The 2013 Fantasy Football season is a thing of the past. Or is it? With the NFL playoffs comes another chance to claim a title or at least win some cash. Whether you’re in a playoff league or just playing weekly games, we’re here to help the fantasy gamer along the way.
To help get things going, let’s take a look at the top running backs in fantasy football for the wild card round of the playoffs. There’s only four games, which means we have roughly 8-10 legit running backs to consider.
With that, it’s onto our running back rankings for the first round of the playoffs:
1. LeSean McCoy (Philadelphia Eagles)
Shady has the most upside of any running back. He’s at home and the Saints have been run on a bit, so he should be good to go as the top fantasy back this week.
2. Jamaal Charles (Kansas City Chiefs)
If he’s not first in your rankings (or in this case, mine), then he’s second. Charles will be in Indy’s dome where his speed just might kill. Either way, he’s just such a huge part of what KC does, so it’s nearly impossible for him to fail you.
3. Frank Gore (San Francisco 49ers)
Gore is about as elite as a 30-year old running back can get. Still, he’s rock solid most weeks and he gets to face a pretty burnable Packers run defense. Green Bay did hold him in check in their earlier meeting this year, but their defense as a whole doesn’t figure to shut him down this time around.
4. Eddie Lacy (Green Bay Packers)
The 49ers aren’t an easy matchup at all, while Lacy wasn’t bad against them despite facing them on the road in his NFL debut. He’s at home, though, and is a solid RB2 in his first ever playoff game.
5. Ryan Mathews (San Diego Chargers)
Mathews has been very solid and will see the ball a ton as the Chargers try to control the clock and pace in Cincinnati. I doubt he’ll post elite numbers, but the quality production down the stretch and his role offer some upside.
6. Giovani Bernard (Cincinnati Bengals)
Bernard still shares the rock with BenJarvus Green-Ellis, but he’s the more explosive and versatile option. He always has a chance to break one and he’ll be at home this week, so he has a shot at sneaking into the top-five. He’s a solid Flex play at the very worst.
7. Donald Brown (Indianapolis Colts)
Brown still tends to out-touch Trent Richardson and playing in front of his home crowd can’t hurt this week. I’m not expecting a big day, but it’s worth noting that the Chiefs have not been a top-end defense lately.
8. Danny Woodhead (San Diego Chargers)
Woodhead is always worth a shot in a pinch in PPR leagues. Just know he hasn’t been an elite fantasy option lately and he’s no lock to score. Make sure your league allows PPR production if you’re planning on using him.
9. Pierre Thomas (New Orleans Saints)
Like everyone in the New Orleans back-field, Thomas is going to be pretty hit or miss. He’s been the most consistent of their trio this year, though, so he’ll barely crack my top-10 ahead of the others. He’s nothing more than a Flex play, though.
10. BenJarvus Green-Ellis (Cincinnati Bengals)
The Law Firm is seeing less touches than his running mate, but he has four touchdowns in his last five games and is the more likely of the two to find the end-zone these days. That gives him Flex value, but he needs to score to get you a return on his value.
11. Darren Sproles (New Orleans Saints)
We all know Sproles can go off at any time, but he’s been remarkably disappointing all year long. Need proof? The guy hasn’t scored a touchdown of any kind since week 11. He could randomly blow up in a PPR format, but otherwise isn’t really worth the risk at this point.
12. Trent Richardson (Indianapolis Colts)
I don’t blame you if you don’t trust T-Rich. I don’t, either. He looked much better than he had been last week, but he clearly needs to find the end-zone to offer consistent production. I’m not exactly banking on that happening for him in his first ever playoff game.
13. Mark Ingram (New Orleans Saints)
Ingram is healthy and his role has improved over the last few weeks. However, he’s as shaky as running backs come. He’ll need a touchdown to be relevant at all this week. See how the Saints use him in case he’ll be there for your use in the second round.
14. James Starks (Green Bay Packers)
Starks doesn’t have a great role or a great matchup, but Lacy is shaky with his several injuries and Green Bay will try to run the ball. He’s a shot in the dark for the first round of the playoffs.
15. Kendall Hunter (San Francisco 49ers)
Hunter is right up there with Starks. He does have a better matchup, but he sees the ball inconsistently. He’s a desperation Flex start this week.