Week 6 Rankings (2017): Top 40 Running Backs

by Ray  Kuhn

Right from the start there are some owners fighting an uphill battle. Ezekiel Elliot will be enjoying his bye week along with LeSean McCoy and Joe Mixon, and we don’t have the stress of trying to figure out the Seattle backfield. That doesn’t mean we are without options, but speaking to how appealing those options is a totally different story. We are caught between looking at skills and match-ups, while also taking roles into account (both actual and projected). Keeping that in mind let’s take a look at how are options rank:

  1. Kareem Hunt – Kansas City Chiefs – vs. Pittsburgh
  2. Le’Veon Bell – Pittsburgh Steelers – at Kansas City
  3. Devonta Freeman – Atlanta Falcons – vs. Miami
  4. Leonard Fournette – Jacksonville Jaguars – vs. LA Rams
  5. Melvin Gordon – Los Angeles Chargers – at Oakland
  6. C.J. Anderson – Denver Broncos – vs. New York Giants
  7. Todd Gurley – Los Angeles Rams – at Jacksonville
  8. Doug Martin – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – at Arizona
  9. Jordan Howard – Chicago Bears – at Baltimore
  10. DeMarco Murray – Tennessee Titans – vs. Indianapolis
  11. Jay Ajayi – Miami Dolphins – at Atlanta
  12. Christian McCaffrey – Carolina Panthers – vs. Philadelphia
  13. Duke Johnson – Cleveland Browns – at Houston
  14. Ameer Abdullah – Detroit Lions – at New Orleans
  15. Lamar Miller – Houston Texans – vs. Cleveland
  16. Aaron Jones – Green Bay Packers – at Minnesota
  17. Jerick McKinnon – Minnesota Vikings – vs. Green Bay
  18. Buck Allen – Baltimore Ravens – vs. Chicago
  19. Andre Ellington – Arizona Cardinals – vs. Tampa Bay
  20. Elijah McGuire – New York Jets – vs. New England
  21. Mark Ingram – New Orleans Saints – vs. Detroit
  22. Marshawn Lynch – Oakland Raiders – vs. LA Chargers
  23. LeGarrette Blount – Philadelphia Eagles – at Carolina
  24. Carlos Hyde – San Francisco 49ers – at Washington
  25. James White – New England Patriots – at New York Jets
  26. Alvin Kamara – New Orleans Saints – vs. Detroit
  27. Chris Thompson – Washington Redskins – vs. San Francisco
  28. Tevin Coleman – Atlanta Falcons – vs. Miami
  29. Mike Gillislee – New England Patriots – at New York Jets
  30. Tarik Cohen – Chicago Bears – at Baltimore
  31. Wayne Gallman – New York Giants – at Denver
  32. Isaiah Crowell – Cleveland Browns – at Houston
  33. Frank Gore – Indianapolis Colts – at Tennessee
  34. Theo Riddick – Detroit Lions – at New Orleans
  35. Shane Vereen – New York Giants – at Denver
  36. Alex Collins – Baltimore Ravens – vs. Chicago
  37. Robert Kelley – Washington Redskins – vs. San Francisco
  38. Matt Breida – San Francisco 49ers – at Washington
  39. Marlon Mack – Indianapolis Colts – at Tennessee
  40. Jonathan Stewart – Carolina Panthers – vs. Philadelphia

Notes:

  • Last week we took a look at Green Bay’s backfield, and after their victory in Dallas the situation has both increased in clarity and confusion. Jamaal Williams can be eliminated from consideration after he had 1 carry for 5 yards while only being on the field for two plays. Aaron Jones, on the other hand, capitalized on Ty Montgomery being inactive as he was on the field for 53 of Green Bay’s 60 offensive snaps. The rookie impressed in his NFL debut as he gained 125 yards on 19 carries while scoring a touchdown. Jones was consistently part of the Packers’ offensive game plan all afternoon, and he earned praise from head coach Mike McCarthy. At this point in the week Montgomery’s status for this coming week is unclear, but what we know is that the Packers will likely not ride him into the ground as they previously have done. Jones will continue to be a factor, and if Montgomery is healthy Jones is likely limited to a FLEX role at best. The problem for Montgomery owners though, is that presence of Jones knocks him down a few pegs as well. My assumption for this week is that Montgomery will be limited at best, if not sidelined once again.
  • Finally,it happened. Week 5 wasn’t exactly the coming out party for Marlon Mack, but it was pretty close to it. After missing the last two weeks with a shoulder injury he returned and found the end zone. On nine carries he gained 91 yards and earned the praise his head coach. After the game Chuck Pagano noted that he would like to see the rookie more involved, but Frank Gore is still part of the Colts’ backfield. The good thing for Mack owners is that Gore hasn’t made much of an impact. Last week he did get 14 carries and gained only 48 yards. What is interesting is that Gore continues to be a factor in the passing game, and he caught three passes for another 38 yards. We still likely have another week or two of Gore out touching Mack.
  • Flying under the radar as far as rookie running backs go, I would look for Alvin Kamara to begin making a consistent fantasy impact. The early season bye week likely will help, and he has positive momentum after his last game. Facing the Dolphins Kamara caught all 10 of his targets for 71 yards and a touchdown while gaining 25 yards on five carries. In this situation Mark Ingram is still the clear leader in the Saints’ backfield, but Kamara will be a factor as he was from the start of the game two weeks ago. The trade of Adrian Peterson and his 27 carries will help as well, just keep your expectations in check.
  • With Matt Forte already nursing both knee and toe injuries and Bilal Powell leaving last week’s game with a calf injury, Elijah McGuire might be the last man standing in New York’s running game. For the second straight week he was a clear factor in the game plan, but the results left a lot to be desired. With an allowance for facing a tough Cleveland run defense, McGuire gained just 20 yards on 11 carries while catching two passes for 10 yards. That came after a 93 yard effort and his Week 6 match-up against a weak Patriots’ run defense looks to be favorable for the rookie.
  • Last week didn’t play out the way Carlos Hyde owners planned, and unfortunately this is something to monitor moving forward. Hyde ha been dealing with a hip injury, but he does have a 100 yard game under his belt while averaging 4.5 yards per carry. However, against the Colts, he couldn’t get going and managed 11 yards on eight carries. In fact Matt Breida was on the field for 49% of the snaps last week, which was two more than Hyde. The rookie was also more successful than the veteran as he gained 49 yards on 11 carries while catching three passes for 22 yards. Hyde is still the back to own, but Breida needs to be monitored.
  • After the injury to Dalvin Cook, Latavius Murray was the popular waiver claim,\ but Jerrick McKinnon looks to be the back to own. Murray got the first five carries of the game for Minnesota, but McKinnon ultimately out touched him 22 to 14 while dominating the snap count 47 to 22. Murray will likely remain as the early down back, but McKinnon is the big play threat (he had a 58 yard touchdown) as he gained 95 yards on 16 carries while catching six passes for 51 yards. The passing game will be McKinnon’s domain, and this trend will continue each week as Murray managed just 31 yards on 12 carries while catching two passes for 12 yards.

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Make sure to check out all of our Week 6 rankings:

Quarterbacks
Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Kickers
Defenses
Week 6 Rankings (2017): Top 20 Tight Ends
Dynasty Rankings: Top 50 Running Backs (Week 5 Fallout)

21 comments

  1. Carmen says:

    Hey prof,
    Need an rb2 and flex- choices are Ingram, Ellington and c. Johnson and w. Fuller… Kinda leaning towards fuller at flex because of the ceiling

    Second league need wr2 and flex- got fuller, Landry, Smallwood and Ingram…

    Also have both Alex Smith and Matt Ryan to choose from in both leagues, difficult to choose but not a bad problem to have.. Smith has had nice upside lately

    • League 1:
      RB2 – Ingram
      FLEX – If it’s PPR I’d lean Ellington, but Fuller is a fine play

      League 2:
      WR2 – Landry (it’s close)
      FLEX – Ingram
      QB – I’m still leaning Ryan, he has the higher upside

  2. MikeP says:

    Hey prof, I have a potential trade opportunity involving Jordan Howard I’d be curious to get your take on:

    My rb’s: Fournette, Howard, J Allen, Gallman, Mack.
    My wr’s: Tate, Fuller, Hurns, Mike williams (Just grabbed him as a flier to see how he works out).

    The WR waiver wire situation is a wasteland.

    Would you trade Howard for AJ green straight up?

    Looking at my roster, I have my bell cow in Fournette, and I’m loaded with up and comers/potential break outs. I feel I can afford to lose Howard as the bears offense is in shambles and I’m hopeful at least Gallman or Mack (possibly both) will emerge this year, and thus replacing howards rb2 slot.

    Meanwhile my WR situation is horrific. Fuller was a good add and will produce but he’s likely to be a boom/bust option most weeks. Tate’s been dissapointing though his targets are consistently high so I feel he will wind up with a solid season so long as Stafford keeps looking his way. But green would be a straight upgrade over either of those dudes and has the most upside by a country mile.

    I’m inclined to go for it, though I’m not excited about it at all. Standard scoring 14 team league.

  3. Bms914 says:

    Hey Prof,

    Would you do this trade?

    Tarik Cohen and Sammy Watkins for Demaryus Thomas….. I would get Thomas

  4. John says:

    Here’s a fun one. Flex spot Marlon Mack, Perine, or Latavious Murray? I could also grab Snead as a free agent but it’s a standard league. Thanks

  5. reggie says:

    hey professor – with the recent ruling regarding Ezekial (and perhaps pending new appeal) is it worth a shot to pick up Alfred Morris or McFadden?

  6. Matthew Summerlin says:

    Hey Prof- Should I drop Montgomery or Mixon and pick up McKinnon or hold on to TyMont and Mixon? Thanks

  7. Pablo E says:

    Samaje Perine/AP/Rishard Matthews in the flex this week?

  8. Jason says:

    Hi professor,
    I need 1 RB and 1 flex. Standard league but TE’s are scored as PPR. I have Delaney walker as my flex most weeks due to him being scored with ppr scoring but I have buck allen/McKinnon/Kamara. . Who would you use for RB2/flex?

  9. Brian says:

    Standard Need 1 Flex and 1 RB?
    Wr John Brown, RB Duke Johnson, RB Mack, or RB Ellington

    1 pt. PPR
    Need 4 from this group? My record is 1-4 Need a Win Bad!!

    WR Demaryius Thomas DEN, Tate DET, Thielen MIN, D Jackson TB
    RB Fournette JAC, Mckinnon MIN, Hyde SF

    • I’d use Duke Johnson as the RB, as he has the highest upside

      The FLEX spot is tricky. I’d say Ellington is “safe”, but Mack has the highest upside. If you are going for the gamble I’d go with Mack who could ultimately replace Gore

  10. trevor says:

    ppr buck allen or duke johnson
    ppr buck allen or chris thompson
    ppr golden tate or desean jackson

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