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Week 16 RB Rankings: Derrick Henry headlines fantasy sleepers, must starts, busts

Looking to win a fantasy football championship? Our Week 16 fantasy RB rankings highlight the best and worst plays of the week.

Week 16 RB Rankings: Derrick Henry headlines sleepers, must starts, busts
NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - Running back Derrick Henry #22 of the Tennessee Titans runs the ball during a game against the Detroit Lions at Nissan Stadium on December 20, 2020 in Nashville, Tennessee. The Titans defeated the Lions 46-25. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

It already looks as if it will be a race for second place in the Week 16 fantasy RB rankings after Alvin Kamara’s six-touchdown performance. These rankings have been updated, though. Any players from the Saints, Vikings, Buccaneers, Lions, 49ers, Cardinals, Raiders, and Dolphins have been removed now that they have played. Our rankings are here to help give you the best chance of victory in your fantasy football championship, highlighting RB busts, must starts, and sleepers from the remaining teams.

Running back injuries hit hard in Week 16

Some high-profile running backs miss out this week due to injury, and their teams will have to turn to their backups to replace them.

Christian McCaffrey has been out for much of the season, and Mike Davis will handle the workload again. James Robinson’s rushing attempts could fall to Devine Ozigbo, with Dare Ogunbowale seeing opportunities in the passing game. Joe Mixon will miss out again, giving another opportunity to Giovani Bernard. Clyde Edwards-Helaire’s injury allows former fantasy RB1 Le’Veon Bell to show that he’s still capable of producing.

Related | Week 16 WR Rankings: Tyreek Hill headlines sleepers, must starts, busts

Ezekiel Elliott is also expected to play, as is Antonio Gibson, but both are game-time decisions. He’s yet to practice fully this week, so he has been left off the Week 16 fantasy RB rankings. If he is active, he would slot in the ranking in place of J.D. McKissic, with McKissic sliding down the rankings.

As always, make sure that you check the injury reports for updates before the games.

Note: Please keep in mind that these are PPR RB rankings. PPR in fantasy means that a running back gets an additional full point for each reception. This can play a big factor when deciding which players to put into your lineups and makes volume all that much more important. Schematically, some defenses are better than others at stopping RBs in the passing game, and it’s important to note who those teams are.

Top 5 running backs in fantasy football for Week 16

1) Derrick Henry at Green Bay Packers
2) David Montgomery at Jacksonville Jaguars
3) Aaron Jones vs. Tennessee Titans
4) Nick Chubb at New York Jets
5) Austin Ekeler vs. Denver Broncos

It’s not often that you get the opportunity to play one of the most dominant running backs in fantasy football against one of the worst defenses against running backs in fantasy football. That’s exactly what we have as Derrick Henry takes on the Packers. Henry has had either 100 total yards or a touchdown in 11 of 14 games this season and could do both in Week 16.

The David Montgomery revenge tour is full speed ahead. After many (including yours truly) wrote him off, he’s found his feet as the workhorse running back for the Bears. He’s had over 100 total yards and a touchdown in his last four games. Now he’s rewarded with a game against the Jaguars, who have been unable to stop RBs all season.

Aaron Jones had his second-best game of the season in Week 15. He torched the Carolina Panthers for 158 yards and a touchdown. The Titans defense has struggled against running backs this season, and Jones will hope to continue his form.

Nick Chubb and Austin Ekeler are the lead backs in their committees

Nick Chubb has gone over 100 total yards in seven of his 10 games this season. He also has 10 touchdowns in that time. Chubb will never see 100% of the running back touches due to Kareem Hunt’s quality. Still, he’s the lead back for one of the best rushing attacks in the NFL. With so many of the Browns receivers out, he should see plenty of the ball.

Austin Ekeler still cedes more touches to Kalen Ballage than fantasy managers would like. He’s getting healthier each week, though, and the Chargers coaching staff badly needs to win. Putting the ball in the hands of one of their most talented playmakers is a good strategy.

Fantasy RB rankings for Week 16: Miles Sanders rounds out Tier 1

6) Miles Sanders at Dallas Cowboys
7) Jonathan Taylor at Pittsburgh Steelers
8) Melvin Gordon at Los Angeles Chargers
9) David Johnson vs. Cincinnati Bengals
10) Le’Veon Bell at Atlanta Falcons

Miles Sanders came back down to Earth a little bit after his Week 14 demolition of the Saints. The volume was still there, though, as he touched the ball 18 times. He was the only Eagles RB to carry against the Cardinals and has a good opportunity to finish the fantasy season in style against the Cowboys.

Offensive line injuries and a tough matchup make Jonathan Taylor a riskier option than others in the top 10. He has had over 95 total yards in his last four games, though, and the Steelers have just allowed Giovani Bernard to finish the week as a top 10 fantasy RB.

Melvin Gordon has had one of the most efficient seasons of his career in terms of yards per carry. Unfortunately, he hasn’t been as involved in the passing game as fantasy managers would like, though. Gordon had two touchdowns a week ago. If he gets similar opportunities against his former team, he could be in for another big week.

David Johnson and Le’Veon Bell should get plenty of carries

David Johnson has 11 receptions in Week 15. Expecting that again is optimistic, given until that point, he had only had 16 all season. That said, it’s clear that the Texans believe he can be a three-down back. The Bengals have performed capably against running backs this season, but they struggle to score points, which means that the running game is always in play.

Le’Veon Bell has an opportunity to get his career back on track against the Falcons this week. With Clyde Edwards-Helaire out injured, Bell will inherit a large workload. The Falcons have recently improved against RBs, but Bell should see plenty of opportunities and could produce in a high-scoring offense.

Tier 2: Fantasy RB rankings for Week 16

11) Chris Carson vs. Los Angeles Rams
12) Kareem Hunt at New York Jets
13) Ezekiel Elliott vs. Philadelphia Eagles
14) J.D. McKissic vs. Carolina Panthers
15) Darrell Henderson at Seattle Seahawks
16) J. K. Dobbins vs. New York Giants
17) Giovani Bernard at Houston Texans
18) James Conner vs. Indianapolis Colts
19) Mike Davis at Washington Football Team
20) Wayne Gallman at Baltimore Ravens

Tier 3: Fantasy RB rankings for Week 16

21) Sony Michel vs. Buffalo Bills
21) Nyheim Hines at Pittsburgh Steelers
23) Frank Gore vs. Cleveland Browns
24) James White vs. Buffalo Bills
25) Zack Moss at New England Patriots
26) Peyton Barber vs. Carolina Panthers
27) Tony Pollard vs. Philadelphia Eagles
28) Ty Johnson vs. Cleveland Browns
29) Devin Singletary at New England Patriots
30) Malcolm Brown at Seattle Seahawks

Tier 4: Fantasy RB rankings for Week 16

31) Ito Smith at Kansas City Chiefs
32) Dare Ogunbowale vs. Chicago Bears
33) Gus Edwards vs. New York Giants
34) Carlos Hyde vs. Los Angeles Rams
35) Kalen Ballage vs. Denver Broncos
36) Phillip Lindsay at Los Angeles Chargers
37) Duke Johnson vs. Cincinnati Bengals
38) Trayveon Williams at Houston Texans
39) Todd Gurley at Kansas City Chiefs
40) Darrel Williams vs. Atlanta Falcons

Tier 5: Fantasy RB rankings for Week 16

41) Devine Ozigbo vs. Chicago Bears
42) Benny Snell vs. Indianapolis Colts
43) Samaje Perine at Houston Texans
44) Boston Scott at Dallas Cowboys
45) Justin Jackson vs. Denver Broncos

Want more fantasy football analysis and news?

Be sure to follow us on Twitter: @PFN365 to stay up to date with all things around the NFL and the 2020 fantasy football season. Also, continue to visit Pro Football Network for NFL news and in-depth analysis while also seeing our fantasy football section for more coverage and up-to-date rankings.

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