Every week we try and take a look at which players are underowned in fantasy leagues, but can be considered as options to be picked up off the waiver wire. There are a handful of running backs that performed well this week, or in previous weeks, but still aren't seeing the proper ownership levels and are lingering on many waiver wires. All of the below RBs that we mention are recommended in some capacity, and some may still be available on your waiver wire depending on the league size and format.
Underowned Running Backs (RBs) for Week 12
Bobby Rainey - RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers - 25% owned in Yahoo leagues
This Week: 30 carries, 163 rushing yards, 3 touchdowns, 2 receptions - 36.70 points (PPR leagues)
Analysis: Bobby Rainey exploded onto the fantasy scene this week by gashing the Atlanta Falcons defense for 163 yards rushing and 3 touchdowns. He was the workhorse running back for Tampa Bay and it was not even a close competition between him and Brian Leonard. We saw last week that in his limited touches Rainey was able to outperform Leonard, and today he proved he has legitimate talent and can succeed as the premier RB within the Tampa Bay offense. The Bucs have now won 2 games in a row, and will continue to ride Rainey as their feature running back giving him solid RB2/FLEX value in the right matchups. If Rainey is still available in your league pick him up immediately.
Donald Brown - RB, Indianapolis Colts - 26% owned in Yahoo leagues
This Week: 14 carries, 80 rushing yards, 2 touchdowns, 1 reception - 22.40 points (PPR leagues)
Analysis: Brown once again outplayed Trent Richardson this week, and it was very clear to anyone who watched the game that he was the more explosive RB. Richardson continues to be ineffective week after week, whereas Donald Brown is showing a more dynamic skill set and seems to be a better fit for the Colts offense whenever he is given the opportunity to touch the ball. The Colts coaches have said that they don't want to feature Brown as their starting running back, but they can no longer ignore the fact that he needs to be getting at least as many touches as Richardson - if not more - each and every game. Brown has the opportunity to be a weekly FLEX option, with upside for more, and should be added in all leagues off the week 12 waiver wire.
Chris Ogbonnaya - RB, Cleveland Browns - 9% owned in Yahoo leagues
This Week: 8 carries, 69 rushing yards, 6 receptions, 30 yards - 13.90 points (PPR leagues)
Analysis: The Cleveland coaches made a decision heading into their bye week that a change was needed at the running back position. Willis McGahee has been mostly ineffective as the primary RB for the Browns, and Ogbonnaya has been productive with the limited touches he's been given so far. With Cleveland playing from behind today, and this may be a sign of things to come, they needed a running back who can catch passes out of the backfield and be shiftier in open space. With his 6 receptions, and 69 rushing yards (8.62 YPC), Ogbonnaya showed he has what it takes. He has an opportunity to continue getting the most work in the Cleveland backfield going forward, and can be a decent weekly FLEX play, especially in PPR leagues. Ogbonnaya should be added in all PPR leagues, and in all deeper standard leagues, off the week 12 waiver wire.
Montee Ball - RB, Denver Broncos - 36% owned in Yahoo leagues
This Week: 8 carries, 25 rushing yards, 2 touchdowns, 3 receptions - 19.10 points (PPR leagues)
Analysis: Monte Ball continues to function as the change-of-pace running back for Denver, as a compliment to Knowshon Moreno. The Broncos also seem to prefer Ball in the red zone lately, which is a good sign for his future value. This week he had 2 touchdowns on goal-line carries, and also added 41 total yards on 11 total touches. Moreno will continue to be the lead running back in Denver, but the coaches also want to keep him fresh for the stretch run. Monte Ball should continue getting 8-15 touches per game, and can be a decent FLEX play going forward, especially in deeper leagues. Denver has a high-scoring offense that will yield plenty of opportunities to run the ball, as they will need to kill the clock and maintain their in-game leads. If Ball is still available in your league, you should strongly consider picking him up this week off the wire.
Daniel Thomas - RB, Miami Dolphins - 13% owned in Yahoo leagues
This Week: 10 carries, 57 rushing yards, 1 touchdown, 1 reception - 12.90 points (PPR leagues)
Analysis: The Miami coaches continue to utilize a split running back committee between Thomas and Lamar Miller. This week Thomas had 10 carries, compared to only 4 for Miller. And although Miller is the superior talent, he has been inconsistent over the past few weeks. This has created a messy situation where the Miami coaches will be riding the hot hand at RB, and limiting the upside of both players. On the brighter side, Thomas received the goal line carries this week and was able to score a touchdown to go along with his 57 rushing yards (5.7 YPC). Thomas is a decent pickup for Miller owners, and could be a low-end FLEX option moving forward depending on the matchups.
Antone Smith - RB, Atlanta Falcons - 0% owned in Yahoo leagues
This Week: 2 carries, 88 rushing yards, 1 touchdown, 1 reception - 16.20 points (PPR leagues)
Analysis: Steven Jackson has not been running the ball well for the Falcons this year. In the limited games that he's played, Jackson has been rather ineffective opening up opportunities for other RBs on the team. With the Falcons playing from behind often these days, Jackson won't be utilized much in their hurry-up offense and will continue to lose snaps. The Falcons need to look towards the future and see who the most dynamic RBs are on their team. Although Antone Smith only received 2 carries today, he made a case for more touches as he ripped off runs of 38 and 50 yards. We will continue monitoring the RB situation in Atlanta, to see if Smith starts stealing touches away from Jackson or Jacquizz Rodgers, and emerges as a recommended waiver wire option. Jackson may continue to lose playing time down the home stretch as this is a lost season for the Falcons, so Smith may get his chance over the next few weeks.