Week 6 Rankings: Top 40 Running Backs

There have been some surprising performances among running backs thus far this season.  Did anyone expect Fred Jackson or Matt Forte to be virtual locks to be among the Top 10 running backs every week?  Let’s take a look at where they stand, as well as all the rest, for the coming week:

  1. Adrian Peterson – Minnesota Vikings – at Chicago
  2. Darren McFadden – Oakland Raiders – vs. Cleveland
  3. Fred Jackson – Buffalo Bills – at New York Giants
  4. Ray Rice – Baltimore Ravens – vs. Houston
  5. LeSean McCoy – Philadelphia Eagles – at Washington
  6. Matt Forte – Chicago Bears – vs. Minnesota
  7. Frank Gore – San Francisco 49ers – at Detroit
  8. Maurice Jones-Drew – Jacksonville Jaguars – at Pittsburgh
  9. Arian Foster – Houston Texans – at Baltimore
  10. Michael Turner – Atlanta Falcons – vs. Carolina
  11. Cedric Benson – Cincinnati Bengals – vs. Indianapolis
  12. Ahmad Bradshaw – New York Giants – vs. Buffalo
  13. Daniel Thomas – Miami Dolphins – at New York Jets
  14. Peyton Hillis – Cleveland Browns – at Oakland
  15. Steven Jackson – St. Louis Rams – at Green Bay
  16. LeGarrette Blount – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – vs. New Orleans
  17. Rashard Mendenhall – Pittsburgh Steelers – vs. Jacksonville
  18. Shonn Greene – New York Jets – vs. Miami
  19. BenJarvus Green-Ellis – New England Patriots – vs. Dallas
  20. Ryan Torain – Washington Redskins – vs. Philadelphia
  21. Darren Sproles – New Orleans Saints – at Tampa Bay
  22. James Starks – Green Bay Packers – vs. St. Louis
  23. DeAngelo Williams – Carolina Panthers – at Atlanta
  24. Jahvid Best – Detroit Lions – vs. San Francisco
  25. Felix Jones – Dallas Cowboys – at New England
  26. Joseph Addai – Indianapolis Colts – at Cincinnati
  27. Tim Hightower – Washington Redskins – vs. Philadelphia
  28. LaDainian Tomlinson – New York Jets – vs. Miami
  29. Pierre Thomas – New Orleans Saints – at Tampa Bay
  30. Brandon Jacobs – New York Giants – vs. Buffalo
  31. Michael Bush – Oakland Raiders – vs. Cleveland
  32. Earnest Graham – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – vs. New Orleans
  33. Jonathan Stewart – Carolina Panthers – at Atlanta
  34. Ryan Grant – Green Bay Packers – vs. St. Louis
  35. Carnell Williams – St. Louis Rams – at Green Bay
  36. Stevan Ridley – New England Patriots – vs. Dallas
  37. C.J. Spiller – Buffalo Bills – at New York Giants
  38. Reggie Bush – Miami Dolphins – at New York Jets
  39. Montario Hardesty – Cleveland Browns – at Oakland
  40. Kendall Hunter – San Francisco 49ers – at Detroit


  • Fred Jackson continues to produce coming off a game where he rushed for 111 yards and 1 TD as well as adding 6 receptions for 85 yards against the Eagles.  In fact he now has 5 receptions or more in each of the past three weeks.  On the season he has 480 rushing yards and 5 TD, while adding 232 passing yards.  The New York Giants will have a hard time shutting him down this week.
  • With LeSean McCoy producing both on the ground (443 yards and 5 TD) and in the air (9 receptions for 110 yards and 2 TD) there is a lot to like no matter who the opponent is.
  • In two of the past three weeks the Carolina Panthers have been burned on the ground by Maurice Jones-Drew (122 yards) and Matt Forte (205 yards).  This past week they took on the Saints, so it was a more air oriented attack, though Darren Sproles did combine for 91 total yards.  I know Michael Turner has been struggling of late (outside of 3 TD in his past two games), but would it surprise anyone if he had a strong performance?  Consider him a low-level RB1/top-level RB2 for the coming week.  That’s only because of the risk that the team continues to go throw heavy.
  • Ahmad Bradshaw has a positive matchup with the Buffalo Bills (allowing 138.4 rushing yards/game), but will a banged up offensive line cost him a chance to be productive?  With the team’s best offensive lineman, Chris Snee, likely out due to a concussion you have to be concerned.  He hasn’t had a huge season (286 yards over five games) and with all these things piling up against him I would consider him a RB2 this week.
  • Will LeGarrette Blount be healthy enough to play?  If he is then he’ll be a solid option.  However, is anyone confident he’s going to take the field?  If he doesn’t the Buccaneers running back situation will be a cloudy one, with Earnest Graham, Kregg Lumpkin and Allen Bradford all sharing carries.  Prepare accordingly, but I would try to avoid the Tampa Bay situation altogether.  There’s just too much risk involved.  He’s included in the rankings, but monitor the news and prepare to move on.
  • Normally taking on the Jets defense would worry fantasy owners, but they clearly aren’t the same unit that they once were.  Coming into the game they are allowing 134.8 rushing yards/game, as well as 8 TD.  They also just gave up 136 rushing yards to BenJarvus Green-Ellis.  Daniel Thomas, if healthy, is suddenly looking like a solid option isn’t he?
  • Arian Foster showed in Week 5 that even if he isn’t going to produce on the ground, he can make a major impact in the passing game.  He combined for 184 yards, his second consecutive week over 165 yards.  He’s back to being a must use option regardless of the opponent.
  • Suffering a hamstring injury that forced him to miss the majority of their Week 5 matchup, Joseph Addai is a major question mark at this point.  Delone Carter would get the bulk of the carries if that does happen, though I wouldn’t consider him more than a FLEX option.  He’s on the rankings, for now, but be prepared to move on.
  • Ryan Torain erupted in Week 4 rushing for 135 yards and 1 TD on 19 carries.  Did anyone see that coming?  Tim Hightower has actually struggled for two games running (65 yards on 22 carries), so Torain should be considered the better option in the Washington backfield.  However, the team will likely ride the hot hand (Roy Helu included), meaning this situation is a tough one predict.
  • If James Starks played on a team that actually ran the ball he would be considered a tremendous option this week taking on the St. Louis Rams (league worst 179.8 yards/game).  However, does anyone believe that the Packers are going to go with a run-oriented attack?  Consider him a low-end RB2 at this point and nothing more.

Make sure to check out the rest of Rotoprofessor’s Week 6 information:

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Week 6 Rankings: Top 50 Wide Receivers
Week 6 Rankings: Top 25 Quarterbacks


  1. JR says:

    better flex play – Jahvid Best or Dez Bryant?

  2. Cody says:

    How productive do u think gore will be against Detroit ?

    Also I start two rbs who u think will be my best options? Ppr league
    Frank Gore
    Darren Sproles
    S Jax

  3. Triz says:

    Wondering again about dropping probably Helu (who I otherwise have to start this week with Foster, as Mathews, Tolbert and McGahee are all on byes).

    Or maybe drop Jacoby Ford instead? This week I am starting Calvin Johnson, Stevie Johnson and Santonio Holmes, and benching Ford and David Nelson (I think! waiting on the WR list to be sure :) )

    Daniel Thomas, Starks and Tomlinson are the highest on your list that are available. I’d really like to win this week, despite all my byes, but not enough to drop someone with a lot more value in the weeks to come.


    • Triz says:

      HELP! I think you are going to say drop Ford for Thomas and Thomas is a now a free agent so anyone could get him!!! (Starks doesn’t do waivers till Friday).

      Sorry to be so demanding … at least you know how your advice is valued!

  4. AJ says:

    Should I target Hernandez or Gonzalez for Beanie Wells. Currently I have Keller & Fred Davis. My other rb’s are Felix Jones, Ray Rice & Marshawn Lynch. I might add either of of my TE’s & he’ll include DeAngelo. Thoughts?

  5. JR – This is one of the rare instances that I would go with the WR. Bryant is a borderline WR1 and has too much upside to sit this week.

    Cody – Definitely Gore & Bradshaw.

    Triz – No worries! Yes, I would drop Ford for Thomas and not look back.

    AJ – Is it a PPR league? Not sure it would matter, but curious. TE is a position that is tough to predict from week-to-week, so trading one of your starting RB (and Wells is at this point) is probably not the best idea.

    • Triz says:

      Thanks! Done!

      • Triz says:

        Oh, how is A? All good now I hope?

        • Triz says:

          I am so horrible. I am staying up late to make my mother’s mac and cheese for a friend who is who is vomity from surgery and that is all she will eat and I am will still checking for the TE list between stirrings. (Still thinking of A also. This is starting to be a long time to be sick?)

          • Thanks for the concern! I really do appreciate and she is finally getting better. Just a cold that won’t go away.

            And, by the way, TE are finally up!!!

          • Elusive One says:

            Triz – “A” here – I am fine. Like the rotoprof said, I have had a nasty cold that has been lingering. If you read my post on my website about the Tres Leches cake or the Apple Honey chicken, I had a brief mention that the reason i haven’t been cooking a lot is because I am pregnant with a little rotoprofessor. So i wasn’t cooking all summer and am now just getting back into it. VERY slowly. and that’s why the cold is lingering – my immune system is shot so this cold won’t leave!! :-)

          • Triz says:

            Oh yay! That is great about the miniprof! Not sure how I missed that (or the Apple Honey chicken for that matter … I will be looking back for that).

            Any chance it could be an allergy? My boyfriend, ex-boyfriend, dad and I are all suffering like crazy this year and only my dad usually does. (Cold is probably better, as maybe you can’t take allergy drugs because of the miniprof?)

            And again, congratulations!!!!

    • JR says:

      Thanks Professor. I definitely agree, it is just hard to sit J. Best after those runs he broke last week which helped me clinch a win by .2 fps. That SF run defense is scary though. I’m going to roll with Dez.

  6. Jared says:

    Why is Best so far down your rankings after such a monster performance? He is playing at home on turf, where he dominates.

  7. Bez says:

    Hello RP! I made a trade (first time in years) yesterday and wanted your opinion. I traded Big Ben & P. Hillis away for Kolb & Fred Jackson. What are your thoughts for ROS? Background: I have Newton & picked up Tebow before making this trade so Kolb will be a drop or 3rd Qb. I have Rice, Greene & Tolbert already. I’m hoping I made a smart move to get a Top 5RB for a QB sitting on my bench. He made the trade because he already has McFadden & Foster. Thoughts?
    WR question; I dropped Mannigham to pick up Cruz. Good idea or bad? Who to use this week with only 3pts/50yds receiving, Cruz, Garcon or S. Moss? Like Garcon but concerned with the Bengals Def. Thoughts? Thanks again!

  8. Jared – I can see him being a little higher, but one game can’t make a huge difference. He was productive in his carries last week, but over the past three weeks he hasn’t had more than 12 carries. If he were getting more opportunities things would be different.

    Bez – It’s not a bad trade, though I would’ve been more comfortable at QB with a Newton/Big Ben combo. You did get one of the elite RB in the game, though, so it’s hard to complain.

    As for the WR question, I’d def go Garcon. He’s too hot to sit right now.

  9. Brandon says:

    thinking of including one of my RB’s in a trade to try and upgrade at TE.. maybe a Dallas Clark,Green-Ellis, and Massaquoi for Vernon Davis and D’angelo Williams. I know I’ll give up more, but they’re all bench players and even by giving up depth it won’t affect me much come bye weeks.

  10. kevin says:

    So, Professor, who do I start?

    I have Foster, McCoy, Gore, Bradshaw, and Best

    Two Running backs and a flex

    And yes, this is in a ten team league. I just got veeeery lucky with a trade and camped waivers.


    • For me it’s McCoy, Gore and Foster. I have concerns about Best’s touches (he hasn’t had more than 12 carries the past three weeks). As for Bradshaw, despite the juicy matchup, the Giants have struggled running the ball and will be without Chris Snee. He’s not a lock.

      Then again, can you really go wrong with any of them?

      • kevin says:

        Yeah, that’s kinda what I was figuring too. Gore has really stepped it up the last couple of weeks. And yeah they’re all nice to have. I’m thinking about trading Best or Bradshaw to upgrade at receiver. My receivers are Holmes, Antonio Brown and Juilio Jones. Not bad, but not the best.

  11. Tom says:

    Was wondering what you have to say about my RB situation. I have Mcfadden, Fred JAckson, J.Best And Darren Sproles, 2 rb 1 flex non-ppr….was wondering what you would do with best vs sproles this week? im glad best blew up last week but i dont know if he can do that again against a tough SF run d….but sproles and his lack of touches is scary…

    • It’s really close between the two. I agree with you on Best, especially considering that he hasn’t had more than 12 carries each of the past three weeks. He needs to make the most of his limited opportunities and that is no guarantee.

      I’d lean towards Sproles, but it really is 50/50.

  12. Chris says:

    I have Rashard Mendenhall, DeAngelo Williams, Delone Carter, Victor Cruz, DeSean Jackson and Steve Smith. Obiously Steve Smith is starting, but who should i start for my other WR, for my RBs and for my FLEX?

    • RB – Mendenhall & Williams (though, it really is a coin flip between Williams & Carter. Carter’s struggles last week scare me, though)
      WR – Smith & Jackson
      FLEX – Cruz

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