Week 1 Rankings: Top 40 Running Backs (Updated)

While there haven’t been many injuries that affected our weekly rankings, the running back position may have been hit the hardest.  Let’s take a look at how things currently look (those in italics have already played and therefore remain unchanged and have only been shifted based on the status of others):

  1. Chris Johnson – Tennessee Titans – vs. Oakland
  2. Adrian Peterson – Minnesota Vikings – at New Orleans
  3. Frank Gore – San Francisco 49ers – at Seattle
  4. Maurice Jones-Drew – Jacksonville Jaguars – vs. Denver
  5. Ray Rice – Baltimore Ravens – at New York Jets
  6. Steven Jackson – St. Louis Rams – vs. Arizona
  7. Rashard Mendenhall – Pittsburgh Steelers – vs. Atlanta
  8. Ryan Mathews – San Diego Chargers – at Kansas City
  9. Ryan Grant – Green Bay Packers – at Philadelphia
  10. Michael Turner – Atlanta Falcons – at Pittsburgh
  11. DeAngelo Williams – Carolina Panthers – at New York Giants
  12. Cedric Benson – Cincinnati Bengals – at New England
  13. Pierre Thomas – New Orleans Saints – vs. Minnesota
  14. LeSean McCoy – Philadelphia Eagles – vs. Green Bay
  15. Shonn Greene – New York Jets – vs. Baltimore
  16. Jamaal Charles – Kansas City Chiefs – vs. San Diego
  17. Jonathan Stewart – Carolina Panthers – at New York Giants
  18. Joseph Addai – Indianapolis Colts – at Houston
  19. Arian Foster – Houston Texans – vs. Indianapolis
  20. Ahmad Bradshaw – New York Giants – vs. Carolina
  21. Ronnie Brown – Miami Dolphins – at Buffalo
  22. Carnell Williams – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – vs. Cleveland
  23. Matt Forte – Chicago Bears – vs. Detroit
  24. Felix Jones – Dallas Cowboys – at Washington
  25. C.J. Spiller – Buffalo Bills – vs. Miami
  26. Tim Hightower – Arizona Cardinals – at St. Louis
  27. Jahvid Best – Detroit Lions – at Chicago
  28. Knowshon Moreno – Denver Broncos – at Jacksonville
  29. Brandon Jacobs – New York Giants – vs. Carolina
  30. Jerome Harrison – Cleveland Browns – at Tampa Bay
  31. Clinton Portis – Washington Redskins – vs. Dallas
  32. Fred Taylor – New England Patriots – vs. Cincinnati
  33. Darren McFadden – Oakland Raiders – at Tennessee
  34. Thomas Jones – Kansas City Chiefs – vs. San Diego
  35. Correll Buckhalter – Denver Broncos – at Jacksonville
  36. Reggie Bush – New Orleans Saints – vs. Minnesota
  37. LaDanian Tomlinson – New York Jets – vs. Baltimore
  38. Chester Taylor – Chicago Bears – vs. Detroit
  39. Justin Forsett – Seattle Seahawks – vs. San Francisco
  40. Beanie Wells – Arizona Cardinals – at St. Louis

Thoughts:

  • The injury to Beanie Wells has the biggest impact on the rankings this week.  Not expected to get many touches, Wells falls considerably while Tim Hightower reaps the benefits.  Hightower, who has had 18 TD over the past two years, had his biggest game of 2009 against the Rams.  In that game he went for 110 yards on just 14 carries and should be considered a viable option this week.  Wells should probably be avoided in all formats as he is too big of a risk.
  • The chance of Michael Bush playing downgrades Darren McFadden a few spots.  Then again, neither should have been starting outside of the deepest of formats, so it doesn’t make a big impact.
  • Knowshon Moreno is reportedly still nursing his hamstring injury, and could share carries with Correll Buckhalter this week.  He’s still worth using, but at this point you have to consider Moreno a low-end RB2, at best (and better suited as a flex option).  As for Buckhalter, he’s certainly worth considering in the deepest of formats.  If Moreno is unable to show anything early, Buckhalter could shoulder the load in the second half.
  • Is Maurice Jones-Drew injured, or isn’t he?  At this point Jones-Drew is saying that he’s healthy, so we’ll hold his spot in the rankings for now (as long as he’s playing, he’s a must start option regardless).  It will certainly be interesting to see how things work out in Week 1, however.
  • Being named the Patriots starter, Fred Taylor has emerged as a potential RB3 and FLEX option.
  • Jenny Vrentas of The Newark Star-Ledger (click here for the article) is reporting that “Coach Rex Ryan said Shonn Greene will start at running back, though both he and LaDainian Tomlinson will have a significant role. Offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer has said they’ll use both backs early in games this season and will have a good sense by halftime who has the hot hand.”  That gives Tomlinson’s potential a bit of a boost for Sunday.
  • The Chiefs appear to be utilizing a similar stance as the Jets.  According to Adam Teicher of The Kansas City Star (click here for the article), coach Haley said, “There’s a great deal of feel involved in some of these situations”.  You would think Charles would ultimately emerge, but this week you just don’t know.  Charles remains the better bet for fantasy owners, however, but he gets downgraded slightly.

Make sure to check out the rest of our Week 1 Rankings:

Week 2 Rankings: Top 25 Quarterbacks
Fantasy Football: Top Ten Flex Position Options – Week 1

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