Week 11 Rankings: Top 40 Running Backs

Has Marshawn Lynch emerged as a must use option?  Will we ever get an answer as to who the go to back is in New England?  Will Washington ever give the bulk of the carries to Roy Helu?  Let’s look at these questions and all the rest as we head into Week 11:

  1. Adrian Peterson – Minnesota Vikings – vs. Oakland
  2. LeSean McCoy – Philadelphia Eagles – at New York Giants
  3. Matt Forte – Chicago Bears – vs. San Diego
  4. DeMarco Murray – Dallas Cowboys – at Washington
  5. Ray Rice – Baltimore Ravens – vs. Cincinnati
  6. Maurice Jones-Drew – Jacksonville Jaguars – at Cleveland
  7. Frank Gore – San Francisco 49ers – vs. Arizona
  8. Michael Turner – Atlanta Falcons – vs. Tennessee
  9. Fred Jackson – Buffalo Bills – at Miami
  10. Steven Jackson – St. Louis Rams – vs. Seattle
  11. Michael Bush – Oakland Raiders – at Minnesota
  12. Marshawn Lynch – Seattle Seahawks – at St. Louis
  13. Chris Johnson – Tennessee Titans – at Atlanta
  14. Ryan Mathews – San Diego Chargers – at Chicago
  15. Shonn Greene – New York Jets – at Denver
  16. Reggie Bush – Miami Dolphins – vs. Buffalo
  17. Willis McGahee – Denver Broncos – vs. New York Jets
  18. Roy Helu – Washington Redskins – vs. Dallas
  19. Brandon Jacobs – New York Giants – vs. Philadelphia
  20. James Starks – Green Bay Packers – vs. Tampa Bay
  21. Mike Tolbert – San Diego Chargers – at Chicago
  22. BenJarvus Green-Ellis – New England Patriots – vs. Kansas City
  23. Maurice Morris – Detroit Lions – vs. Carolina
  24. LeGarrette Blount – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – at Green Bay
  25. Jackie Battle – Kansas City Chiefs – at New England
  26. Lance Ball – Denver Broncos – vs. New York Jets
  27. Chris Ogbonnaya – Cleveland Browns – vs. Jacksonville
  28. Jonathan Stewart – Carolina Panthers – at Detroit
  29. Kendall Hunter – San Francisco 49ers – vs. Arizona
  30. Daniel Thomas – Miami Dolphins – vs. Buffalo
  31. Cedric Benson – Cincinnati Bengals – at Baltimore
  32. Beanie Wells – Arizona Cardinals – at San Francisco
  33. Keiland Williams – Detroit Lions – vs. Carolina
  34. Danny Woodhead – New England Patriots – vs. Kansas City
  35. Ryan Torain – Washington Redskins – vs. Dallas
  36. Ryan Grant – Green Bay Packers – vs. Tampa Bay
  37. DeAngelo Williams – Carolina Panthers – at Detroit
  38. Javon Ringer – Tennessee Titans – at Atlanta
  39. Felix Jones – Dallas Cowboys – at Washington
  40. Carnell Williams – St. Louis Rams – vs. Seattle


  • Almost on cue Chris Johnson posted a monster Week 10 performance, rushing for 130 yards and 1 TD.  That makes back-to-back strong games, though he has a much stiffer test against the Falcons (90.3 rushing yards per game) this week.  In fact only once all season has Michael Turner not been the leading rusher in a Falcons game (LeGarrette Blount went for 81 yards in Week 3 in a game Atlanta threw the ball 47 times).  In other words, it’s impossible not to have Turner ranked above Johnson and, despite the strong showing, Johnson is still more of a low-end RB1/high-end RB2.
  • Frank Gore missed the majority of the second half in Week 10, which obviously is a major concern for fantasy owners.  We’ll have to monitor the news closely this week (as of right now talk is he’s going to play), but if he’s on the field he has to be considered a very good option against an Arizona defense that has allowed 12 rushing touchdowns (tied for the league lead). 
  • After both Willis McGahee and Knowshon Moreno left the Broncos Week 10 matchup, Lance Ball stepped to the plate and performed well (96 yards on 30 carries).  It’s clear that Denver is going to be a run first, run second and run some more team, so Ball is an intriguing option for the coming week.  With a Thursday game it looks like he could be the lead back again, though we’ll have to monitor the news early on in the week.  Moreno has already been ruled out, while McGahee is currently being considered a game-time decision.  If he plays McGahee is obviously the option to use.
  • Who is the better back to own in Miami?  Reggie Bush (14 carries for 47 yards) and Daniel Thomas (17 carries for 42 yards) virtually split carries in Week 10.  However, it was Bush who scored 2 TD and is also a major threat catching the ball out of the backfield.  However, wouldn’t we expect Thomas to be the goal line back?  At this point it’s going to be Bush, though there’s a chance things go the other way.  Still, for Week 11 Bush is the better option.
  • Wasn’t Roy Helu supposed to be the starter for the Redskins?  Then why did he get just 6 carries (while Ryan Torain had 10).  It was apparent, hopefully once and for all, that Helu is the better option as he averaged 6.8 yards per carry as compared to Torain’s 2.0 mark.  Consider Helu the better play as a RB2 for the coming week.
  • For now I’m listing Michael Bush as the lead back for Oakland, but if Darren McFadden plays he will simply slide into the spot.  It’s a tough matchup against Minnesota, which could limit either player’s value, but thus far they have proven they can on anyone and can be considered RB1 in all formats.
  • Marshawn Lynch rushed for 109 yards and 1 TD in Week 10 and now draws the worst rushing defense in the league (St. Louis is allowing 150.6 rushing yards per game).  With back-to-back 100 yard games and a TD in five straight it is hard not to like him in Week 11.
  • Will the New England Patriots actually run the ball a lot against a Chiefs defense allowing 134.0 rushing yards per game?  Maybe…  Will it definitely be BenJarvus Green-Ellis?  Who knows…  You have to figure Green-Ellis is going to be the go to back, but it is hard to consider him anything more than a low-end RB2 considering the unpredictable nature of New England.
  • Jonathan Stewart has a favorable matchup against the Lions (134.4 passing yards per game), though he’s done nothing to really make fantasy owners take notice.  While he’s the better option in Carolina, he still should be considered nothing more than a FLEX option.
  • Would it surprise anyone if the Tampa Bay Buccaneers fall behind early and completely abandon the run?  LeGarrette Blount is definitely a risky option.

Make sure to check out the rest of our Week 11 articles:

Week 11 Rankings: Top 50 Wide Receivers
Week 11 Rankings: Top 25 Quarterbacks


  1. Randy says:

    If McGahee doesn’t play, where would Lance Ball fall in the rankings? I’m trying to decide between him and Ogbonnaya to pick up this evening, leaning towards Ball. I hear McGahee is “iffy”. Thanks!

  2. Ketan says:

    Foster on Bye, Murray and Ogbonnaya will be my RB starters.
    I can try to get Ball or Maurice Morris to start ahead of Ogbonnaya in a 12-team PPR.

    I’m 5-5 and need a win to have a playoff chance.

    Which RB do you like?

    My WRs are Nicks, Maclin (hurt), Colston(bye), T Gonzalez, A Hernandez and Laurent Robinson.

    Would you trade Laurent Robinson for Michael Bush – both seem to be rental starters until Austin/ DMC return?

  3. Jared says:

    Would you still play Law Firm over Kendall Hunter in a PPR this week? I dont know if Hunter is a catching stud, but green-ellis NEVER catches a ball.

  4. Jason says:

    Who should I go with? Need to fill in 2 rb, 3 wr, 1 flex.

    rb-greene, mcgahee, jacobs,
    wr-c.johnson, maclin, nicks, marshall, robinson

    what defense would you pick up just for this week? patriots, falcons, broncos, raiders, and rams

  5. Ketan – How many WR do you start? I certainly could see dealing Robinson for Bush for this week (assuming McFadden is not coming back). Otherwise, I’d go with Morris.

    Jared – It really depends on the news as the week progresses. Depending on what is going on with Gore, Hunter would definitely offer more upside. However, if Gore is playing and relatively healthy, Green-Ellis is going to be the better option. We’ll have to take a wait and see approach.

    Jason – Here’s how I’d go:
    RB – Greene & McGahee
    WR – C. Johnson, Marshall & Nicks
    FLEX – Jacobs
    As for the D, it’s definitely the Patriots

    • Jared says:

      I also could drop Ingram for Lance Ball if McGahee doesnt play, but that may be sacrificing a lot for one week of usage…

      (we have a 5RB max in this league which is terrible)

    • Ketan says:

      Thanks Will. I start 3 total – 1 WR and 2 WR/TE flexes. I’m trying tonight to pick up Denarius Moore on waivers. Then, I’ll have greater confidence to trade Laurent for Bush.

    • Ketan – It’s Eric that’s replying not Will….lol (I’m the one who uses this name) As for picking up Moore, I 100% agree. If you get him, the deal becomes a no-brainer.

      Jared – As it is, the news today (which I just posted about) makes me feel like Hunter could be a good play this week. It feels like the 49ers are going to go easy on Gore in an effort to get him healthy, as they should. I’d most likely use him over Green-Ellis for this week.

  6. Scott Meyer says:

    I have Mathews, Lynch, Murray, McGahee, & Starks as my RB’s. Whereas Murray & Lynch are slam dunks for Wk. 11 – how do you rate the other three? As of now, it looks like McGahee will go on Thursday.

    • Scott Meyer says:

      I need help with this… I keep leaving my talent on the bench and am losing close games because of it. Guess you could say I was “snake bitten”. If McGahee starts, will he last?? And why is Mathews rated so high with his recent injuries and Tolbert getting the ball so often? And will Starks ever have that break-out game? I finally dumped Hillis – but see him coming back and playing well in Wks. 14-16 (playoffs) to get his price tag elevated for the FA market this spring.

    • I would probably go Mathews, McGahee and then Starks.

      McGahee is a risk not only due to the injury, but because of the Jets defense. While you have to expect Denver to be able to run the ball, if they don’t show pass early the Jets are going to get aggressive.

      As for Mathews, he and Tolbert basically split touches and he does have the potential to break one at any moment.

      With Starks, the Packers need to actually run the ball consistently for him to break out. Would you be willing to bet on that happening?

      • Scott Meyer says:

        Thanks… now it looks as if McGahee is more questionable, fairly limited and more of a risk. So this enforces Mathews even more, and that is the way I’ll play it. Now – how about Cruz or Holmes (Thur. night)?? I also am starting Bryant & D. Moore. Also have the option of using my 4th WR as a flex option over Mathews. This is a PPR league, with points @ 1/10 yds rush & @ 1/15 receiving.

        • No, I’d definitely use Mathews as the FLEX. As for the third WR I have Holmes and Cruz back-to-back on my rankings, so it is extremely close for me. However, I am not a big believer in Holmes as the Jets continue to be a run-centric offense. Is there any guarantee Holmes does much?

          I’d lean towards Cruz.

  7. Mike mike says:

    For flex
    mcgahee or steve johnson or greene

  8. Cara says:

    Have R. Bush, Helu, Tolbert and Detroits Morris. I want to play Bush. Who should I pick for my number 2? Why do you not have Morris ranked? I was thinking he would do well this week?

  9. Mike – It’s Greene for me. McGahee is a risk due to the defense and thei njury.

    Cara – Morris is at #23, so he is on there 🙂 I’d probably go Helu as he has the most upside with Tolbert as my next pick if you are concerned with Shanahan’s shenanigans.

  10. Triz says:


    So from your rankings, I should play Calvin Johnson and Santonio Holmes at WR and Mathews and McGahee at RB, yes?

    But who at WR/RB? Starks, Tolbert or Stevie Johnson?


  11. Triz says:

    Okay, great. Thanks again!

  12. Mike says:


    I need to figure out my rb/wr , I currently have Blount in but i have mcgaee and julio jones on my bench.

    Morris, Bennett, hunter,little and Robinson are available.

    What’s your recommendation?

  13. Austin D says:

    Cruz or Bennett as my 3rd WR Cuz i already got marshall and welker this week PPR league and 10 point bonus for 100 yards

    And breaston, little, Holmes. Williams(ten) or Douglas
    Gotta pick 3 same rules as other league

    Thanks man

  14. Mike – If McGahee is playing, he’s the way I would go. Otherwise, as of right now, if Julio Jones is healthy he’s the choice. Otherwise, it’s Laurent Robinson for me.

    Austin D – I’d defintiely go with Cruz. As for the other league it’s Holmes, Williams & Breaston (though, if Julio Jones is injured I’d go with Douglas over Breaston).

  15. Nate says:

    Once again, need a flex in 6pt per TD league

    – Beanie Wells
    – Laurent Robinson

    I’ve already had to play Sanchez who laid a big 8, so I’ve got some ground to make up…I’m leaning towards Beanie since even though he plays S.F., I figure he’s going to get 15+ touches (barring injury). I know Robinson is hot but he’s a WR fighting for touches…


    • I’d go Robinson. Between Wells’ knee injury and the matchup, it’s hard to imagine him doing much. He’s going to need a TD to save him, but with the 49ers allowing 0 rushing TD, it’s hard to imagine.

  16. kody says:

    If gore can’t play tommorw should I use hunter?

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