Week 2 Rankings: Top 40 Running Backs

Which breakout performers from Week 1 can be depended on in Week 2 (like C.J. Spiller or Alfred Morris)?  Who has become a risky play (Michael Turner maybe)?  Is Adrian Peterson back to full strength?  Let’s answer those questions and all the rest with our running back rankings for Week 2:

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

Thoughts:

  • Did Adrian Peterson give any indication that he was a player coming back from a serious knee injury?  In Week 1 he had 84 rushing yards and 2 TD, showing no signs of rust and giving fantasy owners no reason to doubt him.  In other words, immediately consider him as a Top 5 option once again.
  • With Fred Jackson out of action the Bills have turned to C.J. Spiller.  We have all heard about his talent (seemingly for years), and it was nice to see him explode against the Jets for 169 yards and 1 TD while adding 2 receptions for 25 yards.  Granted, the performance did come in what was initially a blowout, so we do have to take it with a small grain of salt.  That said, he is a low-end RB1 this week and could quickly emerge as a breakout performer.
  • Are we still concerned about Maurice Jones-Drew since he missed the bulk of the preseason?  Expected to slowly get worked into the mix, he had 77 yards on 19 carries in Week 1.  While there’s still some risk, he is a RB1 once again.
  • If Ryan Mathews is healthy he is a must use fantasy option.  However, that remains to be seen so we have to leave him off the rankings for now.  Hopefully we get word as to his status sooner rather than later so we can adjust our plans.
  • Kevin Smith had a good first showing, but can we really expect a great performance against the San Francisco 49ers?  He’s a low-end option, at best, this week based on the matchup.
  • Is Alfred Morris actually the man in Washington right now?  Who knows, but after a strong performance in Week 1 you would at least think he is going to get the opportunity to carry the load again in Week 2.  Against the Rams he definitely should be considered a RB2 option with plenty of upside, though this is Mike Shanahan so fantasy owners need to proceed with caution.
  • The San Diego Chargers allowed just 45 yards rushing and 0 TD in Week 1.  Couple that with the serious concerns that are growing regarding Chris Johnson and there has to be major concern at this point.  Would I recommend benching CJ2K?  Of course not, but he really needs to show us something this week before his stock completely drops.
  • Darren Sproles didn’t have a single rushing yard in Week 1, but he had 5 receptions for 1 TD and also had a 2 point conversion.  However, without guaranteed touches like other running backs, can we actually depend on him?  I’d be much more comfortable with him as my FLEX option.
  • Many expect Michael Turner to have a down year, and he lived up to those “expectations” in Week 1 with just 32 yards on the ground.  With the Falcons shaping up to being a passing team this season I wouldn’t expect things to suddenly get better.  He’s an option, but as a low-end RB2/FLEX and nothing more right now.
  • There are reports that Jonathan Dwyer will carry a much larger load in Week 2 (click here for the article from Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette).  Taking on a Jets defense that was torched for 195 yards and 1 TD on the ground in Week 1, he becomes a very intriguing play.  As a FLEX option I would definitely consider using him.
  • Who will the Cardinals lean on, Ryan Williams or Beanie Wells?  Until one of them emerges, neither are more than FLEX fodder.

Make sure to check out our Week 2 rankings:

Week 2 Rankings: Top 15 Defenses
Week 2 Rankings: Top 25 Tight Ends

20 comments

  1. Arnold says:

    At the flex spot, should I switch Cedric Benson for Brandon LaFell? I also have Laurent Robinson on the bench.

    I usually like a RB on the flex but Benson is up against the Bears.

  2. Lambda says:

    Jennings looks to be out. McCluster or K Wright standard scoring?

  3. Arnold – Benson looked bad in Week 1, but neither LaFell or Robinson are guaranteed to produce much either. I’d probably stick with Benson, with LaFell right behind him.

    Lambda – I’d go McCluster.

  4. Andy says:

    Looking for a little help as to who to start at RB this week. I have Forte, Lynch, Morris, Spiller and Benson. I am leaning toward starting Forte and Lynch at RB and Spiller at Flex. It is killing me to leave Morris on the bench. Should I start him over anyone I have tagged? In my other league I have Richardson, Morris, Gore, Mathews and Martin. I am clueless as to which way to turn in this one. 2 RBs and a flex. Thoughts?

  5. Dschmidt says:

    I have a Willis McGahee, Jonathan Dwyer, Darrius H-B, Stephen Hill, and Antonio Brown dilemma. Need 1 RB, Flex, and WR out of those. Gut says wait another week on Dwyer and Hill, but people have been projecting them pretty high. Any pointers?

  6. RT says:

    RP – Benson or J Dwyer? Per the wire, he’s going to get an expanded role against NY Jets.

    Thanks!

  7. Andy – In league 1 I would say Forte & Spiller are the locks. I’d probably go with Morris as well, but I agree Lynch is tough to bench.

    League 2 I would go – Morris, Martin & Gore assuming Mathews is out. If he plays, I’d use him over Gore.

    Dschmidt – I agree on waiting with Hill, because I don’t trust the Jets. Dwyer, however, I’d probably use along with McGahee and Brown. It’s close, but DHB is somewhat unpredictable as well.

    RT – I’d definitely go with Dwyer.

  8. Jay says:

    who would you put in? michael bush or alshon jeffery in a flex position.

  9. Ryan says:

    Hey professor I am in ssl and have S. Jackson, Donald Brown, Ronnie Brown, and Jonathan Stewart assuming I start Jackson is my next best or should I say safest option D. Brown? I also have Torrey Smith, Harvin, and Cruz as receivers which I am assuming any one I those guys is my best option at flex? Do you agree? If Matthews doesn’t play or J. Stew is good to go is it hit or miss with them or are their upsides worth the risk?

  10. Phil says:

    What do you guys make of Chris Johnson? In a keeper league is Steve smith (carolina) + kendall hunter + ogletree buying low? Or not low enough?

  11. Jay – It’s closer then I’d think, but I would definitely go Bush.

    Ryan – I agree that I would go with one of the WR as FLEX. As far as the RB goes, assuming Stewart plays he is the must use option along with Jackson.

    Phil – It’s low, but I’m not sure it’s low enough. Would you have the WR depth to afford it?

  12. JBones32 says:

    No Flex in my league (ugh….i know)…Is Dwyer worth starting over Gore or SJax atr all this week?? Standard scoring…

  13. Brandon says:

    Flex spot. Michael Bush, Shonn Greene, or Crabtree??

  14. kindra says:

    I have 2 questions:
    1st I have for rb
    j. charles
    m. turner
    s. green
    w. mcgahee
    For wr i have
    v. cruz
    g. jennings
    d. heyward-bey
    d. moore
    and just picked up j.jones since jennings is out

    Standard league with 2 rb 2 wr and 1 w/r…who do i start??????

    besides charles and cruz :)

    second question…i want to get b.lafell off waiver who can i drop?
    qb – brady and flacco
    te – fleener and pettigrew
    d – bengals and bears
    wr and rb above

    would you drop anyone for lafell?

    • Question 1:
      RB – Charles & McGahee (Turner is real close)
      WR – Cruz & Jones (assuming no Jennings tonight)
      FLEX – Turner

      Question 2:
      How many teams? You could probably get away with 1 D for now. I defintely wouldn’t drop a RB or one of your QB. With the TE you have, you will probably play matchups.

      That leaves a D (maybe Bengals, though I like them this week) or Moore. I don’t think both Oakland receivers are going to be good, so Moore is probably the way to go. That said, I’m not sure LaFell, who should be good, is a huge upgrade there.

  15. sahel says:

    professor,
    simply put dez or a.morris in a ppr league as my flex?

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