Week 16 Fantasy RB Rankings: Must starts, sleepers, potential busts at running back

For most fantasy football owners, this is it. The fantasy playoffs are coming to an end, and those still alive are playing for some money, be it third place or a championship. At this point, start ’em, sit ’em decisions have never been more important, and discerning between sleepers and potential busts isn’t always easy. Our Week 16 fantasy RB rankings can help owners navigate through all the injuries, handcuffs, and workload concerns.

One of the problems entering Week 16 is that there are numerous RBs dealing with health issues that could impact their respective availability. At this point, counting on Christian McCaffrey (thigh) to return seems like a fruitless endeavor, so we’re not including him in our rankings. However, other backs who have dealt with injuries recently and been either “questionable” or “out,” such as Ronald Jones (finger/COVID), Antonio Gibson (toe), Ezekiel Elliott (calf), Damien Harris (ankle), Clyde Edwards-Helaire (leg), Myles Gaskin (COVID), James Conner (quad), and Joe Mixon (foot), will all have a massive impact on the depth of these rankings. If they all play, there will be a lot of top-tier depth in strong matchups. If not, some other streamers and sleepers will rise. In the case of the Dolphins, both Gaskin and Salvon Ahmed could be trusted as flexes if they’re both active.

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

Right now, we have Jones, Conner, and Gaskin included in the rankings, but McCaffrey, Edwards-Helaire, Gibson, Elliott, Harris, and Mixon are excluded. Jones’s status will be the one to watch most closely. The Bucs are taking on a Lions defense that had allowed the most fantasy points to RBs ahead of Week 15, so if Jones plays, he will be an RB1. If not, Leonard Fournette and LeSean McCoy could end up being good RB2/flex plays, as they’ll likely split the workload in a favorable matchup.

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

The Bucs aren’t the only team in a good matchup that could create some streaming options this week. The Bengals are taking on the Texans, a defense that has allowed the most rushing yards to RBs this season, so Giovani Bernard should be an RB2 if he’s the one getting volume for Cincinnati. If not, look out for Trayveon Williams or Samaje Perine to emerge as a worthwhile flex option in a solid matchup. We’ll know more about that situation after Monday night. 

Speaking of flex options, there are plenty of good ones on the slate this week. J.D. McKissic (vs. Panthers) stands out as an excellent sleeper against a weak Panthers defense if Gibson can’t play. McKissic would be even better in PPR leagues, while Peyton Barber has some TD-or-bust upside in standard leagues. Whoever starts for the Cowboys (vs. Eagles), Conner (@ Colts), and D’Andre Swift (vs. Bucs) are all in tough matchups, but their volume will make them solid starts, though they may be riskier plays than normal.

Don’t be afraid to sit a back who got you to a championship game if he is in a bad matchup this week. That doesn’t mean you start Devin Singletary (@ Patriots) over Dalvin Cook (@ Saints), of course, but if talent and workload are close, trust the matchup.

Reminder: As always, we expect to make plenty of changes to these RB rankings throughout the week, so check back for updates.

Week 16 Fantasy RB Rankings (Standard)

These rankings are for non-PPR leagues.

Rank Player
1 Derrick Henry, TEN @ GB
2 Aaron Jones, GB vs. TEN
3 Nick Chubb, CLE @ NYJ
4 David Montgomery, CHI @ JAX
5 Alvin Kamara, NO vs. MIN
6 Dalvin Cook, MIN @ NO
7 Austin Ekeler, LAC vs. DEN
8 Ronald Jones, TB @ DET
9 Miles Sanders, PHI @ DAL
10 Josh Jacobs, LV vs. MIA
11 Melvin Gordon, DEN @ LAC
12 James Robinson, JAX vs. CHI
13 David Johnson, HOU vs. CIN
14 Cam Akers, LAR @ SEA
15 Tony Pollard, DAL vs. PHI
16 Raheem Mostert, SF @ ARI
17 Myles Gaskin, MIA @ LV
18 J.D. McKissic, WAS vs. CAR
19 Sony Michel, NE vs. BUF
20 Jonathan Taylor, IND @ PIT
21 Mike Davis, CAR @ WAS
22 Kareem Hunt, CLE @ NYJ
23 Chris Carson, SEA vs. LAR
24 Le’Veon Bell, KC vs. ATL
25 Kenyan Drake, ARI vs. SF
26 Salvon Ahmed, MIA @ LV
27 JK Dobbins, BAL vs. NYG
28 D’Andre Swift, DET vs. TB
29 Wayne Gallman, NYG @ BAL
30 Giovani Bernard, CIN @ HOU
31 James Conner, PIT vs. IND
32 Devin Singletary, BUF @ NE
33 Zack Moss, BUF @ NE
34 Jamaal Williams, GB vs. TEN
35 Leonard Fournette, TB @ DET
36 Frank Gore, NYJ vs. CLE
37 Lynn Bowden, MIA @ LV
38 Gus Edwards, BAL vs. NYG
39 Jeff Wilson Jr., SF @ ARI
40 Phillip Lindsay, DEN @ LAC
41 Latavius Murray, NO vs. MIN
42 Peyton Barber, WAS vs. CAR
43 Nyheim Hines, IND @ PIT
44 Trayveon Wiliams, CIN @ HOU
45 Ito Smith, ATL @ KC
46 Ty Johnson, NYJ vs. CLE
47 Kalen Ballage, LAC vs. DEN
48 Todd Gurley, ATL @ KC
49 Samaje Perine, CIN @ HOU
50 Duke Johnson, HOU vs. CIN
51 Adrian Peterson, DET vs. TB
52 Carlos Hyde, SEA vs. LAR
53 Chase Edmonds, ARI vs. SF
54 James White, NE vs. BUF
55 Darrel Williams, KC vs. TB
56 Darrell Henderson, LAR @ SEA
57 Devontae Booker, LV vs. MIA
58 Rico Dowdle, DAL vs. PHI
59 Justin Jackson, LAC vs. DEN
60 Boston Scott, PHI @ DAL
61 Alexander Mattison, MIN @ NO
62 Darrynton Evans, TEN @ GB
63 Benny Snell, PIT vs. IND
64 Rodney Smith, CAR @ WAS
65 LeSean McCoy, TB @ DET
66 Malcolm Brown, LAR @ SEA
67 Jalen Richard, LV vs. MIA
68 Matt Breida, MIA @ LV
69 Dion Lewis, NYG @ BAL
70 Brian Hill, ATL @ KC
71 Kerryon Johnson, DET vs. TB
72 Royce Freeman, DEN @ LAC

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