Week 8 Rankings (2013): Top 40 Running Backs

by Ray Kuhn

This was not a pleasant week for fantasy owners. In general poor performance has sabotaged a lot of running backs who were drafted in the first few rounds of drafts this past summer. That has been a burden teams have had to carry, but this week injuries also took hold. Did I also mention that bye weeks begin this week with six teams getting a rest? So not only do you have account for injuries and poor performance, but your options have also diminished.

Let’s take a look at how the running backs rank heading into Week 8.

1. Marshawn Lynch -Seattle Seahawks – at St. Louis
2. Adrian Peterson – Minnesota Vikings – vs Green Bay
3. Jamaal Charles -Kansas City Chiefs – vs Cleveland
4. LeSean McCoy – Philadelphia Eagles – vs. New York Giants
5. Reggie Bush – Detroit Lions – vs Dallas
6. Knowshon Moreno – Denver Broncos – vs. Washington
7. Frank Gore – San Francisco 49ers – at Jacksonville
8. Alfred Morris – Washington Redskins – at Denver
9. Eddie Lacy – Green Bay Packers – at Minnesota
10. Darren Sproles – New Orleans Saints – vs. Buffalo
11. Giovani Bernard – Cincinnati Bengals – vs. New York Jets
12. Stevan Ridley – New England Patriots – vs. Miami
13. Fred Jackson – Buffalo Bills – at New Orleans
14. Le’Veon Bell – Pittsburgh Steelers – at Oakland
15. D’Angelo Williams – Carolina Panthers – at Tampa Bay
16. Darren McFadden – Oakland Raiders – vs. Pittsburgh
17. Zac Stacy – St. Louis Rams – vs. Seattle
18. Lamar Miller – Miami Dolphins – vs. New England
19. Andre Ellington – Arizona Cardinals – vs. Atlanta
20. Maurice Jones-Drew – Jacksonville Jaguars – vs. San Francisco
21. Chris Ivory – New York Jets – at Cincinnati
22. Pierre Thomas – New Orleans Saints – vs. Buffalo
23. Jacquizz Rodgers – Atlanta Falcons – at Arizona
24. Steven Jackson – Atlanta Falcons – at Arizona
25. C.J. Spiller – Buffalo Bills – at New Orleans
26. Mike James – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – vs. Carolina
27. Joseph Randle – Dallas Cowboys – at Detroit
28. Brandon Jacobs – New York Giants – at Philadelphia
29. Willis McGahee – Cleveland Browns – at Kansas City
30. Bilal Powell – New York Jets – at Cincinnati
31. Roy Helu – Washington Redskins – at Denver
32. Joique Bell – Detroit Lions – vs Dallas
33. BenJarvus Green-Ellis – Cincinnati Bengals – vs. New York Jets
34. Rashard Mendenhall – Arizona Cardinals – vs. Atlanta
35. Chris Ogbonnaya – Cleveland Browns – at Kansas City
36. Ronnie Hillman – Denver Broncos – vs. Washington
37. Daniel Thomas – Miami Dolphins – vs. New England
38. Mike Tolbert – Carolina Panthers – at Tampa Bay
39. Kendall Hunter – San Francisco 49ers – at Jacksonville
40. Brandon Bolden – New England Patriots – vs. Miami


  • Doug Martin has certainly been a disappointment this season, but that doesn’t mean he wasn’t better than the alternative. What is clear is that Martin injured his labrum this week and most likely tore it. Whether he is out for the season is up for debate, but for the next few weeks you will have to fill his spot, as will Tampa Bay. That responsibility falls to Mike James. Prior to this week the rookie only had three carries in his brief NFL career, but after Martin got hurt the rookie carried the ball 14 times for 45 yards and caught another three passes for eight yards. It’s not like Martin was having much success prior to getting hurt. The Buccaneers offense is looking a little better with Mike Glennon at quarterback, so perhaps the running game will improve some. James is not the ideal option, but he is a legitimate one.
  • This was the third straight week of 20+ carries for Eddie Lacy, and he finally found the end zone. Lacy carried the ball 22 times for 82 yards and a touchdown, and was also a factor in the receiving game. Aaron Rodgers completed five passes to Lacy for 26 yards which makes him that much more valuable. At this point, Lacy is pretty close to being a RB1.
  • Just because CJ Spiller is playing, it does not mean that his ankle is healthy. At this point the Bills might be better served to rest him for a week, as his performance is clearly suffering. Spiller only carried the ball six times for 11 yards, with only one carry of some value. The first round pick didn’t do much better as a receiver, catching just three passes for -4 yards. Fred Jackson is clearly the running back to own here based on health and recent performance, but that is not saying much. Jackson carried the ball 11 times for just 36 yards, but he did add a touchdown and four catches for 49 yards. Not great numbers, but Jackson has done a pretty good job of finding the end zone so far this season. Despite the fact that he left the game temporarily and has been battling his own knee injury, he is the better option at this point.
  • After the last two games, it looks like Stevan Ridley might be getting back into the swing of things. Ridley carried the ball 11 times for 50 yards against the Jets and scored a touchdown on the heels of a 96 yard, two touchdown game the week prior. The Patriots offense clearly is not what it used to be, but they will need Ridley. With the return of Rob Gronkowski, perhaps New England is closer to getting back to normal. He might be the one early round running back who has actually redeemed himself the last two weeks and earned his way back into your starting lineup.
  • Steven Jackson is set to return to practice this week, so it looks like you can expect him to see about 10-15 carries, at a minimum, this Sunday. While at first glance this hampers the value of Jacquizz Rodgers, I would not be too concerned. Rodgers has not had much success running the ball and only gained 16 yards on 8 carries this week. His value is as a receiver in the passing game, and I don’t think that Jackson’s return will eliminate that production as Rodgers caught eight passes for 46 yards and two touchdowns this week.
  • Alfred Morris has had a pretty solid season, but not the standout production you want to see from your first round pick. Morris has scored just three touchdowns, and has only cracked the 100 yard mark once. This week the running back gained 95 yards on 19 carries in what was a pretty good performance, but he saw his backup Roy Helu score three touchdowns. I would not let this sour your opinion of Morris as he is still worth starting, but Helu is now on the radar as a FLEX option.

Make sure to check out all of our Week 8 rankings:

Week 8 Rankings (2013): Top 50 Wide Receivers
Week 8 Rankings (2013): Top 25 Quarterbacks


  1. Corey says:

    Feels good to see Beast Mode at #1 this week. I’m going to need him since I’m facing a team with Peyton, Moreno, and Gronk.

  2. Randy says:

    I’ve got McCoy, Forte, Lamar Miller, Stacy, Tate, and Bryce Brown (handcuff) in a standard league. Who would you drop, if anyone, for Mike James and/or Helu?

    • I wouldn’t pick up Helu. The only one who’s droppable right now is Brown, but he’s important as a handcuff. Otherwise, I wouldn’t drop any of them for James (unless you don’t trust Tate with his broken ribs). He’s the only other option.

  3. Romo says:

    Joseph randle and a Morris? I have a waiver pending for f-jax. If I get f-jax, should I start Morris and f-jax? Or should I even pick up f-jax? I have Richardson on the bye.

  4. shiv says:

    so rbs are leveon bell, spiller, murray, and jacobs. im going to start bell this week but honestly dont think I should start anyone else due to injuries to the other three…what do you think? If im not going to play the other three, should I drop jacobs and pick up for this week quizz rodgers, ellington, helu, ivory, joseph randle, pierre thomas, tolbert, mendenhall, bolden, or hillis?

  5. Romo – I would probably go Jackson & Morris for this week, only because Dallas is likely going to run through Romo and the passing game.

    shiv – For this week, I’d go Randle from that list (though have concerns). Ivory is a close second, but has a much tougher matchup. James is in the same boat.

  6. KDub says:

    Who to start? Ellington or Mike James. PPR league. Thanks

  7. Mike in Georgia says:

    Hello Professor,

    I have Morris, Le’Veon Bell, Spiller, Vereen (inj) and Rice (bye). Starting Morris & Bell, I have 4th waiver choice and feel good I’ll get top RB…best choices are Zac Stacy, Chris Ivory, Mike James, Roy Helu & peyton Hillis. Who is best long-term choice since it appears Rice and Spiller are absent with pay?

  8. KDub – Given James’ matchup, I’d go Ellington

    Mike in Georgia – I actually like the order you have them in, outside of maybe swapping James and Ivory. While Ivory was impressive this past week, he’s still likely going to lose touches to Bilal Powell. Stacy is the unquestioned starter and should be the best option moving forward.

  9. shiv says:

    would giving up denarius moore for mcfadden be a win for me? I have fitzgerald, nelson, green, and keenan allen along with bell, spiller, murray, and jacobs?

    • No it wouldn’t. McFadden has the potential to be your RB2.

      Moore I could see, given your depth, but he could be a valuable trade chip. That said, it depends on who you would be dumping him for.

      • shiv says:

        I would get Mcfadden and give up/dump Moore for him. I now have fitzgerald, nelson, green, keenan allen, and harry douglas. My Rbs are still leveon bell, spiller, murray, and jacobs. What do you think?

  10. mando says:

    should i start Josh Gordon? i also have Giovani Bernard or Mike James. This is for my Flex

    • James A says:

      Meh. I think I might go Gio for this one. KC’s defense is scary and Cleveland is breaking in a “new” QB. Unfortunately, I have to start Gordon in three leagues due to byes.

      Good luck!

  11. James A says:

    League 1: Jacquizz or Stacy? I also have S-Jax, but I’m not sure I would start him even if he did play.

    League 2: MJD or Stacy for the rest of the season? I’ve tried to trade MJD with no luck, so if Stacy is an upgrade, MJD has to go.

  12. mando – Depends a bit on your situation, but I’d say Bernard has the higher upside so I’d lean that way.

    James –
    League 1 – Stacy by default, since Atlana could ea complete mess this week

    League 2 – It’s actually close. No way to roster both?

  13. chris says:

    really stretching for rb this week
    team 1 s-jax and m-james
    team 2 j-randle and g-Bernard

    I have these I can pick up
    hillis, blount, d-Thomas, or Jacobs

    go with what I got or make sub?

    • Team 1 is a complete risk, and who knows if S-JAx is going to play. With Murray possibly playing, Randle is also a risk.

      I’d probably go Thomas on Team 1. On Team 2, it’s Thomas or Randle, it’s a coinflip

  14. kyle says:

    Have an interesting set of RBs this week with the byes & injuries…non-PPR, need 2 out of:

    Gio Bernard, Zac Stacy, S-Jax, Mike James

    Thinking of going with Gio & Stacy since S-Jax might be hit or miss this week & James has a tough matchup…thoughts?


  15. Thien says:

    Currently I have Marshawn Lynch, Knowshon Moreno, Gio Bernard, Chris Johnson and Zac Stacy. Should I drop one Zac Stacy or Gio Bernard for Doug Martin? someone just dropped him last Monday. This is non PPR and use 2 RB and a Flex.


  16. teachrandlethesalsa says:

    McFadden, S. Jax, Ivory and Hillis off waivers. Obviously McFadden and an awfully dicey second slot. Who do you go with? Can you trust the jello?

  17. Cara says:

    Reggie bush did not practice today and is listed as questionable. Should I take my chances or sit him and play Moreno? I have McCoy going and was gonna play Moreno at flex. I can okay Moreno at RB and Cameron at flex instead??

    • You would probably be alright, but all reports I’ve seen have the “injury” being minor and missing practice as a precaution. I’d probably stay the course unless something changes.

  18. Jesse says:

    Pick one for my RB2 Andre Ellington, Zac Stacy, Levin Bell, or should I roll with S-Jax? I have bell starting at the moment, Non-ppr

  19. steven says:

    Levon bell or justin blackmon in my flex

  20. Double G says:

    Three spots for RB. I’m starting Lacy and need to choose two of the following three…Morris, Sproles, and Bell. What do you think?

  21. steven says:

    Gio benard or steven ridley

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