefficiencies have led to plenty of poor performances as well. He should be viewed as an RB3 from here on out with James White a PPR flex due to his involvement as a receiver. Burkhead’s presence throws an obvious wrench into the mix.

Pittsburgh Steelers

James Conner: 8 carries, 42 rushing yards, 4 receptions, 9 receiving yards, reception TD
Jaylen Samuels: 2 carries, -1 rushing yards, 5-yard reception
Benny Snell: 2 carries, 1 rushing yard

Conner returned from a three-game absence to seize the lead in Pittsburgh’s backfield. He accumulated 12 touches — nearly three times as many as Snell and Samuels combined. Conner should see his workload increase as he gets back into game shape, and Snell and Samuels have both fallen off the fantasy map with the Steelers’ No. 1 back in action. Snell is the preferred handcuff, though at this point, Conner owners should have at least one of the backups stashed in anticipation of fantasy championship weekend.

San Francisco 49ers

Matt Breida: 4 carries, 11 rushing yards, 2 receptions, 6 receiving yards
Tevin Coleman: 4 carries, 40 rushing yards
Raheem Mostert: 14 carries, 54 rushing yards, 5-yard reception, rushing TD

There was no doubt about it Sunday — Raheem Mostert is the new lead dog in San Fran’s backfield. He’s logged some huge games down the home-stretch of the season, racking up 322 total yards and four total touchdowns across his last three outings and supplanting Tevin Coleman atop the depth chart. Coleman looks like the third option in the run game, and the only sure-fire option here is Mostert. The Niners get the Rams in Week 16 and should be fired up following an embarrassing loss to the Falcons.

Minnesota Vikings

Dalvin Cook: 9 carries, 27 rushing yards, 3 receptions, 16 receiving yards
Ameer Abdullah: 5 carries, 25 rushing yards
Mike Boone: 13 carries, 56 rushing yards, 2 rushing TDs

Much to the chagrin of fantasy hopefuls, Cook made an early exit Sunday with a shoulder injury. He didn’t return, and his status for championship week is completely up in the air. Alexander Mattison (ankle) is far from a sure thing for Week 16 and sat out this past week as well. Enter Mike Boone. The pre-season superstar rumbled for 56 yards and two spikes, and he’ll man the helm in Minnesota’s backfield for Week 16 if Cook and Mattison are ultimately ruled out. The matchup against Green Bay makes Boone a fringe-RB1 option.

Arizona Cardinals

David Johnson: 3 carries, 6 rushing yards
Kenyan Drake: 22 carries, 137 rushing yards, 9-yard reception, 4 rushing TDs

Drake exploded for the highest fantasy score of the week among running backs thanks to four trips to the end zone and 146 scrimmage yards on 23 total touches. He walloped the Browns, while former fantasy demigod David Johnson languished on the bench, recording just three touches in the contest. It’s a disappointing fall from grace for DJ, as he’s clearly the No. 2 to Drake and an easy drop candidate if you’re still holding onto him. Johnson has no value for the remaining two games of 2019, though he could find renewed success if traded in the offseason. Drake should be fired up as a clear RB1 for Weeks 16 and 17.

Washington Redskins

Adrian Peterson: 16 carries, 66 rushing yards, 3 receptions, 25 receiving yards, rushing TD
Chris Thompson: 2 receptions, 26 receiving yards 

Derrius Guice is on the shelf, and Peterson will finish the season as Washington’s No. 1 option in the backfield. He handled a sizable workload, out-touching Thompson 19-2 and surprisingly seeing more work in the passing game. Thompson is a low-end PPR flex option from here on out, while Peterson has some low-end RB2 appeal in a favorable matchup with the Giants in Week 16.

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Zachary Hanshew is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Zachary, check out his archive and follow him @zakthemonster.

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