Fantasy football: Five running backs to avoid in Week 15

Cincinnati Bengal running back Joe Mixon (R) is tackled by Cleveland Browns defenders Sunday at Paycor Stadium in Cincinnati. Photo by John Sommers II/UPI
1 of 5 | Cincinnati Bengal running back Joe Mixon (R) is tackled by Cleveland Browns defenders Sunday at Paycor Stadium in Cincinnati. Photo by John Sommers II/UPI | License Photo

MIAMI, Dec. 14 (UPI) -- Joe Mixon and Raheem Mostert are among my five running backs to avoid for Week 15 of the fantasy football season. Christian McCaffrey leads my Top 30 weekly rankings for the position.

Aaron Jones, Alvin Kamara and Antonio Gibson are among the other players I would lower my expectations for or try to keep out of my lineup.


Week 14 performance, opportunity, strength of Week 15 opponents and expected game script are among the factors I considered when determining the players to avoid. My full Top 30 rankings are below.

No NFL teams are on bye this week, meaning most fantasy football team owners will have all of their top players available.

Cincinnati Bengal running back Joe Mixon (28) breaks free from Cleveland Browns cornerback Denzel Ward on Sunday at Paycor Stadium in Cincinnati. Photo by John Sommers II/UPI

Joe Mixon

Mixon is still my No. 13 option for Week 15, but I wouldn't expect a huge performance from the Cincinnati Bengals running back Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Mixon is now part of a backfield timeshare with fellow Bengals running back Samaje Perine. Mixon totaled 14 carries for 96 yards in Week 14, while Perine received four carries and five targets.

Mixon likely will earn more carries than Perine, but I don't expect much production against the Buccaneers' strong defensive line.

The Buccaneers allowed the seventh-fewest fantasy points and the fewest receiving yards per game to running backs through 14 games.

Look for Mixon to total less than 70 yards from scrimmage in what should be a tight game in Tampa, Fla.

Green Bay Packers running back Aaron Jones is a fringe RB1/high-end RB2 this week. File Photo by Steve Nesius/UPI

Aaron Jones

Jones is another player in a backfield timeshare. He received just nine carries -- compared to A.J. Dillon's 18 -- in Week 13, but that was partially due to injury.

Jones also failed to eclipse 43 rushing yards in six of his last eight appearances. This week, the Packers will face the Los Angeles Rams. The Rams might be struggling on offense this season, but still own a decent run defense. They allowed the eighth-fewest fantasy points and 11th-fewest rushing yards per game to running backs through 14 weeks.


Jones, my No. 15 option, can still be used as a low-end RB2, but I am worried about his low floor and ceiling for point production.

New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara has a good matchup this week, but I wouldn't count on RB1 fantasy football production. File Photo by Matthew Healey/UPI

Alvin Kamara

Unlike the previous running backs mentioned, Kamara will get a good matchup in Week 15. Kamara's Saints will host the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday in New Orleans.

The Falcons allowed the 11th-most fantasy points and eighth-most rushing yards per game to running backs through 14 weeks.

Kamara, who totaled just 39 yards on nine carries against the Falcons in Week 1, didn't log more than 62 rushing yards in any of his last seven games. He also failed to total more than 50 receiving yards and didn't score a touchdown in any of his last five games.

Kamara likely needs a touchdown to be worth a fantasy football start this week. He has been too unreliable this season to be counted on as a playoff asset. He is my No. 24 option.

Miami Dolphins running back Raheem Mostert could struggle to find running room against the Buffalo Bills. File Photo by Mark Black/UPI

Raheem Mostert

Mostert is my No. 27 play for Week 15, as his Miami Dolphins prepare for a road meeting with the Buffalo Bills. The veteran running back ran for just 11 yards on eight carries in Week 3 against the Bills and averaged just 50 rushing yards per game over his last seven appearances.

The Bills also boast a decent run defense. They allowed the ninth-fewest fantasy points and eighth-fewest rushing yards per game to running backs so far this season.

Mostert is a risky RB2 play for the first round of the playoffs. He likely needs to reach the end zone to even live up to his No. 27 spot in my rankings.

Washington Commanders running back Antonio Gibson (24) scored just one rushing touchdown over his last 10 games. File Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI

Antonio Gibson

Gibson is another running back in a timeshare this season and continues to compete with rookie Brian Robinson Jr. for carries out of the Washington Commanders backfield.

Gibson failed to eclipse nine carries in either of his last two appearances. He also didn't run for more than 59 yards in 12 of his 13 appearances this season and had one rushing touchdown over his last 10 games.


Robinson led the Commanders with 21 carries in Week 13, before their Week 14 bye. He also went off for 125 yards from scrimmage and a score on 20 touches in Week 12.

The Commanders will face the New York Giants in Week 15. The Giants own one of the most generous run defenses in the NFL, allowing 123 rushing yards per game to opposing running backs. I believe Robinson will again lead the Commanders in carries and provide RB1 value.

Gibson, who is not in my Top 30, should be benched until further notice.

Week 15 fantasy football running back rankings

1. Christian McCaffrey, San Francisco 49ers at SEA

2. Dalvin Cook, Minnesota Vikings vs. IND

3. Derrick Henry, Tennessee Titans at LAC

4. Jonathan Taylor, Indianapolis Colts at MIN

5. Miles Sanders, Philadelphia Eagles at CHI

6. Austin Ekeler, Los Angeles Chargers vs. TEN

7. Tony Pollard, Dallas Cowboys at JAX

8. Josh Jacobs, Las Vegas Raiders vs. NE

9. Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys at JAX

10. James Conner, Arizona Cardinals at DEN

11. Saquon Barkley, New York Giants at WAS

12. Brian Robinson Jr., Washington Commanders vs. NYG


13. Joe Mixon, Cincinnati Bengals at TB

14. J.K. Dobbins, Baltimore Ravens at CLE

15. Aaron Jones, Green Bay Packers vs. LAR

16. Nick Chubb, Cleveland Browns vs. BAL

17. Kenneth Walker III, Seattle Seahawks vs. SF

18. Najee Harris, Pittsburgh Steelers at CAR

19. Zonovan Knight, New York Jets vs. DET

20. Travis Etienne, Jacksonville Jaguars vs. DAL

21. D'Andre Swift, Detroit Lions at NYJ

22. Cam Akers, Los Angeles Rams at GB

23. Rachaad White, Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. CIN

24. Alvin Kamara, New Orleans Saints vs. ATL

25. David Montgomery, Chicago Bears vs. PHI

26. D'Onta Foreman, Carolina Panthers vs. PIT

27. Raheem Mostert, Miami Dolphins at BUF

28. Jamaal Williams, Detroit Lions at NYJ

29. Isiah Pacheco, Kansas City Chiefs at HOU

30. Latavius Murray, Denver Broncos vs. ARI

This week in the National Football League

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady waits for play to resume in the third quarter against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., on Sunday. The 49ers and the weather rained on Brady's parade as the Buccaneers lost 35-7. Photo by Terry Schmitt/UPI | License Photo

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