Week 11 Rankings (2014): Top 40 Running Backs

by Ray Kuhn

Who would have ever thought entering the season that Denard Robinson being on bye this week would have a legitimate impact on fantasy owners? Yes, we have reached the point in Week 11 that Robinson and Justin Forsett are every now every week starters. If you had any questions about the state of the running back position, the fact that both of those players will be missed this week says it all.

With that being said, let’s take a look at how the running backs who are playing this week stack up:

  1. Arian Foster – Houston Texans – at Cleveland
  2. Matt Forte – Chicago Bears – vs. Minnesota
  3. Le’Veon Bell – Pittsburgh Steelers – at Tennessee
  4. Jamaal Charles – Kansas City Chiefs – vs. Seattle
  5. Marshawn Lynch – Seattle Seahawks – at Kansas City
  6. LeSean McCoy – Philadelphia Eagles – at Green Bay
  7. Eddie Lacy – Green Bay Packers – vs. Philadelphia
  8. Andre Ellington – Arizona Cardinals – vs. Detroit
  9. Alfred Morris – Washington Redskins – vs. Tampa Bay
  10. Mark Ingram – New Orleans Saints – vs. Cincinnati
  11. Giovanni Bernard – Cincinnati Bengals – at New Orleans
  12. Shane Vereen – New England Patriots – at Indianapolis
  13. Ahmad Bradshaw – Indianapolis Colts – vs. New England
  14. Jerrick McKinnon – Minnesota Vikings – at Chicago
  15. Rashad Jennings – New York Giants – vs. San Francisco
  16. Frank Gore – San Francisco 49ers – at New York Giants
  17. CJ Anderson – Denver Broncos – at St. Louis
  18. Bishop Sankey – Tennessee Titans – vs. Pittsburgh
  19. Trent Richardson – Indianapolis Colts – vs. New England
  20. Terrence West – Cleveland Browns – vs. Houston
  21. Reggie Bush – Detroit Lions – at Arizona
  22. Fred Jackson – Buffalo Bills – at Miami
  23. Pierre Thomas – New Orleans Saints – vs. Cincinnati
  24. Darren McFadden – Oakland Raiders – at San Diego
  25. Ryan Mathews – San Diego Chargers – vs. Oakland
  26. Jeremy Hill – Cincinnati Bengals – at New Orleans
  27. Jonathan Stewart – Carolina Panthers – vs. Atlanta
  28. Bobby Rainey – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – at Washington
  29. Branden Oliver – San Diego Chargers – vs. Oakland
  30. Joique Bell – Detroit Lions – at Arizona
  31. Steven Jackson – Atlanta Falcons – at Carolina
  32. Charles Sims – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – at Washington
  33. Tre Mason – St. Louis Rams – vs. Denver
  34. Lamar Miller – Miami Dolphins – vs. Buffalo
  35. Darren Sproles – Philadelphia Eagles – at Green Bay
  36. Carlos Hyde – San Francisco 49ers – at New York Giants
  37. Montee Ball – Denver Broncos – at St. Louis
  38. Andre Williams – New York Giants – vs. San Francisco
  39. D’Angelo Williams – Carolina Panthers – vs. Atlanta
  40. Matt Asiata – Minnesota Vikings – at Chicago


Thoughts:

  • Thursday games are tough for fantasy owners. There are just three days for injured players to regain health and for questions about playing time to be answered. This week Lamar Miller falls squarely into that category. Entering Week 9 he was firmly implanted as a low end RB1 before exiting in the 3rd quarter with a shoulder injury. By that point the game was well in hand, and Miller already had gained 49 yards on 11 carries to go along with a touchdown. However, the Dolphins were concerned enough about his shoulder that he only had five touches last week against the Lions and Miami has also added LaMichael James to the roster. The Dolphins are saying Miller is fine and he did take part in practice on Tuesday, but I still have a hard time trusting him this week. In fact, I have doubts about rolling with anyone from Miami’s backfield, but if you must Damien Williams in PPR leagues might be the best bet. Last week Williams had seven carries for 37 yards with three catches for another 27 yards, and Daniel Thomas had trouble hanging on to the ball. Additionally, Buffalo also boasts one of the top run defenses in the league.
  • With the Texans on bye last week, Arian Foster had an additional week to rest his groin. At this point there is no concrete news about his status, but everything points to Foster playing which puts him at the top of my list for the week. Foster is also facing Cleveland and their 28th ranked defense against the run, which makes the matchup that much more appealing. I would say appealing to the point that Alfred Blue needs to be on your radar at the very least. Earlier in the season Blue did 78 yards on 13 carries getting the start in Foster’s absence.
  • Ronnie Hillman was having success in Denver’s backfield with Montee Ball out. Now Hillman will be out for the next two weeks and Ball returns. It seems simple enough, but I wouldn’t take it as such. Immediately placing Ball back into your starting lineup isn’t that simple with CJ Anderson breaking out last week. Ball was only averaging 3.1 yards per carry prior to his injury, so it is not like he is returning to a position of strength. I think Ball will certainly have a role, but at least for this week I am inclined to rank Anderson ahead of him. Anderson gained 90 yards via 13 carries and also added another 73 yards on four receptions, one of which was for a touchdown.
  • So far this week there has been no news on Giovani Bernard’s status. When it was announced he wasn’t going to be active for last week’s debacle, it was unclear at the time whether he would be back for Week 11. For the purposes of these rankings I included him as if he is playing, and Jeremy Hill is ranked accordingly. If Bernard does play Hill is a borderline FLEX play, and if not I would move Hill up to low-end RB2 or FLEX option. Hill showed against Jacksonville two weeks ago that he can be a stud, gaining 154 yards, which only served to raise expectations for the rookie. Prior to departing the game after fumbling Hill once again had success, gaining 55 yards on 12 carries. I wouldn’t let the fumble stop me from using him as the Bengals need him to compete for the division title.
  • In making his debut Charles Sims did not live up to any expectations that had been established for him. The rookie gained 23 yards on eight carries while catching two passes for 17 yards. However, the good news is that he had the same number of touches as Bobby Rainey. Rainey didn’t do all that better gaining 14 yards on six carries, but he did catch four passes for 42 yards. Doug Martin might return this week, but Rainey is still the secure option to own with Sims having the most upside.
  • Shonn Greene did get a goal line carry and Leon Washington had a touchdown, but Bishop Sankey’s time might be finally getting closer. He did have 17 carries on Sunday; however he gained only 59 yards. The good thing is that the coaching staff blamed it more on the offensive line than Sankey. He gets a better matchup this week against the Steelers, making him worth a look for sure.
Week 11 Rankings (2014): Top 15 Defenses
Week 11 Rankings (2014): Top 50 Wide Receivers

30 comments

  1. Corey says:

    Can I get the reasoning on Bush over Bell? I know it’s a tough matchup but Reggie doesn’t look anything close to 100%,

    • Ray Kuhn says:

      It’s such a toss up in this range to begin with, but I don’t think there will be much room for anyone to run. This is based more on Bush catching a few passes, and potentially finding the end zone through the air. While I did rank Bush higher, Bell is the more dependable option if that is worth anything, but his upside is less.

  2. jaden says:

    In a standard league, if Gio Bernard does not play would you go with Jeremy Hill or Ahmad Bradshaw?

    Thanks for your advice.

  3. Mikel says:

    should I start Ryan Mathews over Tre Mason even though Mathews just came back from an injury?

  4. chris says:

    Need 2 of each and a flex….lacy, miller, west. A brown, sanders, v jax, crabtree, and also looked at boldin with production as of late and the great matchup…thanks roto

  5. StanCal says:

    Hey Professor! So I’m trying to make my keeper league roster top-heavy in a charge for next year because while my roster is good enough to be a fringe playoff team this season, the elite teams are loaded enough to mop the floor with me. My playmaker roster looks like this:

    RB: Lynch, McCoy, Gore, Hyde
    WR: D. Bryant, Baldwin, A. Johnson, Michael Floyd, K. Allen, M. Bryant, Moncrief (Quick on IR)

    Moncrief is a sentimental pick, M. Bryant was picked up this week as sell-high trade bait, and I have had a rash of bad luck between Floyd, Allen, and Quick.
    One of the fringe playoff contenders has Forte, Bell, and Ingram but a very weak receiver corps. I’m thinking of offering Gore and M. Bryant in exchange for Bell, since M. Bryant is looking shiny and great right now but I’m not sold on him long-term and I want to get rid of Gore at a good value before his age finally catches up to him. If the other owner doesn’t bite I’m considering also throwing in an underperforming upside player like Allen or Floyd and getting a lower tier player as a counterweight. Any thoughts?

  6. Mikel – I’d go Mathews, yep!

    chris:
    RB – Lacy & West
    WR – Brown & Sanders
    FLEX – Boldin

    StanCal – If you’re building for next season, that type of deal makes a lot of sense. While you could use a second WR to go with D Bryant, selling Gore and M. Bryant makes a ton of sense

    • StanCal says:

      Many thanks, but the owner doesn’t look like they want anything to do with me. Another owner has the following:

      RB: Charles, Ellington, Morris, Jackson, Sims
      WR: Green, Hopkins, Cooks, Evans, Sanu

      His roster is a lot more well-rounded so I don’t know if I can work a trade out, but would targeting Ellington or Morris give me good enough value in lieu of that prospective Bell trade?

  7. Chris says:

    Have Ryan Matthews, McCoy, Bradshaw, and Vereen who’s the odd man out?

  8. Luigi says:

    Why so down on asiata? How about long term?

  9. Bob says:

    I can start two – Ryan Mathews, Rashad Jennings, Odell Beckham, Martavis Bryant. I’m leaning Mathews and Beckham. Any thoughts?

  10. Dream Crusher says:

    Trich or Sankey this week? Rest of season?

  11. Dream Crusher says:

    Or Tre

  12. Adel says:

    Would you trade LeSean McCoy for Denard Robinson?

  13. Brian says:

    What’s up Prof? Quick RB2 question, Blue or McKinnon? Also do you think it would be wise to flip Blue for AP?

  14. Axel – Only if I was getting McCoy

    Brian – McKinnon and AP is probably a better gamble

  15. Steve says:

    2 spots..3 players…mike Evans, golden Tate,, and Alfred blu, which two should I go with?

  16. Meneely says:

    Who do I start… Need to start two!
    Levon bell
    Jamaal Charles
    Mark Ingram
    ?????

  17. Steve says:

    Alfred Blue or Fred Jackson at Flex?

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