Week 7 Rankings: Top 40 Running Backs

There are some fairly significant injuries hanging over running backs as we head into Week 7.  Felix Jones, LeGarrette Blount, Peyton Hillis and Jahvid Best all appear likely to miss this weeks games.  Couple that with the bye week and there are definitely some interesting names in the rankings.  Let’s take a look:

  1. Darren McFadden – Oakland Raiders – vs. Kansas City
  2. Adrian Peterson – Minnesota Vikings – vs. Green Bay
  3. Ray Rice – Baltimore Ravens – at Jacksonville
  4. Matt Forte – Chicago Bears – at Tampa Bay
  5. Arian Foster – Houston Texans – at Tennessee
  6. Ryan Mathews – San Diego Chargers – at New York Jets
  7. Michael Turner – Atlanta Falcons – at Detroit
  8. Chris Johnson – Tennessee Titans – vs. Houston
  9. Rashard Mendenhall – Pittsburgh Steelers – at Arizona
  10. Beanie Wells – Arizona Cardinals – vs. Pittsburgh
  11. Earnest Graham – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – vs. Chicago
  12. Maurice Jones-Drew – Jacksonville Jaguars – vs. Baltimore
  13. Darren Sproles – New Orleans Saints – vs. Indianapolis
  14. Steven Jackson – St. Louis Rams – at Dallas
  15. Willis McGahee – Denver Broncos – at Miami
  16. Daniel Thomas – Miami Dolphins – vs. Denver
  17. Shonn Greene – New York Jets – vs. San Diego
  18. Ryan Torain – Washington Redskins – at Carolina
  19. DeAngelo Williams – Carolina Panthers – vs. Washington
  20. DeMarco Murray – Dallas Cowboys – vs. St. Louis
  21. Jackie Battle – Kansas City Chiefs – at Oakland
  22. Marshawn Lynch – Seattle Seahawks – at Cleveland
  23. Joseph Addai – Indianapolis Colts – at New Orleans
  24. James Starks – Green Bay Packers – at Minnesota
  25. Jonathan Stewart – Carolina Panthers – vs. Washington
  26. Montario Hardesty – Cleveland Browns – vs. Seattle
  27. Mike Tolbert – San Diego Chargers – at New York Jets
  28. Pierre Thomas – New Orleans Saints – vs. Indianapolis
  29. Maurice Morris – Detroit Lions – vs. Atlanta
  30. Reggie Bush – Miami Dolphins – vs. Denver
  31. Ryan Grant – Green Bay Packers – at Minnesota
  32. Delone Carter – Indianapolis Colts – at New Orleans
  33. LaDainian Tomlinson – New York Jets – vs. San Diego
  34. Ronnie Brown – Detroit Lions – vs. Atlanta
  35. Tashard Choice – Dallas Cowboys – vs. St. Louis
  36. Michael Bush – Oakland Raiders – vs. Kansas City
  37. Dexter McCluster – Kansas City Chiefs – at Oakland
  38. Carnell Williams – St. Louis Rams – at Dallas
  39. Knowshon Moreno – Denver Broncos – at Miami
  40. Donald Brown – Indianapolis Colts – at New Orleans

Thoughts:

  • Green Bay’s defense has been good against the run this season (84.0 yards/game), but how much of that has to do with how bad they have been against the pass?  The Vikings are not built to pass the ball, instead putting the focus on Adrian Peterson.  In the two games against the Packers in 2010 he ran for 203 yards and 1 TD.  He’s going to be one of the top options once again for the coming week.
  • Having played five games and enjoyed the rest from a Week 6 bye, we have to think the time has come for Chris Johnson to finally start to consistently produce, don’t we?  Keep your fingers crossed and consider him a RB1, but it’s tough to slot him in as a Top 5 option like he used to be.
  • How can the New York Jets continue to struggle stopping opposing running backs?  Just look at the performance put up by Reggie Bush (71 yards) and Daniel Thomas (47 yards) in Week 6.  Assuming Ryan Mathews is healthy, his ability to both run and catch the football should make him a very good option in all formats.
  • Speaking of Daniel Thomas, he is really starting to live up to being a viable option isn’t he?  The Dolphins are going to keep getting Reggie Bush into the mix, but a healthy Thomas has shown that he can get the job done (despite his less than stellar performance on Monday night).  He may not be quite a RB1, but he’s a good play in all formats.
  • Earnest Graham as a RB1?!  He showed he can handle the load, rushing for 109 yards on 17 carries in Week 6 and also has 25 receptions on the season.  Throw in a matchup against a Bears defense allowing 121.8 rushing yards/game and there is a lot to like.
  • The Dallas Cowboys are allowing a league best 69.6 rushing yards/game.  It’s hard to argue against that type of number, though it was nice to see Steven Jackson wake up in Week 6 (96 yards on 18 carries plus 4 receptions for 29 yards).  Is he going to be a RB1 based on the matchup?  It’s impossible to put him there, though it’s hard to sit him.  With Brandon Lloyd now in the mix, things could open up a little bit more for him.
  • Darren Sproles continues to be the RB to own in New Orleans, given how much he’s used in the passing game.  However, why did he go from 11 rush attempts in Week 5 to just 1 in Week 6?  Playing from behind likely factored into that decision.  If he can maintain 7-10 carries per week (like in weeks four and five), he’s going to be an attractive option.
  • For now Joseph Addai is included on the rankings, but it is far from a certainty that he plays.
  • Given their injuries in Week 6, it appears likely that Peyton Hillis, Felix Jones and Jahvid Best will all miss Week 7.  They are not on the rankings, though we will update things if it becomes necessary.
  • DeMarco Murray has struggled thus far in his NFL career, but a matchup with the St. Louis Rams (who boast the worst rushing defense in the league allowing 163.0 yards/game) makes him intriguing.  He’s worth considering as a RB2.
  • While Maurice Morris will likely still draw the start for Detroit, the acquisition of Ronnie Brown will likely cut into his carries.  Neither is an ideal option at this point.

Make sure to check out the rest of Rotoprofessor’s Week 7 information:

Week 7 Rankings: Top 20 Tight Ends
Week 7 Rankings: Top 25 Quarterbacks

27 comments

  1. phil says:

    My Rbs are Rice, Greene, Torain, Battle, Daniel Thomas
    WRs-Calvin Johnson, Fitz,Sidney Rice, David Nelson, Greg Little, and Mike Williams (tb)
    pick 2 rbs, 2 wrs and 1 flex from the group and do you think I should make any trades because I think my QBs are good with Newton and I got Finley at TE

  2. steve says:

    M. Ingram? where is he?

  3. Jeremy Kiser says:

    Should i trade Chris Johnson and Steve Smith(Car Wr) for All day Adrain Peterson and hakeem Nicks ?

    Whats your take on this trade

  4. Ryan says:

    Hi,
    I have a horrible week ahead of me. my 2 rbs are hillis and best and my backups are addai and woodhead. in other words, no one’s playin. the only rbs in free agency are LT, T. Jones, Morris, Helo, and Donald Brown. My league is super competitive so good free agents are hard to come by. If you had to pick up 2 of these poor rbs, who would they be? Thanks a bunch.

  5. Kaan says:

    This week I have Hasselbeck in since Fitzmagic has a bye, but his matchup against the Texans is worrying. Colt McCoy is still kicking around in waivers, and I’m wondering if his matchup against a subpar pass defense is more favorable, especially considering that Cleveland’s running game certainly won’t be taking center stage, leaving McCoy to pick up the slack (In constrast to Chris Johnson possibly doing well vs. the Titans passing game)

    Also, RB woes… Pick 2 – DMurray, Torain, Beanie

    • Kaan says:

      I forgot to mention that Earnest Graham is still an option, but do you think he can get through that Bears line? They stuffed AP last week.

    • I would definitely go with Graham & Wells, with Torain as the third option. Graham can also be a major factor in the passing game, giving him a little something extra.

      As for the QB, I have them back-to-back on the my rankings so it is really close. I’d probably lean towards Hasselbeck, but if you feel stronger towards McCoy (and you make a strong case for it), then he’s just as good of an option.

  6. Jason says:

    what two would you start?

    shonn greene, willis mcgahee, and ryan torain

  7. S says:

    So between Turner, CJ, and Mathews, you’d sit CJ? (why must my RBs always rank right next to each other? ><)
    I ask because so far Turner's had one good game followed by one mediocre/subpar. Thoughts?

  8. Jason – I would definitely start McGahee. As for the other spot, it is extremely close. I would probably go with Greene, as the Jets are looking to go more ground and pound, but it could go either way.

    S – Yea, you really could go any way with those. It’s hard to imagine saying to sit CJ, though you are loaded. If you are not comfortable with Turner, I could easily see sitting him. It’s not like he has a gimme matchup against the Lions and Suh.

    • S says:

      I should have followed your rankings! Kept CJ in and almost lost because of it… down 47 pts going into tonight’s game with Graham/Kasay/Saints D left and they combined for 49 :D

  9. Jason says:

    mcgahee is going up against a good defense against the run…torain is going up against the weakest defense against the run…shonn greene hasnt been giving me good numbers. im still undecided.

  10. Tony says:

    Bye week is killing me. I’m starting Pierre Thomas at flex but would you gamble with Thomas Jones instead? Though battle is the favorite it seems Jones should still see more carrier than Thomas?

    • No, I would stick with Thomas. Sure, it’s possible Jones sees a few more carries (though I tend to doubt it), he has been completely unproductive with the opportunities he’s been given. He’s just not worth the risk.

  11. Tony says:

    How about Johnny Knox over Pierre? I keep thinking he can break out but it may just be wishful thinking as clearly there’s little evidence at this point.

  12. Jason says:

    who will see more carries this week?
    hightower or torain

    • Kaan says:

      Jason, I’m in the exact same boat you are. I believe Torain will have more carries than Hightower, and also have a big game if for no other reason than because he’s going up against the literal worst run D in the league. I have faith in Torain even though he disappointed last week, especially because Beanie and Earnest’s matchups (Pittsburgh & Chicago) are not very favourable.

      But Torain hasn’t been recommended to anyone. Would you mind explaining your reasoning a bit if possible, Rotoprofessor?

  13. Kaan, it’s not that I am against Torain, it all comes down to the other options available to everyone. Torain is in a threat to share carries, though if I had to pick between him and Hightower, Torain is the easy call. I do expect him to have a good game this week.

    Graham’s matchup is not a bad one at all, as the Bears are allowing 121.8 yards/game. He also plays a role in the passing game and is a virtual lock to get the bulk of the carries.

    Tony – Knox is a complete wild card at this point. The more we want to think he’s going to be the go to receiver in Chicago, the fewer looks he appears to get. It’s impossible to trust him.

  14. Ramblin' Wreck says:

    Got a terrible bye week and Best is out. Picked up Torain and Graham in advance but having a hard time with at flex. The picking is slim for this week but right now I’ve got Little in the flex but Fred Davis is out there along with Hardesty. Would Davis be a better play? My opponent has all his weapons and I need to go after it pretty hard! Thanks in advance.

  15. jake soriano says:

    I’ll be starting fred davis.

    One more question, professor: MJD’s going against that tough BAL D, and I’m hoping ponder builds a rapport w/harvin in garbage time against the Pack. My opponent’s starting S-Jax and Battle whereas I’m starting mcfadden and earnest graham: should I start MJD or Harvin?

  16. jake soriano – I know the matchup is tough, but it’s hard for me to recommend sitting MJD. Even against Baltimore, his upside is higher than Harvin’s at this point. Maybe if Harvin had shown a little bit something, but 261 yards and 0 TD? Throw in a rookie QB who can struggle and it’s a pretty big risk.

    Ramblin’ Wreck – Those three are actually a lot closer then I would’ve thought. The only reason I’d be skeptical about Battle is that he is going against a tough Steelers defense. Of course, they have given up 112.8 rushing yards/game, right in the middle of the pack. I’d probably go Battle, but I could understand being skeptical. My second choice would be Davis.

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