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Running Back Roundup: Week 17 (2019 Fantasy Football)

by Zachary Hanshew | @ZaktheMonster | Featured Writer
Dec 24, 2019

Christian McCaffrey broke his own single-season receptions record for a RB in Week 16.

Thanks for tuning in for our final edition of the running back roundup! Time has flown by this season, and most leagues will crown a champion at the conclusion of Week 16. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the players who potentially won or lost your matchups in the final week of the fantasy season. Saquon Barkley delivered his best game of the season, Kenyan Drake produced a career-high rushing total and Christian McCaffrey racked up a ridiculous 15/119 receiving line to break his own record for single-season receptions by a running back (109 and counting).

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 17!

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Week 16 Rushing Leaders

1. Saquon Barkley (NYG): 189
2. Kenyan Drake (MIA): 166
3. Aaron Jones (GB): 154
4. Phillip Lindsay (DEN): 109
5. Sony Michel (NE): 96

Week 16 Scrimmage Yards Leaders

1. Saquon Barkley (NYG): 279
2. Kenyan Drake (MIA): 184
3. Christian McCaffrey (CAR): 173
4. Aaron Jones (GB): 160
5. Miles Sanders (PHI): 156

Week 16 Fantasy Leaders (PPR)

1. Saquon Barkley (NYG): 50.9
2. Kenyan Drake (MIA): 38.4
3. Christian McCaffrey (CAR): 35.3
4. Aaron Jones (GB): 34.0
5. Devonta Freeman (ATL): 33.7

Week 16 Biggest Busts

1. James Conner (PIT): 3.2
2. Mike Boone (MIN): 4.3
3. Nick Chubb (CLE): 4.5
4. Devin Singletary (BUF): 5.8
5. James White (NE): 6.9

New England Patriots

Sony Michel: 21 carries, 96 rushing yards, 5-yard reception
James White: 3 carries, 5 rushing yards, 4 receptions, 24 receiving yards
Rex Burkhead: 5 carries, 20 yards, 4 receptions, 77 receiving yards, rushing TD

This backfield continues to confuse and frustrate fantasy owners. Michel had one of his best rushing games of the season, though it took him 21 carries to do so. He was held out of the end zone again and remains mostly a non-factor in the receiving game. The pass-catching specialist, James White was barely seen Sunday, as Rex Burkhead delivered a huge 97-yard day punctuated by a goal-line touchdown in which he broke several tackles on his way past the pylon. Michel will likely continue to get heavy volume as the leading rusher, while Burkhead and Michel should split receiving duties and clean-up work. The former will be the safest bet in Week 17 against a very exploitable Dolphins defense.

New Orleans Saints

Latavius Murray: 7 carries, 14 rushing yards, 2 receptions, 11 receiving yards
Alvin Kamara: 11 carries, 80 rushing yards, 6 receptions, 30 receiving yards, 2 rushing TDs

Kamara snapped a nine-game scoring drought Sunday, accounting for his first touchdown since Week 3 and his first 100-yard effort since Week 12. Murray played second fiddle in this one, as Kamara broke off chunk plays all afternoon in the critical victory. Kamara’s work as a primary receiving option has kept his fantasy value afloat all season despite his regression in scrimmage yards and scoring. He’ll look to finish the regular season strong in Week 17 against a poor Panthers’ run defense. Murray could see some extra run too based on the matchup.

Miami Dolphins

Patrick Laird: 8 carries, 17 rushing yards, 1-yard reception
Myles Gaskin: 16 carries, 55 rushing yards, 3-yard reception, rushing TD 

Laird was supplanted by Gaskin as the lead back Sunday, and the rookie had an impressive showing on 17 total touches. Unfortunately, he was carted off the field with an ankle injury which will most likely end his season. That leaves Laird as the de facto No. 1 against New England in Week 17. Despite the perceived volume he’ll enjoy for that contest, he’s not a recommended play against a tough Patriots defense.

Washington Redskins

Adrian Peterson: 15 carries, 36 rushing yards, 2 receptions, 19 receiving yards, rushing TD
Chris Thompson: 8 carries, 34 rushing yards, 4 receptions, 18 receiving yards 

Peterson couldn’t find any running room behind his makeshift offensive line, though it wasn’t for lack of trying. AP toted the rock 15 times and found his way into the end zone, providing low-end flex value for fantasy owners. Chris Thompson saw his usual workload out of the backfield with a handful of catches in the receiving game, though Peterson is clearly the No. 1. With Case Keenum likely under center Week 17, Washington’s offense might be able to move the ball a bit better, opening the door for Peterson to be deployed once again as a flex option against Dallas.

Philadelphia Eagles

Miles Sanders: 20 carries, 79 rushing yards, 5 receptions, 77 receiving yards, rushing TD
Boston Scott: 3 carries, 12 rushing yards, 6 receptions, 7 receiving yards

Sanders has been unstoppable since Philadelphia decided to unleash him on the league in Week 13. Over his last four games, the rookie has accounted for 502 total yards and four touchdowns while grabbing 20 receptions. He’s been a quality fantasy play in almost any format, and even if Jordan Howard returns in Week 17, Sanders should maintain his stranglehold on backfield duties in an exploitable matchup with the Giants.

Arizona Cardinals 

Kenyan Drake: 24 carries, 166 rushing yards, 3 receptions, 18 receiving yards, 2 rushing TDs
David Johnson: 2 carries, 3 rushing yards, 4-yard reception

Drake was a true league-winner this season, as he amassed an incredible 330 total yards and six total touchdowns in Weeks 15 and 16, finishing as the clear overall RB1 in that span. He’ll be a free agent in 2020 and may have a good shot at returning on a new contract following his huge end-of-season play. David Johnson’s redraft value has been in the toilet for weeks, and his dynasty value is heading south quickly. His future with the Cardinals is unclear.

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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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