Week 6 Rankings: Top 40 Running Backs

There are still some running backs battling injuries.  Others have some intriguing matchups.  Yet others finally erupted for their owners.  Let’s take a look at how I currently have them ranked for Week 6 (these will be updated later in the week depending on the news):

  1. Chris Johnson – Tennessee Titans – at Jacksonville
  2. Frank Gore – San Francisco 49ers – vs. Oakland
  3. Ray Rice – Baltimore Ravens – at New England
  4. Ahmad Bradshaw – New York Giants – vs. Detroit
  5. Adrian Peterson – Minnesota Vikings – vs. Dallas
  6. Arian Foster – Houston Texans – vs. Kansas City
  7. Rashard Mendenhall – Pittsburgh Steelers – vs. Cleveland
  8. Michael Turner – Atlanta Falcons – at Philadelphia
  9. LaDanian Tomlinson – New York Jets – at Denver
  10. LeSean McCoy – Philadelphia Eagles – vs. Atlanta
  11. Maurice Jones-Drew – Jacksonville Jaguars – vs. Tennessee
  12. Steven Jackson – St. Louis Rams – vs. San Diego
  13. Pierre Thomas – New Orleans Saints – at Tampa Bay
  14. Joseph Addai – Indianapolis Colts – at Washington
  15. Michael Bush – Oakland Raiders – at San Francisco
  16. Ryan Torain – Washington Redskins – vs. Indianapolis
  17. Jamaal Charles – Kansas City Chiefs – at Houston
  18. Jahvid Best – Detroit Lions – at New York Giants
  19. Felix Jones – Dallas Cowboys – at Minnesota
  20. Mike Tolbert – San Diego Chargers – at St. Louis
  21. Ronnie Brown – Miami Dolphins – at Green Bay
  22. Ryan Mathews – San Diego Chargers – at St. Louis
  23. Matt Forte – Chicago Bears – vs. Seattle
  24. Knowshon Moreno – Denver Broncos – vs. New York Jets
  25. Brandon Jackson – Green Bay Packers – vs. Miami
  26. Shonn Greene – New York Jets – at Denver
  27. Ricky Williams – Miami Dolphins – at Green Bay
  28. Marshawn Lynch – Seattle Seahawks – at Chicago
  29. BenJarvus Green-Ellis – New England Patriots – vs. Baltimore
  30. Peyton Hillis – Cleveland Browns – at Pittsburgh
  31. Carnell Williams – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – vs. New Orleans
  32. Ladell Betts – New Orleans Saints – at Tampa Bay
  33. Brandon Jacobs – New York Giants – vs. Detroit
  34. John Kuhn – Green Bay Packers – vs. Miami
  35. Thomas Jones – Kansas City Chiefs – at Houston
  36. Marion Barber – Dallas Cowboys – at Minnesota
  37. LaGarrette Blount – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – vs. New Orleans
  38. Willis McGehee – Baltimore Ravens – at New England
  39. Chester Taylor – Chicago Bears – vs. Seattle
  40. Justin Forsett – Seattle Seahawks – at Chicago


  • In his first start replacing the injured Clinton Portis, Ryan Torain had just 40 yards on 16 carries (while adding four receptions for 27 yards).  He should continue to see carries and gets a good draw this week against a Colts defense allowing 142.2 rushing yards per game.  The Redskins certainly will be motivated to control the clock in an attempt to keep the ball from Peyton Manning, so consider Torain a RB2 again this week.
  • Arian Foster has been great this season, but he put up a forgettable 25 yards against the Giants in Week 5 and draws a Chiefs defense allowing just 80.5 rushing yards per game.  He should rebound, and the outlook is that he will play in Week 6 (he got banged up this past week), so consider him a RB1 this week.
  • Will the Steelers try to protect Ben Roethlisberger some in his first game back, using Rashard Mendenhall more this week?  It certainly is possible, so keep that in mind.
  • Ahmad Bradshaw enters Week 6 third in the league in rushing with 449 yards (averaging 4.9 yards per carry).  He looked good against a tough Texans defense, despite having a banged up ankle.  The Lions are seventh worst in the league against the run, as well as having allowed five rushing TDs.  Look for him to continue to feast, and given the interception troubles of Eli Manning, Bradhsaw is a Top 5 option this week.
  • If Frank Gore and the 49ers offense had been performing well, he’d be the top back on the board this week going against the Oakland Raiders (allowing 147.8 rushing yards per game).  Unfortunately, he is averaging just 3.5 yards per carry thus far, so it’s tough to put him at the top of the heap.  Still, he’s among the elite options this week.
  • LeSean McCoy was hurting?  You could’ve fooled me, after he went for 92 yards on the ground (with a touchdown), as well as picking up five receptions for 46 yards.  At this point there’s no reason to worry.
  • Pierre Thomas has missed the past two weeks, but will he return this week?  We won’t know until later in the week, most likely, so for now we’ll leave him in the mix and will adjust things later on.
  • Felix Jones got 15 carries (and went for 109 yards), as well as picking up four receptions (for 17 yards).  The Cowboys keep talking about getting Jones more involved in the offense and at this point he has to be considered more valuable then Marion Barber.
  • After missing Week 5, chances are Darren McFadden could again be out for Week 6.  He’s been left off these rankings for now.
  • If Steven Jackson is hurting or not, he clearly seems determined to play through it.  He managed 114 yards in Week 5, so there is no reason to downgrade him now.
  • Maurice Jones-Drew’s Week 5 performance could’ve been so much better, though a wrist injury sidelined him for a time, giving Deji Karim more carries then normal.  Held to just one TD on the season and still battling the wrist injury, Jones-Drew owners need to be cautious moving forward.
  • Chris Johnson finally looked like his old self, with 131 yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries (6.9 yards per carry).  In an offense that is geared towards the run and with his talent, the matchup doesn’t really matter.  He’s one of the elite backs in the game.
  • How do Ray Rice owners feel now that he has finally posted a 100+ yard game?  It’s about time, huh?
  • Peyton Hillis has the unfortunate task of facing the Steelers defense while being banged up and the Browns being forced into playing their third string QB.  It has the makings of a disappointing day, but he’s still worth considering as a low-end RB2.
  • Will Knowshon Moreno return or won’t he?  It’s certainly not an ideal situation, with the New York Jets on the schedule.  We’ll rank him for now, as it would appear like he’s going to play.
  • Sooner or later Ryan Mathews is going to return to the starting role, but for now he’s likely to continue sharing carries with Mike Tolbert.  Against the Rams, both should hold value as potential RB2.

What are your thoughts on these rankings?  Who’s too high?  Who’s too low?

Make sure to check out the rest of our Week 6 Rankings:

Week 6 Rankings: Top 60 Wide Receivers
Week 6 Rankings: Top 25 Quarterbacks


  1. CP says:

    I have a RB dilemma. I have Gore as my #1 RB, but now I have no idea who to use for my 2nd due to injuries. I had a great first 3 weeks until these injuries
    My other RB’s are:
    Mcfadden, Pierre Thomas, Brandon Jacobs and Hightower (bye week).
    Who would you use as your 2nd back?

  2. admin says:

    It’s a toss-up between McFadden and Thomas, so make sure you check the news during the week. Right now, the Raiders are saying Bush will be the RB1, so if Thomas is healthy and playing, he’d be my pick.

  3. mike D says:


    I have an opportunity to land Michael Bush in exchange for Steve Smith (NYG) who is 4th on my depth chart. I would gladly do the trade if I knew Bush was going to remain the #1 back, but MCFadden scares me. Do you know or have a feeling about Bush’s chance at remaining #1?


  4. Nick Tenaglia says:

    @mike D,
    Bush’s job security as the #1 RB in Oakland is not safe at all. For years the Oakland management has been hoping and praying that McFadden would break out as the #1 RB and that Bush would fade away. And at the start of this season it appeared that their wishes came true, but alas injuries have yet again muddied to outcome in Oakland. That being said, McFadden is the golden child in Oakland, whereas Bush is the red-headed-stepson.

    Once McFadden is back to 100%, you can bet on McFadden as your #1 RB. If Bush is playing lights-out when DMC returns, you can expect maybe a week or two of 50-50 splits in touches, but after the first falter by Bush you can fully expect McFadden to get the majority of carries.

    Once both are fully healthy, you can probably expect a 60-40 split in carries in McFadden’s favor (plus he is the receiving RB as well).

  5. admin says:

    mike – I would second Nick’s thoughts. There’sa no way Bush’s job is safe from here on out. With the way McFadden played earlier, you have to think he’ll retake the job once healthy, so I would not consider that deal in the least.

  6. injuredRBs says:

    Love that Rice is putting up solid numbers finally. Because of his weak start I picked up Hillis, who has been a stud- but his injury and playing the steelers D, is making me nervous. I also have P. Thomas, and it looks like he will miss another game…. After picking up Hillis I figured my RB situation to be my core, now they are giving me some serious stress issues for week 6.
    Should I stick with Hillis as my #2, or pick someone up?
    not much available… cadillac, BArber or woodhead

  7. Nick Tenaglia says:


    Woodhead all the way!!!! The Pats are going to try to confuse the Baltimore defense, and what better way by using Danny Woodhead. To be honest, though, I do think that he is a better bet than Hillis this week. The Steelers are at home – and their defense is notoriously stingy when at home. I think Hillis will probably run for something like 60 yards and 0 TDs. Woodhead at least has the chance to break off a big run or a pitch-and-catch for a TD

  8. admin says:

    injured RBs, it’s a tough call and it’s not an enviably situation. I would pickup Woodhead or Cadillac, so you have a security net, but monitor the news on Hillis over the next few days.

    At this point, with the matchup and the Browns weakness at QB, it would appear like it is a serious mismatch and could be a terrible week for Hillis. If nothing changes, I would strongly consider Woodhead or Cadillac, who has the potential to be a useful option this week as well.

    The advantage Cadillac has is that he at least has the chance to get the bulk of the carries this week, much like Hillis. In Woodhead, he had just 8 carries and 1 reception last week and would it surprise anyone for the Patriots to try to “stick it” to Moss and prove that they can throw the ball without him? He’s a real wildcard, so I would only use him if you have a big-time gamblers mentality. He could be huge or he could generate 3-4 pts.

  9. CP says:

    what about cadillac vs Brandon Jacobs as 2nd or flex?

  10. admin says:

    Is there a third option? lol I’d go Cadillac, but neither are very enticing options right now.

  11. CP says:

    I wish. lol
    as posted above My other RB’s are:
    Mcfadden (injured and wont get much touches if he does play), Pierre Thomas (Injured and unlikely to play this week), and Hightower (bye week).

  12. admin says:

    Sorry CP, just a lot of questions to keep track of. If Thomas is playing he’s the guy. If he’s not, Cadillac is the unfortunate next in line.

  13. Cain says:

    Felix Jones, is this guy for real and can he stay healthy and consistent enough to be relevant in a pass happy offense (Dallas)?

    It’s tempting to pick him up, but then I’d have to drop J.Stewart… which in any other situation I would likely do, but I also have D-Will and kind of like the idea of handcuffing the two together. Plus you never if D-Will might get traded/injured, which would result in transforming one or both into the Hulk.

    Any thoughts as to keep Stewart or take a flier on Jones?

    10 team, 2 RB start (+ flex opt), non-ppr standard league. Other RBs (besides the NC duo) are Gore, McCoy, Greene.

  14. Dan says:

    I was wondering if Thomas Jones would be a better option for this week vs. Houston than Benjarvis Green Ellis against baltimore. I saw Thomas didn’t get many carries last week.

  15. admin says:

    Cain – I do like Jones and think he is worth owning at this point, but as you point out, handcuffing Williams is just as important for you. Of any of your RB, Greene is probably the most expendable, but he’s in the same situation as Jones (though Jones appears more ready assume a large role in the offense). I’d probably stand pat if I were you.

    Dan – I’d probably go BGE. Jones is going to share carries with Jamaal Charles and if Charles gets hot, could potentially not see much action. While the Ravens defense is tough, the Patriots are going to try and spread things out and move the ball around, getting everyone involved. BGE should be right in the middle of that.

  16. TJ says:

    @ CP,

    I would start Brandon Jacobs over Cadillac Williams. Jacobs has seen more carries as he has finally realized he is a north/south runner not a guy who has the speed to get around the corner like Bradshaw. Giving the fact that Bradshaw is a little banged up, and the likely hood of the Giants getting out to a big first half lead against Detroit this week, Jacobs will see an increased workload in the 2nd half as the Giants rest Bradshaw to get him ready for a BIG divisional game in week 7 against Dallas. Go with Brandon Jacobs, I see 70-90 yards and 1 touchdown maybe even 2.

  17. TJ says:

    Also, Cadillac has been more like a Ford Fiesta this season. I don’t know how he could be ranked in the top 40 let alone top 60 RB’s in 2010. Here are some reasons why Fiesta Williams is going to be an after thought. Earnest Graham is going to see 80-90% of the goal line touches in Tampa. LaGarrette Blount & Kareem Huggins are chomping at the bit to show what they can do, especially considering Cadillac’ ineffectiveness. I am willing to bet if Blount and Huggins can’t step it up then Graham is going to surpass all of them ala Peyton Hillis in Cleveland. Keep in mind this week that Tampa is playing a New Orleans team coming off a loss to Arizona in week 5, the Saints D has something to prove this week, Brees is going to light up Tampa big time this week. That in itself says Tampa will be playing from behind and Throwing the ball playing catchup all day making QB Josh Freeman, and WR Mike Williams the only two viable fantasy players this week. Just my opinion.

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