Week 17 Rankings: Top 40 Running Backs

Let’s take a look at how I rank the Top 40 runnings backs for the final week of the NFL season:

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


  • The Jets have claimed their playoff spot, but one thing they certainly need to get straightened out is their running game.  Against Buffalo there is a good chance that happens.  Shonn Greene is the better bet, but with Mark Sanchez hurting they will likely try to get both Greene and Tomlinson involved.
  • Chris Johnson has been hit or miss for fantasy owners when they needed him most.  Obviously, you have to continue running him out there, and against the Colts you have to think that maybe he’ll finally get things back on track.
  • Will Maurice Jones-Drew be ready to return to the lineup in Week 17?  I’m ranking him like he’s going to play, but be prepared to move him to the bench depending on the news later in the week (and push Rashad Jennings significantly up the rankings).
  • Reports are that Knowshon Moreno could’ve returned to the field in Week 16 if necessary.  Yes, Buckhalter had a nice game, but Moreno is still the more attractive option.
  • Darren McFadden suffered an ankle or foot injury in Week 16 (depending on the report you read), putting his status for Week 17 in question.  His value drops significantly for the coming week and you have to be prepared to move him to the bench, depending on the news.  Monitor things closely and grab Michael Bush as a handcuff.
  • With Ryan Tolbert down, Ryan Mathews will get the chance to handle lead duties in Week 17.  He had 83 total yards and a touchdown in Week 16 and draws a Denver defense that is poor against the run.  Look at him as a low-level RB1, but a great RB2 option.
  • How much work will LeSean McCoy get?  A lot will depend on tonight’s game, but, at worst, he’s a low-level RB2.
  • Peyton Hillis is struggling and draws the Steelers.  He’s a low-level RB2 option at this point, at best.

What are your thoughts of these rankings?  Whose too high?  Whose too low?
*** Make sure to pre-order your copy of the Rotoprofessor 2011 Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide, selling for just $5, by clicking here. ***
Make sure to check out the rest of our Week 17 Rankings:

Week 17 Rankings: Top 40 Wide Receivers
Week 17 Rankings: Top 25 Quarterbacks


  1. Jarrard says:

    Thanks for the advice last week… I’ve got Foster as a RB 1 of course, but I need a RB2 and a FLEX play back. Which two should I go with out of Bradshaw, Mendy, Mathews, Torain? I was thinking Bradshaw being that he gashed the Skins last game, but Steelers still need to clinch the division and Mathews is very attractive with Tolbert down. Thanks.

  2. Yea, I’d go Mendenhall & Mathews

  3. Andy says:

    I’m in a similar boat as Jarrard. I’ve got Foster as my RB 1 and I need a second RB and a Flex spot.

    My options are: Mendy, Matthews, McCoy, Blount

    I also have Mario Manningham as a flex option, the kid hasn’t been doing to bad the last two weeks. Would you recommend slapping him in over a 3rd RB?

    Thanks in advance!

  4. With Nicks out, Manningham does suddenly become an extremely attractive option. Still, I’d roll Mendenhall & Blount, they are too good to bench at this point.

  5. Jpicky says:

    Hey thanks for all the help this year. one last set of questions though(I have a week 17 game)
    QB. Eli or Big Ben
    RB. Johnson
    RB. the law firm or Hillis
    FLEX. Mcfadden or Steve Johnson
    WR. Britt
    WR. Manningham
    TE. Lewis
    D/ST. Falcons
    K. Akers
    for the flex spot i could also pick up Blount Torian or Percy Harvin.
    Thank you so much

  6. Not a problem at all, I’m glad to do it!

    As for the questionable spots:
    QB – Big Ben
    RB – I’d actually go Blount here
    FLEX – Torrain

    McFadden has injury concerns, though he says he’ll play. Hillis has been in a major slump. As for Green-Ellis, can we say for sure how much he’ll play?

  7. Ramblin' Wreck says:

    It sucks to be me! MJD, Nicks, A.Johnson all out I’ve got Manningham for Nicks spot alongside R.White but is Matthews a better option this week than R.Jennings. Jennings didnt have such a great day last week, but Matthews hasn’t proven to be a stalwart either. 15 behind and needing help professor.

  8. Wow, that really is a tough spot, but Mathews has, by far, the better matchup. He looked good last week after Tolbert went down, so I would roll with him this week. It’s tough, but at this point you have to hope for the best!

  9. Ramblin' Wreck says:

    It may have been easier to give you a look at my team. I did get Kolb as a block, Mathews was picked up by a consilation gamer(thanks alot bud), but will the Jets play the run and rest Sanchez making Greene a good play facing a defense he has already performed well against.

    Flex-R. Jennings
    WR-R. White

    Bench-MJD(out), A. Johnson(unknown/out), S. Greene, K. Britt, & K. Kolb

  10. Ryan Harilko says:

    I have to start 2 of the following 3 rbs: Pierre Thomas, Cedric Benson, or Ronnie Brown? What would you recommend?

    • It’s really tough and none are great options. I have them ranked back-to-back-to-back on the rankings, so it’s a tight call and depends on the news on Ivory. If Ivory plays I’d go Benson & Brown.

      If Ivory isn’t playing, I’d go Brown & Thomas.

  11. Timmayyy says:

    With MJD out, where do you rank Jennings?

    For my flex:
    Jennings or S. Greene (how long will he play?) or J. Knox????

  12. I’d go with Greene. The Jets need to get their running game going if they want to excel in the playoffs and I think that will be their focus this week.

  13. Scratch that Timmayyy, Greene is inactive for the Jets. Go with Jennings!

  14. Timmaayyyy says:

    Did go with Jennings when I saw Greene inactive & I won … woohoo!

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