2013 Fantasy Football Week 15 Rankings (Kevin Hanson): Running Backs
Scoring: These rankings are based on standard-scoring formats (one point per 10 rushing yards, six points per rushing touchdown plus one point per 10 receiving yards and six points per receiving touchdown) and are for Week 15 only.
For my RB rankings for the rest of the season, click here.
Before breaking his clavicle (part one) last year, Chargers running back Ryan Mathews was an early first-round pick.
He disappointed fantasy owners regardless of where you drafted him, however, as his average draft position (ADP) dropped after that preseason injury.
To those that gambled on Mathews at a much lower cost this year, Mathews has been paying dividends.
On the season, he has carried the ball 207 times for 885 yards and four touchdowns and added 20 catches for 157 yards and a score.
But Mathews has been especially good over the past half-season. During that eight-game span, Mathews has four 100-yard games and he has scored all four of his rushing touchdowns. Mathews is averaging more than a yard per carry more during the past eight games (4.65 YPC) than he did in the first five games of the season (3.49).
Last week, he had a season-high 29 carries for 103 yards and a touchdown with three catches for 32 yards and posted a season-high 19 fantasy points.
This week, Mathews and the Chargers will face the Broncos on Thursday Night Football. The Broncos have allowed the eighth-most fantasy points to opposing running backs this season.
CHI: 100-yard rusher allowed in 7 of past 8G
One of the sure-fire fantasy matchups over the past half-season has been to start your running back(s) against the Bears.
In seven of their past eight games beginning in Week 6, the Bears have allowed a 100-yard rusher in all but one game. The lone exception during that span was the 95 rushing yards they allowed to Washington's Alfred Morris in Week 7.
This week, the Bears will host the Browns, who have struggled to run the ball. In fact, second-year receiver Josh Gordon led the team in rushing last week with 34 yards on his one carry.
Over the past four games, Browns running back Chris Ogbonnaya leads the team in yards from scrimmage (207). While Willis McGahee leads the team in carries (38) during that span, he is averaging only 3.03 yards per carry and has 133 YFS in those four games.
As poorly as McGahee has run the ball on a per-carry basis, he also sustained a concussion late in his Week 14 matchup as well.
If I had to start one Browns running back this week, it'd be Ogbonnaya, but I wouldn't feel comfortable doing so, especially with so much at stake.
Vereen: 33 catches for 315 yards in past 4G
Since returning from short-term IR, Patriots running back Shane Vereen has a total of 24 carries for 85 yards in four games.
That said, Vereen finds himself inside my top-10 fantasy running backs in standard-scoring leagues this week — largely due to his production as a receiver.
During that same four-game span, Vereen has 33 receptions for 315 yards. That means, he is averaging exactly 100 yards from scrimmage in his past four games and he has scored in consecutive weeks.
With Rob Gronkowski suffering a torn ACL, Vereen will continue to be featured prominently in the passing game and he had season highs of 12 catches on 17 targets for 153 yards last week.
SJax to pound Washington into submission?
Falcons running back Steven Jackson is finally healthy and he has 54 carries for 218 yards and three touchdowns in his past three games.
While he didn't find the endzone last week, he had his best performance in that span on a per-carry basis as he averaged 4.7 yards per carry in Week 14.
As Jackson continues to look better, he gets a favorable matchup against a team that quit last week. In the process, the Redskins allowed a total of 189 rushing yards and a total of three touchdowns to the Chiefs running backs.
Not only have they allowed the second-most fantasy points to opposing running backs this season, but they have allowed a total of 19 touchdowns this season to running backs including multiple touchdowns in four of their past five games.