Week 10 Ranks (2017): Top 40 Running Backs

by Ray Kuhn

One. Entering play on Monday night, we had just one running back last week who eclipsed 100 yards. And that running back, Adrian Peterson, was likely floating around your waiver wire a few weeks ago as he was struggling to find a role on the Saints. Instead, we saw him gain 159 yards against San Francisco on Sunday; although Peterson did fail to find the end zone. In fact, the third most rushing yards last week came from a quarterback; Cam Newton.

Things do get a little better this week with Jordan Howard, Melvin Gordon, Le’Veon Bell, and others returning from bye this week. This week, we have four teams on bye, and that means we will be without Kareem Hunt and Jay Ajayi, among others. Let’s take a look at how our options rank:

  1. Le’Veon Bell – Pittsburgh Steelers – at Indianapolis
  2. Todd Gurley – Los Angeles Rams – vs. Houston
  3. Ezekiel Elliot – Dallas Cowboys – at Atlanta
  4. LeSean McCoy – Buffalo Bills – vs. New Orleans
  5. Leonard Fournette – Jacksonville Jaguars – vs. LA Chargers
  6. Melvin Gordon – Los Angeles Chargers – at Jacksonville
  7. Carlos Hyde – San Francisco 49ers – vs. New York Giants
  8. Jordan Howard – Chicago Bears – vs. Green Bay
  9. Alvin Kamara – New Orleans Saints – at Buffalo
  10. Christian McCaffrey – Carolina Panthers – vs. Miami
  11. Devonta Freeman – Atlanta Falcons – vs. Dallas
  12. Mark Ingram – New Orleans Saints – at Buffalo
  13. Jerick McKinnon – Minnesota Vikings – at Washington
  14. Matt Forte – New York Jets – at Tampa Bay
  15. Lamar Miller – Houston Texans – at LA Rams
  16. Adrian Peterson – Arizona Cardinals – vs. Seattle
  17. Joe Mixon – Cincinnati Bengals – at Tennessee
  18. Chris Thompson – Washington Redskins – vs. Minnesota
  19. DeMarco Murray – Tennessee Titans – vs. Cincinnati
  20. Doug Martin – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – vs. New York Jets
  21. Kenyan Drake – Miami Dolphins – at Carolina
  22. Duke Johnson – Cleveland Browns – at Detroit
  23. James White – New England Patriots – at Denver
  24. Ameer Abdullah – Detroit Lions – vs. Cleveland
  25. Orleans Darkwa – New York Giants – at San Francisco
  26. Aaron Jones – Green Bay Packers – at Chicago
  27. Tevin Coleman – Atlanta Falcons – vs. Dallas
  28. Bilal Powell – New York Jets – at Tampa Bay
  29. Isaiah Crowell – Cleveland Browns – at Detroit
  30. Theo Riddick – Detroit Lions – vs. Cleveland
  31. Frank Gore – Indianapolis Colts – vs. Pittsburgh
  32. Derrick Henry – Tennessee Titans – vs. Cincinanti
  33. Damien Williams – Miami Dolphins – at Carolina
  34. Tarik Cohen – Chicago Bears – vs. Green Bay
  35. Ty Montgomery – Green Bay Packers – at Chicago
  36. Devonate Booker – Denver Broncos – vs. New England
  37. Marlon Mack – Indianapolis Colts – vs. Pittsburgh
  38. Robert Kelley – Washington Redskins – vs. Minnesota
  39. Latavius Murray – Minnesota Vikings – at Washington
  40. CJ Anderson – Denver Broncos – vs. New England


  •  Leonard Fournette and the Jacksonville Jaguars left fantasy owners scrambling last week as his suspension was announced less than two hours prior to kickoff. The rookie was coming off two straight 100-plus yard games before he missed a game with an ankle injury heading into Jacksonville’s bye. Instead, we now have to wait one more week for Fournette to return. I wouldn’t be concerned about the rookie’s absence as he appears to be 100% healthy, and with the suspension behind him, Fournette is primed to have a big week at home against the Chargers. So far this season, he is averaging 4.6 yards per carry while scoring six touchdowns to go along with 9.2 yards per catch on 15 receptions. It is clear that Fournette’s value is as a runner, and there is more than enough here to lock him as a top option this week. There aren’t many true bell-cow backs left, but Fournette is one of them.
  • Perhaps one of these weeks, the 49ers will actually win a game. Their struggles on the field have also translated to fantasy circles, but we shouldn’t give up on Carlos Hyde all together. Yes, Hyde has just 100 yard game so far this season, and he is averaging 4.0 yards per carry, but with 494 yards under his belt so far, he is a solid bet for a 1,000 yard season. Game flow has hindered Hyde’s performance so far this season, but he is involved in San Francisco’s offense; however poor it may be. What we should note though, is that Hyde has been fully involved in the 49ers’ passing game. The veteran has been targeted 57 times while catching 40 passes for 268 yards. Last week was the perfect example of that as despite Hyde carrying the ball just 12 times for 41 yards, he caught 11 passes for 84 yards. This week, Hyde gets to take advantage of the Giants defense who is missing both linebackers and members of their secondary.
  • Another struggling offense, now with Deshaun Watson sidelined, is Houston. As much as we would like to discount Lamar Miller, it is quite simply just not possible. This is even after Miller failed to reach the end zone last week despite facing the Colts who have allowed a league high 10 rushing touchdowns so far this season. Game flow did come into play here, but Miller was efficient, as he gained 57 yards on 10 carries. So far this season, Miller has yet to gain more than 75 yards in a game, and he has just two touchdowns. Despite having the starting role, the veteran is only averaging just under three catches per game, but he is still the leader in Houston’s backfield. And that means we have to start him each week, even if he isn’t a running back to target.
  • One of the most frustrating situations in football, is New England’s backfield. After their bye last week, the Patriots are back in action with their over abundance of options. In other years, we would say this is strictly for PPR leagues, but it’s hard to ignore the fact that James White has FLEX appeal across all types of leagues. And this is despite the fact that White has just 28 carries so far this season, with 10 of those coming in Week 1. White has gained just 128 yards on the ground so far this season, but he is a factor each week in the passing game. The Patriots have targeted White 53 times so far this season, and he has caught 43 passes for 365 yards. Despite the volume, White has just one touchdown so far this season, so this isn’t an investment I would make in DFS leagues, but otherwise he is worth a look. Just don’t invest too heavily.
  • Who says a team can’t have two Top-15 or Top-20 running backs? Well, the Saints are certainly proving that is correct. Having two running backs is keeping Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara fresh, and they both are having success. Between the two of the last week, they carried the ball 26 times; Ingram 16 times for 77 yards and Kamara 10 times for 68 yards. In his last four games, Ingram is averaging 93 yards on the ground, and he has 541 yards and four touchdowns so far this season. Even with Kamara emerging, Ingram will continue to have a legitimate role in New Orleans’ backfield, but it is the rookie who possesses the higher ceiling. Kamara found the end zone twice on Sunday, once on the ground and once in the air, and he did his share of damage as a receiver; 84 yards on seven catches. While I wouldn’t expect him to have that good of a receiving day each week, we can’t underestimate his role in New Orleans’ passing game, and their offense in general.
  • With the trade of Jay Ajayi, there is opportunity in Miami’s backfield, and we can expect both Kenyon Drake and Damien Williams to take advantage of that. Drake had two more carries than Williams, nine to seven, but he was substantially more effective; 69 yards compared to 14. Each back caught six passes, Drake for 35 yards while Williams gained 47, and going forward Drake is the running back I’d target. At this point, there are questions about whether he can sustain a full workload, but he is the more talented option. If Drake is still available in your league, he is worth a look, but don’t overpay in the trade market.

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Make sure to check out all of our Week 10 Rankings:

Week 10 Rankings (2017): Top 15 Defenses
Week 10 Rankings (2017): Top 50 Wide Receivers


  1. Michael says:

    What do you make of Kareem Hunt going forward? Did he level out for the year (hitting a rookie wall?) or will he increase value again, even if it isn’t up to the first month of the season?

  2. darrick says:

    hey professor, which rb would you start in a 1/2 ppr league. mixon darkwa or crowell

  3. Jason says:

    Hey Professor, I have Ingram in my PPR league and this guy wants to trade me kamara for ingram. Should I do it?

  4. Rajwadu says:

    Hello Professor,

    Need help at few spots.
    Choose 2 wrs: jordy,docston,martavis bryant,hogan,fuller
    Choose 2 rb: shady,abdullah, Aron jones, duke, Mixon

    And select 1 flex from above.

    Thank You

  5. Beand says:

    What’s up? Is my Smith- Shuster for his Theilen a no Brainer in PPR?

  6. Eric says:

    PPR– which two ? McCoy, Peterson, Murray, Dion Lewis

  7. C says:


    I have Zeke but R.Smith as my only handcuff. Trying to get Morris in case the suspension is upheld, before his value rises.
    The Morris owner would take Robby Anderson for him. Would you make that trade? Leaning towards it.
    My other WRs are Green, Baldwin, D.Parker, C.Davis
    RBs: Zeke, Hunt, Martin, Drake, R. Smith

    Appreciate it!

  8. chris says:

    Have Zeke in my lineup… in the off chance he is suspended who should I go for…. Powell,Demarco Murray or Mixon need 2 outta of the 3

  9. Frank says:

    Hi Professor, I need RB advice. I have Drake, Kelly, L. Murray, Burkhead and Booker. Need 2 and 1 Flex or should start flex WR JuJu, Cupp or Dostson. Thanks

  10. Jim says:

    Full point PPR.

    Pick two- A. Morris, O. Darkwa or S. Shepard first team
    Pick one wr- M. Lee or A. Humphries

    Thanks for your help!

  11. Jay says:

    H2H League. Need a Flex C.J.Anderson, Henry or McKinnon ? ESPN Computer says Anderson, but I’m leaning McKinnon. What do you think? Thanks.

  12. Bway says:

    1 pt. PPR Playing Fornuette
    Need 3 (1 must be a WR)from this group below

    RB Hyde, McCoy, or McKinnon
    WR Demayrius Thomas, Golden Tate or Adam Theilen

    Bills or Broncos DST
    Both going against high powered Offenses
    which one will cause more TO’s or score a special team TD ?

    Q3 Standard League
    Need a RB and a Flex

    RB Crowell CLe, Duke CLe, Mack,Coleman ATL
    WR Lee JAC

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