Fantasy Football Week 12 RB Rankings

1. Adrian Peterson (MIN) – The NFL’s leading rusher has been taking it easy this week after taking a beating in week 11, but he should be well rested and ready to go in week 12 against Jacksonville. The Jaguars rank just 20th in the NFL against the run, so Peterson should rebound from a pretty average performance last week. He is a must start.

2. Matt Forte (CHI) – While he was unable to find the end zone in week 11, he shouldn’t have much trouble making up for it with an excellent week 12 match up against St. Louis. The Rams have allowed more rushing TD’s this season than any other team in the NFL giving up 18 ground scores through 10 games. In addition, St. Louis ranks just 29th in the NFL giving up 158 rushing yards per game. Forte should be very busy on Sunday and he could be in for a monster fantasy day.

3. LaDainian Tomlinson (SD) – He hasn’t been the easiest guy to get a gauge on this season, but you have to love his chances against a porous Indianapolis run defense in week 12. The Colts rank just 25th in the NFL against the run this season and have allowed 15 rushing TD’s in 10 games. In their last 5 games, Indy is giving up 2 rushing TD’s per game on average and allowed 3 TD’s via the ground game last week against Houston. This match up should provide Tomlinson with a great opportunity to prove that he can still produce elite fantasy numbers. Start him.

4. Marion Barber (DAL) – After several failed attempts at success against Washington, Barber was finally able to put an end to his slump against his arch rival in week 11 with a big performance. Barber looked great and he should be even better in week 12 with a promising match up against San Francisco. The 49ers run defense is not horrible, but they are far from great, giving up 107 rushing yards and a TD per game.

5. Marshawn Lynch (BUF) – He finally managed to reach the magic 100 yard rushing mark in week 11 and added 58 yards and a TD on 10 receptions. This was exactly the kind of performance that Lynch needed to get back on track and a week 12 match up against Kansas City appears to be even more promising. The Chiefs have tightened up their run defense a bit in recent weeks due to the emergence of their offense actually being able to sustain drives long enough to give the defense a rest, but they are still far from good. The Chiefs rank 31st in the NFL against the run and have allowed 16 rushing TD’s on the season. If Lynch can carry last week’s momentum into this match up, he should produce a huge fantasy effort.

6. Clinton Portis (WAS) – He is expected to play this week and remains a must start fantasy option, but Portis is a bit risky given his fragile status in recent weeks. The match up is favorable against a mediocre Seattle run defense, so he should be great even if he isn’t at 100%. Monitor his status closely just to be on the safe side, but Portis should be good to go for your starting fantasy line up in week 12. UPDATE: Portis will be a game time decision on Sunday. He is expected to play, but he may be limited in some capacity, and thus a bit risky.UPDATE 2:He is active for week 12. Check injury report: knee, active

7. Ryan Grant (GB) – He seems to be back to top flight form and a week 12 match up against the Saints is favorable for another big fantasy performance. New Orleans ranks just 19th in the NFL against the run, and they would probably rank lower if their pass defense was not so bad, forcing opposing offenses to throw against them more so than run. That brings us to our only concern for Grant which is that the Packers might end up relying more on the passing game which could hurt Grant’s numbers. Grant always seems to get plenty of carries, so this isn’t a huge concern, but it is something to take into consideration.

8. Frank Gore (SF) – You probably shouldn’t expect Gore to repeat the kind of success he had in week 11 against the Cowboys in week 12, but he should be solid none the less. You can count on the Cowboys to focus most of their attention on Gore in order to force QB Shaun Hill to beat them with his arm, but Gore is a special player, and the Cowboys run defense is far from dominant. He is a must start fantasy option regardless of the match up.

9. Joseph Addai (IND) – As expected, Addai returned to top flight form in week 11 totaling 153 yards and 2 TD’s against Houston. He will probably be challenged a bit more by a decent San Diego run defense in week 12, but we still like his chances for a solid game. The Chargers rank 14th in the NFL against the run, but have allowed just 6 rushing TD’s in 10 games.

10. Brandon Jacobs (NYG) – There is some concern over his status for week 12’s match up against Arizona, but all indications are that he will play. Our best guess is that Jacobs may have to give up a few more carries to Ward and Bradshaw given his fragile knee. This isn’t a huge deal because Jacobs was already giving up a lot of touches anyway and his numbers have suffered very little as a result. He will face a solid and underrated Cardinals run defense, but they should be no match for Jacobs as the Ravens found out in week 11. If he is given the green light to play, Jacobs should be in your starting fantasy line up. Monitor his status closely to be on the safe side. Check injury report: knee, full practice Friday

11. Warrick Dunn (TB) – Now that Earnest Graham has been put on the shelf for the rest of the season with an ankle injury, Dunn is expected to step into a feature role in the Tampa Bay backfield. It couldn’t have come at a better time either. Dunn will get to face the worst run defense in the NFL in week 12. The Lions are giving up 175 rushing yards per game and have allowed 17 rushing TD’s in just 10 games. Dunn would have more fantasy value with this match up if he was expected to receive the goal line carries, but he may not even need them to find the end zone against such a poor defense. Dunn should be a great fantasy option for week 12. As a side note, CadillacWilliams may be active for this game, but if he plays at all, it will probably be on a very limited basis. B.J. Askew and Clifton Smith could steal a few carries however. Check injury report: back

12. Steve Slaton (HOU) – He will probably continue to be limited to under 20 carries a game in addition to losing goal line touches to Ahman Green, but Slaton has proven to be very effective with around 15 touches, and most of his TD’s this season have come from outside of the goal line anyway. That said, we expect Slaton to put up solid numbers against a shaky Cleveland run defense in week 12. The Browns rank 28th in the NFL against the run giving up just under 150 yards per game and have allowed 11 rushing TD’s so far this season. Slaton is a solid fantasy play against this defense even under limiting circumstances. Check injury report: chest

13. Michael Turner (ATL) – He has been excellent over the last 3 weeks, but then again, the match ups have been excellent as well, and we all know that Turner is a match up RB. That said, the last time Turner faced the Panthers, they featured a top 5 run defense, and limited him to just 56 rushing yards and no TD’s. Things have changed quite a bit since then with Carolina falling to 17th in the NFL against the run and looking shakier by the week. We still think the Panthers will challenge Turner, but we also think his numbers will be much better this time around at home. Regardless, you probably can not afford to bench Turner against anyone at this point.

14. Jamal Lewis (CLE) – It’s seems obvious at this point that Lewis is not going to put up monster numbers against anyone, but the fact that he is one of the few feature backs left in the NFL that still gets goal line carries, adds tremendously to his fantasy value. This is especially true when he is facing a favorable match up which just so happens to be the case in week 12. Houston currently ranks just 24th in the NFL against the run and more importantly with regard to Lewis, they have allowed 15 rushing TD’s through 10 games. Lewis should provide a solid stat line with this match up.

15. DeAngelo Williams (CAR) – He continues to impress and now has 3 consecutive games over 100 yards rushing and 4 consecutive games with at least 1 TD. Williams has yet another favorable match up in week 12 against Atlanta’s 22nd ranked run defense. While we like his chances, you should keep in mind that the Falcons were able to restrict Williams to just 54 rushing yards and no TD’s in week 4 and that a healthier Jonathan Stewart is likely to steal more carries this week.

16. Ronnie Brown (MIA) – The last time Brown faced the Patriots in week 3, he torched them in just about every way imaginable, and we simply don’t have enough room on this page to list his many accomplishments from that game. That said, Browns numbers have fallen off considerably in recent weeks, and you can bet that the Patriots will be throwing everything but the kitchen sink at him this time around. That doesn’t mean he can’t still have a solid game, but if you are expecting a repeat of week 3, you are probably in for a big disappointment.

17. Larry Johnson (KC) – He wasn’t great in last week, but for a guy that had not played since week 4, Johnson’s performance was not half bad. Now that he has knocked some of the rust off, he should be even better in week 12 against a middle of the road Buffalo run defense. The Bills don’t typically give up a ton of ground yards, but they have allowed 13 rushing TD’s in 10 games, so Johnson is a likely candidate to find pay dirt with this match up. He makes for a decent fantasy start as a RB2.

18. Thomas Jones (NYJ) – He will certainly have his work cut out for him in week 12, but Jones is on fire, and the Titans are not an impossible team to run on. They are a difficult team to run against for sure, giving up just 95 rushing yards per game, but the Tennessee run D has allowed 10 TD’s on the ground in 10 games, and Maurice Jones-Drew was able to find pay dirt twice against them just last week. While no one would blame you for sitting Jones against the Titans, we wouldn’t recommend it unless your fantasy roster is stacked at the RB position.

19. Maurice Jones-Drew (JAX) – When he decides to turn it on, he really turns it on. After a lackluster and inconsistent beginning to his ’08 campaign, Jones- Drew has suddenly started to find the end zone at a pace that would even make even the best RB envious. He now has 6 TD’s in his last 3 games and 9 TD’s in his last 6 games. Jones-Drew will have his work cut out for him if wants to find the end zone again in week 12 against Minnesota’s 2nd ranked run defense, but we wouldn’t bet against him at this point.

20. Reggie Bush (NO) – While Bush will have an excellent match up against a very bad Green Bay run defense in week 12, there are still more questions than answers with regard to his availability for Monday night. Bush would be a must start fantasy option if healthy, but we can’t be certain if he is healthy, if he will be limited, or even if he will play at all in week 12. Stay posted for an update, but as of right now, you should consider going with a safer option. UPDATE: Bush has been ruled out for week 12. DO NOT USE HIM! Check injury report: knee, OUT for Monday night

21. Peyton Hillis (DEN) – After an impressive 2 TD effort in week 11, you have to like his chances for another great fantasy performance against the Raiders in week 12. Oakland currently ranks 30th in the NFL against the run and has allowed 15 rushing TD’s already this season. Hillis is nursing a sore shoulder and it is always a bit of a gamble to use any Broncos RB in fantasy football, but it is a risk probably worth taking under the circumstances. Check injury report: shoulder, full practice on Friday, probable

22. Chris Johnson (TEN) – As we have stated numerous times, Johnson is always just one play away from a solid fantasy effort against any defense. Unfortunately, the odds go down the better the run defense and the Jets have a great run defense. Johnson has been struggling for the last couple of weeks now and he will have his work cut out for him again in week 12 against the Jets 4th ranked run defense. He is very capable, but it wouldn’t be ill advised to go with a safer option.

23. Justin Fargas (OAK) – He will have an excellent week 12 match up against Denver. The Broncos are giving up 143 rushing yards per game and have allowed 13 rushing TD’s so far on the season. Fargas rushed for 97 yards and caught 2 passes for 12 yards against Denver in week 1. He is not the safest fantasy option considering he has yet to exceed 100 yards rushing or score a TD in a game all season, but he is due and the match up bodes well.

24. Jonathan Stewart (CAR) – He won’t be able to run all over the Falcons like he did the Lions in week 11, but if he is given an ample number of carries, Stewart should have a decent to solid fantasy day. In a week 4 meeting with Atlanta, Stewart rushed for 52 yards and a TD. He makes for a low end RB2 or flex play.

25. Willis McGahee (BAL) – We aren’t even sure if Nostradamus could predict the outcome of a Willis McGahee game. Will he rush for 100 yards and a TD, will he get shut down, will he get 5 carries or 25 carries, or will he even finish the game? We just don’t know, no one does, but what we can tell you is that his match up is not all that favorable. The Eagles run defense gives up less than 100 yards per game and has only allowed 5 rushing TD’s all season. If you are willing to roll the dice on McGahee, it could very well pay off, but we wouldn’t advise it.

26. Brian Westbrook (PHI) –We have had our suspicions that Westbrook has been playing hurt and his numbers in recent weeks have only reinforced that sentiment. In addition, Westbrook has yet to practice as of Thursday, so he may not even play in week 12. If he does play, you should probably limit your expectations against Baltimore’s shut down run defense. If Westbrook can only muster 60 rushing yards against a shaky Bengals run defense in week 11, it seems unlikely that he will do much of anything against the Ravens. Until he proves he is healthy, you are best served going with someone else. We should have word by Friday or Saturday on his status, so check back for an update. UPDATE: Westbrook has been listed as active for week 12. He still isn't highly reccomended for fantasy use. Check injury report: knee, ankle, active but probably limited

27. Antonio Pittman (STL) – He was fairly impressive in week 11 against the Niners, but he will be facing a much better Bears run defense in week 12. Sure, Ryan Grant ran all over Chicago last week, but Green Bay actually has a passing game that was able to draw the Bears attention away from Grant. St. Louis is not as fortunate right now, and when the Bears can focus on shutting down the run, they usually do. We aren’t saying that Pittman will be worthless this week, but don’t expect him to run all over these guys either. He is a risky RB2 or flex option at best.

28. LenDale White (TEN) – He has only 1 rushing TD in his last 3 games, so White is certainly due to get back into the end zone, but that will be a tall order against a stingy Jets run defense in week 12. Check injury report: calf

29. Kevin Smith (DET) – He is quietly working his way back into favor with fantasy owners after 3 consecutive solid efforts in a row. Unfortunately, that streak will be in jeopardy against Tampa Bay in week 12. The Bucs give up less than 100 rushing yards per game and more importantly, they have only allowed 1 rushing TD all season. Smith could be useful in the passing game this week, but that is probably about as much as you can expect from him with this match up and that isn’t even a lock. Check injury report: groin

30. Tim Hightower (ARI) – He has basically become invisible over the last couple of weeks and his week 12 match up is not at all favorable against a stingy Giants run defense. Hightower has proven to be a capable fantasy back at times this season, but we recommend going with a safer option until he can start to show some consistency.

31. Derrick Ward (NYG) – He should see a fairly significant number of touches in week 12, and if Brandon Jacobs is hampered by his knee injury, Ward could even play a feature role. The match up isn’t great against a solid and underrated Cardinals run defense, but Ward is very capable of solid numbers regardless. He could make for a decent flex play or even a RB2 play if Jacobs status still looks shaky heading into Sunday.

32. Pierre Thomas (NO) – In the event that Reggie Bush and Deuce McAllister are ruled out for week 12 with their injuries, Thomas could become the Saints feature back. If that is the case, Thomas could be in for a solid fantasy day against a porous Packers run defense. As it stands now, Thomas should still see some playing time on Monday night, but his fantasy stock would go up significantly if he gets the feature role. Check back for an update, we should know more by Friday or Saturday. UPDATE: Reggie Bush is still questionable for Monday night's game, but Deuce McAllister was upgraded to probable. Thomas is still the better bet for fantasy over McAllister , but they are all risky with so much uncertainty. We should know more on Saturday.

33. Ricky Williams (MIA) – He is never a safe fantasy play, but Williams can come up big any week. Williams rushed for 98 yards and caught 2 passes for 21 yards in a week 3 meeting with the Patriots. There are no guarantees, but he could make for a sneaky play this week with all of the attention on Ronnie Brown.

34. Ahman Green (HOU) – He could be a decent sleeper play this week against a soft Browns run defense. Green should get the goal line carries and figures to steal quite a few carries from Steve Slaton moving forward.

35. Sammy Morris (NE) – He should return to his starting role in week 12, but the match up against Miami isn’t great, and the Patriots back field will be very crowded with Kevin Faulk and BenJarvus Green-Ellis also vying for carries.

36. Fred Jackson (BUF) – He has been solid in relief of Marshawn Lynch this season, and the match up against a horrible Kansas City run defense could not be better. Jackson probably won’t see enough carries to make a huge impact, but he could be a decent fantasy option this week if you are in a tight spot.

37. Correll Buckhalter (PHI) - With Brian Westbrook missing practice all week, Buckhalter is likely to get the start against Baltimore. Regardless, the match up is horrible, and Buckhalter isn't worth a serious look for fantasy unless you are in dire need of a RB for week 12.

38. B.J. Askew (TB) – He is very risky, but Askew will likely get a few carries this week including the all important goal line touches. He could be useful against a terrible Lions run defense if you are in a pinch.

39. J.J. Arrington (ARI) – He has been solid in 2 of the last 3 games, but his week 12 match up does not bode well, and there are no guarantees that he will get more than a couple of touches.

40. Leon Washington (NYJ) – He has a bad match up at Tennessee this week, but even in a limited role, Washington is capable of doing some damage against anyone.

* Participants in Thursday night’s CIN @ PIT game are not included in week 12 RB rankings. (For info on those players, see Thursday night advice)

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