Did you see the top-scoring running backs in Week 12? Of the top eight, four were surprising, to say the least. With the fantasy playoffs looming, owners need to know whom they can trust, especially at the most volatile position. Here’s a look at the prospects for these Johnny-come-latelies.
C.J. Anderson, Broncos: His 24 points Sunday marked his second 20-plus-point outing in three weeks. And it came against a Dolphins defense that had allowed 20-plus points to running backs only twice. Anderson has taken advantage of the injuries to Montee Ball (groin) and Ronnie Hillman (foot), showing he can be an every-down back, which is invaluable in such a high-scoring offense. That gives him the chance to be a No. 1 running back the rest of the way.
LaGarrette Blount, Patriots: He might have been the most stunning story of the week, scoring 19 points in place of Jonas Gray after joining the team earlier in the week. Such is life with the Patriots. No other offense varies more game to game, which could pose a problem. Plus, the schedule isn’t running back-friendly. But Blount finished last season strong with the Patriots, and goal-line work in the league’s highest-scoring offense makes him worth considering as a flex option.
Isaiah Crowell, Browns: Though Crowell will continue to share carries with Terrance West, he figures to do more with his. On Sunday, Crowell had three fewer touches than West (15-12) but outscored him 20-6. With the Browns averaging 32.1 rushes per game, second-most in the league, Crowell will have plenty of chances. His timing couldn’t be better with wide receiver Josh Gordon back and occupying defenses. Consider Crowell a low-end No. 2 running back.
Latavius Murray, Raiders: With Maurice Jones-Drew and Darren McFadden struggling, the Raiders finally turned to Murray last week, and he delivered 23 points. He left the game early with a concussion, but he was cleared to practice Wednesday and likely will be the lead back again. But considering the Raiders have perhaps the league’s worst run blocking, they’ve run a league-low 19.5 times per game and their schedule is daunting, don’t get too excited about Murray.
RB Rashad Jennings, Giants: He is over his knee injury with 49 touches in his first two games back, including 27 on Sunday.
RB Alfred Morris, Redskins: He has three consecutive games with at least 92 yards, including a 125-yard outing Sunday, and his schedule is favorable.
QB Philip Rivers, Chargers: He is nursing injuries to his ribs and chest, which have led to safer plays and lower numbers.
WR Andre Johnson, Texans: He has five consecutive games with seven points or fewer and one game with double digits for the season. It’s not happening.
QB Ryan Tannehill, Dolphins: The Jets have allowed multiple touchdown passes in every game but one.
RB Denard Robinson, Jaguars: Expect a bounce-back game against the Giants, who rank second-to-last in run defense.
WR Julian Edelman, Patriots: In their last six games, the Packers have allowed an average of 27.7 points to wide receivers.
QB Colin Kaepernick, 49ers: He has thrown one TD pass in five consecutive games, and the Seahawks have allowed 15 all year, third-fewest.
RB Trent Richardson, Colts: He is coming off double-digit carries for the first time since Week 7, but Dan Herron is the Colts’ running back of choice.
WR Vincent Jackson, Buccaneers: He figures to return to earth against the Bengals, who have allowed the second-fewest yards and touchdowns to receivers.
WEEK 12 PICKS
QB Jay Cutler: 130 passing, TD
RB LeSean McCoy: 21-130 rushing, TD
WR Marques Colston: 4-82 receiving, TD
QB Matt Ryan: 273 passing, 2 TDs, INT
RB Ryan Mathews: 12-105 rushing, TD
WR Pierre Garcon: 3-34 receiving