Fantasy Football

Fantasy Football Running Back Depth Chart


Week 16 Update: Well, fans, here we are in Week 16! If you have made it this far, you are most likely playing in your league’s Championship match-up! Congratulations, you’ve made it to the Fantasy Football Holy Grail!

If your league’s Championship face-off occurs in Week 17, then good luck in the Semifinals this week, and beyond! It’s hard to believe this year is just about over, but time flies when you’re second-guessing your lineups every week!

Sadly, this will be the last Fantasy Six Pack Fantasy Football Running Back Depth Chart update of the 2019 Season. However, it would be remiss of us not to extend our sincerest thanks for the continued support of our readers! Bringing fresh content to help our fans take their fantasy leagues by storm is our lifeblood.

That being said, let’s check out the latest Running Back news and updates for Week 16. Good luck to you all, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, Felix Navidad, Happy Festivus, and Happy New Year! This is A. J. Applegarth, signing off for the 2019 Fantasy Football Season!

Earlier in this decade, the running back position in Fantasy Football saw a fairly sharp decline in importance. The following factors contributed to this decline:

  • The steep rise in popularity of PPR and Half-PPR scoring formats, which also bred the Zero-RB Theory draft strategy
  • An increase in season-ending injuries and/or lengthy contract negotiations/holdouts by top running backs
  • The NFL’s overall transition to more backfields implementing a Running Back by Committee approach to the game

PPR and Half-PPR scoring really leveled the fantasy playing field between wide receivers/tight ends and running backs. It forced managers to take much harder looks at the top receivers and tight ends earlier in drafts. The higher point output for wide receivers/tight ends also led to managers implementing the Zero-RB theory draft strategy. For those not familiar with this theory, it simply means managers wait numerous rounds before drafting their first running back.

Alas, PPR and Half-PPR scoring eventually allowed pass-catching running backs to gain more value in fantasy leagues. This, again, widened the gap in scoring between running backs and wide receivers/tight ends. Fortunately, this return-to-glory for running backs has conversely led to less use of the zero-RB theory draft strategy. Although, this strategy has not completely disappeared…yet.

The second and third factors listed above actually go hand-and-hand with each other. More-frequent injuries to lead-backs and contract holdouts during the preseason necessitated running back committees to become the new norm. However, the emergence of more workhorse running backs in recent years has helped buck that trend. If anything, running back committees are typically only implemented during the season when major injuries occur to starters.

So, where does that leave us for 2019? Well, even with the apparent shift back to prominence, the running back position still carries a level of volatility. Because of this, fantasy football managers need to be more in-tune with running back depth charts. These charts track the starters and handcuffs to own for each NFL team. They also provide insight on specific teams that have transitioned into a committee. This is beneficial for both drafting, as well as in-season roster adjustments.

To remain up-to-date throughout the season, we’re bringing you the 2019 Fantasy Six Pack Fantasy Football Running Back Depth Chart! Here is the explanation of our chart:

  • Starter: These are the running backs who are most likely to start each game for their team. Please note that this does not always mean that running back will get the most touches.
  • Handcuff(s): These are players who are likely to take over if the starter comes out of the game for any reason. They are especially valuable to target if a starter suffers a major injury.
  • Passing-Down Back(s): These are the players who are likely to get the bulk of the work in the passing game. These backs are good to stash in PPR/Half-PPR leagues.
  • Goal Line Back(s): These players are likely to get the bulk of the carries near the goal line.
  • RBBC: If the Running Back By Committee column is marked, that backfield is evenly splitting carries.

2019 Fantasy Football Running Back Depth Chart

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TeamStarterHandcuff(s)Passing-Down Back(s)Goal Line Back(s)RBBCNotes
Arizona CardinalsKenyan DrakeDavid JohnsonKenyan DrakeKenyan DrakeKenyan Drake hit season highs in carries (22), rushing yards (137) and TD's (4) in Week 15. This week, he'll face an average Seahawks RuDef that has surrenders 15 total TD's to opposing RB's this season.
Atlanta FalconsDevonta Freeman- Brian Hill
- Qadree Ollison
Devonta Freeman- Devonta Freeman
- Qadree Ollison
Devonta Freeman has a juicy match-up in Week 16 against the hapless Jaguars. Start him with confidence!
Baltimore RavensMark IngramGus EdwardsMark Ingram- Mark Ingram
- Gus Edwards
Ingram and the Ravens have won every game since their Week 4 loss to Cleveland. This weekend is all about redemption!
Buffalo BillsDevin SingletaryFrank GoreDevin SingletaryDevin SingletaryDevin Singletary has only one game with less than 14 carries and 60 yards since Week 9. His volume should remain high in Week 16, but temper your expectations against the stout NE Defense.
Carolina PanthersChristian McCaffreyReggie BonnafonChristian McCaffreyChristian McCaffreyChristian McCaffrey continues to dominate the NFL, but he faces an Indy Defense that has only given up one 100+ yards rushing and 3 TD's since Week 1.
Chicago BearsDavid MontgomeryTarik CohenTarik Cohen- D. Montgomery
- Tarik Cohen
The Bears backfield has not scored a rushing TD since Week 9, but that could change in this week against the porous K.C. RuDef.
Cincinatti BengalsJoe MixonGiovani Bernard- Joe Mixon
- Giovani Bernard
Joe MixonMixon has a near 8-1 ratio in carries over Bernard since Week 12, and he should find plenty of success in Week 16 against the pathetic Dolphins RuDef.
Cleveland BrownsNick ChubbKareem Hunt- Kareem Hunt
- Nick Chubb
Nick ChubbNick Chubb had his best game of the season when he faced the Ravens RuDef in Week 4, and also has 100+ rushing yards in 6 games since. He should continue to put up RB1 stats this week.
Dallas CowboysEzekiel Elliott Tony PollardEzekiel ElliottEzekiel ElliottWith Dak Prescott ailing, Zeke could literally need to "carry the load" against a solid Eagles RuDef as Dallas heads to Philly this week to determine the NFC East Champion.
Denver Broncos- Phillip Lindsay
- Royce Freeman
Devontae Booker- Royce Freeman
- Phillip Lindsay
- Phillip Lindsay
- Royce Freeman
XDenver's RBBC approach continues to disappoint, but the Broncos welcome Detroit's Swiss cheese RuDef to Mile High this week.
Detroit Lions- Bo Scarbrough (Q)
- Ty Johnson
- Wes Hillis
- Kerryon Johnson (IR-R)
- J.D. McKissic
- Ty Johnson
- Bo Scarbrough (Q)
- Wes Hillis
XBo Scarbrough is dealing with a rib injury that knocked him out early in Week 15. Wes Hillis vultured 2 TD's after Scarbrough's exit, but Kerryon Johnson may be activated from the IR this week, further clouding this RBBC mess.
Green Bay PackersAaron JonesJamaal Williams- Aaron Jones
- Jamaal Williams
Aaron JonesAaron Jones has 185 RuYds and 3 TD's over the past two weeks, and faces a Vikings RuDef that he hung 116 RuYds and 1 TD on back in Week 2.
Houston TexansCarlos Hyde (Q)Duke Johnson, Jr.Duke Johnson, Jr.Carlos Hyde (Q)Carlos Hyde enters Week 16 with a Questionable designation due to an ankle injury, but will face a strong Tampa Bay RuDef if he plays on Saturday. I'd still look elsewhere, if I were a Hyde owner.
Indianapolis ColtsMarlon Mack- Jonathan Williams
- Jordan Wilkins
Nyheim HinesMarlon MackAfter missing Weeks 12 & 13 due to injury, Marlon Mack has been shut down the past two weeks. Indy's Week 16 date against Carolina could be just what the Doctor ordered!
Jacksonville JaguarsLeonard FournetteRyquell ArmsteadLeonard FournetteLeonard FournetteFournette has had two down weeks in a row, but he's a near must-start based on his upside.
Kansas City Chiefs- LeSean McCoy
- Spencer Ware
- Damien Williams
- Darwin Thompson
- LeSean McCoy
- Darwin Thompson
- LeSean McCoy
- Damien Williams
XThe Chiefs backfield is a complete cluster with Shady McCoy, Spencer Ware, Darwin Thompson, and a finally-healthy Damien Williams all available in Week 16. Too little volume for too many backs is not at all ideal for your Championship match-up!
Los Angeles Chargers- Melvin Gordon
- Austin Ekeler
Justin Jackson- Austin Ekeler
- Melvin Gordon
Melvin GordonXMelvin Gordon has nearly a 2-1 carry ratio, and a near-even target share with Austin Ekeler, but Ekeler appears to be the better play with a higher yards/touch ratio.
Los Angeles RamsTodd GurleyMalcolm BrownTodd GurleyTodd GurleyTodd Gurley is back to his old ways, scoring 4 TDs in his last five games. He's still a low-end RB1 this week, even against SF's RuDef.
Miami DolphinsPatrick LairdMyles Gaskin- Patrick Laird
- Myles Gaskin
Patrick LairdPatrick Laird has fared well in limited action since Kalen Ballage hit the IR, but he's still only a FLEX play in Week 16 with a favorable match-up against Cincy.
Minnesota Vikings- Mike Boone
- Dalvin Cook (D)
- Ameer Abdullah
- A. Mattison (D)
Mike BooneMike BooneBoth Dalvin Cook and Alexander Mattison have been held out of practice with injuries, and are in danger of missing Monday night's game against Green Bay, leaving Mike Boone as the likely starter.
New England PatriotsSony Michel- James White
- Rex Burkhead
- James White
- Rex Burkhead
- Sony Michel
- Rex Burkhead
XNew England continues to use Sony Michel as the main rushing back, but White and Burkhead continue to be involved in the passing game and goal line work.
New Orleans SaintsAlvin KamaraLatavius MurrayAlvin KamaraLatavius MurrayAlvin Kamara is the lead back for New Orleans, but Latavius Murray continues to see plenty of action.
New York GiantsSaquon BarkleyWayne GallmanSaquon BarkleySaquon BarkleySaquon Barkley has a juicy match-up against the susceptible Redskins RuDef who was just torched by Miles Sanders.
New York JetsLe'Veon Bell- Bilal Powell (Q)
- Ty Montgomery
Le'Veon BellLe'Veon BellLe'Veon Bell has a tough match-up against his former team in Week 16, but he has plenty to prove to his old teammates. Treat Bell as low-end RB1 this week.
Oakland RaidersDeAndre Washington- Jalen Richard
- Josh Jacobs (O)
- Jalen Richard
- D. Washington
DeAndre WashingtonJosh Jacobs has been ruled out for Week 16 as he continues to nurse his shoulder injury. DeAndre Washington gets the start in his place.
Philadelphia EaglesMiles Sanders- Boston Scott
- Jordan Howard (Q)
- Miles Sanders
- Boston Scott
- Miles Sanders
- Boston Scott
Sanders remains the go-to back, but Boston Scott has worked his way into FLEX consideration with his own stellar play the past few weeks.
Pittsburgh SteelersJames Conner- Jaylen Samuels
- Benny Snell
- James Conner
- Jaylen Samuels
James ConnerJames Conner finally healthy and should have RB2 appeal in Week 16.
Seattle SeahawksChris CarsonC.J. ProsiseChris CarsonChris CarsonChris Carson continues to be the unquestioned lead back for Seattle with Rashaad Penny on the IR. Carson is a clear RB1 in Week 16 against a weak Arizona RuDef.
San Francisco 49ersRaheem Mostert- Tevin Coleman
- Matt Breida
- Raheem Mostert
- Kyle Juszczyk
- Raheem Mostert
- Tevin Coleman
Raheem Mostert's recent success has given him the starting gig in SF's backfield. He's a low-end RB2/FLEX option in Week 16 against the Rams.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Ronald Jones
- Peyton Barber
Dare Ogunbowale- Ronald Jones
- Peyton Barber
- Peyton Barber
- Ronald Jones
XTampa Bay's RB's continue to split touches, and may be relied on more in the passing game with injuries to both Mike Evans and Chris Godwin.
Tennessee TitansDerrick HenryDion Lewis- Derrick Henry
- Dion Lewis
Derrick HenryDerrick Henry continues to get nearly all of the work for Tennessee, and remains an RB1 must-start in Week 16 against the Saints.
Washington RedskinsAdrian PetersonChris ThompsonChris ThompsonAdrian Peterson
Peterson has decent match-up against the Giants in Week 16, giving him low-end RB2/FLEX appeal.

Visit the F6P Fantasy Football Page for more advice for the 2019 season.

About A.J. Applegarth

A.J. has been in the fantasy sports game for so long, that the first fantasy team he ever managed used football box scores from newspapers to calculate points. Since those days, A.J. has taken home numerous fantasy football and baseball championship titles. He has also taken his talents to a few fantasy basketball leagues and countless DFS games in more recent years. A.J. would openly admit that “luck” has been a factor in his two-plus decade-long success in fantasy sports, but he will also be the first one to tell you, “You can’t teach luck!” Catch A.J.’s witty banter and "Beer of the Week" picks on The Fantasy Six Pack Hour Podcast, and follow him on the Twitter-space @AppleGarthAlgar.

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  4. dk

    November 8, 2019 at 4:54 pm

    who are the must own handcuffs would you say? im currently holding damien harris and malcolm brown.. but i dont see much upside.

    would you rather drop them and pick up guys like armstead and bonnafon (if you’re a CMC owner)?

    • A. J. Applegarth

      November 9, 2019 at 10:28 pm

      I would have no problem dropping Harris in any non-dynasty format. I’m not a huge fan of NE RB as it is due to their inconsistency week-to-week. Brown does have some upside, especially if something were to happen to Gurley. But, even then, I could see a timeshare with Henderson.

      My Top-2 handcuffs would be Gus Edwards and Alexander Mattison, with Armstead/Bonnafon as my 3a/3b. Edwards has already been utilized a fair amount, and I think he would easily get the nod over Justice Hill if something were to happen to Ingram. Please Baltimore is a run-first team. As is Minnesota, and we know that Cook has a checkered injury history, hence why I love Mattison’s upside. The other guys are good to hold, but their value hinges on the health of Fournette and CMC.

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