I'm not sure how good Le'Veon Bell really was during the week 14 comeback win against Baltimore. Despite struggling once again running the football, Bell still put up big-time fantasy numbers, with three touchdowns and more than 100 yards from scrimmage.
Even during games where he's not necessarily the most effective player, Bell still has enough volume that he's consistently among the best fantasy players each week.
He's a sure start every week. For the players who aren't on that same level, here's the week 15 running backs start 'em, sit 'em guide for fantasy football.
Jay Ajayi vs. New York Giants
The Philadelphia backfield is a quagmire. Three people get touches in that backfield and that won't completely change with Carson Wentz out for the season.
While I can't completely trust what happens out of Eagles running backs, I can't deny Ajayi's value as an RB2. He's making progress in the backfield, running for 78 yards on 15 carries in week 14 against the Los Angeles Rams. The week before, he had nine carries. The week before that, he had five carries.
The Eagles rush the ball the second-most of any team in the NFL and that won't change with Wentz on the sideline. In fact, he may become even more of an offensive centerpiece. Ajayi is used to being the lone wolf as a running back, so the Eagles should feed him often in week 15 against a Giants defense that is in the bottom-half of fantasy points allowed to running backs.
New York is susceptible to the run, so the Eagles should utilize Ajayi early and often.
Kareem Hunt vs. Los Angeles Chargers
Hunt is back on the fantasy football radar.
Maybe you didn't take him out of your lineup, but if you did, he's a safe RB1. in week 14, Hunt scored his first touchdown since week 3.
He's still not doing much catching the football out of the backfield, but he's getting enough volume that he's still one of the better bets in the running back department.
And even though the Chargers present some issues on the defensive side of the ball, Los Angeles doesn't do a good job of stopping running backs on the ground. Los Angeles allows the sixth-most fantasy points per game to running backs. The Chiefs will offer Hunt volume, so his inability to do much in the passing game won't be too much of a deterrent.
Kenyan Drake vs. Buffalo Bills
Even if Damien Williams returns, I'm still backing Drake in week 15.
Buffalo gives up the most fantasy points per game to running backs and Drake is becoming a No. 1 running back for Miami. Without Williams in the lineup, Drake is dominating the carries and catching the ball out of the backfield.
He has more than 100 yards from scrimmage in each of the last two games, thanks to solid volume. He's becoming a consistent RB1 because of his increased role, and that will lead to solid numbers in week 15 against a Bills team that has been unable to stop opposing running backs.
Theo Riddick vs. Chicago Bears
If this was earlier in the season, I would actually like Riddick's trajectory.
It sounds like he's the No. 1 running back for a Detroit team searching for a running back. That takes Riddick out of the doldrums of being just a pass-catching running back. He should continue to see more volume as a runner, but that still isn't enough to start Riddick as an RB2.
He squares off against a Bears team that is in the top-half of the NFL in fantasy points allowed to running backs. The Bears give up less than 110 yards per game on the ground, and the last time the Lions squared off against Chicago, Detroit attempted just 24 rushes, with three of those coming from quarterback Matthew Stafford.
This game will come down to Stafford's ability to move the ball around through the air. That will limit Riddick's volume, making him completely dependent on catching the ball out of the backfield. That designation isn't enough to put him in your fantasy lineup in week 15.
NY Giants RBs vs. Philadelphia Eagles
The Eagles are consistently good against opposing running backs, so don't take last week's performance to heart. The Eagles are still good against the run and that will show once again in week 15 against the Giants.
Wayne Gallman was the lead man in week 14 and looked good running the ball and catching the ball out of the backfield. Even with that evidence, I'm still not buying Gallman or Orleans Darkwa in week 15 against the Eagles.
New York's offense is anemic and garbage time points likely will be out of the question with Wentz out. This game will be a slog, so don't anticipate much out of Darkwa or Gallman.
Isaiah Crowell vs. Baltimore Ravens
I've been on the Crowell train as of late. His volume has been great, so he's been a decent option, especially last week when he eclipsed 100 yards for the first time this season.
In fact, he's gone for at least 90 yards rushing in three of the last five games.
Despite my optimism for Crowell, though, I'm fading his chances as an RB2 this week. He doesn't score touchdowns because he plays for the Browns, so that's a major red flag against Baltimore, which stopped Bell for the most part in week 14.
The Ravens are allowing just 67.7 yards per game rushing in the last three games, so don't expect much out of Crowell, despite the increased volume. The Ravens are going to stop the run and force DeShone Kizer to pass. That limits Crowell's fantasy ability, especially because he won't contribute in the passing game.
Scott Levine is the Associate Editor for the Clinton Herald. During his free time, he blogs about fantasy sports and handicaps games. Check out more at Against The Chalk.
Scott Levine can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @ScottLevineCH