Week 17 Rankings: Top 40 Running Backs

by Ray Kuhn

This is it.  Do you go for the solid option, or the higher risk but higher reward option?  Who is still playing for something?  Will every running back get their full workload?  It is not only the workload the running backs themselves will see, but the rest of their offense and also the defense they are facing.  With that being noted, let’s take our best stab at the Week 17 running back rankings.

  1.  Adrian Peterson – Minnesota Vikings – vs. Green Bay
  2. Marshawn Lynch – Seattle Seahawks – vs. St. Louis
  3. Doug Martin – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – @ Atlanta
  4. Ray Rice – Baltimore Ravens – @ Cincinnati
  5. DeMarco Murray – Dallas Cowboys – @ Washington
  6. Jamaal Charles – Kansas City Chiefs – @ Denver
  7. Arian Foster – Houston Texans – @ Indianapolis
  8. CJ Spiller – Buffalo Bills – vs. New York Jets
  9. Knowshon Moreno – Denver Broncos – vs. Kansas City
  10. Frank Gore – San Francisco 49ers – vs. Arizona
  11. Ahmad Bradshaw – New York Giants – vs. Philadelphia
  12. Alfred Morris – Washington Redskins – vs. Dallas
  13. Chris Johnson – Tennessee Titans – vs. Jacksonville
  14. Darren McFadden – Oakland Raiders -  @ San Diego
  15. Steven Jackson – St. Louis Rams – @ Seattle
  16. Trent Richardson – Cleveland Browns – @ Pittsburgh
  17. Matt Forte – Chicago Bears – @ Detroit
  18. Darren Sproles – New Orleans Saints – vs. Carolina
  19. LeSean McCoy – Philadelphia Eagles – @ New York Giants
  20. Reggie Bush – Miami Dolphins – @ New England
  21. BenJarvus Green-Ellis – Cincinnati Bengals – vs. Baltimore
  22. Vick Ballard – Indianapolis Colts – vs. Houston
  23. Montell Owens – Jacksonville Jaguars – @ Tennessee
  24. Shonn Greene – New York Jets – @ Buffalo
  25. DeAngelo Williams – Carolina Panthers – @ New Orleans
  26. Stevan Ridley – New England Patriots – vs. Miami
  27. Jackie Battle – San Diego Chargers – vs. Oakland
  28. Mikel Leshoure – Detroit Lions – vs. Chicago Bears
  29. Pierre Thomas – New Orleans Saints – vs. Carolina
  30. Jacquizz Rodgers – Atlanta Falcons – vs. Tampa Bay
  31. Mark Ingram – New Orleans Saints – vs. Carolina
  32. Joigue Bell – Detroit Lions – vs. Chicago
  33. LaMichael James – San Francisco 49ers – vs. Arizona
  34. Jonathan Dwyer – Pittsburgh Steelers – vs. Cleveland
  35. Michael Turner – Atlanta Falcons – vs. Tampa Bay
  36. Bernard Pierce – Baltimore Ravens – @ Cincinnati
  37. Bilal Powell – New York Jets –@  Buffalo
  38. David Wilson – New York Giants – vs. Philadelphia
  39. Dexter McCluster – Kansas City Chiefs – @ Denver
  40. Robert Turbin – Seattle Seahawks – vs. St. Louis

 

Thoughts:

  • Arian Foster is a top running back who by all indications seems healthy.  Prior to last week’s game (which will discount due to the irregular heartbeat concerns) Foster had one elite game and two poor ones.  By no means am I questioning Foster’s ability as a top RB1, but my concern is that if the Texans get an early lead, or is the outcome of the game is never in danger, the Texans will be extra careful with Foster limiting his workload some.  However, this does not mean I would sit Foster; there are just some other running backs I like a little better this week.
  • The game this week does not mean much for the Falcons other than serving as a dress rehearsal for the playoffs.  That means Michael Turner’s action will be limited and Jacquizz Rodgers will reap the benefits of that.  However you have to wonder what the split will be and will either have enough value to be relevant in fantasy circles as anything more than a RB2, RB3, or Flex option.  Turner will likely see no more than 10 or 15 touches, but if he sees the ball in a short yardage red zone situation, a touchdown could make him a valuable option.  Rodgers will likely see more touches, especially as receptions out of the backfield which makes him slightly more valuable for this week.
  • Conversely if the Falcons are taking this game a little more lightly than they normally would, Doug Martin could stand to benefit if some defensive starters are rested.  Even without that possibility, Martin would still ranked as a top option, but this does give his value a little extra boost.
  • The Seahawks know they are going to the playoffs, but they still have a shot at the division and their seeding is still up for debate.  This means that Marshawn Lynch will see pretty much close to his normal workload and should produce as such.  The only thing that might be a little different since it is Week 17, is that if the Seahawks build up a nice early lead, Robert Turbin could see a little more time than normal and perhaps a little earlier in the game as well making him a potential option in deeper leagues.
  • Over the last three weeks Mark Ingram has looked more and more like an every down back for the Saints.  He has 68, 90, and 53 yards the last three games and a touchdown in each of the last two games so I would expect to see that trend continue over the season’s last week.  Ingram has looked good running between the tackles and moving the chains as it seems the Saints are trying to see what they have in Ingram for next year.
  • LeSean McCoy’s rushing numbers (13 carries for 45 yards) were not great on Sunday but he caught 9 passes for 77 yards but more importantly was on the field for 64 of 76 snaps and while at times he might have been a little winded, came out of the game in good shape.  With Andy Reid possibly coaching for his job, it is possible that McCoy’s workload continues as the Eagles could end their season on a little high note by eliminating the Giants from playoff contention.  While it is hard to accurately forecast McCoy’s playing time which keeps him from being ranked a little higher, at worst he should be a RB2 this week.

2 comments

  1. Andy says:

    I have Ray Rice, Alfred Morris, Knownson Moreno, D Murray and Darren Sproles. I am thinking to start Alfred Morris and D Murray. Which 2 RBs will you start Professor? Thanks.

  2. Steve says:

    Hi, I just seen that Pierre is out this week…need a replacement for T.Rich. Should I play Ingram(worried about time share w/ Sproles) over Montell Owens?

    Thanks,
    Steve

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