Week 13 Rankings (2017): Top 40 Running Backs

by Ray Kuhn

While they playoffs don’t officially start for another week or two, for a lot of fantasy owners this week might as well be the playoffs. This has been one of the tightest fantasy seasons in recent memory, and parity is abound. That makes this week’s decision that much more important. You have to find the right mix of thinking things through enough, while avoiding over thinking. With that being said, let’s take a look at how the options for running back rank this week:

  1. Le’Veon Bell – Pittsburgh Steelers – at Cincinnati
  2. Todd Gurley – Los Angeles Rams – at Arizona
  3. LeSean McCoy – Buffalo Bills – vs. New England
  4. Jordan Howard – Chicago Bears – vs. San Francisco
  5. Alvin Kamara – New Orleans Saints – vs. Carolina
  6. Carlos Hyde – San Francisco 49ers – at Chicago
  7. Christian McCaffrey – Carolina Panthers – at New Orleans
  8. Leonard Fournette – Jacksonville Jaguars – vs. Indianapolis
  9. Melvin Gordon – Los Angeles Chargers – vs. Cleveland
  10. Mark Ingram – New Orleans Saints – vs. Carolina
  11. Dion Lewis – New England Patriots – at Buffalo
  12. Lamar Miller – Houston Texans – at Tennessee
  13. Kareem Hunt – Kansas City Chiefs – at New York Jets
  14. Joe Mixon – Cincinnati Bengals – vs. Pittsburgh
  15. Samaje Perine – Washington Redskins – at Dallas
  16. Jamaal Williams – Green Bay Packers – vs. Tampa Bay
  17. Kenyan Drake – Miami Dolphins – vs. Denver
  18. Jerick McKinnon – Minnesota Vikings – at Atlanta
  19. Rex Burkhead – New England Patriots – at Buffalo
  20. DeMarco Murray – Tennessee Titans – vs. Houston
  21. Adrian Peterson – Arizona Cardinals – vs. LA Rams
  22. Marshawn Lynch – Oakland Raiders – vs. New York Giants
  23. Isaiah Crowell – Cleveland Browns – at LA Chargers
  24. Devontae Booker – Denver Broncos – at Miami
  25. Devonta Freeman – Atlanta Falcons – vs. Minnesota
  26. Duke Johnson – Cleveland Browns – at LA Chargers
  27. Alex Collins – Baltimore Ravens – vs. Detroit
  28. Tevin Coleman – Atlanta Falcons – vs. Minnesota
  29. Latavius Murray – Minnesota Vikings – at Atlanta
  30. J.D. McKissic – Seattle Seahawks – vs. Philadelphia
  31. Alfred Morris – Dallas Cowboys – vs. Washington
  32. Ameer Abdullah – Detroit Lions – at Baltimore
  33. Orleans Darkwa – New York Giants – at Oakland
  34. Frank Gore – Indianapolis Colts – at Jacksonville
  35. Danny Woodhead – Baltimore Ravens – vs. Detroit
  36. Jay Ajayi – Philadelphia Eagles – at Seattle
  37. Bilal Powell – New York Jets – vs. Kansas City
  38. Derrick Henry – Tennessee Titans – vs. Houston
  39. Jacquizz Rodgers – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – at Green Bay
  40. Jonathan Stewart – Carolina Panthers – at New Orleans


  • With Devonta Freeman practicing last week, to some degree, the assumption here was that we would see him return. That wasn’t the case and instead Tevin Coleman took care of business with 97 yards and 2 TD on 19 carries. With Freeman being close to receiving clearance last week, the new assumption is that he will return against the Vikings. The problem is that Minnesota sports the league’s toughest defense against fantasy running backs. Freeman has had some success when healthy this season averaging 4.4 yards per carry on 116 carries to go along with 5 TD, but neither back has been a true difference maker. In fact, Freeman hasn’t carried the ball more than 12 times in a game since Week 6 and only has 19 receptions on the season. It’s hard to bench him if he is active, but I would take a hard look at other options; especially if it worked out for you the last two weeks.
  • In Jamaal Williams we have found a workhorse back in Green Bay. It is more born from necessity, but Williams has proven to be a reliable fantasy option. Last week was the third straight game in which he has eclipsed 20 touches, and in each of the last two games the rookie running back has caught four passes. Things didn’t come easy last week in Pittsburgh, but he managed to make enough plays to have a successful fantasy night. A large part of that was due to a long TD reception on a screen pass, but he also punched in a touchdown on the ground. On 70 carries he is averaging just 3.2 yards per carry, but there is something to said about quantity and right now Williams is getting it. This week’s opponent, Tampa Bay, is allowing borderline RB1 production to opponents so we should see another solid effort. The issue is if Ty Montgomery does return (he didn’t practice last week), Willilams could loose a few carries and likely his role in the passing game.
  • It feels strange. I mean it has to, right? We are competing to get into the fantasy playoffs, and we are advocating for Samaje Perine to be in your starting lineup. It comes down to role, but you can’t argue with the fact that Perine has eclipsed 100 yards in each of his two games. It wasn’t exactly pretty as the rookie needed 24 carries, but he added 30 yards on four catches. In a season where overall rushing yardage is down Perine has 217 yards in his last two games, but it would be nice to see him add to the one rushing TD this season. With just five touches last week, Byron Marshall wasn’t much of a factor and Perine shouldn’t have too much trouble against the Cowboys this week (the absence of Sean Lee would be a nice bonus).
  • I’m going to avoid going into too much depth about Kareem Hunt, although his results last week were mind boggling, and leave it that he still should be in your starting lineup in just about all situations. After allowing nine rushing touchdowns in their three previous games, I wouldn’t read too much into Buffalo’s success last week. After bursting onto the scene, Hunt has noticeably cooled off, and while he isn’t innocent the Chiefs and their lackluster offense around him should receive some blame. Hunt is simply too talented for these struggles to continue, and Kansas City needs him in order to succeed.
  • That was the Joe Mixon we have been waiting for. It didn’t matter that Cleveland had actually allowed a league best 3.1 yards per carry, as the rookie had the best game of his short career. He went over 100 yards, 114 and a TD, for the first time in his career and it was his highest total of rushing yards since he gained 62 yards in Week 3. It was also the second straight week of a high workload, as he has 23 and 20 carries the past two weeks. It was also a good sign that 66 of Mixon’s yards came after contact and he added three catches for 51 yards. This week his match-up against Pittsburgh could prove to be challenging, but you can’t argue with his recent results or workload.
  • It wasn’t pretty on the ground last week for Carlos Hyde, 47 yards on 16 carries, but thanks to his role in the passing game it wasn’t a lost day. Overall he is averaging a solid 85 yards per game, and despite lacking in big plays, touchdowns (just four rushing) or explosiveness he has given fantasy owners solid production. In fact, Hyde has proven to be a valuable commodity in PPR leagues as he has caught 49 passes, though it is for 295 yards. With Jimmy Garoppolo now under center things might look a little better for the 49ers’ offense, and Hyde will be the main beneficiary.

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Make sure to check out all of our Week 13 rankings:

Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Week 13 Rankings (2017): Top 50 Wide Receivers
Week 13 Rankings (2017): Top 25 Quarterbacks


  1. Eric B says:

    Hey Prof. I need 2 picks at WR (already have the best in A Brown.) S Diggs D Jackson P Richardson & newly acquired J Crowder who I figured is a must start out of the aforementioned. Thanks as always

  2. Smidge says:

    My RB’s are Gordon, Mixon, Perine and J.Williams. Need 2 and a Flex, and I really want to leave Gordon on the bench, but what if… he finally comes through this week? Thoughts?

  3. Jay says:

    Std Scoring. Drop Henry and Dion Lewis for Jamaal Williams & Perine? Or what combination would you carry also have Hunt,Kamara & Zeke. Thanks

  4. Joel Macke says:

    Why do you have McKinnon higher than Murray? I own McKinnon and I wish he was better, but Murray has overshadowed McKinnon for the past few weeks

  5. Jason says:

    I have fournette, kamara, & mckinnon as my flex but Murray has been making mckinnon irrelevant. I just traded stefon diggs for Murray. Murray will now be my flex. I picked up crowder off waivers & he will slide into diggs spot. What do you think professor?

  6. Jim says:

    For my flex this week should I go with Samaje Perine, Jamaal Williams or Travis Kelce?

  7. Haggy says:


  8. John K says:

    It’s win and I’m in this week. How would you set this lineup: 2WR, 2RB, 1Flex

    WR: Julio, AJ Green, Doug Baldwin, Jarvis Landry
    RB: Hunt, Mixon, Crowell, Jamaal Williams

    I really can’t believe I’m in this situation considering this roster. I just haven’t had any consistency with them. Hunt has single-handedly cost me games. I actually lost last week with 45 points from Julio. Baldwin had 3 and Hunt had 3. Oh yeah and Vernon hung a goose egg. Any help you could provide with setting my lineup for this week would be appreciated. Thanks

  9. Chris says:

    Need 2rbs and a flex, standard scoring. Freeman, McCaffrey, perine, Murray, crowder. Thanks roto

    • Injuries are the issue here. Freeman could be eased back into the mix and McCaffrey is banged up. I like Crowder, but that means givng up one of them regardless.

      I think you go Perine/Murray and then it’s the risk level. If you want to play it safe roll Crowder today (may be a good idea). Otherwise you roll the dice and use Freeman (who is a good option if he gets full workload)

  10. darrick says:

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

    • McCoy is the lock. I could see the Giants leaning on Darkwa so I’d lean that way, though Mixon is tough to sit after last week. I’d say Mixon is the HR swing, Darkwa is “safer”. I’d lean the safe choice, but close

  11. Krysta says:

    14 team, 1/2 PPR

    1. Assuming Melvin Gordon as RB 1, Tevin Coleman or Duke Johnson as RB2?

    2. Assuming Jamison Crowder and Micheal Thomas as WR 1&2 who would you flex, whoever you didn’t suggest as RB 2 or T.Y. Hilton?

  12. Ted says:

    i have to pick between Duke Johnson and DeMarco Murray this week. only options i have. Who would you play?

  13. Sheldon Williamson says:

    Hi, Prof. It looks like Aaron Jones may be back this Sunday. I have Jamaal Williams, but am wondering how much of an effect will Jones’ return have on Jamaal Williams’ fantasy outlook. Any thoughts? Thanks.

  14. carmen says:

    stretched kinda thin for flex on one of my teams this week- woodhead or shepard? woodhead has had a kinda blehh looking floor since his return, but with geno smith starting for the giants I feel like it’s still safer this week- what do you think?

  15. Jackson says:

    2 Questions:

    6 pt td league, start 1 of the 3 (I’m weak at RB but very strong at WR) Brett Hundley vs TB, Matt Ryan VS ATL or Winston vs GB

    Also, I need 1 RB in a ppr league. Ameer Abdullah, Jacquizz Rodgers or Austin Ekeler

  16. OtisP says:

    Flex: one of the following: Alex Collins, Orleans Darkwa, Josh Gordon, Ju-Ju.

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