Week 14 Rankings: Top 40 Running Backs

Where does Adrian Peterson fall on the rankings if he is healthy?  How good of an option is Marshawn Lynch?  Whose stock is falling with your fantasy title on the line?  Let’s look at these stories and all the rest for Week 14:

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

Thoughts:

  • Would anyone have predicted Marshawn Lynch as a Top 5 option in any given week this season?  A matchup against the St. Louis Rams, who are allowing a league high 157.8 rushing yards per game, definitely helps.  So does the fact that he’s rushed for over 100 yards in four of his past five games (coincidentally the one game he didn’t was an 88 yard performances against the Rams) and has 8 TD in his past eight games.  It’s hard to bet against him right now.
  • Has everyone forgotten about Chris Johnson’s problems yet?  After rushing for 153 yards and 2 TD in Week 13, he’s now rushed for at least 130 yards in three of his past four games and has over 100 total yards in four of his past five games.  He’s looking like the player of old and should definitely be considered a Top 10 option this week.
  • In his Week 6 matchup with the Panthers Michael Turner gashed them for 139 yards and 2 TD.  In his past three games against Carolina he has scored 6 TD.  It’s hard not to like him this week, despite his struggles of late (104 yards and 0 TD over his past two games).
  • Ryan Mathews made the most of his 13 carries in Week 13, going for 112 yards and 1 TD.  Since it was the fact that the team threw the ball more, as opposed to giving more carries to Mike Tolbert (6 carries for 24 yards and 1 TD), there really shouldn’t be a concern from fantasy owners.  With a favorable matchup against the Bills on tap Matthews is a solid RB1 option.
  • It is expected that Adrian Peterson will return for the Vikings this week, though there is still a major risk involved in using him.  Is there a risk of him getting re-injured?  Will the Vikings opt to split carries?  If he’s in there he’s a must play option, but there is reason to be cautious.
  • DeMarco Murray continues to struggle without Tony Fiammetta in the Cowboys lineup.  If you missed the pre-Week 13 numbers, check out our By the Numbers column (click here to view).  Over the past three weeks, without Fiammetta, Murray has managed just 198 yards.  With Fiammetta out indefinitely, there is reason to be concerned.  He’s still a RB2 against the New York Giants, but don’t get distracted by his initial gaudy numbers.
  • We all know Darren Sproles’ potential to have a big day, but he hasn’t shown it lately.  He hasn’t surpassed 82 total yards the past three weeks and, despite a favorable matchup with the Titans, he has to be considered a low-end RB2 this week.  There are just too many options who can take away touches.
  • Ahmad Bradshaw came out of his Week 13 matchup healthy and should see a significantly increased role this week against the Cowboys.  Consider him a solid play as a RB2 in all formats.
  • Kevin Smith was left off the rankings as it doesn’t appear that he’s healthy at this point.  If he plays he’s more of a FLEX option, at best, due to the risk of him going down early and missing the bulk of the game.  With your fantasy title on the line, he’s way too big of a risk.
  • Is James Starks going to play?  Even if he doesn’t, will Ryan Grant get enough carries to justify using him?  Starks is not worth the risk, but if you are desperate for a FLEX play consider using Grant.

***** 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 14 articles:

Week 14 Rankings: Top 20 Tight Ends
Week 14 Rankings: Top 25 Quarterbacks

19 comments

  1. Matt says:

    Can you elaborate on why Frank Gore is ranked so high following very subpar performances over the past four weeks? Granted his games against the Giants and Ravens were tough matchups; but it’s not like he was facing stalwart defenses in Arizona (Week 11) and St. Louis (Week 13).

  2. Tommy says:

    BLUONT OR CJ SPILLER?! I am having trouble slotting in bluont after last weeks terrible performance and his alleged mafiosa reliation to a fender bender this week. Jacksonvilles offense is pretty bad so the bucs shouldnt have to play from behind (when bluont is invisible) that is one thing he has going for him, but cj is so versatile and Im a Bills fan (embarassed face =P)

    Dawn tho’st mighty wisdom upon me RotoProfessor

  3. JDub says:

    PIcked up Marion Barber on waivers, start him over demarco Murray?

  4. Mike says:

    Hey, I lost forte last week and my playoffs just started. I droped forte and miles Austin, spiller, hillis and robinson are avaiavle. Who should I pick up?

    And who should I start
    McCoy
    Chris Johnson
    Steven Jackson
    Sproles
    Marshall
    Nicks
    Coloston
    Nelson
    Larry fitz

    I can play 2 rb, 2 wr and 2 wr/rb

    Thanks

  5. Triz says:

    All right! I dropped Starks and picked up CJ Spiller last night :)

    No one took Akers in the waivers – should I be dropping someone (Tolbert?) to get him? (I am betting you are going to say don’t drop Janikowski).

    Thanks!

    • Triz says:

      How exactly does it work with Spiller since he is both WR and RB? Do I have to play him at flex?

    • Triz says:

      Just to remind you, right now my team is:

      QB: Rivers (Fitzpatrick)
      TE: Gates
      DST: Steelers
      K: Janikowski

      RB: Arian Foster, Mathews, McGahee, Tolbert, Kevin Smith

      WRs: Calvin Johnson, Stevie Johnson, Santonio Holmes, Mike Williams, Santana Moss

      And of course, CJ Spiller :)

      I am reluctant to give up Tolbert, just in case Mathews gets injured, but that’s the only scenario I guess in which I’d start him now?

  6. Jason says:

    Prof, I need to fill in 1 qb,2rb,3wr,1 flex and a defense.
    qb-stafford,romo
    rb-mendenhall,mcgahee,greene,tate,smith
    wr-megatron,burleson,nicks,marshall,robinson
    defense-patriots,texans

    who should i go with?

  7. OK, I’m going to take these one-by-one:

    Matt – I know Gore hasn’t been quite as good of late, but it’s not like he’s been absolutely awful and does have a favorable matchup. I would definitely consider him a RB1 for the coming week, as he has the potential to post big numbers.

    Tommy – It’s actually rather close, but I think I would go with Blount. Prior to this last dud, Blount had looked like he was getting on a roll. As we’ve seen with Chris Johnson, we shouldn’t write someone off due to one poor game.

    JDub – No, Barber is as big of a risk, if not a bigger one, than Murray. I’d still take the high upside risk of Murray.

    Mike – I’d probably pick up Spiller for this week due to the risk of Hillis and the potential injury to Robinson. As far as who I’d play, I’d go with:

    RB – Johnson & McCoy
    WR – Nicks & Nelson
    FLEX – Fitzgerald & Marshall

    Triz – No, you can use Spiller as either a RB or a WR, so gives you added flexibility. As for Akers, I have him as my top kicker this week and he and Janikowski are pretty interchangable. You can’t go wrong with either, so if you want to have both it couldn’t hurt. As you said, Tolbert is probably never going to play for you, so he’s very expendable.

    Jason – Here’s how I’d set it up:
    QB – Romo
    RB – Mendenhall & Greene
    WR – C. Johnson, Nicks & Marshall
    FLEX – McGahee
    D – New England

  8. MarkM says:

    CJ Spiller or Dez Bryant? Worried about Austin coming back and/or Spiller having a big day.
    Thoughts?

    • I’d probably go with Bryant, but that is a fair concern. It’s close enough that if your gut is telling you to go with Spiller, then I’d do it. It really could go either way as to who has the biggest day. As you said with Austin, as well as Laurent Robinson in the mix (though he’s banged up) it’s no guarantee that Bryant has a big game.

  9. Kermit says:

    My league #1 – A. Foster, M. Turner, Roy Helu – Do I trust Turner this week? My league #2 – L. McCoy, D. Murray, T. Gerhart or A.P. if he suits up? 2 of these 3 in each league. I want to trust Turner, but like what Helu has been doing and his pass play ability. Will “All Day” play all day? I have K. Smith on IR in both leagues and would hate to see Adrian go down like Smith did last week. Any advise?

  10. ddschmidt says:

    Got a running back question.

    Got L. Blount, M. Morris, and B. Tate for one spot.

    I have morris in my lineup right now, just wondering if one of the other two would be better?

    Thanks

  11. Kermit:
    League 1 – Yes, I definitely would go Foster & Turner
    League 2 – If Peterson plays he offers a ton more upside than Murray at this point. I’d go with McCoy & AP, but I understand the injury risk. If you want to be safer, Murray is not a bad option. You just have to hope he breaks out of his funk.

    ddschmidt – Yea, I actually like Blount better than Morris at this point.

  12. patty says:

    reggie bush or helu for slot 2, foster in at slot 1, thanks.

  13. patty says:

    houston vs cinci or chicago vs denver, thanks.

  14. patty:

    The RB spot is so close it’s a coin flip, but I would probably go with Helu at this point. Despite the matchup I would expect him to b a factor both running and catching the football.

    As for the D, it’s again a coin flip, but I’d go with Chicago.

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