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Ekeler, Mixon, Montgomery lead Week 12 fantasy football running back rankings

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Ekeler, Mixon, Montgomery lead Week 12 fantasy football running back rankings
Los Angeles Chargers running back Austin Ekeler (R) scores in front of Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Devin Bush in the second quarter Sunday at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Calif. Photo by Jon SooHoo/UPI | License Photo

MIAMI, Nov. 24 (UPI) -- Austin Ekeler, Joe Mixon, David Montgomery, Nick Chubb and Jonathan Taylor top my Week 12 fantasy football running back rankings for 2021.

Christian McCaffrey, Ezekiel Elliott, D'Andre Swift, Najee Harris and Dalvin Cook round out my Top 10 options for Week 12.

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Antonio Gibson, Melvin Gordon, David Johnson and Tony Pollard are among the other running backs to consider for your weekly lineup.

Clyde Edwards-Helaire and James Conner are among the players who should not be in starting lineups, as the Kansas City Chiefs and Arizona Cardinals get Week 12 byes.

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Plenty of other running backs with great matchups this week are available aside from the elite names. Try to find a player who will get a lot of carries, targets in the passing game or goal line work and has a good Week 12 matchup.

TOP SHELF

Los Angeles Chargers running back Austin Ekeler tops my Week 12 rankings. Ekeler went off for 115 yards from scrimmage and four touchdowns on 17 touches in a Week 11 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers.

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He ranks third among running backs in fantasy points per game and faces the Denver Broncos on Sunday in Denver.

The Broncos just allowed 105 yards from scrimmage to Boston Scott and 83 rushing yards to Jordan Howard in a Week 11 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.

Look for Ekeler to post another monster fantasy football performance and carry your team to a late-season victory.

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Joe Mixon of the Cincinnati Bengals is my No. 2 running back for Week 12. Mixon erupted for 123 yards and two scores on 30 carries in the Bengals' Week 11 win over the Las Vegas Raiders. This week, he faces the Steelers, who just allowed Ekeler's big day.

Mixon is averaging the second-most fantasy points per game among running backs over his last four games. He is a near lock for at least 100 yards from scrimmage and a score in this matchup.

SNEAKY PLAYS

Antonio Gibson of the Washington Football Team is my No. 11 running back. Gibson ran for a season-high 95 yards in Week 11. He scored twice in Week 10.

This week, Washington faces a Seattle Seahawks defense that allowed the third-most fantasy points per game to running backs through 11 weeks.

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The Seahawks also just allowed 99 yards from scrimmage and a score to Arizona Cardinals running back James Conner. Look for Gibson to post similar statistics this week. He is a low-end RB1 due to this great matchup.

Denver Broncos veteran Melvin Gordon is my No. 13 running back in Week 12. Gordon scored touchdowns in each of his last four games.

This week, the Broncos face a Los Angeles Chargers defense that allowed a league-high 1,199 rushing yards to running backs through 11 weeks, despite already serving their bye.

The Chargers also allowed at least one touchdown to a running back in each of their last six games. Look for Gordon to get close to 100 yards from scrimmage and find the end zone. He is a low-end RB1 or high-end RB2 play.

LONGSHOTS

David Johnson of the Houston Texans is one of my favorite sleeper plays for Week 12. Johnson, my No. 19 running back, only gained 18 yards on the ground in Week 11, but totaled a season-high 13 carries. He also caught three passes in the Texans win over the Tennessee Titans.

The Texans waived fellow running back Phillip Lindsay earlier this week, which should lead to even more work for Johnson. The Texans host the New York Jets on Sunday in Houston. The Jets allowed the most fantasy points per game and the most touchdowns (21) to running backs through 11 weeks, despite serving their bye.

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Look for Johnson to get 15 to 20 touches in this matchup, which should result in 80 to 100 yards from scrimmage and provide RB2/flex value.

Dallas Cowboys running back Tony Pollard is another sleeper who should work his way into fantasy football lineups in Week 12. Pollard, my No. 26 option, faces the Las Vegas Raiders on Thursday in Arlington, Texas.

The Raiders tied for allowing the fifth-most fantasy points per game to running backs through 11 weeks. Pollard is listed as the second-string running back on the Cowboys depth chart, but continues to see plenty of work.

He could be used even more this week after starter Ezekiel Elliott appeared to sustain an injury in Week 11. Pollard, who gained 70 yards from scrimmage on nine touches in Week 11 should see 10 to 15 touches this week in what I expect to be a Cowboys blowout victory.

He can be used as a low-end RB2 or flex play.

Week 12 fantasy football running back rankings

1. Austin Ekeler, Los Angeles Chargers at DEN

2. Joe Mixon, Cincinnati Bengals vs. PIT

3. David Montgomery, Chicago Bears at DET

4. Nick Chubb, Cleveland Browns at BAL

5. Jonathan Taylor, Indianapolis Colts vs. TB

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6. Christian McCaffrey, Carolina Panthers at MIA

7. Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys vs. LVR

8. D'Andre Swift, Detroit Lions vs. CHI

9. Najee Harris, Pittsburgh Steelers at CIN

10. Dalvin Cook, Minnesota Vikings at SF

11. Antonio Gibson, Washington Football Team vs. SEA

12. James Robinson, Jacksonville Jaguars vs. ATL

13. Melvin Gordon, Denver Broncos vs. LAC

14. Elijah Mitchell, San Francisco 49ers vs. MIN

15. Aaron Jones, Green Bay Packers vs. LAR

16. Miles Sanders, Philadelphia Eagles at NYG

17. Darrell Henderson, Los Angeles Rams at GB

18. Damien Harris, New England Patriots vs. TEN

19. David Johnson, Houston Texans vs. NYJ

20. Myles Gaskin, Miami Dolphins vs. CAR

21. Saquon Barkley, New York Giants vs. PHI

22. Leonard Fournette, Tampa Bay Buccaneers at IND

23. Devonta Freeman, Baltimore Ravens vs. CLE

24. Tevin Coleman, New York Jets at HOU

25. Josh Jacobs, Las Vegas Raiders at DAL

26. Tony Pollard, Dallas Cowboys vs. LVR

27. D'Onta Foreman, Tennessee Titans at NE

28. Alex Collins, Seattle Seahawks at WAS

29. Javonte Williams, Denver Broncos vs. LAC

30. Boston Scott, Philadelphia Eagles at NYG

This week in the National Football League

Pittsburgh Steelers Chase Claypool (R) catches a pass against Los Angeles Chargers Asante Samuel Jr.,at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Calif., on Sunday, where the Chargers claimed victory in a shootout win 41-37. Photo by Jon SooHoo/UPI | License Photo

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