Running backs have been the most important part of fantasy football rosters for a long time, and even in a pass-happy league, they remain key as most leagues begin their fantasy playoffs. If you have the names at the top of our Week 14 fantasy RB rankings, like Christian McCaffrey, Nick Chubb and Saquon Barkley, you feel like you have a chance no matter who your opponent has. But every year there are also some sleepers that lead team to fantasy glory, and they often emerge by simple happenstance at the RB position. Patrick Laird, anyone?
If you had told me in Week 1 that Laird, a player I hadn't heard of until about Week 9, would be a focal point of the Week 14 RB rankings, I would've been very concerned. But any time you can take a pass-catching back in a pass-heavy offense that trails a lot and line him up against the Jets, Giants and Bengals, you have to at least take notice. Of course, this all depends on Kalen Ballage remaining out with his leg injury, or maybe you'll be relying on that plodder instead.
The thing is, Laird might not even be the best guy available on waivers at RB this week. Depending on the league, others available might include Benny Snell Jr., Derrius Guice, Raheem Mostert and Bo Scarbrough. There weren't even many injuries to worry about in Week 14, but if you've been struggling to fill the RB slots in your lineup, hit that wire hard.
You won't win in the fantasy playoffs without your studs, though. Someone like Alvin Kamara, whose carries have been down since his return from injury, adds to that with a tough matchup against San Francisco. But it actually might help Kamara that more of his work has come through the air of late, and you still have to start him. You also have to start Ezekiel Elliott against the Bears -- we wouldn't expect a great yards per carry, but Dallas will be committed to getting Zeke the ball.
More on the border of things are David Montgomery (vs. Cowboys) and Carlos Hyde (vs. Broncos) -- you know you're getting volume with both, but volume might be all you're getting. And despite big Week 13s, both Adrian Peterson and Peyton Barber should probably be on the outside of your lineup looking in as they regress to the norm in Week 14.
Reminder: These rankings will be adjusted throughout week, so check back often for the latest updates and analysis!
Week 14 Fantasy RB Rankings
11Aaron Jones, GB vs. WAS
These rankings are for standard, non-PPR leagues.
Christian McCaffrey, CAR @ ATL. I wonder if there's anyone who owns McCaffrey in fantasy football who didn't make the playoffs. Probably, but man, has he been good all year.
Dalvin Cook, MIN vs. DET
Derrick Henry, TEN @ OAK
Nick Chubb, CLE vs. CIN. Even as Kareem Hunt gets more involved, Chubb remains the workhorse in this offense and should have no difficulties running all over the Bengals in Week 14.
Josh Jacobs, OAK vs. TEN
Ezekiel Elliott, DAL @ CHI
Saquon Barkley, NYG @ PHI
Leonard Fournette, JAX vs. LAC. When you consider the floor Fournette has created for himself by adding a receiving element to his game, he should be one of the most important pieces to owners trying to make a championship push.
Melvin Gordon, LAC @ JAX
Todd Gurley, LAR vs. SEA
Aaron Jones, GB vs. WAS
Joe Mixon, CIN @ CLE
Devonta Freeman, ATL vs. CAR. The Panthers allow the most fantasy points to running backs, so a healthy Freeman with a nice 10-day rest after Thanksgiving should be revved up for heavy action in Week 14.
Mark Ingram, BAL @ BUF
Miles Sanders, PHI vs. NYG
Alvin Kamara, NO vs. SF. This is a brutal matchup, yes, but Kamara is too talented to leave out of your lineup, and the fact that he does it in the receiving game provides him multiple avenues to try and find openings in the 49ers' defense.
Devin Singletary, BUF vs. BAL
Benny Snell Jr., PIT @ ARZ. Snell's ranking reflects the absence of James Conner for Week 14.
Bilal Powell, NYJ vs. MIA
Derrius Guice, WAS @ GB. Guice topped the century mark thanks to a couple of long runs last week and now gets to face a Green Bay team that's allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to running backs in 2019. Expect Guice to keep it rolling.
Chris Carson, SEA @ LAR
Phillip Lindsay, DEN @ HOU
Sony Michel, NE vs. KC
Kareem Hunt, CLE vs. CIN. Constantly involved in the passing game, Hunt should remain a solid FLEX option even in standard leagues the rest of the way thanks to a pretty safe double-digit touch floor.
Austin Ekeler, LAC @ JAX
James White, NE vs. KC. White is often game flow dependent, and against the Chiefs, the Patriots could be forced into enough passing situations to give White value even in standard leagues.
Carlos Hyde, HOU vs. DEN
David Montgomery, CHI vs. DAL. The Cowboys' run defense hasn't been as strong in recent weeks, so Montgomery, who's become more of a workhorse, is still a strong FLEX play as the fantasy playoffs get underway.
Bo Scarbrough, DET @ MIN. The Vikings have a solid run defense, though they did get run all over by two Seattle backs last Monday night. On the bright side, you should be able to count on Scarbrough for 15-plus carries, providing him a floor some of the names around him here don't have.
Adrian Peterson, WAS @ GB. In a surprisingly strong Washington ground game in Week 13, Peterson ran for 99 yards and a score. He'll probably see about 10 carries in this one, and the Packers allow the fifth-most fantasy points to backs, so AP is probably usable in your FLEX spot.
Marlon Mack, IND @ TB. Mack could be back from a hand injury this week, but he would face a dominant Tampa Bay run defense, so maybe look elsewhere this week regardless of his health status.
Kenyan Drake, ARZ vs. PIT
Jamaal Williams, GB vs. WAS
LeSean McCoy, KC @ NE.
Peyton Barber, TB vs. IND. Two touchdowns by Barber in Week 13 have us yet again totally unsure of which way to go in this backfield. Barber outcarried Ronald Jones 17-6 despite averaging fewer than three yards a carry. Unless you're super desperate, this is a spot to avoid.
Ronald Jones, TB vs. IND
Matt Breida, SF @ NO
Rashaad Penny, SEA @ LAR
Patrick Laird, MIA @ NYJ. Laird could be looking at the Miami starting job with Kalen Ballage (leg) out. That would probably mean double-digit rushes to go with about five catches against a Jets defense that can be beaten. You could do worse.
Duke Johnson Jr., HOU vs. DEN
Darwin Thompson, KC @ NE
Tevin Coleman, SF @ NO. Being outcarried 20-5 by Raheem Mostert in Week 13, along with the prospect of Matt Breida (anklie) returning, makes the San Francisco backfield another tough one to count on unless any indications are given during the week about what the workloads will be.
Tarik Cohen, CHI vs. DAL
Raheem Mostert, SF @ NO
Latavius Murray, NO vs. SF
Royce Freeman, DEN @ HOU
Ty Montgomery, NYJ vs. MIA
Nyheim Hines, IND @ TB
Jaylen Samuels, PIT @ ARZ
David Johnson, ARZ vs. PIT. He's become totally unusable.
Rex Burkhead, NE vs. KC
Alexander Mattison, MIN vs. DET
Frank Gore, BUF vs. BAL
Dare Ogunbowale, TB vs. IND
Gus Edwards, BAL @ BUF
Brian Hill, ATL vs. CAR
Myles Gaskin, MIA @ NYJ
Malcolm Brown, LAR vs. SEA
Spencer Ware, KC @ NE.
Giovani Bernard, CIN @ CLE
Ty Johnson, DET @ MIN
J.D. McKissic, DET @ MIN
Dion Lewis, TEN @ OAK
Wayne Gallman, NYG @ PHI