2016 Draft Kit

Running back matchups for Week 12: Sleepers and busts

Multiple sets of statistics — including season-long and last-five-weeks — are used to determine the best and worst matchups of the week.

When multiple sets of statistics all point us in the same direction it increases our confidence in them.

Personally, I follow these lists more than our projections when filling out my daily fantasy lineups. Matchups should be one of the biggest parts of your lineup-making process.

Week 12 projections and rankings

Week 12 matchups: PASS | RUN | WR1 | WR2 | WR3/4 | TE | RB (rec.)

Top rushing matchups

Arian Foster/Alfred Blue vs. Cincinnati — Foster is a game-time decision, but if he wasn’t he’d be atop many fantasy football lists this week. He’s still near the top in quite a few. Blue, if forced into a full-time role would have major sleeper potential.

Denard Robinson vs. Indianapolis — The Colts have been a dominant offense all season. I find it interesting the Colts have given up so much to opposing running backs. Season-long, they are the third-least effective team against running backs. In the last five weeks they’ve surrendered 29.8 fantasy points per game to RBs.

Trent Richardson/Daniel Herron vs. Jacksvonville — If you’re going to start Trent Richardson this season and expect a reasonable return, this is the week to do it.

DeMarco Murray vs. New York Giants — It’s not fair for non-Murray owners for the Cowboys to have a matchup like this.

Eddie Lacy/James Starks vs. Minnesota — While it’s a tough matchup for Aaron Rodgers, it should be a field day for Eddie Lacy and James Starks. I could picture a game script where the Packers lean on the running back(s) to grind out a win in hostile territory.

Bishop Sankey vs. Philadelphia — Sankey hasn’t been spectacular but he’s been solid. I don’t think we should expect more from him, but we have to elevate his floor and ceiling a bit this week against an Eagles defense which has allowed a five-week average of 25.8 PPR fantasy points per game to running backs.

LeSean McCoy/Darren Sproles vs. Tennessee — I watched a LeSean McCoy highlight reel today of him flashing ridiculous speed and elusiveness. There are a lot of people claiming he’s not the same player. He says he is. Sproles has been far more effective. Still, with McCoy’s price very low at the daily fantasy sites and a matchup like this we have to consider starting him.

Worst rushing matchups

Alfred Morris/Roy Helu vs. San Francisco — San Francisco tops the season list of fantasy points allowed and is eighth-toughest in the last five weeks. It also doesn’t help that the right kind of game script — trailing to the 49ers, for instance — takes Morris out of the equation.

Marshawn Lynch vs. Arizona — In season-long leagues, you’re not going to bench Lynch. Even in standard leagues, he’s still likely to finish as a top-10 running back. However, there are safer options and options with more upside out there this week.

Mark Ingram/Pierre Thomas vs. Baltimore — The Ravens have been good at stopping the run and not so good at stopping the pass, meaning it could be a big day for Drew Brees. The Saints, however, are expected to win pretty handily at home, meaning Ingram could get mop-up duty.

Fred Jackson/Bryce Brown/Anthony Dixon vs. New York Jets — Even if this was a great matchup I’m not sure I could recommend starting a Bills running back unless one emerges as a must-start.

Frank Gore/Carlos Hyde vs. Washington — The Redskins have been pretty strong against the run all season. Gore and Hyde have been mostly unexcited all season.

Ryan Mathews vs. St. Louis — Mathews is priced reasonably in daily fantasy because he missed so much time due to injury. He should get a good volume of carries and the Chargers are favored to win at home. Still, this matchup might make me consider diversifying a bit. The Rams allowed just 22 fantasy points per game to running backs in the last five weeks.

Lamar Miller vs. Denver — Miller is questionable with a knee injury. He just goet over a shoulder problem and now his knee is acting up. The Dolphins are home and Miller will see action in the passing game so he can’t be written out of the game script. But if he can’t go, you don’t need to worry about starting his replacement.

Steven Jackson/Devonta Freeman vs. Cleveland — Jackson has been a solid player this season. Like Miller and Mathews above, Jackson is playing at home this week and the Falcons are favored to win. We probably should keep our expectations in check, but Jackson will probably play better than this matchup suggests.

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