All season long, we’ve been grinding through the top-60 rest of season running backs. There has been a lot of turnover, an excess of movement both in and outside of the top-24, and a heck of a lot of injuries and COVID-19 to navigate around — both in the fantasy realm and the real world. But, alas, we’ve finally made it to Week 14. Hopefully, for many of you, this means the start of a successful playoff run, as Weeks 14-16 is when the vast majority of fantasy playoffs occur. For this very reason, I find myself feeling sentimental as I write this. At times, I led you stray, and at others, I did my job well. Now, as we leave the regular season behind and enter the postseason threshold, I have the opportunity to provide you with one last set of running back rankings as it relates to the 2020 season. In this final installment, I’ll be focusing on the set of matchups each running back faces over the next three weeks, as I’ve replaced the previous “bye” week component in the rankings with a look at each respective player’s “upcoming schedule.” And before you ask, yes — I do have David Montgomery ranked as a top-10 rest of season, fantasy playoff run option for that very reason, among others.

But before we get to the rest of that top 10, let’s take one final, albeit emotional trip around the league together. Feel free to bring a pack of Kleenex or, if you wish, simply deploy your own makeshift snot sleeve. Personally, I haven’t cried this hard since I said goodbye to my foreign exchange student in 10th grade. It was emotional. We played a lot of ping pong together. To fully appreciate this last ROS top-60 segment, I highly recommend playing the song “I Hope You Dance” by Lee Ann Womack. Blast it from the speakers as you digest the fickle words to follow.

Derrick Henry – 15 carries, 60 yards; one reception (one target), nine yards. It wasn’t so much the Browns’ solid run defense that held Henry in check in Week 13, rather it was the negative game script he faced after Baker Mayfield’s four touchdown passes in the first half put the Titans significantly behind, 38-7, entering the third quarter. As a result, Tennessee turned to a pass-heavy approach in the second half, with Ryan Tannehill throwing the pigskin 45 total times as the comeback came up just shy in the end. Henry’s 5.4 half-PPR points signified a season low, marking his worst fantasy day since Week 6 of the 2019 campaign. Despite the rough performance, look for Henry to bounce back and compete strongly to be the ROS RB1 overall with matchups against the Jaguars, Lions and Packers looming. He’s still an excellent RB1 option for playoff lineups, regardless of format.

Christian McCaffrey – Head coach Matt Rhule is “hopeful” that McCaffrey will return to action in Week 14 against the Broncos. Assuming he does, he would then go on to face the Packers and Football Team on the road in Weeks 15 and 16 to close out fantasy playoff season. When healthy, he’s a matchup-proof, high-end RB1, so install him into lineups immediately upon activation. However, closely monitor the evolving COVID-19 situation in Carolina. This also represents unfortunate news for Mike Davis owners, as his time to shine appears to be just about over.

Aaron Jones – 15 carries, 130 yards, one rushing TD; three receptions (three targets), 18 yards. The only running back to out-best Jones in Week 13 was David Montgomery, as Green Bay’s feature back used a 77-yard, game-clinching touchdown scamper late in the fourth quarter to turn what looked to be a lost week into his second-best fantasy showing of the season (22.3 half-PPR points) and top point total since Week 2. Finishing with 8.7 YPC, Jones received 75% of the running back carries, as Jamaal Williams rushed just five times for 26 yards while catching both of his targets for an additional 10 yards. Overall, Jones out-touched Williams, 18-7, marking his second consecutive week of 18 touches. Although it’s true his late 77-yard touchdown run made his performance look better on paper than it was, he nevertheless turned in elite production in a difficult matchup. He’ll now be a high-upside, top-five ROS playoff option heading into matchups against the Lions, Panthers and Titans.

Alvin Kamara – 15 carries, 88 yards, one rushing TD; two receptions (three targets), nine yards. Similarly to Jones, Kamara saved his fantasy day thanks to a week-long run of 37 yards in the second quarter and an 11-yard touchdown rush of 11 yards in the third quarter. Outside of those two carries, Kamara was held in check by an underrated Falcons front seven for much of the day, although his three targets represented his highest such share over the three-game sample size with Taysom Hill. Each week, Hill has gone to Kamara slightly more, but the Saints’ lead back still only has six total targets over that three-week span. The biggest takeaway here should be that Kamara out-touched Latavius Murray 17-7 in this one, with the latter rushing just five times for 17 yards while catching both of his targets for no gain. The bottom line is, the Kamara situation does not look as dire as it could have entering Week 14. In a difficult matchup, Kamara was at least able to get something going and return back-end RB1 value with 16.7 half-PPR points, which bodes well with the return of Drew Brees on the horizon and a lone, difficult matchup remaining against the Eagles before the schedule eases up in Weeks 15 and 16 with the Chiefs and Vikings. Reports state that Brees is progressing from his rib injury more quickly than expected and the future Hall of Famer could be back in Week 14, with Week 15 looking like an even safer bet.

James Robinson – 18 carries, 78 yards, one rushing TD; six receptions (six targets), 30 yards. Over his last six games played (dating back to Week 7), Robinson is the RB2 overall in half-PPR formats. During that span, he has averaged 18.7 FPPG while seeing 19 or more touches each game and 25+ touches in five out of those six games. Despite the Jaguars’ current 11-game losing streak, Robinson continues to see elite usage both on the ground and in the passing game, as he’s now seen six targets in back-to-back weeks with Mike Glennon under center. Head coach Doug Marrone intends to stick with Glennon in Week 14 against the Titans, making him an elite option for teams beginning playoff runs this upcoming week. Expectations should be tempered in Weeks 15 (Ravens) and 16 (Steelers), but his usage gives him a relatively safe floor and unless an owner has a plethora of riches, it’s best to keep him installed in lineups through the remainder of the season.

Nick Chubb – 18 carries, 80 yards, one rushing TD; one reception (one target), 26 yards. While the Titans were forced to air it out in the second half after going down 38-7 at the half-time, the Browns faced a much different-looking game script in the third and fourth quarters. Thanks to the commanding lead, Chubb and Hunt ran the ball a combined 32 times, with the latter rushing 14 times for 33 yards and catching all three of his targets for an additional 24 yards. Chubb ultimately out-touched Hunt just 19-17, but was significantly more explosive on the ground, as his 4.4 YPC featured a long run of 29 yards. Hunt, meanwhile, rushed for only 2.4 YPC with his longest run being eight yards. As a result, Chubb turned in yet another elite fantasy day as a back-end RB1 with 17.1 half-PPR points, while Hunt finished outside RB2 territory with 7.2 points. Chubb will be a back-end RB1 option in Week 14 against the Ravens, but with the Giants and Jets coming up thereafter in Weeks 15 and 16, he’s a high-end RB1 option for fantasy playoff season as a whole. While Hunt will be a risky play in Week 14, the attractive matchups in Weeks 15 and 16 mean he can be deployed as an RB2 if necessary, but if you find yourself in a semi-final or championship matchup in those weeks, there’s a good chance your opponent is wielding a more formidable 1-2 punch at RB.

Chris Carson – 13 carries, 65 yards; three receptions (six targets), 45 yards, one receiving TD. Head coach Pete Carroll eased Carson back into the rotation last week, as he saw 10 touches to Carlos Hyde’s 17. The Seahawks unleashed Carson to a deeper degree in Week 13, handing him 16 touches (including 13/15 RB carries) while Hyde recorded only five touches, rushing twice for one yard and hauling in all three of his targets for 10 yards. The trend in this split is returning to what it was prior to Carson’s midseason injury, meaning Hyde should be relegated to the bench and/or waiver wire fodder. Conversely, Carson is now a fringe/back-end RB1 heading into fantasy playoff season with the Jets, Football Team and Rams on the upcoming radar. Remember, the Giants, who Carson just faced, are no joke against the run. New York’s 96.7 rushing yards allowed per game ranks fourth-lowest in the NFL, but Carson still managed to run for 5.0 YPC against them. On top of that, his passing game usage (six targets in Week 13) indicates he can be relied upon in lineups despite tough matchups against Washington and Los Angeles in Weeks 15 and 16.

Austin Ekeler – Eight carries, 36 yards; four receptions (nine targets), 32 yards. For many running backs, having one’s team fall behind 28-0 at halftime and eventually lose, 45-0, would represent extremely unfavorable game script. But for Ekeler, a highly accomplished receiving back, that really isn’t the case. Even so, Ekeler only produced a pedestrian 8.8 half-PPR points while finishing as a fringe RB2, as he only connected with Justin Herbert on four of his nine targets. Still, those nine targets tied with Mike Williams for second most on the team behind Keenan Allen — so it’s not like Ekeler isn’t a major part of this offensive regardless of script. Ekeler nearly split the ground work evenly with Kalen Ballage (seven carries, 34 yards; three receptions on four targets, five yards), but expect him to bounce back as the Chargers will likely be more competitive against the Falcons in Week 14. Joshua Kelley (zero carries; two receptions on two targets, three yards) is clearly third in the pecking order with Ekeler and Ballage both healthy, and on top of that fact, he injured his ankle in the fourth quarter in Week 13. With the Falcons, Raiders and Broncos up next, there are some difficult rushing matchups ahead (excluding Las Vegas) for Ekeler, but in half-PPR and especially PPR formats, he can be viewed as a back-end ROS RB1.

David Montgomery – 17 carries, 72 yards, two rushing TD; four receptions (four targets), 39 yards. Give me one good reason why Monty isn’t a ROS RB1 for fantasy playoffs. With him back healthy and the Chicago offense at least having some creativity with Mitchell Trubisky at quarterback, Montgomery has posted back-to-back weeks of 22+ half-PPR points and four or more receptions. In Week 13, he led all running backs with 25.1 points. Moving forward, the matchups remain easy with the Texans, Jaguars and Vikings on the schedule over the next three weeks. I’m not saying I think the Bears are going anywhere with Trubisky under center, but all things considered, Monty should be a staple in lineups for owners throughout the rest of the 2020 fantasy football season. The combination of his increased passing workload, the enhanced outlook of the Chicago offense and his ROS schedule make him a top-10 play from here on out. Unless you have insider information that Nick Foles stole Monty’s lucky game day jock or something, I’m all in.

Antonio Gibson – Exited Monday evening’s game after just two carries with an apparent toe injury. Although I have yet to read a formal update at the time of this post, J.D. McKissic (five carries, eight yards; 10 receptions on 10 targets, 70 yards) has received a boost in the event that Gibson misses time. Peyton Barber (14 carries, 23 yards, one rushing TD; zero targets) saw a lot of early-down work, but until I know Gibson is undoubtedly going to miss time, I’m holding him outside the top 60. If it’s turf toe, Gibson could be out a few weeks, so he’s dropped a couple of spots as a result. If he indeed is ruled out for this Week 14 and beyond, adjust accordingly.

Josh Jacobs – Expected to miss Week 14 against the Colts. He’s been dropped several spots in the rankings as a result. That opens the door for another opportunity to Devontae Booker (16 carries, 50 yards; one reception, one yard), but based off his iffy showing against the Jets in Week 13, it’s best to leave him on the bench against Indianapolis. Meanwhile, Old Man Rivers is out here playing effectively on just 7 or 8 toes.

Clyde Edwards-Helaire – CEH was active for Kansas City’s Week 13 Sunday Night Football matchup against Denver, but did not see a snap as he stood on the sidelines for the duration of the contest — more or less acting as an emergency, decoy running back. I know this role well because it was mine as well all throughout my tenure on the middle school team. This was a tough blow for fantasy owners who deployed CEH in weekly lineups upon hearing he would be active on the heels of a late-week bout with the flu. Fortunately, it sounds as though CEH will be good to go in Week 14 against the Dolphins. In his absence, Le’Veon Bell (11 carries, 40 yards; two receptions on three targets, 15 yards) led the Kansas City backfield, but looked less impressive than Darrel Williams (six carries, 38 yards; one reception on two targets, five yards), who averaged 6.3 YPC to Bell’s 3.6 YPC. You might even go as far to say he looked less impressive than Damien Williams in this one.

Miles Sanders – 10 carries, 31 yards; zero receptions (one target). Sanders finished outside of the top-40 running backs in Week 13 with 3.2 half-PPR points on just 10 touches. Although it probably shouldn’t come as a surprise, Philadelphia elected to hand four carries to the recently-elevated and marginally talented Jordan Howard, who totaled 19 yards on the ground. Speaking of dumb crap Doug Pederson does, I recently started a novel titled The Philadelphia Story: How to Crush a Rising, Super Bowl Winning Coach in Three Years. When I listen to DP (fitting nickname) answer questions from reporters, he sounds as though he’s lost all hope in humanity. But getting back to Sanders, sure — the running game was victimized by negative game script as the Eagles trailed 14-3 at the half and by as much as 20 points in the second half, but the fact that Boston Scott (two carries, nine yards; zero receptions on two targets) was less involved than Howard is certainly perplexing. Hopefully, Philly will turn to rookie Jalen Hurts to lead the offense moving forward, as that would at the very least provide a potential spark for Sanders owners to be optimistic about. This O-line is bad at present and until we see Sanders blossom in tandem with Hurts, I don’t think owners can trust Sanders in lineups in upcoming playoff matchups. That’s hard to hear for a player who came with a first round price back in draft season, but with the Saints and Cardinals on the schedule before a favorable Week 16 date with the Cowboys, you’re better off turning to other options.

Myles Gaskin – 21 carries, 90 yards; two receptions (two targets), 51 yards. In his long-awaited return off IR since going down at the end of Week 8, Gaskin delivered RB2 value for fantasy owners with 13.1 half-PPR points on his usual, hefty workload. With 23 touches in his return, Week 13 marked his fourth straight active contest seeing 21+ touches. It’s worth noting that Gaskin also lost a fumble, but he otherwise played quite well. He was the beneficiary of Salvon Ahmed, DeAndre Washington and Matt Breida all being inactive, as Patrick Laird (three carries, six yards; two receptions, 16 yards) and Lynn Bowden Jr. (one carry, 11 yards; four receptions, 41 yards) were the only other backs to see any work. It will be interesting to see how this plays out once Ahmed is active, but based on Gaskin’s prior three-down role at the beginning of the season and head coach Brian Flores’ tendency to utilize a workhouse back, I believe Gaskin’s role is safe. Fire him up as a high-end RB2 moving forward entering matchups against the Chiefs, Patriots and Raiders.

Jonathan Taylor – 13 carries, 91 yards; three receptions (three targets), 44 yards, one receiving TD. After missing just one game while on the reserve/COVID-19 list, Taylor returned and immediately reclaimed his role atop the Indianapolis backfield. On the Colts’ opening drive, he was the lone running back to touch the ball, logging two carries for ten yards. He went on to pace the trio with 13 carries (of 24 total RB carries) and 16 total touches, producing an RB3 overall finish with 21 half-PPR points. Nyheim Hines carried the ball six times, accumulating just 10 yards but finding the end zone for a touchdown while catching all three of his targets for 22 yards. Although Hines remains a mid-tier RB3/Flex option, the same cannot be said for Jordan Wilkins (five carries, 12 yards; two receptions, six yards), who can be returned to the waiver wire. Taylor is the only of the trio that should be found in seriously contending playoff lineups, as he has two favorable matchups coming up against the Raiders and Texans before facing the Steelers in Week 16 — a matchup in which it would be safest to relegate him to the bench for. It’s a controversial ranking, but JT is now a mid-to-bottom tier RB2 in my book. Clearly that was in reference to Taylor, as Justin Timberlake is only ever the No. 1 in my heart as it relates to anything.

Wayne Gallman – 16 carries, 135 yards; zero targets. Four different running backs received multiple carries for the Giants in Week 13, but Gallman saw 55.2% of the 29 RB carries as he again served as the lead man in this backfield. Although he wasn’t targeted by Colt McCoy in the passing game, he used a 60-yard carry and 8.4 YPC to pace all NFL running backs with 135 rushing yards in Week 13. Since taking the reigns as the New York’s starter in Week 7, Gallman has performed as an RB2 or better in every single matchup while being an RB1 in three out of his last four matchups. All the while, he is the RB9 overall even though he was faced with difficult matchups during that time: Eagles (twice), Buccaneers, Football Team, Bengals. Gallman produced tremendously against all of those opponents, so even though the Cardinals, Browns and Ravens are in the upcoming slate, owners should not shy away from using him. While better suited as a high-end Flex, desperate owners can deploy him as an RB2 with upside in playoff matchups if need be. There are far worse options. There are always worse decisions that can be made. Like hiring Adam Gase.

Melvin Gordon – 15 carries, 131 yards; one reception (two targets), 11 yards. Gordon popped off like a dandelion head for 105 yards in the first half, thanks to a 65-yard rush in the second quarter. It was the most ground yardage achieved by a Denver back in the first half of a game since 2013, as Gordon ultimately ended the night with 142 multi-purpose yards to obtain a high-end RB2 finish with 14.7 half-PPR points. Even so, Gordon and Phillip Lindsay saw nearly identical workloads with Lindsay seeing just one fewer carry and rushing 14 times for 26 yards. However, with just 1.9 YPC (compared to Gordon’s 8.7 YPC) and failing to haul in his lone target, it was a highly inefficient night for Lindsay. Moving forward, it’s safe to assume Lindsay will closely mirror Gordon in carries, making both unreliable fantasy options outside of viewing Gordon as a high-end RB3/Flex option.

Joe Mixon – There is still no official word out of Cincinnati as to whether Joe Mixon will be activated for the Bengals’ Week 14 game against Dallas, but head coach Zac Taylor did confirm that the team will not be shutting Mixon down for the remainder of the year out of principle. Good for you, Zac with no h! Rather, he stated that the Bengals have “got two weeks to see how it heals and if he’s able to come back.” His ROS ranking is a shot in the dark until we know for sure if and when he’ll return. For now, if I had to guess, I’d say Week 15 against Pittsburgh. If he plays this week, my ranking is clearly to low as it presently stands.

Cam Akers – 21 carries, 72 yards, one rushing TD; one reception (one target), 22 yards. Go run and tell all your friends: Hobbs finally got something dead-on right this season. For weeks, I have been telling you to add Cam Akers and last week, I proclaimed he was the ROS back to own in this backfield. That has finally, officially, gloriously come to fruition, as Akers registered 21 carries in Week 13 while Darrell Henderson and Malcom Brown each carried the ball just three times apiece. In his defense, Henderson missed the middle portion of the game with an apparent knee injury, but he did ultimately return later. The result was a 15.9 point, fringe RB1 showing for Akers. Henderson salvaged RB2 value by ripping off a 38-yard touchdown rush in the fourth quarter, but Brown (three carries, -3 yards; one reception on one target, 30 yards) finished outside the top-40 backs. Akers is up into high-end RB3 range with the Patriots, Jets and Seahawks up next, while Henderson is now an incredibly risky play and sits inside RB4 territory. Brown no longer needs to be rostered, although that ship sailed weeks ago. Where to? CROATOAN!

Note: Rankings are constructed for half-PPR fantasy scoring. Rest-of-season strength of schedule was considered in these rankings using Fantasy Pros’ Easiest Remaining Schedule feature.

Rank Name Previous Change FPPG Upcoming Schedule
1 Derrick Henry 1 0 18.3 @ JAC, vs. DET, @ GB
2 Christian McCaffrey 6 4 27.3 vs. DEN, @ GB, @ WAS
3 Dalvin Cook 2 -1 23.4 @ TB, vs. CHI, @ NO
4 Aaron Jones 3 -1 17.5 @ DET, vs. CAR, vs. TEN
5 Alvin Kamara 7 2 20.5 @ PHI, vs. KC, vs. MIN
6 Nick Chubb 4 -2 16.4 vs. BAL, @ NYG, @ NYJ
7 James Robinson 5 -2 16.9 vs. TEN, @ BAL, vs. CHI
8 Austin Ekeler 8 0 13.5 vs. ATL, @ LV, vs. DEN
9 David Montgomery 15 6 13.0 vs. HOU, @ MIN, @ JAC
10 Chris Carson 11 1 15.7 vs. NYJ, @ WAS, vs. LAR
11 D’Andre Swift 12 1 12.5 vs. GB, @ TEN, vs. TB
12 Antonio Gibson 10 -2 13.9 @ SF, vs. SEA, vs. CAR
13 Myles Gaskin 22 9 12.1 vs. KC, vs. NE, @ LV
14 Kenyan Drake 19 5 12.8 @ NYG, vs. PHI, vs. SF
15 Josh Jacobs 9 -6 14.5 vs. IND, vs. LAC, vs. MIA
16 James Conner 16 0 12.2 @ BUF, @ CIN, vs. IND
17 Clyde Edwards-Helaire 17 0 12.5 @ MIA, @ NO, vs. ATL
18 Jonathan Taylor 23 5 11.9 @ LV, vs. HOU, @ PIT
19 Raheem Mostert 14 -5 12.8 vs. WAS, @ DAL, @ ARI
20 Ezekiel Elliott 18 -2 13.6 @ CIN, vs. SF, vs. PHI
21 Miles Sanders 13 -8 11.4 vs. NO, @ ARI, @ DAL
22 Wayne Gallman 28 6 9.2 vs. ARI, vs. CLE, @ BAL
23 Kareem Hunt 20 -3 12.7 vs. BAL, @ NYG, @ NYJ
24 J.K. Dobbins 24 0 7.7 @ CLE, vs. JAC, vs. NYG
25 Ronald Jones 25 0 12.0 vs. MIN, @ ATL, @ DET
26 Melvin Gordon 26 0 11.2 @ CAR, vs. BUF, @ LAC
27 Joe Mixon 27 0 14.8 vs. DAL, vs. PIT, @ HOU
28 Cam Akers 39 11 6.1 vs. NE, vs. NYJ, @ SEA
29 David Johnson 30 1 10.8 @ CHI, @ IND, vs. CIN
30 Damien Harris 29 -1 9.3 @ LAR, @ MIA, vs. BUF
31 Todd Gurley 21 -10 12.2 @ LAC, vs. TB, @ KC
32 Nyheim Hines 31 -1 10.6 @ LV, vs. HOU, @ PIT
33 Latavius Murray 32 -1 8.5 @ PHI, vs. KC, vs. MIN
34 J.D. McKissic 43 9 8.0 @ SF, vs. SEA, vs. CAR
35 Phillip Lindsay 34 -1 5.8 @ CAR, vs. BUF, @ LAC
36 Devin Singletary 46 10 8.1 vs. PIT, @ DEN, @ NE
37 Chase Edmonds 35 -2 9.6 @ NYG, vs. PHI, vs. SF
38 Giovani Bernard 33 -5 7.8 vs. DAL, vs. PIT, @ HOU
39 Adrian Peterson 48 9 8.3 vs. GB, @ TEN, vs. TB
40 Devontae Booker 55 15 5.7 vs. IND, vs. LAC, vs. MIA
41 Leonard Fournette 40 -1 7.6 vs. MIN, @ ATL, @ DET
42 James White 38 -4 6.6 @ LAR, @ MIA, vs. BUF
43 Zack Moss 36 -7 7.5 vs. PIT, @ DEN, @ NE
44 Darrell Henderson 37 -7 9.6 vs. NE, vs. NYJ, @ SEA
45 Frank Gore 41 -4 6.0 @ SEA, @ LAR, vs. CLE
46 Duke Johnson 45 -1 6.4 @ CHI, @ IND, vs. CIN
47 Jamaal Williams 44 -3 9.3 @ DET, vs. CAR, vs. TEN
48 Ty Johnson NR N/A 3.3 @ SEA, @ LAR, vs. CLE
49 Le’Veon Bell 47 -2 5.4 @ MIA, @ NO, vs. ATL
50 Jeff Wilson NR N/A 9.4 vs. WAS, @ DAL, @ ARI
51 Mike Davis 42 -9 11.4 vs. DEN, @ GB, @ WAS
52 Kalen Ballage 51 -1 8.1 vs. ATL, @ LV, vs. DEN
53 Tony Pollard 53 0 5.1 @ CIN, vs. SF, vs. PHI
54 Gus Edwards 54 0 6.0 @ CLE, vs. JAC, vs. NYG
55 Alexander Mattison 56 1 4.6 @ TB, vs. CHI, @ NO
56 Ito Smith NR N/A 3.2 @ LAC, vs. TB, @ KC
57 Salvon Ahmed 50 -7 9.7 vs. KC, vs. NE, @ LV
58 Benny Snell 49 -9 4.1 @ BUF, @ CIN, vs. IND
59 Boston Scott 59 0 5.8 vs. NO, @ ARI, @ DAL
60 Sony Michel NR N/A 6.6 @ LAR, @ MIA, vs. BUF

And those, dear readers, are the final ROS running back rankings for the 2020 fantasy football season. I began them while reminiscing on our memorable journey through the season and finished them whilst sobbing uncontrollably into my lap. Until next time, I’m happy to take this conversation into the comments section or on Twitter, where you can find me @WorldOfHobbs.