Week 13 Rankings: Top 40 Running Backs

Potential injuries leave this rankings a bit in flux, but there certainly are a lot of unexpected names near the top of the rankings.  Would anyone preseason have predicted Mike Tolbert and Peyton Hillis, among others, to be viable options?

Let’s take a look at how things currently stand, but remember that these rankings will be updated later in the week if necessary:

  1. Adrian Peterson – Minnesota Vikings – vs. Buffalo
  2. Arian Foster – Houston Texans – at Philadelphia
  3. Michael Turner – Atlanta Falcons – at Tampa Bay
  4. Chris Johnson – Tennessee Titans – vs. Jacksonville
  5. Maurice Jones-Drew – Jacksonville Jaguars – at Tennessee
  6. Jamaal Charles – Kansas City Chiefs – vs. Denver
  7. LeSean McCoy – Philadelphia Eagles – vs. Houston
  8. Peyton Hillis – Cleveland Browns – at Miami
  9. Mike Tolbert – San Diego Chargers – vs. Oakland
  10. Steven Jackson – St. Louis Rams – at Arizona
  11. Matt Forte – Chicago Bears – at Detroit
  12. Ray Rice – Baltimore Ravens – vs. Pittsburgh
  13. Rashard Mendenhall – Pittsburgh Steelers – at Baltimore
  14. Knowshon Moreno – Denver Broncos – at Kansas City
  15. Fred Jackson – Buffalo Bills – at Minnesota
  16. Cedric Benson – Cincinnati Bengals – vs. New Orleans
  17. Brandon Jacobs – New York Giants – vs. Washington
  18. Darren McFadden – Oakland Raiders – at San Diego
  19. BenJarvus Green-Ellis – New England Patriots – vs. New York Jets
  20. LaDainian Tomlinson – New York Jets – at New England
  21. Brian Westbrook – San Francisco 49ers – at Green Bay
  22. Ahmad Bradshaw – New York Giants – vs. Washington
  23. Thomas Jones – Kansas City Chiefs – vs. Denver
  24. Felix Jones – Dallas Cowboys – at Indianapolis
  25. Jonathan Stewart – Carolina Panthers – at Seattle
  26. Mike Goodson – Carolina Panthers – at Seattle
  27. Ronnie Brown – Miami Dolphins – vs. Cleveland
  28. Ricky Williams – Miami Dolphins – vs. Cleveland
  29. Jahvid Best – Detroit Lions – vs. Chicago
  30. Shonn Greene – New York Jets – at New England
  31. Beanie Wells – Arizona Cardinals – vs. St. Louis
  32. Christopher Ivory – New Orleans Saints – at Cincinnati
  33. Danny Woodhead – New England Patriots – vs. New York Jets
  34. Brandon Jackson – Green Bay Packers – vs. San Francisco
  35. Marshawn Lynch – Seattle Seahawks – vs. Carolina
  36. Joseph Addai – Indianapolis Colts – vs. Dallas
  37. LeGarrette Blount – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – vs. Atlanta
  38. Tim Hightower – Arizona Cardinals – vs. St. Louis
  39. Keiland Williams – Washington Redskins – at New York Giants
  40. Toby Gerhart – Minnesota Vikings – vs. Buffalo


  • If Adrian Peterson is healthy, he is the best option this week with a matchup with the worst rushing defense in the league (Buffalo is allowing 167.4 rushing yards per game).  The early word is that he is going to be able to play, so I’ll leave him atop these rankings for now.  Of course, if he can’t play or is limited, Toby Gerhart suddenly becomes a solid RB2 option.  Keep a close eye on the news as the week proceeds.
  • At this point, does it matter if Ryan Mathews is healthy or not?  Mike Tolbert has been a beast the past two weeks with regular carries, picking up 214 yards and two touchdowns on 51 carries (as well as four receptions for 57 yards).  Against a porous Oakland defense (Ricky Williams & Ronnie Brown combined for 180 yards and a touchdown in Week 12), Tolbert becomes a solid RB1 option.
  • Speaking of Williams, he’s averaging 4.4 yards per carry and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him finally start to pick up some extra carries.  Until the situation fully plays itself out, I’d consider him a FLEX option, but he has the potential to develop into a RB2 option.
  • What the heck happened to Chris Johnson in Week 12?  He managed just seven total yards, and you have to think having an inept quarterback at the helm did significant damage.  With Kerry Collins likely primed to return, let’s not push the panic button quite yet.  Of course, if Rusty Smith is again under center, owners are going to have to consider the unthinkable…  Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.  For now, Johnson remains a RB1 and a top option in all formats.
  • Jamaal Charles is one of just three backs with over 1,000 yards rushing on the season.  He’s averaging over six yards per carry and is coming off his second 20+ carry game of the season (and both times he rushed for over 170 yards).  It’s unpredictable how many carries he’ll get, but against the Broncos you have to consider him a RB1.
  • Ray Rice’s ability to contribute in the passing game keeps him as a borderline RB1, but it’s hard to imagine a big rushing game from him against the toughest defense in the league.  Keep that in mind.
  • It has now been back-to-back poor games for Darren McFadden, with just 16 yards on 18 carries.  Yes, he added 63 yards on seven receptions in Week 12, but we can’t be happy with the total results.  Consider him a mid-to-low RB2 at this point, especially against a tough Chargers defense.
  • Fred Jackson proved how valuable he is, putting together his third consecutive game of at least 129 total yards.  Even against the Pittsburgh defense he rushed for 59 yards while adding five receptions for 104 yards and a touchdown.  He has another tough draw against Minnesota, but he should be considered a RB2.
  • While Jonathan Stewart looked good in his return (98 yards on 12 carries), Mike Goodson still had 55 yards and a touchdown on the ground as well as eight receptions for 81 yards.  It’s that ability in the passing game that is going to keep him viable.  Against Kansas City, you have to consider him a good FLEX play and a potential RB2.  If the two continue to share carries, however, both of their values will have to be downgraded, making them tougher plays.
  • There certainly has been highs and lows to BenJarvus Green-Ellis’ season, hasn’t there?  The matchup with the Jets will be tough, so consider him a low-end RB2.
  • Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs should both continue to see action.  For now, if Jacobs continues to get the bulk of the carries, he will be the more valuable back, though both can be considered a low-end RB2.
  • If Jahvid Best is healthy and playing, he’s a RB2.  Check the news as the week progresses.
  • Felix Jones would be a much better option this week if we had any idea how the Cowboys planned on splitting the carries.  The unknown makes him a pretty big risk.
  • If Joseph Addai returns he’s worth considering as a FLEX option.  We’ll have to monitor the news and see what comes of this.
  • Frank Gore’s season has come to an abrupt end after fracturing his hip in Week 12.  Brian Westbrook showed that he still had plenty and should be considered a RB2 at this point.

What are your thoughts on these rankings?  Whose too high?  Whose too low?

Make sure to check out Rotoprofessor’s Week 13 Rankings:


  1. Ken says:

    #21? Brian Westbrook – San Francisco 49ers – at Arizona high ranking but if he gets to play against the Cards again this week it`s justified…meanwhile the rest of the team goes against the Packers.

  2. Joel says:

    Kenny Britt is open in my league and I have ryan mathews and randy moss on my bench. Should I drop either for Britt?

  3. Thanks for pointing that out Ken. Correction made!

    Joel, it really depends on the news at this point. I probably wouldn’t drop Mathews, unless you are stacked at RB. What other WR do you have?

  4. N says:

    I’m torn…I must have a win and my backs are A.P., L.T., Ricky Williams, Blount, and Westbrook. 3 backs must be played. Any suggestions?

  5. Matt Stoltzfus says:

    N – I’d go AP, LT, and Westbrook and based on his rankings, so would the Rotoprofessor…

  6. N – AP is the easy call. After that, it’s LT and Westbrook. Those are definitely the three I’d go.

  7. Joel says:

    I have vincent jackson, hines ward, and steve smith (NYG) on my bench

  8. Joe says:

    I need help with my wr’s this week. Can someone help me. I have Maclin vsing the Texans, Miles Austin vsing the Colts, Mike Williams vsing the Falcons, and Fitzgerald vsing the the Rams. Which 3 should I start. Regular point values and rules

  9. Joel, Britt is definitely worth grabbing. I wouldn’t drop Smith or Ward. Jackson and Moss are both candidates, however. Moss has failed to do anything to make us trust him, so are you really going to play him?

    As for Jackson, the news on his injury could ultimately make the decision. If he’s not going to play for a few weeks, it’s safe to cut bait on him. There would be no way to trust him once he’s healthy to play over your other option.

  10. Ramblin' Wreck says:

    So even with two bad weeks in the books and a Chargers defense that seems to be picking up the pace, would you still start DMC over Tolbert for week 13

  11. Ramblin – No, i definitely go Tolbert

    Joe – I would go Maclin, Fitzgerald & Williams. Austin has been too inconsistent to really trust for me, plus the colts defense has been more porous against the run.

  12. Ramblin' Wreck says:

    Sorry professor I meant to say DMC over JStew. Is the Stewart/ Goodson kinda like Jones/ Charles?

  13. Sapp says:

    Little Help – Drew Brees/Mike Vick – Vick totally.
    RB’s – Fred Jackson/Mike Goodson/Brian Westbrook but have the option of picking up – Benson/B.Jackson/Ronnie Brown/D.Sproles/Addai/K.Williams/Torlain/M.Maurice Lost Franklin Gore for the season which will pretty much wreck the playoffs for me
    WR’s- Wes Welker/Fitzgerald/Maclin Have the option of picking up S.Holmes/Harvin -
    TE’s- Brandon Pettigrew/ Kevin Boss
    K- Carpenter/Bryant

  14. Sapp says:

    D-ST – Eagles/Bears – Thinking Bears theyre pretty much a constant 10+ pts.

  15. Ramblin – The problem with the Panthers duo right now is that we really don’t know how things will be split. They are a huge gamble. With Stewart, he has had one good game and a lot of struggles prior to the injury. I would put more faith in DMC for another week (though I know he is also a risk)


    RB – I’d probably grab Benson and roll with Benson & Jackson this week. Westbrook, obviously, is worth stashing and using, but I like those two more.

    WR – Maclin & Holmes for me with Fitzgerald next in line (Welker/Harvin a coin flip for fourth)

    I’d go Pettigrew at TE

  16. Jim says:

    Any thoughts on Anthony Dixon? As an Eagles fan I worry Westbrook may not hold up very long.

  17. Amy says:

    Forte is my RB1. I have Ivory/Blount as RB2′s. I’ve ruled out Blount already. Should I play Ivory as my RB2 or try to pick up Westbrook?
    A win this week is important, so I’m just thinking about one week – not further down the line. Any opinions would be welcome!

  18. Jim – I would pick up Dixon as a handcuff, for the exact reason you said, but unless you have room on your bench I wouldn’t go crazy with trying to stash him.

    Amy – New Orleans’ situation is a bit of a question mark, especially with Pierre Thomas potentially back this week. I wouldn’t go anywhere near them, if you could avoid it, so I would think Westbrook brings with him the most upside for just one week.

  19. Ketan says:

    My team is 10-2 – in 1st place – only concerns are Week 15/16.

    My 4 RBs in 12 team PPR are (start 2):
    Foster, FJax, Goodson, and Addai.
    My 6 WRs (start 3)are:
    Roddy, AJ, Austin, Mwilliams-TB, Mike Thomas, Sidney Rice

    1. Do I start FJax or Goodson this week?
    2. Do I drop Addai for Pierre Thomas, Ronnie Brown, Mike Hart or hold out hope that he’ll be of value in Week 15/16?

    3. Do I drop Rice for Malcolm Floyd, Driver, Nate Washington – I’m concerned only about Mike Williams as my WR3 -not feeling good about Austin’s consistency.

  20. Andrew says:

    Hey, been enjoying the input you guys have been giving so far this season. Thank a lot!

    Anyway, I’ve been debating whether or not to start Mendenhall. He did decent against Baltimore in week 4 with 79 rushing yards and 2 TDs. Though I’m thinking the Ravens will be a little more stingy this time around.

    My other options are Foster, McCoy, and FJax. There’s only 2 RB spots, so I’ve been leaning toward Foster and McCoy with FJax/Mendenhall as a flex option.

    Should I start either of them or look toward my extra WRs (TO, Manningham, Collie) or my backup TE Tamme as my flex option?

  21. Joe says:

    Seriously rotoprofessor you are the man.

  22. Ketan:

    1) I go FJax
    2) I would hold onto Addai at this point. Thomas is a huge gamble, given the way they’ve been spreading out carries. It’s hard to imagine Ivory, Jones & Bush all not playing some sort of a role. As for Hart & Brown, I just don’t trust them
    3) Rice has just as much potential as anyone of the other three. I’d probably stay put at this point.

    Andrew – Thanks and I really appreciate your support! Those are your extra WR? I’d say you have plenty of options. I’d probably go Mendenhall, but Owens is just as viable. You may leave points on your bench, so just go with your gut between those two.

    Joe – That’s what I’m here for! I really appreciate your support (and everyone else’s) and if there is anything I can do to help anyone out, just let me know!

  23. Phil says:

    Have an issue with RBs. I have C. McFadden, C. Johnson and T. Gerhart. I think CJ is a safe bet this week (I said that last week too) but do I trust McD as RB#2 vs. Chargers or go with Gerhart?

    Also, do I start Blair White, Kenny Britt at WR#2 or use David Gettis from bench?

  24. Britt is a huge risk, so it’s tough to count on him. As for White vs. Gettis, I’d go White as long as Collie isn’t playing.

    As for the RB situation, if AP is playing there’s just no way you can use Gerhart. I know McFadden is a risk, but you almost have to ride him.

  25. Dylan says:

    Little help please:

    2 RB
    1 RB/WR
    2 WR

    Mendenhall, J. Charles, Tomlinson, Tolbert

    C. Johnson, S. Holmes, Manningham

  26. little boy says:

    I’ve got LT Fred Jackson and Westbrook no matter what rolling with MJD…. so far I’ve got Jakcson starting but am tempted to go with Westvrook really could use a win… oh, and Fitzgerald vs. Mike Thomas??

  27. Andrew says:

    I am currently tied for the lead in my division and this is the last week before playoffs. I’m playing the guy who is tied with me so it is a must win. I have questions for all positions.

    For QB: Eli Manning or Matt Cassel? Cassel just put up a huge game but is he good for another one?

    For RB: Jamaal Charles, Knowshon Moreno, or Fred Jackson? I know i want to start Charles, but Moreno or Jackson is tough.

    For WR: Roddy White, Mario Manningham, Johnny Knox, or Jacoby Ford? I can start 3.

    Oh and the guy I’m playing is my dad so i really need to win or he’ll never let me live it down. Thanks alot.

  28. Dylan – Here’s how I’d do it:

    RB – Charles
    RB – Tolbert
    WR – Holmes
    WR – Johnson
    FLEX – Mendenhall/Manningham – This is really, really close. Generally I would side with the RB, however, so I would definitely lean towards playing Mendenhall.

    little boy – I’d go Jackson at the RB spot. As good as Westbrook looked, with a full week to game plan we just don’t know exactly how the 49ers are going to roll things out. He’s a big risk and Jackson has certainly been on a roll.

    As for WR, it’s Fitzgerald for sure.


    QB – I’m facing the same debate, honestly. At this point I’m looking to play Manning because of the matchup, but it really is a coin flip.

    RB – Charles & Moreno; it’s a coin flip between Moreno and Jackson as I have them back-to-back. I would lean towards Moreno given the matchup, though.

    WR – White, Manningham & Knox without a doubt.

  29. Evan says:

    I am having a hell of a time figuring out what to do with my flex spot now that Franky G is gone…wondering if you can help:

    Crabtree, Westbrook, Obomanu, Ivory, Goodson…which one??

    Side note, you think I should be confident starting TO against Saints def, or should I look to start Crabtree/Obomanu in his place??

    (regular league)

    Thanks a lot.

  30. john says:

    Big game saturday…

    Fred Jackson vs. Brian westbrook

    Fitzgerald vs. Mike Thomas


  31. mike says:

    There is now a report that Big Ben has a broken bone in his foot. with this news, should i start Schaub tonight? also, the real reason i’m here, if i wanted to pick up another QB, i would have to drop a QB (not!) or a RB, either C Ivory or D Brown (because of roster restrictions i can’t drop anyone else). So, which RB holds the most value to carry in the playoffs (wks 14-16)? They are both emergency backups and I will likely not need either, but just in case… who would you keep? Thanks again!

  32. Evan – Yes, I would stick with TO. As for the FLEX, I’d say Westbrook has the most upside of your options.

    john – Easy calls of F-Jax and Fitzgerald

  33. mike – I wouldn’t hesitate to drop Ivory. That whole situation is a mess and who knows who is going to get carries.

    As for the QB, right now the news is Ben is going to play so it really is a tough call. I’d say go with your gut, but if there is someone that you can grab on waivers, I’d do it to protect yourself as opposed to playing Schaub.

  34. Reid says:

    Which two out of these three RBs – MDJ, mendenhall, Tolbert
    Which three out or these four WRs – Austin, Lloyd, holmes, manningham

  35. RB – MJD
    RB – Tolbert
    WR – Lloyd
    WR – Holmes
    WR – Manningham

    It’s hard to leave Mendenhall on the bench, but that’s what happens when you have three good options. Just be prepared for the potential to leave points on the bench.

  36. Dan from Tally says:

    My Wr’s are Percy Harvin, Brandon Lloyd and Anquan Bolden. My rb’s are AP, Mcfadden, Tolbert.

    I have the following starting:

    PPR leaugue and return yard league

    Do i play Bolden or McFadden?

  37. Dan, both are risks, but I’d probably go McFadden

  38. jen says:

    who do i start this week, mendenhall vs. baltimore or dark horse late-bloomer knowshon moreno vs. kansas city? (i’m one of the lucky jerks who picked up hillis off waivers early on…so my rb slot #1 is locked :) ).

  39. Lucky you!! It really is a toss-up, as I have them back-to-back in the rankings. I’d have to say go with your gut, but right not at this moment I’m kind of leaning towards Moreno. Of course, that could change if you ask me tomorrow…lol

    Does your playoff life hang on it?

  40. jen says:

    i’m clinched. i suppose it’s silly to worry, but it’s my first season managing solo, so my confidantes are now my enemies :)
    i appreciate the honest answer; it’ll be a game-time decision. thanks!

  41. Tone says:

    I made the playoffs in my league…Yea!
    i already had three of my players play( A.foster, L.McCoy and A.Johnson) so i have a sizable lead right now..but i don’t want to let up. I need a little help.
    I need a flex and another WR…options (Eddie Royal, Deion Branch, M. Williams-Sea, L. Blount and R. Torain)
    I also need a TE ….. options ( J. Witten, R. Gronkowski and B. Celek)

  42. jen – Anytime. Let me know how it turns out and congrats on already clinching!!

    Tone – My first choice would be Eddie Royal. Then, assuming M. Williams is playing, I would play him for sure in the FLEX spot.

    For your TE, it is Witten and it’s not even close.

  43. Wynott says:

    In a bind.. with a win I’m in the playoffs. Have 5RB and need 3
    Rice, Moreno, Bradshaw, F Jackson, Blount.
    Need 1 WR…. already used maclin on thursday.
    Mike Wallace, Miles Austin, Santonio Holmes????

  44. For WR, Holmes is the easy choice. He’s too hot to leave on the bench, plus the Patriots secondary has been sub par.

    As for the RB, I’d go Rice, Moreno & Jackson

  45. Kindra says:

    have a question on my RB’s, need to play two: Steve jackson, Charles and hillis. (My other RB is Green Ellis but pretty sure he is benched.

    PS. thank you for the QB help, stayed with Ben and Schaub, didn’t pick up Cassell. Played Schaub and he got me 41 points in my league. :)

  46. Kindra says:

    Sorry one more question…My WR’s are White, Wayne, Steve Johnson and Malcolm Floyd. Not to comfortable with Johnson and Floyd as back ups, should I drop one for someone else, and if so then who?

  47. Kindra, not a problem! Glad I could help!!

    For the WR, it really depends on who is abailable? I wouldn’t have a problem playing Johnson, but if there is someone else viable on the waiver wire, it could be worth it. Gimme the first couple of names that are available and let’s see what we can do.

    For the RB, I’d play Charles & Hillis (man, it’s so tough to put Jackson on the bench, isn’t it?)

  48. Kindra says:

    Hate putting Steve jackson on the bench!!! But hate putting Hillis or Charles on the bench too…lol :)

    First five (not hurt…Collie and Britt): Fitzgeral, Mike Williams(TB), Moss, Mannigham, Moore, Knox, Mason

    You think I should play Johnson over Wayne or White? or only if one doesnt play?

  49. Wayne & White are must plays, barring injury. Every week they are Top 5-10 options, depending on matchups, so I think you are pretty secure there.

    I have Manningham-Fitzgerald-Johnson all back-to-back-to-back in the rankings, and all can be used. I may lean towards Manningham, based on the matchup, so if you have someone you don’t mind dropping, I’d grab him (probably just for this week). If you don’t have someone to drop, just stick with Johnson.

  50. Bernard says:

    Hey there, please help =)

    Brandon Jacobs, Thomas Jones or LeGarrette Blount?


    Johnny Knox,Santana Moss or Derek Hagan?


  51. Nirav says:

    Calvin Johnson, Miles Austin and Ben Obomanu – need to play 2.

    Maurice Morris vs. Anthony Dixon – need to play 1.

    Antonio Gates seems out. Have Pettigrew or Kellen Winslow at TE?


  52. Knox is a lock at WR. As for the RB, I’d probably go with Jacobs barring a change to Bradshaw as the starter (check the news to be sure)

  53. Nirav says:

    To clarify my earlier post, I have Gates, Pettigrew and Winslow. I’m thinking of taking Winslow (since he plays at same time as Gates), but monitoring active reports to see if Gates is a go (team website says he’s out).

    Also, at WR, I have Johnson, Austin, Obo & Brandon Lloyd. Lloyd seems a lock, and I’ll use 2 of the others for my 2nd WR and flex positions.

    Thanks again for your help!

  54. Bernard says:

    Thanks! I actually just also picked up Ben Obomanu…..I could put him in place of Knox or Jacobs…..what do you think?

  55. Nirav, here’s what I’d do:

    WR – Lloyd
    WR – Johnson
    WR – Austin

    As for the TE, I do like Winslow marginally better then Pettigrew, so I would go with him if Gates is out.

    Bernanrd, I’m not as high on Obomanu as many other people are and I definitely wouldn’t play him over Knox. As for Jacobs, it again depends on the news, really. If Jacobs is still the starter, I’d probably lean towards him.

  56. Nirav says:

    Thanks for your response!! I think you missed the RB question (or maybe I missed your reply.)

    Maurice Morris or Anthony Dixon?

  57. Sorry about that! I’d go with Morris, as the talk has been that he is going to get the bulk of the carries.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>