Week 2 Rankings: Top 40 Running Backs

It’s time to continue our look at the Week 2 rankings with the running backs.  There is a little bit uncertainty this week, with the unknown status of Arian Foster, Steven Jackson, Knowshon Moreno and a few others, so keep in mind that these could change by the end of the week:

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


  • The Philadelphia Eagles got torched by the St. Louis Rams on the ground in Week 1 (154 yards and 1 TD).  To make matters worse, Steven Jackson left early in the game and didn’t return.  Does their showing tell us that Michael Turner could be inline for a big Week 2?  I would expect Philadelphia to make the necessary adjustments, so I wouldn’t read too much into the poor first game.  Still, 100 yards in the first game of the year certainly helps Turner’s cause.  It’s obviously early, but those calling for him being a huge risk seemed a little premature.
  • LeGarrette Blount and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ running game was completely stuffed in Week 1 by the Lions.  They managed just 56 yards on 16 carries, with Josh Freeman leading the way (4 carries for 26 yards) and being the only person to break a run of more than 9 yards.  The Lions’ defense looks to be for real, making it a tough matchup for Jamaal Charles.  His ability in the passing game helps keep him a RB1, just not quite as high on these rankings then we would’ve thought.  As for Blount, don’t write him off quite yet, though consider him a FLEX option.
  • While Matt Forte may have run for just 68 yards in Week 1, he also picked up 5 receptions for 90 yards and a touchdown.  That’s the threat that he brings to the table and will always keep him among the better options in any given week.
  • If Arian Foster is healthy, is there any doubt that he will be a RB1 this week?  Unfortunately, that’s a pretty big if.  Ben Tate showed just what he’s capable of in Week 1 (116 yards and 1 TD) and will be a solid option if Foster is out.  For now we will be including Foster in the rankings, though we’ll update them later in the week if necessary.
  • After seeing LeSean McCoy slash the Rams in Week 1, how do you feel about Ahmad Bradshaw in Week 2?  He did receive more carries than Brandon Jacobs in Week 1 (13 vs. 6), as well as scored the Giants lone TD.  Consider Bradshaw a solid RB2 this week in all formats, with Jacobs of more of a low-end FLEX option.
  • The early word is that Steven Jackson will be unable to go in Week 2 against the Giants.  For now we are going to leave him off the rankings, but if the news changes we’ll update things later on.  Carnell Williams showed in Week 1 that he does have something left in the tank and should be concerned a low-end RB2/FLEX option in all PPR formats.
  • Who is going to be the Patriots go to running back?  Danny Woodhead led the team in carries, though you never know if they will instead favor BenJarvus Green-Ellis.  With their desire to spread the ball around, I wouldn’t consider either more than a FLEX at this point.
  • It’s become clear that James Starks is going to be the lead back in Green Bay, over Ryan Grant.  He looked good in Week 1 (57 yards and 1 TD) and should be considered a low-end RB2/FLEX option with a matchup against the Panthers this week.
  • Shonn Greene clearly struggled in Week 1, but I have to think that the Jets will work to get him going in Week 2.  They desperately need him to be able to carry the load.  Keep him active for another week and hope that he can get things on track, though consider him a low-end RB2.
  • Knowshon Moreno had a poor start to his 2011 campaign, rushing for just 22 yards (and adding 35 on 2 receptions).  Considering all the question marks hanging over him to begin with, this is not good news.  Yes, there was a hamstring injury that cost him some time, but it’s not like he was lighting it up to begin with.  If he plays consider him more of a FLEX option, though owners will want to handcuff him with Willis McGahee immediately.
  • Chris Johnson is still trying to get his legs under him and draws a tough matchup.  I don’t want to drop him too far down the rankings, but there are concerns.

Make sure to check out the rest of Rotoprofessors Week 2 information:

Week 2 Rankings: Top 50 Wide Receivers
Week 2 Rankings: Top 25 Quarterbacks


  1. LouGatsby says:

    Ok, first of all much “props” on the Kenny Britt advice you gave. I sat back and watched him light it up week 1 for 2 TD’s and over 100 yds.

    Now the important stuff. Do you think James Starks is for real in that GB offense? Secondly, do you think of Ben Tate as a RB2 or more of a Flex for week 2 considereing Foster is out? Tate brings alot of upside and I like his potential.

  2. Timmaayyyy says:

    Need 3rbs to start this week (I am worried about CJ2K):
    Felix Jones
    Fred Jackson

  3. Lou – It’s what I’m here for! I do like Starks, but I think he’ll be more of a FLEX for much of the year due to GB being a pass first attack. As for Tate, if Foster is out I think he could be a nice RB2 depending on your other options.

    Timmmmaaaay – I’d go Gore, Johnson & Jackson. I understand the concerns, but Johnson has too big of an upside.

  4. JB says:

    I’m, trying to decide between Fred Jackson, Reggie Bush, and Kenny Britt for by flex position. How would you rank them as one, two, and three for this week?

  5. Brian says:

    Professor, I’ve got a real problem on my hands. I’m in a PPR league with 3 WR and a W/R/T flex and my receiver core is as follows:

    1. Andre Johnson
    2. Larry Fitzg
    3. Brandon Marshall
    4. Wes Welker
    5. Kenny Britt
    6. Steve Smith

    I’ve got Johnson and Fitzgerrald in, but I have 4 more guys for 2 more spots. Any suggestions?

    P.S. Yeah, it was a good draft.

  6. JB – It’s a really tough call, but I would lean towards the RB. I was a big Britt believer on draft day, but I don’t think he can repeat his Week 1 performance. I’d go Bush, Jackson, Britt, though they are all close.

    Brian – Yea, I’d say that turned out well for you! I’d definitely go with Marshall & Welker for this week. While Britt & Smith had nice weeks, there’s little chance they repeat.

  7. Tim says:

    Which 2 to start this week? L. Bluont vs Minnesota, F. Jones vs. San Fran and Cadillac Williams vs. NYG

  8. Sara says:

    So based on your rankings you’d definitely start Benson over Jones this week? I just picked him up off waivers and am going to sit Chris Johnson for one of them (yes, seriously).
    Was also wondering if it’s worth dropping Moreno for Tolbert who is also still available, since Moreno has the same bye as CJ anyway.

  9. Mark says:

    Okay, so I have 2 tough calls this week, 1 for my 3rd wr and one for my 2nd rb:

    My RB’s are:

    -Chris Johnson
    -Steven Jackson
    -Tim Hightower
    -Mike Tolbert

    I’m looking at starting Tim Hightower this week, as he looks ready to explode and I’m thinking either Mike Tolbert @ NE might be a safer bet than Chris Johnson @ Baltimore. Agree/Disagree?

    Also, my WR situation- I currently have a handful of WR’s while trying to determine who I want as a solid 3rd, I have Desean Jackson, Mike Wallace, Plaxico Burgess, Percy Harvin, Mario Manningham, & Jabar Gaffney.

    Right now I’m set with Mike Wallace and Desean Jackson, but I’m sort of torn between Burgess / Harvin / Gaffney, I’m not really sold on Manningham given he’s sort of low on the depth chart.
    I’m leaning more toward Burgess as he had a solid week 1 performance and I think things are looking up for him. Thoughts?


  10. heath says:

    Who to start as a RB
    Shannon Green
    Frank Gore
    Ryan Matthews

    I am thinking about dropping Ryan Matthew and pick up fred jackson. Not sure if that;s a good idea

    well let me know which two RB should i start thx

    • rob says:

      don’t drop ryan mathhews buddy.
      Play gore, then green, then matthews.
      There must be someone else worth dropping to get fred jackson.

  11. rob says:

    Hey Professor,
    I listen to you all the time on sirus radio but I can’t get through on the phone.

    For RB,
    I need 3 for this week
    I got
    P. Hillis
    Mike Tolbert

    I’m thinking turner and p. hillis for sure
    but my quesiton is should I bench MJD since he is going up against the jets and play Beanie or “Run with MJD”?

  12. Let’s take these one at a time:

    Tim – It’s close between all of them, but I’d probably go Williams & Blount.

    Sara – Yes, I’d definitely play Benson (though not sure I’d do it over Johnson, but that’s up to you!) As for dropping Moreno, I’m not quite ready to give up on him. Is there someone else you can drop to get Tolbert?

    Mark – Personally, despite the tough matchup, I couldn’t imagine benching Chris Johnson. I know he’s a risk, but there’s way too much upside potential. As for the WR, I’d probably go with Manningham (especially if Nicks is forced to miss Week 2).

    heath – I’d definitely go Gore & Greene, given what you have. Is there someone else you can drop to get Jackson? I do really like him at this point.

    rob – I have MJD and Wells back-to-back on the rankings, so it really is a complete coin flip. I’d probably go MJD, but I’d say go with your gut.

    • Sara says:

      Thank you, I really appreciate the advice. The rest of my bench consists of Williams (TB), Bowe, and Meachem and I’m not ready to drop one of them for Tolbert since we play 3 WRs.
      I was also hoping to get a 2nd opinion on playing Saints DEF over the top promising availables (HOU/TB/SF/ATL/ARI)?

  13. Mark says:

    Thanks, professor, I’m currently lined up that way. It’s a tough bench on CJ, even if he’s going against the top run defense. I’m thinking if Nicks is out, Manningham’s a great move. If not, I think I’ll either plugin Burgess or Harvin. I imagine Harvin may do well with McNabb this year, though how long that takes to develop is another question!

    Thanks again. :)

  14. Muddy Cleats 18 says:

    Need some help with choices…
    Tolbert, Blount, Burleson, Manningham, Felix Jones, Maclin – need 1 rb 1 wr and 1 flex…

    Manningham,Blount,Tolbert,Jordy Nelson,Burleson – 1 rb and 1 flex….
    TE – Kendricks or Fred Davis?
    Thinking of using Grossman as a 1 week matchup and sitting Freeman and Bradford…

    Also – Chargers D in a tough spot – thinking of picking up Bills D for a week. Raiders have a short week and travel cross country as well…Thanks for any help

    • OK, let’s take this down

      First set:
      RB – Tolbert (if healthy, though all of ur RB are back-to-back-back on rankings)
      WR – Manningham
      FLEX – Blount

      Set two:
      RB – Tolbert
      Flex – Blount (unless it looks like Nicks isn’t going to play, then I’d go Manningham)
      TE – Davis
      QB – I would 100% go Freeman

      As for the D, I could see going either way.

  15. Muddy Cleats 18 says:

    Thanks alot for the help.
    Picked up Newton on waivers and promptly traded him and Lee Evans for Schaub and Maclin. Just wondering if you would start Schaub over Freeman? Being a Tampa Fan from Indy I am not too objective here which clouds my decision making….

  16. drew says:

    Why so high on gore? The niners are terrible on offense and the cowboys shut down the jets tough run game.

  17. kody says:

    Hey need some quick advice I’m in a ppr format league and not sure what 2 rbs to start

    Jhamal Charles
    Frank Gore
    Darren Sproles
    Caddillac Williams (for my injured Jackson)
    Or tate if foster is out on Sunday

    • I’d definitely go Charles & Gore. It looks like Foster is playing, so that takes Tate out, and Sproles/Williams are far from locks to produce much (especially Sproles, who will share time with Pierre Thomas & Mark Ingram).

  18. Bez says:

    Week 2 questions
    Standard league 3pts/50yrds, 6pts/TD
    WR: S. Moss or MANNINGHAM?
    RB: HILLIS, Greene or Tolbert?

    Standard league 2pts/100 passing 6pts/TD
    QB: BIG BEN or Sexy Rexy?

    My expected plays are in CAPS so interested in your fantasy expertise.
    Thanks as always and love da “vice” on sat radio!

    • Bez – I’m always here to help and appreciate your support!

      Here are my thoughts:
      WR – Moss (unless Nicks is not playing on Monday night, which we hopefully have a better idea of for tomorrow morning). The Redskins showed in Week 1 that their offense is for real and Moss is a major part of that.

      RB – Hillis
      QB – Roethlisberger

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