Fantasy football owners were treated to a full-on mess of injuries and COVID-related postponements last week, and if it did nothing else, it should’ve provided a reminder that handcuffing your starting running backs is crucial this time of year. In fact, becoming familiar with a each team’s entire depth chart isn’t a bad idea. If a team has a breakout, it could affect multiple players, especially in a personnel group. Our Week 16 fantasy RB rankings have to take some educated guesses as to who will be playing and who won’t, but there will be plenty of updates necessary throughout the week. 

Elijah Mitchell (knee), D’Andre Swift (shoulder), Kareem Hunt (knee), and Damien Harris (hamstring) were the key backs who missed last week’s games because of injuries, and it’s unclear if any will be back this week. At this point, it would be somewhat surprising if Swift returned, but the other three could be legit game-time decisions. Jamaal Williams, Phillip Lindsay, and Alexander Mattison were notable backs who missed last week because of COVID protocols, but Williams (@ Falcons) is the only one who would have considerable value if he returned this week (which he likely will). 

Quarterback | Wide receiver | Tight end | D/ST | Kicker

Darrell Henderson (@ Vikings), Michael Carter (vs. Jaguars), Javonte Williams and Melvin Gordon (@ Raiders), Clyde Edwards-Helaire (vs. Steelers), Miles Sanders (@ Giants), and whoever starts for the Lions (@ Falcons) headlines the list of borderline RBs with favorable matchups. With the possible exception of Sanders, most of these guys are safely in 12-team lineups on a weekly basis anyway, but there’s no reason to be worried about them this week.

Quarterback | Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end | D/ST | Kicker

Those matchups also create some potential flex opportunities for backups Sony Michel (@ Vikings), Tevin Coleman (vs. Jaguars), Darrel Williams (vs. Steelers), and Jordan Howard (@ Giants). We’ll also add committee backs David Johnson and Rex Burkhead (vs. Chargers). However, most fantasy owners would rather opt for a boom-or-bust WR in their flex than a relatively high-floor, low-ceiling RB like those players, especially in PPR leagues. It really comes down to what you think you’ll need more to win your matchup. 

WEEK 16 FANTASY: Sleepers | Busts | Start ’em, sit ’em

On the other side of the matchup coin, players like James Conner and Chase Edmonds (vs. Colts), Devonta Freeman (@ Bengals), Chuba Hubbard (vs. Buccaneers), Myles Gaskin (@ Saints), D’Onta Foreman (vs. 49ers), and Devin Singletary (@ Patriots) are the borderline backs in the toughest spots. It’s tough to sit Conner because of his TD upside, while Freeman and Foreman are developing relatively safe floors (last week notwithstanding for Freeman), but Edmonds, Hubbard and the Bills aren’t worth pinning your hopes on in standard leagues. The same goes for backups Tony Pollard (vs. Washington), AJ Dillon (vs. Browns), and last week’s breakout Duke Johnson (@ Saints). Ronald Jones (@ Panthers) would profile similarly to Conner if he’s starting in place of Fournette.

WEEK 16 DFS LINEUPS: DraftKings | FanDuel | Yahoo

Again, it’s tough to make too many plans at RB (or any position) early in the week. Injuries will pop up, and at this point in the season, teams are much more likely to simply shut down players for the year. If you’re still alive in your fantasy playoffs, chances are you’re paying close attention, and we’ll be here to help fill in the gaps along the way. 

MORE WEEK 16 DFS: Best stacks | Lineup Builder

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 16: Who to start at running back

Rankings are based on standard, non-PPR scoring

1Jonathan Taylor, IND @ ARI
2James Robinson, JAX @ NYJ
3Cordarrelle Patterson, ATL vs. DET
4David Montgomery, CHI @ SEA
5Najee Harris, PIT @ KC
6Clyde Edwards-Helaire, KC vs. PIT
7Alvin Kamara, NO vs. MIA
8Nick Chubb, CLE @ GB
9Javonte Williams, DEN @ LV
10Ezekiel Elliott, DAL vs. WAS
11Sony Michel, LAR @ MIN
12Alexander Mattison, MIN vs. LAR
13Joe Mixon, CIN vs. BAL
14Justin Jackson, LAC @ HOU
15Melvin Gordon, DEN @ LV
16Josh Jacobs, LV vs. DEN
17Aaron Jones, GB vs. CLE
18Ronald Jones II, TB @ CAR
19Saquon Barkley, NYG @ PHI
20Michael Carter, NYJ vs. JAX
21Rashaad Penny, SEA vs. CHI
22Miles Sanders, PHI vs. NYG
23Damien Harris, NE vs. BUF
24Antonio Gibson, WAS @ DAL
25Jamaal Williams, DET @ ATL
26Chase Edmonds, ARI vs. IND
27D’Onta Foreman, TEN vs. SF
28Jeff Wilson Jr., SF @ TEN
29Rex Burkhead, HOU vs. LAC
30Chuba Hubbard, CAR vs. TB
31Darrel Williams, KC vs. PIT
32Darrell Henderson, LAR @ MIN
33Myles Gaskin, MIA @ NO
34Devin Singletary, BUF @ NE
35Jordan Howard, PHI vs. NYG
36Devonta Freeman, BAL @ CIN
37Latavius Murray, BAL @ CIN
38Tevin Coleman, NYJ vs. JAX
39Tony Pollard, DAL vs. WAS
40Mark Ingram, NO vs. MIA
41Brandon Bolden, NE vs. BUF
42Royce Freeman, HOU vs. LAC
43AJ Dillon, GB vs. CLE
44Jaret Patterson, WAS @ DAL
45Craig Reynolds, DET @ ATL
46Joshua Kelley, LAC @ HOU
47Mike Davis, ATL vs. DET
48Duke Johnson, MIA @ NO
49Dontrell Hillard, TEN vs. SF
50Devontae Booker, NYG @ PHI
51Boston Scott, PHI vs. NYG
52Jeremy McNichols, TEN vs. SF
53DeeJay Dallas, SEA vs. CHI
54Matt Breida, BUF @ NE
55Phillip Lindsay, MIA @ NO
56D’Ernest Johnson, CLE @ GB
57Ameer Abdullah, CAR vs. TB
58Dare Ogunbowale, JAX @ NYJ
59Samaje Perine, CIN vs. BAL
60Kene Nwangwu, MIN vs. LAR
61Nyheim Hines, IND @ ARI
62Alex Collins, SEA vs. CHI
63Ke’Shawn Vaughn, TB @ CAR
64Peyton Barber, LV vs. DEN
65Godwin Igwebuike, DET @ ATL
66Khalil Herbert, CHI @ SEA
67Jonathan Williams, WAS @ DAL