Week 2 Rankings: Top 40 Running Backs

Potential injuries currently have these rankings in flux, but let’s take a look at how things currently stand for Week 2 (we will update them later in the week):

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


  • Those who had not yet begun to believe in Arian Foster are now looking for room on the bandwagon.  Clearly, it’s impossible to expect him to repeat his torching of the Colts (231 rushing yards, 3 TD).  Still, he is quickly emerging as one of the better options in the league.
  • Speaking of torching the Colts, the Giants running game looked decent in Week 1 (Bradshaw – 76 yards, 1 TD; Jacobs – 44 yards) and now get to go head-to-head with the Colts.  I wouldn’t expect them to come close to Foster’s numbers, but seeing Bradshaw approach 100 yards would not be shocking.
  • The Buccaneers allowed over 100 yards in limited carries to the Cleveland Browns in Week 1.  Don’t be concerned for the down game the Panthers showed, except for the fact that Matt Moore looked terrible in the process.  If defenses can key on the run, it’s going to be tough for DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart, but don’t downgrade them quite yet.
  • Before you get too excited over the big numbers for Matt Forte in Week 1, the majority of it came in the passing game.  He actually only rushed for 50 yards and had 151 receiving yards and 2 TD.  Can we really expect him to duplicate that type of success?  It’s hard to imagine, and until he shows more in the running game (he averaged less then three yards per carry), he’s a borderline RB2.
  • Will the Colts ever turn more towards the run?  Addai only got 10 carries in Week 1, and until they prove that they will feed him the ball, he’s a tough play in all formats.
  • It was a tough first week for Michael Turner, rushing for just 42 yards, but it is just one game.  Don’t get too worked up quite yet.
  • Jamaal Charles is a tough player to rank definitively, as we still haven’t seen how the Chiefs will split things up with Thomas Jones.  Still, with Charles’ talent, it’s tough to see him not putting up big numbers against the Browns.
  • So much for Correll Buckhalter sharing carries with Knowshon Moreno, huh?  Moreno had 15 carries for 60 yards and a touchdown in Week 1, while Buckhalter had just 6 carries for 15 yards.  That came despite injury concerns for Moreno, as well.  Moreno should be a solid RB2 in all formats.
  • Wasn’t C.J. Spiller supposed to be the main back in Buffalo?  He had seven carries, with Fred Jackson getting four and Marshawn Lynch getting three.  At this point, you probably want to avoid this situation all together until it plays itself out.
  • Darren McFadden looked good (18 carries for 95 yards, as well as 6 receptions for 55 yards and 1 TD), faces the St. Louis Rams and injury concerns for Michael Bush continue.  At this point, you can consider him a borderline RB2 for Week 2.  If Bush does play, he’ll also come in on these rankings, but time will tell.
  • Beanie Wells’ injury keeps him as a low-end option, at best.  Of course, if the news changes later in the week, things will change dramatically.  Keep a close eye on this and we’ll have an update if necessary.
  • Ryan Grant’s injury could have a major impact on things, as his sprained ankle could easily limit his role in Week 2.  In fact, there’s a very good chance that he doesn’t play.  For now, he’s not a recommended option in any format, though that could change as the week progresses.  We’ll update these rankings later in the week, but plan to have him on your bench at this point.
  • Felix Jones (39 yards) and Marion Barber (38 yards) each had just eight carries in Week 1.  I still believe Jones is the better option (he added 26 yards receiver vs. 1 yard for Barber), but neither is more then a RB3 unless they are going to get more opportunities.

Make sure to check out the rest of our Week 2 Rankings:

Week 2 Rankings: Top 60 Wide Receivers
Week 2 Rankings: Top 25 Quarterbacks


  1. Nick Tenaglia says:

    Two gripes about these rankins….

    1. Chris Johnson is not the #1 RB for week 2. At best he will be #3. I realize that he is a beast, but he is facing Pittsburgh. They will be expecting the run and they are going to shut it down, because they know that VY is not going to pass that much. Granted, “shutting down” Chris Johnson will still probably net him 100+ yds just on the shear number of carries that he will get.

    2. Michael Turner is 9th? Do you really think that Turner will only be limited to 22 carries (like Steven Jackson was against Arizona in week 1)? Do you really think that Matt Ryan will throw the ball 55 times (like Sam Bradford in week 1)? He is going to get the ball early and he is going to get the ball often. He will easily go over 125 yds, and probably tack on a couple of scores. Arizona allowed 4.5 yds per carry last season, tied with 4 other teams for 5th worst in the NFL. The only reason why it appears that they have a good run defense is because they were 17th in total Rushing yds – and that only happened because teams had to pass against them in order to keep up with the offense.

  2. admin says:

    Nick, I see your poing regarding Johnson and maybe he should slide down a few spots. Still, the guy is a huge force and, in an offense driven by him, would it be a surprise to see him score 2 TD, either on the ground or in the passing game?

    It’s splitting hairs, but I could certainly see flipping him with AP this week.

    As for Turner, again I can see your point and when the rankings get updated he may get bumped up a spot or two. Still, the struggles in Week 1 are currently hanging over him.

  3. Winson says:

    I have to agree with Nick. These rankings weigh more on the previous week than they should. What would’ve Chris Johnson’s line been without the 75-yard TD? He looked ok vs a bottom 5 rushing defense. Last year, the Raiders gave up 100+ yards and at least 1 rushing TD to each opponent they faced.

    As for Turner, he faced the Steelers who are the complete opposite of the Raiders. Allowed less than 80-100 yards rushing to each opponent last year, and only 2 rushing TDs all year.

    You start your stud 1st round backs vs the Steelers D hoping for a good game, but expecting a dud.

  4. Erik Sprague says:

    Fred Taylor over Brandon Jackson? That’s embarassing. Going up against Buffalo, Jackson should be at least a top-15 play.

  5. admin says:

    Erik, these rankings were done prior to the news that Ryan Grant would definitely be out. Obviously, that news changes things for Jackson.

    I’m not sure I’d put him in the Top 15, but he will certainly be moving up when things are updated later in the week.

  6. Nick Tenaglia says:

    Also, if Vick start week 2 as the QB, I think LeSean McCoy’s value will drop. Not because the Eagles will game plan more for the pass – although it’s possible – but rather because Detroit will be looking for the run more often, both as a designed run-play and with a QB Spy on Vick. If anything, I see most of McCoy’s potential coming from the screens and swing routes.

  7. Jason Smith says:

    Hey. I have a running back dilemma and I know its a enviable position to be in but I still do not know who to start for the upcoming week. I have been building a stable of running backs since the draft and i currently sit on:

    Maurice Jones-Drew
    Arian Foster
    Ryan Mathews
    Brandon Jackson
    Ahmad Bradshaw
    Carnell Williams

    I can only start 2 and I dont know if i should play the proven studs and new gem (MJD and foster), who i drafted in the first 2 rounds (MJD and mathews), or the juicy matchups of the week (jackson vs BUF and Bradshaw vs IND). im not really considering mathews and williams with respect to the other 4. Also which of these running backs do you think i should trade after week 2 and what kind of reciever would i be able to get for them.


  8. admin says:

    Jason, I’m certainly jealous of that type of situation, especially as an owner who just lost Ryan Grant.

    This week, I’d start MJD and Foster, no reason to toy around with Jackson and Bradshaw, where both teams could ultimately end up in a pass heavy attack this week.

    As for who to trade, I’m not sure what you would get for Jackson/Bradshaw/Williams at this point. Obviously, keep the top three would be in your best interest, but it would depend on your need to add an elite WR. Jackson probably has a lot of buzz around him right now, so I’d try shopping him first and see what you could land.

  9. Nick Tenaglia says:

    Yeah try to shop Jackson while his buzz is high – and before he starts to not produce in that Packers offense. To be honest, I don’t know much about Jackson, but I think any RB on the Packers is over-valued. We all know its a pass-first team and the majority of the points are put up through the air.

    If Jackson can function as a 3DRB, then he will have a sustainable value in standard format leagues. But if he isn’t catching passes, he isn’t scoring fantasy points.


    Depending on how the BYE weeks shape up, I would say that you should package Jackson and Bradshaw for a guy like Miles Austin, Reggie Wayne or Randy Moss. (in that order of preferance). All three of those guys are able to get open on their pure physical abilities – meaning that they don’t need to rely on a gameplan – and their respective teams have enough weapons so that a Defense cannot double-team the main target all day (see: Calcin Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, Brandon Marshall) Also, they have proven enough to show that they can be consistent point-scorers every week of the season (Randy is a little “hit or miss” sometimes).

    Or you can shoot for a package of big-upside guys like Dez Bryant, Jeremy Maclin, Greg Jennings, Hakeem Nicks, and/or Malcolm Floyd. All of these guys will be focal points of their teams passing attacks all season, but will not be the #1 focus for the opposing Defenses (DAL – Miles Austin; PHI – DeSean Jackson; GB – Jermichael Finley; NYG – Steve Smith; SD – Antonio Gates).

  10. Mike says:

    How can you leave Arian Foster so high, but also have Andre Johnson and Matt Schaub ranked where they are?

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