Week 16 is championship week in fantasy football. The odds would suggest that if owners are still alive at this point in the season, they have probably had above-average fantasy production from the running backs on their roster. That being said, some of the league’s top running backs are either nursing injuries or have unfavorable matchups this week. Here is a look at five running backs who have favorable fantasy matchups in Week 16 of the 2014 NFL season.
All statistics are courtesy of Pro-Football-Reference.
1. C.J. Anderson, Denver Broncos
Anderson has been the key piece of the Broncos’ new run-first offense. In Denver’s last four games, Anderson has averaged 28 carries per game, 4.4 yards per carry, 120 yards per game, and one touchdown per game. Those are the types of fantasy numbers that lead owners to championship season. This week, Anderson will be facing a Cincinnati Bengals defense that is giving up the fifth-most fantasy points per game in the league to running backs this season. Expect another big performance out of Anderson on Monday Night Football in Week 16.
2. Fred Jackson, Buffalo Bills
Jackson has been a model for consistency for the Bills during his eight seasons in Buffalo. He also projects to have an excellent fantasy week against the Oakland Raiders in Week 16. The Raiders are giving up the second-most fantasy points per game in the league to running backs this season, and Jackson is averaging just under 22 touches per game over the past three weeks. Expect to see a similar number of touches and close to 100 yards on the ground for Jackson in Week 16.
3. Mark Ingram, New Orleans Saints
The Saints are finally using Ingram as a workhorse back, and their confidence in the fourth-year pro out of Alabama has definitely paid off. Ingram will be facing an Atlanta Falcons defense in Week 16 that is giving up the most fantasy points per game in the league to running backs this year. This matchup is basically a playoff game for both teams, so the Saints will be looking to exploit every matchup they possibly can this week. Expect to see Ingram post his fifth 100-yard game of the season this week.
4. Tre Mason, St. Louis Rams
Mason was a third-round draft pick this year, and he is already exceeding expectations. He has run for 661 yards on the season despite missing the first five weeks of the season with an injury. This week, he will be facing the New York Giants, who are giving up the eighth-most fantasy points per game in the league to running backs this season. Fantasy owners can expect Mason to get 20-plus touches and post another 100-yard game in Week 16.
5. Steven Jackson, Atlanta Falcons
Jackson and the Falcons will be playing for their postseason lives against the New Orleans Saints in Week 16. Fortunately for Jackson’s fantasy owners, the Saints are giving up the fourth-most fantasy points per game in the league to running backs this season. Additionally, Atlanta’s top two wide receivers — Julio Jones and Roddy White — are nursing injuries. If they are without one or both of them they will be forced into running the ball more than they may have originally expected, which would bode well for Jackson’s fantasy value.