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Fantasy Football: Five Worst Running Back Matchups


December 7, 2016

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On Monday, we looked ahead at the fantasy football playoff matchups for quarterbacks and we assessed the best and worst matchups for quarterbacks from weeks fourteen through sixteen. Today we look at the best and worst matchups for running backs. Like the quarterbacks articles, the ranking next to the team will represent the average rank of the teams at allowing fantasy points per game, so the higher, the better. You will find below the bottom five matchups for running backs for the rest of the season.

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Denver (Devontae Booker/Justin Forsett)
at Tennessee, versus New England, at Kansas City (average rank 23.33.)

If this was C.J. Anderson, people could talk themselves into Booker overcoming the bad matchup and willing himself to a good game. However, Devontae Booker is not C.J. Anderson, and he has duds in some prime matchups this year.

However, he has the fifth-worst matchup for the rest of the season, and Gary Kubiak just brought in his old buddy Justin Forsett to steal some snaps and carries. It’s going to be a running back by committee in three bad matchups. I wouldn’t cut Booker, but I wouldn’t go out to snatch up Forsett, either.

Washington (Robert Kelley/Chris Thompson)
at Philadelphia, versus Carolina, at Chicago (average rank 25.33)

Jay Gruden said this week that he wants to get Robert Kelley “more involved” as the season moves to its conclusion. While that means more touches for Kelley, I don’t know how useful they are going to be. Washington gets three top-ten defenses during the fantasy playoffs run. After two bad weeks, it’s time to park Kelley firmly on your bench until further notice.

Detroit (Theo Riddick/Zach Zenner Truthers)
versus Chicago, at Giants, at Dallas (average rank 26.33)

Theo Riddick isn’t your typical running back, so he should be able to overcome the bad matchups. He is a pass catching back in a quick pass offense, which means he will still be usable in PPR, but in standard, he’s a firm sit.

There are too many good options in Detroit, and Jim Bob Cooter is smart enough to know that these three squads are too good to try to run it too much with Zenner or Washington. Riddick will keep his PPR value, but loses almost all of it in standard scoring.

Green Bay (James Starks/Christine Michael Truthers/Ty Montgomery)
versus Seattle, at Chicago, versus Minnesota (average rank 26.33)

This might be the end of the line for the Great Green Bay Running Back Experiment. They’ve tried Ty Montgomery (a wide receiver), James Starks (a career backup) and Christine Michael (who suffers from Chronic Christine Michael Disease) back there, to varying effect.

However, they have the third-worst schedule against running backs for the rest of the year and it may be time to plug your particular portion of this timeshare on the bench from here on out.

Giants (Rashad Jennings)
versus Dallas, at Philadelphia, at Washington (average rank 27)

There was a two game stretch of decency that convinced people to believe that Rashad Jennings was a good running back (though three games all year over 55 yards should have convinced you otherwise). Since he had 190 yards in two games, he’s gone for 55 and 19 in the last two. It doesn’t get any better for him, as he takes on three top-seven defenses in weeks fourteen through sixteen.

If you end up in a roster crunch, Jennings can safely be the odd man out as there is no game you will want to start him for the rest of the year.

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