The end of the season is always tough to navigate in fantasy football. And that's definitely true this year with running backs.
Players who haven't made any mark this year are suddenly top-tier running backs, while the tried and true options have fallen off the radar. With championship week upon us, here's the week 16 fantasy football start 'em, sit 'em list for running backs.
Derrick Henry vs. Washington Redskins
Congratulations to the fantasy football owners who actually kept Henry.
He's been a monster in the last two weeks with more than 400 yards rushing and six touchdowns. No one saw that coming, especially after a season where he failed to live up to any expectations. But now the Titans are finally finding their groove running the football, opening up holes that we anticipated in the preseason.
The offensive line was supposed to be one of the better run-blocking units in the NFL this season, but that hadn't shown until these last few weeks. Now, the Titans seem to be running on everyone and Henry is getting enough carries to make him a legitimate RB1 each week.
Washington is giving up the fourth-most fantasy points per game to running backs int he last four weeks, so this should be a no-brainer.
Kalen Ballage vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
This isn't a guarantee, but I'm intrigued by Ballage.
Why hasn't he seen any playing time this season? Why was Kenyon Drake getting carries, while Frank Gore was healthy? It doesn't make any sense, especially with Drake getting far fewer carries than Ballage in week 15 when Gore went down with injury.
I would anticipate that would happen again in week 16, with the Dolphins facing a Jacksonville defense that has not been the same against the run. The Jaguars are usually one of the top-10 units against the run, but that hasn't been the case for the last four weeks. And with nothing to play for, don't anticipate Jacksonville to more motivated.
Gus Edwards vs. Los Angeles Chargers
Don't worry about the Chargers' defense. Edwards and the Baltimore rushing attack is as good as advertised.
Edwards has eclipsed the 100-yard mark three times in the last five games and that shouldn't stop in week 16. The Chargers are allowing the seventh-most fantasy points per game to running backs in the last four weeks.
The Ravens consistently attempt to rush the ball with Lamar Jackson at the helm. Edwards has been the biggest beneficiary of that increased production.
The Ravens will once again run the ball regularly, so his touches should be enough to give him potential for another solid showing in fantasy football.
Leonard Fournette vs. Miami Dolphins
You probably didn't expect this to happen when the season started, but Fournette's 2018 has been a disaster.
Fournette may or may not play, but if he does battle through his foot injury, he's still not worth a play in week 16. The Jaguars coaching staff has given up on Fournette and pretty much the season altogether.
Fournette's usage was pretty much non-existent in the second half of the week 15 game. That doesn't give me any hope that his usage will increase in week 16. The Dolphins have actually been decent against the run in recent weeks, giving up the fourth-fewest fantasy points per game to running backs.
All signs points to sitting Fournette in week 16.
Adrian Peterson vs. Tennessee Titans
The workload is enough to be happy about with Peterson. However, with a third-string quarterback and an offensive line that doesn't resemble the unit from earlier this season, it's too tough for Peterson to find any room to run.
Peterson has 60 or more yards rushing only once in the last five games, thanks to the complete absence of any passing attack.
The Titans have been a top-half defense against the run in terms of fantasy points allowed to running backs in the last four weeks.
Don't trust the touches with Peterson. The offense isn't good enough to sustain any fantasy production.
Lamar Miller vs. Philadelphia Eagles
Here's another place where an injury is causing some concern.
Miller was injured in the week 15 win against the New York Jets. And while it's not anticipated the injury is serious, there are some concerns that Miller will take backseat to Alfred Blue, especially with the inside track to the playoffs.
Even without the injury, Miller has been inconsistent running the football, so he's not a slam dunk even when he does play. The Eagles haven't been very good against the run, but I'm selling my stock in the Texans' rushing attack in this matchup.
Scott Levine blogs about fantasy sports and handicaps games. His Against The Chalk blog has earned him back-to-back Iowa Newspaper Association awards for Best Blog. Check out more fantasy football coverage at Against The Chalk.
Scott Levine can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @ScottLevineCH