Week 11 Rankings (2018): Top 40 Running Backs

by Ray Kuhn

At the worst possible time, there are just three weeks remaining until the fantasy playoffs begin, we have our second and final week with six teams on bye. Filling out starting lineups may not be an easy proposition, but that can’t stop us. With that being said, let’s jump right into the rankings:

  1. Todd Gurley – LA Rams – vs. Kansas City
  2. Saquon Barkley – NY Giants – vs. Tampa Bay
  3. Ezekiel Elliot – Dallas Cowboys – at Atlanta
  4. Alvin Kamara – New Orleans Saints – vs. Philadelphia
  5. Melvin Gordon – LA Chargers – vs. Denver
  6. Christian McCaffrey – Carolina Panthers – at Detroit
  7. Kareem Hunt – Kansas City Chiefs – at LA Rams
  8. James Conner – Pittsburgh Steelers – at Jacksonville
  9. David Johnson – Arizona Cardinals – vs. Oakland
  10. Aaron Jones – Green Bay Packers – at Seattle
  11. Joe Mixon – Cincinnati Bengals – at Baltimore
  12. Tevin Coleman – Atlanta Falcons – vs. Dallas
  13. Leonard Fournette – Jacksonville Jaguars – vs. Pittsburgh
  14. Kerryon Johnson – Detroit Lions – vs. Carolina
  15. Dalvin Cook – Minnesota Vikings – at Chicago
  16. Marlon Mack – Indianapolis Colts – vs. Tennessee
  17. Mark Ingram – New Orleans Saints – vs. Philadelphia
  18. Lamar Miller – Houston Texans – at Washington
  19. Dion Lewis – Tennessee Titans – at Indianapolis
  20. Adrian Peterson – Washington Redskins – vs. Houston
  21. Phillip Lindsay – Denver Broncos – at LA Chargers
  22. Jordan Howard – Chicago Bears – vs. Minnesota
  23. Tarik Cohen – Chicago Bears – vs. Minnesota
  24. Alex Collins – Baltimore Ravens – vs. Cincinnati
  25. Peyton Barber – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – at NY Giants
  26. Rashaad Penny – Seattle Seahawks – vs. Green Bay
  27. Ito Smith – Atlanta Falcons – vs. Dallas
  28. Chris Thompson – Washington Redskins – vs. Houston
  29. Doug Martin – Oakland Raiders – at Arizona
  30. Derrick Henry – Tennessee Titans – at Indianapolis
  31. Jalen Richard – Oakland Raiders – at Arizona
  32. Josh Adams – Philadelphia Eagles – at New Orleans
  33. Nyheim Hines – Indianapolis Colts – vs. Tennessee
  34. Austin Ekeler – LA Chargers – vs. Denver
  35. Chris Carson – Seattle Seahawks – vs. Green Bay
  36. Wendell Smallwood – Philadelphia Eagles – at New Orleans
  37. Theo Riddick – Detroit Lions – vs. Carolina
  38. Javorius Allen – Baltimore Ravens – vs. Cincinnati
  39. Royce Freeman – Detroit Lions – at LA Chargers
  40. Giovani Bernard – Cincinnati Bengals – at Baltimore

Notes:

  • Finally. Just as we wrote off Rashaad Penny last week, there the rookie is showing why the Seahawks took him in the first round of the draft. With Chris Carson banged up and Mike Davis really just a “replacement value” option who has been having minimal success, Penny should have been able to grab hold of the job. Last week Davis out-touched Penny (15 to 12), but the rookie was clearly the better running back. It was an afternoon of firsts for Penny as he scored his first career touchdown while also eclipsing 100 yards (108) for the first time. In fairness to the Seahawks, who have yet to really give Penny a chance to show what he can do, he did look like a different running back. Perhaps everything finally clicked, but it appears that all systems are a go for him moving forward and I would target the first year runner as the back to own in Seattle’s backfield.
  • Coming out of his bye week Marlon Mack had a very strong three week body of work and it appeared that he would be building on it moving forward. That wasn’t the case last week as he gained just 29 yards on 12 carries against the Jaguars. Indianapolis still was victorious, but it was the passing game that carried the load. Mack is fully healthy and off the injury report and I would chalk his struggles up to the strong Jacksonville run defense. In five games, three of which were successes, Mack is averaging 5.3 yards per carry. There is no reason not to move forward with Mack this week, and the rest of the season, despite last week’s dud.
  • While you still have to hang onto Latavius Murray as a handcuff, or really just as a depth option with all of the bye weeks, things are transitioning for there to be a greater emphasis on Dalvin Cook. It does work in Murray’s favor that he is still going to have a role, he gained 47 yards on 11 touches and scored a touchdown last week, as the Vikings are going to want to preserve Cook for the remainder of the season. Cook appears to be back to full health, as he gained 89 yards on 10 carries in Week 9, and he is poised to build on that after Minnesota’s bye week. Thanks to health problems Cook has just 46 carries this season and he also has yet to find the end zone. We should also note that the majority of his output came on a 70 yard run in which he certainly looked healthy and explosive. Cook added four receptions for 20 yards, and while the match-up this week is tough (Chicago) he should finally give fantasy owners what they drafted him for on 15-20 touches.
  • The Giants really tried to establish a running game, but their offensive line just didn’t allow for it. Saquon Barkley carried the ball 20 times on Monday, but despite hitting the century mark in yards for the eighth time in nine weeks he gained just 67 yards on the ground. Barkley was targeted five times, and he caught four passes for 33 yards. While New York is clearly struggling on offense he is averaging 4.5 yards per carry for 586 yards while catching 62 passes for 530 yards.
  • After being sidelined since Week 4 the Jaguars wasted no time getting Leonard Fournette involved. In fact it was as if Fournette never left as he gained 53 yards on 24 carries while also scoring his first touchdown of the season. Jacksonville targeted him in the passing game and he delivered catching all five of his targets for 56 yards and another touchdown. Fournette showed some explosiveness in the passing game as one of his receptions went for 31 yards. It was clear that he is going to be the centerpiece of Jacksonville’s offense, and he delivered last week even if he was inefficient. The Steelers are going to be a tougher opponent than the Colts, but you still have to roll with him in all seasonal leagues as T.J Yeldon and Carlos Hyde are essentially rendered useless.
  • Green Bay needs to keep it up. It sounds simple but it is the truth, and Aaron Rodgers also alluded to it after last week’s game. The Packers need to continue building on Aaron Jones’ role as the main running back in their offense. Jones took advantage of the Miami defense last week, as he gained 145 yards on 15 carries while scoring two touchdowns. That brought his average for the season up to 6.8 yards per carry, but the problem is that he only has 73 carries this season. He has now found the end zone four times and the only place for his role to go is up.

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Make sure to check out all of our Week 11 rankings:

Quarterbacks
Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Kickers
Defenses
Week 11 Rankings (2018): Top 50 Wide Receivers
Week 11 Rankings (2018): Top 20 Tight Ends

37 comments

  1. Brian Cagle says:

    RB ROS? Standard
    TJ Yeldon JAC or P Barber TB?

  2. Ted says:

    Not great choices for me this week in the RB spots. My two best RBs are on a bet week so I have these three RBs to choose from M Davis, R Penny and Ito Smith. I need to pick two of the three.

  3. Tony says:

    Hi Professor,

    I’m starting A Jones, but torn between Mixon and Collins, but then I see you have Collins ranked quite a bit lower.

    I’d welcome your reasons for Collins being ranked at 24th if you have time? Ravens at home and Bengals’ run defense is really bad, then conversely, Mixon faces the Ravens’ defense, and worried about volume as well as the Bengals have fallen behind and he’s had fewer carries. I was hoping for more throws in his direction with Green out, but not much there.

    Sorry to also ask as I should wait for your WR rankings, but I see that AJ Bouye is returning, so will his presence have a big impact on JuJu’s plays? Starting Golladay, but not thrilled about Evans and Courtland and JG on a bye. I might be able to grab J Brown (Ravens) off waivers.

    Thank you very much!

    Best,
    tony

    • These aren’t my rankings, but I’d go Mixon he just has a higher upside. That said I do like Collins as a RB2 (and he’ll be on my start list), so it’s not the craziest thing.

      As for the WR, I’d stick with what you have

      • Tony says:

        Thank you very much taking the time to answer my question!

        According to a report, AJ Green might play so that could help Mixon as well if Dalton can get the ball to Green!

        Thanks too for the WR feedback. JuJu seems to get a lot of red zone targets, but then Evans has had quite a few targets in general, but bad results!

        Best,
        tony

  4. Krysta says:

    At this point, what do I do w/Carlos Hyde? He’s been a permanent fixture on my bench since his trade. I currently have Nick Chubb, Adrian Peterson, Javiorious Allen and Smith.

  5. Tim says:

    Hi Prof,

    Need flex help. Standard scoring. Sutton @LAC or M.Davis vs GB.

    Thank you.

  6. Sheldon says:

    Hi, Prof. I get 0.5 PPR in my league. Who do you think is a better RB to pick up off of waivers: PIT RB Jaylen Samuels or DET RB Theo Riddick? Thanks.

  7. Jim says:

    Std league. Do I start Lamar Miller or Emmanuel Sanders for my flex?

  8. Touchette says:

    Two questions: (Full PPR)

    1) Who do I start in the flex – Alex Collins, Josh Reynolds, Marques Valdes-Scantling, or Dede Westbrook. (Scantling or Westbrook would come from waivers in place of Reynolds who I picked up more as trade bait than anything else)

    2) Have Bears defense, Steelers or Chargers have better matchups, should I stream one of them for the week instead? (I have the roster room to hold the Bears)

    • Touchette says:

      Third Question – Should I drop Baldwin for any of those guys on waivers or the 2nd (temporary) DST?

    • Touchette says:

      Also available is Christian Kirk, but with Fitz healthy and DJ getting used properly he may not be worth it even against the hapless Raiders.

    • 1) I’d lean Collins for the FLEX and I’d hold onto Baldwin (though having someone like MVS available he’s not necessarily a must hold)

      2) It’s really a coin flip between the three. I’d lean sticking with Chicago, but I can argue the Chargers (I just wouldn’t drop Chicago)

  9. Billy Toufexis says:

    Unfortunately I have a lot of my players on bye this week so I’m a bit stuck at RB. I’m in a 1/2 point PPR league and I have Jalen Richard as one of my RB’s, should I go with him or should I grab Doug Henry, Josh Adams or Peyton Barber off waivers?? I’m leaning towards Richard because he’s up against Arizona’s defense which is horrible against RB’s this year. What are your thoughts??

  10. Sheldon says:

    Hi, Prof. I get 0.5 PPR in my league. Have a choice at RB to make between: Austin Ekeler, Jordan Howard, and Josh Adams. Thanks.

  11. Trevor says:

    I already penciled in Zeke, david Johnson and Aaron Jones, now I need one more of Carson, Miller, K. Johnson or Mack. 1 ppr. Thanks as always for your help.

  12. Gail Uhl Jolly says:

    Would you go with Ito Smith this week or Austin Eckeler? I also have Wendall Smallwood.

    Thanks Prof!

  13. Chucky says:

    In a world of spit. Need one from Smallwood, Booker, Jacquizz, Artis-Payne or Blue?

  14. Mike says:

    Flex question, standard 1pt ppr league:

    Start Dalvin Cook, Mark Ingram, K Johnson, or Dion Lewis at the flex?

    Barkley and Connor are my starters. In the event that Connor doesn’t play, pick 2.

    Thanks for everything that you all do on this site!

  15. Trevor says:

    Need one out of Kerryon, mack, and Lamar Miller. 1 ppr. Thanks!

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