Week 13 Rankings: Top 40 Running Backs

Has Roy Helu finally become entrenched as a must use option?  Where does the recently returned Peyton Hillis fall on the rankings? Is Steven Jackson a viable option despite an impossible matchup?  Let’s try to answer these questions and all the rest for Week 13:

  1. Ray Rice – Baltimore Ravens – at Cleveland
  2. Arian Foster – Houston Texans – vs. Atlanta
  3. Frank Gore – San Francisco 49ers – vs. St. Louis
  4. LeSean McCoy – Philadelphia Eagles – at Seattle
  5. LeGarrette Blount – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – vs. Carolina
  6. Matt Forte – Chicago Bears – vs. Kansas City
  7. DeMarco Murray – Dallas Cowboys – at Arizona
  8. Chris Johnson – Tennessee Titans – at Buffalo
  9. Michael Bush – Oakland Raiders – at Miami
  10. Maurice Jones-Drew – Jacksonville Jaguars – vs. San Diego
  11. Michael Turner – Atlanta Falcons – at Houston
  12. Marshawn Lynch – Seattle Seahawks – vs. Philadelphia
  13. Darren Sproles – New Orleans Saints – vs. Detroit
  14. Reggie Bush – Miami Dolphins – vs. Oakland
  15. Ryan Mathews – San Diego Chargers – at Jacksonville
  16. BenJarvus Green-Ellis – New England Patriots – vs. Indianapolis
  17. Kevin Smith – Detroit Lions – at New Orleans
  18. Willis McGahee – Denver Broncos – at Minnesota
  19. DeAngelo Williams – Carolina Panthers – at Tampa Bay
  20. Beanie Wells – Arizona Cardinals – vs. Dallas
  21. Rashard Mendenhall – Pittsburgh Steelers – vs. Cincinnati
  22. Shonn Greene – New York Jets – at Washington
  23. Cedric Benson – Cincinnati Bengals – at Pittsburgh
  24. Steven Jackson – St. Louis Rams – at San Francisco
  25. Roy Helu – Washington Redskins – vs. New York Jets
  26. C.J. Spiller – Buffalo Bills – vs. Tennessee
  27. Jackie Battle – Kansas City Chiefs – at Chicago
  28. Peyton Hillis – Cleveland Browns – vs. Baltimore
  29. Toby Gerhart – Minnesota Vikings – vs. Denver
  30. Jonathan Stewart – Carolina Panthers – at Tampa Bay
  31. Ben Tate – Houston Texans – vs. Atlanta
  32. Joseph Addai – Indianapolis Colts – at New England
  33. Brandon Jacobs – New York Giants – vs. Green Bay
  34. James Starks – Green Bay Packers – at New York Giants
  35. Mike Tolbert – San Diego Chargers – at Jacksonville
  36. Kendall Hunter – San Francisco 49ers – vs. St. Louis
  37. Daniel Thomas – Miami Dolphins – vs. Oakland
  38. Pierre Thomas – New Orleans Saints – vs. Detroit
  39. Marion Barber – Chicago Bears – vs. Kansas City
  40. Maurice Morris – Detroit Lions – at New Orleans


  • The Rams have long proven to be the worst run defense in the league, though allowing Beanie Wells to go for 228 yards and 1 TD on 27 carries really drives home the point.  Frank Gore has not been stellar over the past three weeks, but it is hard not to like him for the coming week.
  • Speaking of Wells, is anyone still concerned about his health?  He had rushed for 198 yards in the previous four games combined, but his Week 12 performance definitely eases any concerns.  Obviously the matchup played a role, so I wouldn’t push him too high based on that one performance.  Consider him a RB2 in all formats.
  • LeGarrette Blount has rushed for over 100 yards in each of his past two games.  That alone has put him back on the fantasy map.  Throw in the fact that he’s facing a defense that has allowed 15 rushing TD (the Panthers are tied with the Colts for the league lead) on the season and he emerges as one of the better options in the league for the coming week.  Consider him a RB1 in all formats.
  • Chris Johnson is the perfect example of why you don’t give up on someone over one poor performance.  A week after he ran for 13 yards on 12 carries Johnson erupted to go for 190 yards on 23 carries.  It’s the second time in the past three weeks that he’s rushed for at least 130 yards and the third time in his past four games that he has posted 100 total yards or more.  The Bills are currently allowing 123.8 rushing yards per game, as well as having allowed 12 TD, making Johnson a very good play in all formats and a viable RB1.
  • TheSan Francisco49ers continue to be the best rushing defense in the league, allowing 75.5 yards per game.  They still have yet to allow a touchdown.  It’s hard to sit down Steven Jackson, but it’s hard to consider him more than a low-end RB2.
  • Will Adrian Peterson play or won’t he?  If he does, will he be at full health?  He’s going to be a RB1 if he plays, so keep that in mind when viewing the rankings.  For now we are leaving him off.
  • Have the Redskins finally turned things over to Roy Helu?  They gave him 23 carries in Week 12 and he rewarded them with 108 yards and 1 TD.  He does have a difficult matchup with the Jets, however, and we all have learned not to trust Mike Shanahan at this point (no matter what he says).  Consider him a low-end RB2/FLEX option at this point.
  • Until we learn that Ahmad Bradshaw is healthy and playing he has to be left off these rankings.  Monitor the news because if he plays he will definitely be a RB2, at worst.
  • Kevin Smith is banged up, but with 10 days between games there is a good chance he is able to take the field for the coming week.  Considering he also is a viable option in the passing game if he’s on the field he should be a good option in all formats against the Saints.
  • Peyton Hillis draws a tough matchup with the Ravens and, while he should operate as the lead back, will share carries with Chris Ogbonnaya and potentially Montario Hardesty.  He’s nothing more than a FLEX option until he proves otherwise.

***** Attention Fantasy Baseball Players!  Pre-order the Rotoprofessor 2012 Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide, complete with updates from January through the start of the season, for just $6!  To place your order click here. *****

Make sure to check out all of our Week 13 articles:

Week 13 Rankings: Top 50 Wide Receivers
Week 13 Rankings: Top 25 Quarterbacks


  1. Randy says:

    I have Foster, Murray, Kevin Smith, Felix Jones, and Jonathan Stewart. Would you drop Felix for Daniel Thomas? Or, is losing Felix too much of a risk as a handcuff to Murray? Thanks (again)!

  2. J.V says:

    I have mendenhall, mcgahee, greene, jacobs, tate, and smith as my rbs and megatron, robinson, marshall, nicks, and maclin as my wrs. I also have gronkowski,crosby,and texans defense. Should I pick up patriots defense and morris or should i just hold onto my players? If so, who should I drop? oh and im in the playoffs so i dont desperately need a win.

  3. matt flynn says:

    No Donald Brown???? Looks to be the starter to me.

  4. Cara says:

    If Kevin Smith does not play does that change your ranking for Morris??

  5. Randy – Tough call, but I don’t know that Thomas is going to be much of an option with Reggie Bush getting significant touches. I’d probably stand pat.

    J.V. – I love the Patriots D for this week and potentially the next few weeks. Jacobs is a bust and, considering your other options, is an easy drop. I’d pick up the Pats and cut Jacobs loose.

    Matt Flynn – He is interchangable with Addai, honestly. Whoever is the starter gets that spot and the other falls short of the rankings.

    Cara – Yes, he’d probably be a borderline RB2 and definitely usable as a FLEX. He’s not going to be as highly rated as Smith, however.

  6. Ketan says:

    RP, thanks for the help all season.

    I’m a lock for the playoffs, 4th rank playing 3rd seed this week in last game of season, with potential to move to 3rd seed. It’s worth to not play the #5 team, which is the 2nd highest scoring team in the league.

    My team
    QB – Stafford, Ryan, Tebow
    RB (2) – Foster, Murray, M Bush, DeAngelo W
    WR/TE (3)Nicks, Colston, Maclin, Gaffney, A Hernandez and Tony Gonzalez.
    DST – Cowboys
    K – Kasay

    I’d feel better at WR/TE if Maclin were healthy. I have a surplus at QB but it keeps some of the other playoff teams limited in their QB options.

    Would you drop Gaffney and pickup Riley Cooper or Brent Celek or Darius Heyward Bey or Nate Burleson? He led receiving with Moss back, but they had equal # of catches. This is a PPR league.

    Would you drop Cowboys for Patriots D, Cardinals D or Broncos D? Thanks.

  7. Ryan says:

    Ok sooo bummer so I went K. Smith, Sproles, A. Brown, Jordy Nelson, and V. Jax total bummer for obvious reason had D. Brown, Matthews, and D. Will on bench… This week I was thinking of going Matthews, Sproles, at my 2 RB options and K. Smith or A. Brown(Pitt) as flex and despite their poor performances I feel I must stick with jordy and Vjax… This would leave D.Will, D.Brown, Burleson, and possibly Knox on bench if I snag him off waivers… Am I make the right lineup call here? Is D. Will legit I mean the we’re playing Jax so is it really wise to buy into his hype? And with Norv out the door what’s the play calling going to look like in SD? It win or go home this week for me so would appreciate your insight! Thank RP!

  8. Ryan – I don’t think Cooper is ever going to play for you, so I wouldn’t go crazy getting him. However, I’d probably drop Gaffney to get the Pats D. They have a nice matchup this week and could be a good play for the next few weeks, actually.

    Ryan – I agree with your starting RB & WR. It was a tough week, but you have to expect them to bounce back. A healthy Smith would be the play at FLEX and, if he’s not, I’d probably go D-Will.

  9. steven says:

    I have 2 open spot at RB. My backs are chris johnson, demarco murray, legarrett blount, steven jackson and matt forte.
    I have 3 open slots for WR. My recievers are mike williams (tb), miles austin, aj green and calvin johnson. Calvin is a must play.

    • RB – By my rankings you have 4 of the Top 8 backs this week, so you really can’t go wrong. I’d probably go Blount & Murray, but take your pick!

      WR – I’d go Johnson, Green & Williams. The Cowboys passing game has been fine without Austin, so they may ease him back into the mix.

  10. KT says:

    Professor! I need some help in the WR2 slot. Cruz is a must for my WR1, I always try to pick those that will get the ball often. So who do I select between, Robinson (Dal), Harvin (Min), A. Brown (Pit), or D. Bowe(KC) Thanks so much.

    • I want to say Robinson, but is going to depend on Austin’s return. Once he’s back, it’s tough to depend on him.

      As of now I’d probably go Bowe given the matchup and the potential for Kyle Orton to takeover at QB. That could change by week’s end, however.

  11. Earl Noffsinger says:

    .5 PPR 12team… I always see to pick the wrong guys. Last week, except for Welker, all my bench WRs as RBs did better. Thank God for Brees. Anyway,

    2RBs from Chris Johnson, Sproles, Law Firm, McGahee, Kev Smith…

    3 WRS from Cal Johnson, Welker, Torrey Smith, Lance Moore, Knox.

    My preference. What do you think?

  12. Tony says:

    I’m still injury plagued so I’m looking at either Pierre Thomas or Donald brown as a RB2. Would you take a flyer on Brown vs the three headed monster?

  13. Earl – Here’s how I’d set it up:
    RB – I’d probably go Johnson & Sproles (Green-Ellis is the next choice)
    WR – Calvin Jonhson, Welker & Knox

    Tony – Tough call, but it looks like Brown should get the bulk of the carries in Indianapolis so that’s the direction I’d lean.

  14. Matt says:

    Having a tough time deciding. Please help. Who should I bench. Green-Ellis, B. Wells, L. Robinson or Roddy White?

    • Tough, tough call. For me Green-Ellis & White should definitely be in.

      Robinson gets a huge boost now that Austin is out.

      Wells, who is coming off a big game, is still a risky play. He’s the one I’d probably sit.

  15. Jason says:

    what rb should i go with this week?

    mendenhall, mcgahee, smith, tate, greene

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