Week 15 Rankings: Top 40 Running Backs

Let’s continue our tour around the NFL by looking at the Top 50 wide receivers for the coming week.  With DeMarco Murray out, how good of a play is Felix Jones?  Will Adrian Peterson return this week?  How far does Rashard Mendenhall fall?  Let’s look at these questions and all the rest:

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

 

Thoughts:

  • Just when we think Chris Johnson is ready to really turn it on down the stretch, he posts a “stellar” 11 carry, 23 yard performance against the New Orleans Saints.  It’s hard to ignore the numbers he had posted in recent weeks (130 rushing yards or more three times from Week 10 – Week 13), as well as the favorable matchup against a Colts team that is allowing 144.3 rushing yards per game and 18 rushing TD.  I know it’s hard to trust him, but things appear stacked in his favor.
  • Cedric Benson has not been very good this season, but the St. Louis Rams are simply atrocious against the run.  Entering Week 14 they were allowing 157.8 rushing yards per game, including a recent 228 yard beating at the hands of Beanie Wells.  Benson should be considered a very good option with fantasy titles hanging in the balance.
  • Until Darren McFadden not only steps on the field, but makes an impact, we have to assume Michael Bush is going to carry the load.  With the Lions struggling against the run this season, at 136.1 rushing yards per game, Bush would seem like a very good play, with Suh returning to the lineup or not.
  • Roy Helu has now rushed for over 100 yards in three straight games.  Does anyone not expect him to carry the load against the New York Giants?
  • Tough break for the Dallas Cowboys losing DeMarco Murray for the remainder of the season.  However, with Tony Fiammetta back as the lead back Felix Jones should be just fine.  We’ve discussed how much better the rushing offense has been with Fiammetta in the backfield and Jones gets a Tampa Bay defense that has allowed 19 rushing TD on the year (as well as 139.7 rushing yards per game).  He’s got to be considered a good play regardless.
  • Will it be Adrian Peterson or Toby Gerhart in the backfield?  Or, will the two split carries as they work Peterson back into the mix?  The complete unknown as to how the situation will play out downgrades both of them significantly.  Obviously, if Peterson plays he is by far the better option, but we just don’t know at this point.
  • It is Rashard Mendenhall’s turn to get silenced by the San Francisco 49ers defense.  They continue to just stymie opposing running backs and have yet to allow a rushing touchdown (an unbelievable accomplishment).  In Week 13 it was Beanie Wells, who managed just 27 yards on 15 carries.  Mendenhall should be considered nothing more than a FLEX option in all formats.
  • Marion Barber had a big day, rushing for 108 yards and 1 TD.  However, he made two costly errors (running out of bounds at the end of regulation and fumbling as Chicago drove in overtime).  Will the Bears change up the offense after his two major mistakes?  We’ll have to wait to find out, but it’s hard to consider him as anything more than a RB2/FLEX due to the complete unknown.
  • Will Kevin Smith be healthy for Week 14?  If he starts the game, will he stay healthy for the entire thing?  Too many questions, though the matchup is appealing.  Monitor the news at this point.
  • Ryan Grant is a borderline RB2?!  Would anyone have seen that one coming?  Before you say the Packers aren’t going to run the ball enough to justify using him, would it really be surprising to see them build a huge lead early?  Grant rushed for 85 yards and 2 TD in Week 13 and could be usable once again for the coming week.

 

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41 Responses to Week 15 Rankings: Top 40 Running Backs

  1. Ryan says:

    No K. Smith? Would you go K. Smith or A. Brown at flex if Smith is good to go against Oakland? Also Giants D over SF D should be a no brainer but with big Ben hurting and wsh looking good against pays even though their D isn’t the greatest has me second guessing…

  2. Jason says:

    Prof, Who should I go with? 1qb,2rb,3wr,1flex,def

    qb-romo,stafford
    rb-mendenhall,mcgahee, smith,greene,tate
    wr-megatron,robinson,nicks,marshall,burleson
    def-texans,patriots

    waiver-jacobs,grant,k.williams,cobb,gaffney,young,d.thomas, moss,walter,cards def

  3. DEAN says:

    HELU OR GREENE OR SOROLES?

  4. AJ says:

    Who to start? 12 tm ppr Felix Jones, Marshawn Lynch or Beanie

  5. Ryan – Kevin Smith isn’t listed because of the injury. If he’s healthy he’s the one I’d go with, but it’s a huge if at this point. As for the D, I wouldn’t trust the Giants D for anything at this point.

    Jason – Here’s how I’d do it:
    QB – Romo (though it’s really close)
    RB – Green & McGahee
    WR – Johnson, Robinson & Nicks
    FLEX – Smith (if healthy) otherwise Marshall
    D – Houston

    AJ – Are we picking one? If we are, it’s Wells all the way.

  6. AJ says:

    Yeah just one, my other back is Rice which is a must start! Thanx i was leaning with Wells also

  7. Tommy says:

    non-ppr

    Jones or Bluont, and Choose 2, Bowe Stevie Johnson Santana Moss

  8. Jason says:

    K.Smith/Marshall/Gaffney?

    looks like smith is practicing..not sure if moore is gonna play

  9. rolandw says:

    Hey proffessor its been a while since I text u but I need ur help I’m coming off a first week bye but I lost d Murray and forte so who should I start (qb) tebow, or Ryan rb turner,Jones,Sam,morris, wr boldin,v.j.,James Jones,malcom Floyd,Michael crabtree I kinda need to know by tomorrow and Ty for ur help most of the year

  10. rolandw says:

    Oh yeah sorry about that 2 rbs 2 wrs and a flex

  11. Tommy – I’m going Jones for the RB. For the WR, I’m going Bowe & Johnson.

    Jason – Am I picking one? If Smith plays, he’s risk so we need to monitor the news. I’d give him the nod if it seems he’s close to 100%, but if it doesn’t he’s too big of a risk for a setback. In that case, I’d go Marshall.

    rolandw – Here’s how I’d do it:
    QB – Tebow
    RB – Turner & Jones
    WR – Boldin & Jackson
    FLEX – J. Jones

    Who is Sam though?

  12. rolandw says:

    I’m sorry Sammy morris Ty again

  13. Lewis says:

    K. Smith, A. Brown or Mendenhall at the flex?

    .5 ppr and .2 ppc

  14. Brian says:

    Need 2 out of these 3 guys….thanks…..

    Roy Helu (vs Giants)
    Michael Bush (vs Lions)
    Felix Jones (vs Bucs)

  15. Lewis – I’d say Smith, if he seems healthy, otherwise it’s Brown.

    Brian – Bush & Helu for sure

  16. Jason says:

    If kevin smith were to suit up, where would he be on this list?

  17. Joe says:

    Pick two RB’s from list please…
    Gore
    K. Smith
    L. Blount
    R. Grant

  18. Jason – Probably as a mid-to-low RB2. The problem is that there is always a threat of an early setback with him. As to if you should use him or not will depend solely on your other options.

    Joe – Probably Gore & Blount, though that’s not really knowing the status of Smith at this point.,

  19. Bryan says:

    Professor,

    Who would you start in flex between Santana Moss or Ryan Grant?

    Thanks!

  20. mike says:

    hey i am in the Championship and i need to who who to start

    1QB, 2RB, 1RB/WR, 2 WR

    QB newton, vick

    RB lesean mccoy, greene, leblount, willis mcgee

    WR mike wallace, harvin, robinson, antonio brown

    Thanks!

  21. Aaron says:

    Need 1

    R Grant or M Barber? This is one of the toughest decisions ive ever had to make…Please help

  22. Mike – Here’s how I’d do it:
    QB – Newton
    RB – McCoy & Greene
    WR – Harvin & Robinson
    FLEX – Wallace (though his stock is shaky right now) – depending on the news I would switch him with McGahee, so let’s check this one back on Sunday.

    Aaron – Don’t love either of them, but I think Barber is in a better spot to produce. You just never know how much GB will run.

  23. Jacob says:

    Rotoprofessor! I need some expert advice! I lost Demarco Murray and am in the playoffs going against a really strong team.
    I’m in a PPR 2 points per reception league and .5 points per rushing carry…
    Who should I start at flex…
    Peyton Hillis , Kevin Smith, Frank Gore, Leraunt Robinson, or Dwayne Bowe?

    Thanks in advance Prof!

  24. I want to say Gore, but I would actually probably go with Robinson. He’s been on an impressive role and is probably the best option in Dallas, so it’s hard to sit him down.

  25. ddschmidt says:

    I have a running back question.

    I have L. Blount, M. Barber, and A. Bradshaw for one spot. Who should I give the start? It is the fantasy championship btw…

    Thanks

  26. Rey says:

    Hi

    Which 2 RB of 4???

    Foster vs carolina
    Benson @ st louis
    Helu @ NYG
    Greene @ philadelphia

  27. ddschmidt – I’d go with Bradshaw, though it’s close. Blount would be my second choice if you are concerned with Bradshaw’s carries.

    Rey – Foster & Helu (though Greene is close behind Helu)

  28. J.V says:

    Ok prof, its gameday. im in the semi.need to pick two. mcgahee,k.smith,marshall,gaffney

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