Week 2 Rankings (2016): Top 40 Running Backs

by Ray Kuhn

Two?  Really?!?!  Just two running backs eclipsed the 100 yard mark on the ground in Week 1, but should it really be a surprise? After all, we are in the new age of fantasy backfields, so in a sense this is what we expected entering the season.  Of course running backs also need to be considered for their pass catching skills, as six backs gained more than 50 yards receiving. As we expected most backfields were a cooperative effort, and we should look for more of that this week.

With that in mind let’s take a look at how the running backs rank for this week:

  1. C.J. Anderson – Denver Broncos – vs. Indianapolis
  2. Lamar Miller – Houston Texans – vs. Kansas City
  3. DeAngelo Williams – Pittsburgh Steelers – vs. Cincinnati
  4. David Johnson – Arizona Cardinals – vs. Tampa Bay
  5. Matt Forte – New York Jets – at Buffalo
  6. Ezekiel Elliot – Dallas Cowboys – at Washington
  7. Mark Ingram – New Orleans Saints – at New York Giants
  8. Spencer Ware – Kansas City Chiefs – at Houston
  9. Danny Woodhead – San Diego Chargers – vs. Jacksonville
  10. Adrian Peterson – Minnesota Vikings – vs. Green Bay
  11. LeSean McCoy – Buffalo Bills – vs. New York Jets
  12. Todd Gurley – St. Louis Rams – vs. Seattle
  13. Ryan Mathews – Philadelphia Eagles – at Chicago
  14. Doug Martin – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – at Arizona
  15. Rashad Jennings – New York Giants – vs. New Orleans
  16. Carlos Hyde – San Francisco 49ers – at Carolina
  17. Eddie Lacy – Green Bay Packers – at Minnesota
  18. Latavius Murray – Oakland Raiders – vs. Atlanta
  19. DeMarco Murray – Tennessee Titans – at Detroit
  20. Devonta Freeman – Atlanta Falcons – at Oakland
  21. Jeremy Langford – Chicago Bears – vs. Philadelphia
  22. Jonathan Stewart – Carolina Panthers – vs. San Francisco
  23. T.J. Yeldon – Jacksonville Jaguars – at San Diego
  24. Thomas Rawls – Seattle Seahawks – at Los Angeles Rams
  25. Justin Forsett – Baltimore Ravens – at Cleveland
  26. Arian Foster – Miami Dolphins – at New England
  27. Ameer Abdullah – Detroit Lions – vs. Tennessee
  28. Melvin Gordon – San Diego Chargers – vs. Jacksonville
  29. Theo Riddick – Detroit Lions – at Tennessee
  30. Jeremy Hill – Cincinnati Bengals – at Pittsburgh
  31. Tevin Coleman – Atlanta Falcons – at Oakland
  32. Duke Johnson – Cleveland Browns – vs. Baltimore
  33. Giovanni Bernard – Cincinnati Bengals – at Pittsburgh
  34. LeGarrette Blount – New England Patriots – vs. Miami
  35. Frank Gore – Indianapolis Colts – at Denver
  36. Charles Sims – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – at Arizona
  37. Matt Jones – Washington Redskins – vs. Dallas
  38. James White – New England Patriots – vs. Miami
  39. Darren Sproles – Philadelphia Eagles – at Chicago
  40. Isaiah Crowell – Cleveland Browns – vs. Baltimore

Thoughts:

  • Committee, there we go with that dreaded word. This time we are hearing it out of Atlanta, and I’m not as surprised as maybe I should be. Don’t, please don’t, run out to sell Devonta Freeman. Both Freeman and Tevin Coleman are going to be factors, but last week aside Freeman still has the upper hand (at least for the time being). Freeman had 15 touches as opposed to 13 for Coleman, but was out gained by a large margin; 117 to 40. Freeman was still Atlanta’s go to back in the red zone, and he did catch four passes as compared to Coleman’s five. Coleman gained the majority of his yards through the air, 95, with 47 of them coming on one play. Freeman should be downgraded a little, but he needs to be started in all formats while Coleman’s value is more as a FLEX option, especially in PPR leagues.
  • Chris Ivory is out of the hospital, but his status for Week 2 is still up in the air. If he does take the field it will be hard to count on him to make much of an impact. That means we have at least another week of the T.J Yeldon show in Jacksonville’s backfield. Last week Yeldon got his chance to show what he can do, and if it wasn’t for his touchdown it would not have been a good day. It wasn’t for a lack of a workload either as Yeldon got 21 carries, taking them for only 39 yards.
  • As a Todd Gurley owner, you are well within your rights to be frustrated after his season debut. You can’t argue with his talent, or what he did as a rookie last season, but the Rams’ offense just looked pathetic on Monday. It’s hard to imagine they can do much worse, but facing Seattle this week anything is possible. While there is nothing wrong with entertaining the thought of benching Gurley, I just can’t do it. Aside from the fact that you likely don’t have any better options, there are not many players better than him. Arian Foster did not have much success on the ground last week against the Seahawks, 38 yards on 13 carries, but Gurley is a better running back. Against the 49ers he scraped together 47 yards on 17 carries, and it’s just too hard to count him out two weeks in a row (though I wouldn’t count on him in DFS).
  • The Broncos weren’t kidding about making C.J. Anderson the focal point of their offense. With Trevor Semien now under center, playing to mixed results at best, Denver is going to need Anderson to ensure they move the ball. Against a difficult defense in Carolina he looked more than capable as he gained 92 yards on 20 carries with a touchdown while also catching five passes for 47 yards and another touchdown. We saw both Detroit running backs have their share of success against the Colts last week, 108 yards on the ground and 120 yards through the air, and Anderson is slated for more of the same.
  • In their season opening loss the Jets’ offense could have been a lot sharper, but one player who didn’t seem to have an issue was Matt Forte. The Jets featured him prominently both in their running and passing games, and it looks like we can expect more of the same moving forward. Forte carried the ball 22 times for 96 yards, and he did what we have come to expect from him throughout his career. He was targeted seven times, and caught five passes for 57 yards. Bilal Powell wasn’t nearly as big a factor as some expected him to be, four carries for 41 yards and two catches for seven yards. There will be weeks where Powell does make more of an impact, but this is still Forte’s backfield.
  • By all accounts Melvin Gordon had the best game of his young career. He finally found the end zone, twice actually, and he gained 57 yards on 14 carries. He was not targeted at all in the passing game, but the first half was his. Even though Danny Woodhead doesn’t fit the mold of a traditional running back, he is still the back to own; but that doesn’t mean Gordon is without value. Woodhead dominated the second half and ended up gaining 89 yards on 16 carries while catching another five passes for 31 yards and a touchdown. With Keenan Allen now sidelined for the year, Woodhead’s role will only figure to increase.

Make sure to check out all of our Week 2 rankings:

Week 2 Rankings (2016): Top 20 Tight Ends
Week 2 Rankings (2016): Top 50 Wide Receivers

28 comments

  1. Adam says:

    Hey Professor, I own Ryan Matthews is both a 10 and 12 team league and I’m high on him this year. While he’s no guarantee to stay healthy for 16 games, does it make sense to own Kenjon Barner as insurance? Or should i continue to hold onto guys like Jay Ajayi or Bilal Powell?

  2. Eric says:

    Prof- have D. Martin, Langford, Baldwin, D. Jackson. Which 3 do you recommend I roll with? (Have Hopkins,L.Miller, and K. Benjamin also). I’m leaning benching D.Martin as it is in Arizona and I feel they will be playing catch-up with Sims- I also have feeling Jackson will blow up- what say u?

  3. Adam – I’m not sure Barner plays a big role if Mathews were to go down (maybe a bit more Sproles), so I wouldn’t go crazy with that handcuff.

    Eric – For me Jackson is a bit too hit or miss to trust, but I couldn’t argue it either way. It’s Martin or Jackson (I’d lean Jackson)

  4. Kevin Bien says:

    Just as a backup running back would you drop Gio Bernard to pick up Lagarette Blount?

  5. Rob says:

    For my flex Spencer Ware or Matt Forte? Standard scoring, thx Professor

  6. Kevin Bien – Nah, I’d stick with Bernard

    Rob – I’d lean Ware myself, but that’s because I fear the Jets using Powell more tonight given Forte’s age and the quick turnaround

  7. ryan says:

    Feel like this would have been an insane question before the season, but given what we have seen of the Rams “offense” would you do a Gurley for L. Miller trade? Who else might you target if you’re a Gurley owner? Thanks.

  8. Gamer says:

    Question 1: 16 team PPR Flex question. Start C Michael or Funchess

    Question 2: 10 team .5 PPR flex: Foster, Rawls, C Michaels, Travis Benjamin

    Question 3: 10 team .5 PPR TE: Walker or Ebron

    Thanks for the feedback

  9. Andy says:

    Someone panic and drop Jeremy Hill 8 team standard.
    Should Drop Matt Jones or Amer Abdulla for Jeremy Hill ? I am thinking Matt Jones, right keep for ROS. Thanks

  10. Haggy says:

    Do you think Lacy is worth keepng or try to trade for a WR. Got D. Johnson and S. Ware and J. Richard RB’s now.

  11. JKOGEL says:

    IF U HAD T. Ridick, G. Bernard, t. Rawls, c. michael RBs and im tarting baldwin and green WRs, who would u start RBs and flex? i also have Diggs WR flex him or which RB? thank u for your advise

  12. Haggy – I’d want him as depth. Ware/Richard hardly locks to produce

    JKogel:
    RB – Rawls/Bernard
    FLEX – Diggs
    Not ideal, though

  13. Bms914 says:

    .5 PPR- flex position- lacy, Langford, or moncrief?

  14. Patriots says:

    Hello Professor,
    12 team standard. Need 3 out of Melvin gordon,Isaiah Crowell, Tevin coleman & donte moncrief, thank you

  15. Chu says:

    .34ppr w 75 combined yd threshold – A Foster this week or L Blount?
    Blount not a receiving outlet but might be a game they lean on him at home?

  16. Donnie says:

    Ten team standard
    Hill or Gordon in week 2?
    I cannot make the call.

  17. Smidge says:

    Hyde or Langford and Edelman or M. Jones jr
    Please and thank you

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