Week 4 Rankings (2013): Top 40 Running Backs

by Ray Kuhn

Depending on how you spent your early round draft choices, this has been a very stressful beginning of the season. Injuries and poor performances have become common occurrences, but there is still a lot of season left.

Let’s take a look at how the running backs stack up for this week.

1. Adrian Peterson – Minnesota Vikings – vs. Pittsburgh
2. Jamaal Charles – Kansas City Chiefs – vs. New York Giants
3. Matt Forte – Chicago Bears – at Detroit
4. Trent Richardson – Indianapolis Colts – at Jacksonville
5. LeSean McCoy – Philadelphia Eagles – at Denver
6. Alfred Morris – Washington Redskins – at Oakland
7. DeMarco Murray – Dallas Cowboys – at San Diego
8. Doug Martin – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – vs. Arizona
9. Marshawn Lynch -Seattle Seahawks – at Houston
10. CJ Spiller – Buffalo Bills – at Baltimore
11. Chris Johnson – Tennessee Titans – vs. New York Jets
12. Reggie Bush – Detroit Lions – vs. Chicago
13. Arian Foster – Houston Texans – vs. Seattle
14. Darren Sproles – New Orleans Saints – vs. Miami
15. Lamar Miller – Miami Dolphins – at New Orleans
16. Bernard Pierce – Baltimore Ravens – at Buffalo
17. Darren McFadden – Oakland Raiders – vs. Washington
18. Maurice Jones-Drew – Jacksonville Jaguars – vs. Indianapolis
19. Bilal Powell – New York Jets – at Tennessee
20. Frank Gore – San Francisco 49ers – at St. Louis
21. Stevan Ridley – New England Patriots – at Atlanta
22. Knowshon Moreno – Denver Broncos – vs. Philadelphia
23. Giovani Bernard – Cincinnati Bengals – at Cleveland
24. Jacquizz Rodgers – Atlanta Falcons – vs. New England
25. Ryan Matthews – San Diego Chargers – vs. Dallas
26. David Wilson – New York Giants – at Kansas City
27. Joique Bell – Detroit Lions – vs. Chicago
28. Willis McGahee – Cleveland Browns – vs. Cincinnati
29. Daryl Richardson – St. Louis Rams – vs. San Francisco
30. Rashard Mendenhall – Arizona Cardinals – at Tampa Bay
31. Fred Jackson – Buffalo Bills – vs. Baltimore
32. Ahmad Bradshaw – Indianapolis Colts – at Jacksonville
33. Montee Ball – Denver Broncos – vs. Philadelphia
34. Jonathan Dwyer – Pittsburgh Steelers – at Minnesota
35. Pierre Thomas – New Orleans Saints – vs. Miami
36. Daniel Thomas – Miami Dolphins – at New Orleans
37. Branden Bolden – New England Patriots – at Atlanta
38. Ben Tate – Houston Texans – vs. Seattle
39. Danny Woodhead – San Diego Chargers – vs. Dallas
40. BenJarvus Green-Ellis – Cincinnati Bengals – at Cleveland



  • In his debut with the Colts, Trent Richardson wasted no time getting involved in their offense. He played on 28 snaps, only two less than his backfield mate Ahmad Bradshaw, but I would expect to see that number increase. The Colts are facing Jacksonville, so the matchup is also more favorable. He has another week to learn the playbook, which has its similarities to the one he was familiar with from Cleveland, and also become more comfortable with the team in general. Richardson only gained 35 yards rushing on 13 carries, but he did find the end zone which gave him some value. This is the ideal situation for Richardson.
  • I understand Houston wanting to keep Arian Foster healthy, but enough is enough. The Texans have a stud running back and need to use him as such. Foster only got 12 carries this week, and gained 54 yards while looking good doing it. Part of the problem was that Houston fell behind early so they were forced to abandon the run. That said Ben Tate also had 12 touches, proving that this is more of a time share than it should be. At least Foster has looked healthy and explosive. The problem is that this week Houston takes on Seattle and their defense, so it is not the easiest matchup for Foster.
  • Chris Ivory’s loss is Bilal Powell’s gain. And Powell certainly ran with it this week. He gained 149 yards on 27 carries against Buffalo, cementing his role as starting running back for at least one more week. The Jets’ offensive line did a very good job of opening holes for Powell, who was able to explode through them. He can help ease the pain of injury or poor performance to one of your starters.
  • I really thought Marshawn Lynch would have done better this week against the Jaguars than he did. Lynch gained 69 yards on 17 carries, but was not able to find the end zone. However, he did come close to two touchdowns which would have made his day look a whole lot better. Plus, the fact that he was pulled in the third quarter due to Seattle’s lead didn’t help. Don’t let this downgrade Lynch for you as he is still an RB1.
  • Darryl Richardson appeared to be healthy, but that only lasted for two plays before he injured himself against the Cowboys. He said his foot will be fine for Thursday’s game against the 49ers, but I’m not sure that is an attractive matchup for the running back. I think there will also be some type of timeshare between Richardson and Isaiah Pead that could very well decrease both of their values. Try to stay away from this situation, if possible, as neither is much of a rushing threat.
  • Even though he only signed with the Browns a few days earlier, Willis McGahee lead the team in carries. However, even though Cleveland won, he only carried the ball eight times gaining nine yards. I don’t think that changes anything as McGahee will still be the Browns number one running back, and he should improve as he finds his legs and gets more comfortable with the offense. Until he proves himself, McGahee should only be started as a last result.
  • Another running back who is only worth a desperation start is Jonathan Dwyer. He gained 39 yards on 12 carries, but 25 of those yards came on one carry. Felix Jones is also in the picture, and neither appears to have much value. Le’Veon Bell will back soon, and until then the Steelers will try to win with Ben Roethlisberger’s arm.

Make sure to check out all of our Week 4 Rankings:

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Week 4 Rankings (2013): Top 50 Wide Receivers
Week 4 Rankings (2013): Top 25 Quarterbacks


  1. Andy says:

    Will you start Joique Bell Vs NE as Flex or Giovani Bernard Vs Cle ? Look like Cle Def @home is stronger.

  2. Ryan says:

    So I am in two 12 team SSL and have two trade scenarios one for each.. Trade 1: Send SJAX/VJAX/DThomas for RBush/Cameron/Thompkins my other notable players are FJaX, Pierce, DJax, Lacy, and Austin… Is this a wise trade?

    Trade 2: Send Trent/Davis/Gordon for Spiller/Graham/Jennings my other notable players on this team are Gio, Julio, Vjax, Thompkins, hillman, Ingram… Thoughts?

  3. Andy – Going to depend on Bush’s status a little bit, obviously, but if he’s out it’s Bell. If he’s playing I’d go Bernard

    Ryan – no t trade 1 (you asked something similar in another post). Trade 2 is close, what are the league specs? PPR? FLEX?

    • Ryan says:

      It’s 2rb 2wr 1te 1flex (WR/RB) format no ppr

      • That trade is tough to say, honestly. You could argue that Spiller/Graham is definitely superior to Richardson/Davis, but that’s assuming Spiller is healthy and going to be the top back in Buffalo.

        If he’s sharing carries, his appeal is greatly diminished.

        That’s the risk you’d have to take, so I’d actually lean towards standing pat. I’m not sure Graham is enough of an upgrade over Davis to justify the risk you’d be taking.

  4. James A says:

    Trade proposal. I give Bernard Pierce and Marques Colston for Matt Forte and Eddie Lacy.


    • James A says:

      I have Adrian Peterson, CJ Spiller, S-Jax and Mendenhall already, BTW

    • Do you need the RB depth? Probably not, though you should be able to flip one for a better WR. Who else do you have there?

      • James A says:

        Josh Gordon, Reggie Wayne, Vjax, DeAndre Hopkins

        • Not like you need Colston either….hahaha

          I guess it makes sense, since Forte would be your RB2 for sure and Lacey could give you a trade piece once everyone is healthy.

          That said, how many WR do you start? If it’s three, you do leave yourself a little bit questionable at WR3 on a weekly basis, so I’d have reservations at that point

          • James A says:

            I went ahead and pulled the trigger on it. The guy was upset that Forte was “only getting 10 points a week” and wanted to jettison Lacy because he’s hurt, so I jumped on it since Spiller really isn’t inspiring confidence and I need a reliable fill-in for Peterson’s Week 5 bye.

            Its a 2 WR 1 FLEX league, so I *should* be fine at WR, especially if Gordon pans out. I was surprised that I was able to get him off waivers. I already have him in three other leagues. Didn’t play him in any last week and lost two games simply because I didn’t start him. Now that I’m starting him, he’ll go all Dwayne Bowe on me, just watch.

  5. James A says:

    New question, different league. Pick two:

    Arian Foster
    Bilal Powell

    Foster hasn’t been very good and plays Seattle, but I don’t know if I can bench the guy for Bilal Powell, ya know? I would flex Powell, but I really think Torrey Smith is going to finally score this week. He’s had the targets and the yardage, just no scores. This is the week, right? It has to be, right?

    Here’s my current line-up and bench:

    QB Tom Brady

    RB Arian Foster
    RB MJD

    WR Josh Gordon
    WR DeSean Jackson

    TE Jordan Cameron

    FLEX Torrey Smith

    Stephen Gostkowski

    Ravens DEF


    Matt Ryan
    Steven Jackson
    Bilal Powell
    Deangelo Williams
    Deandre Hopkins
    Mike Wallace
    Jason Witten

  6. I agree with using Smith. Hs going to get the targets and has a good matchup.

    As for the RB, it’s tough. I’m also concerned with the health of MJD, just adding to the problem. Depending on the news, I may actually consider going Foster and Powell….

    • James A says:

      I might be naive, but I think MJD is going to do OK against Indy’s defense. I mean, Frank Gore had 70 yards in the first half alone, so its not like they can’t be run on. That and the fact that MJD still managed 10 points or so against Seattle gives me some hope.

      Basically, Powell has to do more to convince me. Buffalo has made a lot of guys look good this season.

    • James A says:

      Looks like you were right again. I really thought MJD was going to do better against Indy, but no, so that cost me a few points since I started Foster and MJD. At least Foster got back into the swing of things this week, though! Same for Torrey Smith.

      Thanks for the advice, as always.

  7. Griffin says:


    If Ridley flops again this week, does he become dropable? I have Doug Martin, Stevan Ridley, Giovani Bernard, Eddie Lacy and Steven Jackson.

    I’m also a little worried about how long SJAX will be sidelined (plus Lacy’s injury, etc)

  8. ddschmidt says:

    Hello, my question is for my flex spot. I have Santonio Holmes, Nate Washington, Brandon Bolden, and Le’Veon Bell to choose from for one spot. Any suggestions?

    • James A says:

      I would consider either Washington or Bolden, with Washington being the better option in standard leagues and Bolden if it’s PPR. Washington has always been pretty reliable and really seems to have Locker’s attention this year with Britt being terrible. Bell is a complete unknown, even if Pittsburgh’s offensive line didn’t work like a screen door. Holmes is almost more of an unknown since he’s only had one good game…..against Buffalo.

  9. Melissa R says:

    I have a two questions for this week. I’m in a PPR league, 2WRs, 2RBs, 1 Flex
    Wide receivers? I have Andre Johnson, Hakeem Nicks, DeAndre Hopkins, Hakeem Nicks, Marlon Brown, Roddy White

    Running backs? I have Arian Foster, Chris Johnson, Brandon Bolden, Ben Tate

    Then a flex?

    Please help! Injuries are killing my season

  10. ddschmidt – Going to be tough to trust Bell in his first week back. Bolden has PPR appeal, but can we say for sure he’s going to get his chance? Holmes is still banged up, despite the good Week 3. That leaves Washington, who should continue to get opportunities in Tennessee, by default

    Melissa R:
    WR – Nicks & Jhohnson (ig he’s healthy)
    RB – Foster & Johnson
    FLEX – This one is tough, but I’d go Hopkins

  11. John says:

    I am very slim at RB in a 10 team league with standard scoring.

    My question is do you think powell will solidify himself as the main back and get the bulk of the carries and is that enough for me to be confident with if I were to just run my tight ends as my TE and Flex??? Or should I sell Gronk with his potential to be very good when he returns from injury along with Kaep and Deangelo for a really solid RB and a average wr???

  12. Paul says:

    Do I start BGE, Le’veon Bell, Mendenhall, Monte Ball or Joique Bell?

  13. Paul says:

    Do I start at WR Britt,Jeffery,Dobson,Broyles,Avery or Greg Jennings?

  14. Paul says:

    It’s a ppr league also.

  15. Alan says:

    Love your site. This week I have problem to start 2 out of Gio Bernard, Christ Johnson, Bilal Powell and CJ Spillers.I am thinking to start Gio Bernard and Bilal Powell. What do you think? Thanks

  16. Paul – I like J. Bell, but with Bush expected to go its tough to trust him. I may roll the dice on L. bell, with the other Bell being te second option. As for WR, don’t love any of them honestly. Dobson probably has the highest upside, so id gamble on him.

    Alan – All depends on health, but is hard to keep Spiller on te bench if he’s healthy. Same thing with Johnson, honestly. I’d probably go with the horses, though I could see doing Johnson/Bernard. There’s no way Powell matches last week’s success and is probably more of a FLEX

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