RB Player Rankings – Week 2
1. Adrian Peterson (vs TB) – Sunday will be the Vikings first trip back to the Metrodome since the roof collapsed on December 12th of last year, so I expect there will be a bit of excitement in the air. Purple Jesus not only thrives on big moments like these, but he’s also a fantasy beast at home. Since joining the league in 2007, Peterson has averaged 106.3 yards rushing while putting up a total of 28 TDs in those 30 home games. Basically, he’s a monster, and against a Tampa Bay defense that ranked in the bottom-five last season in rushing yards allowed per game, he should be able to eclipse those averages once again.
2. Darren McFadden (@ Buf) – If anyone has a chance to put up 2,000 rushing yards this season, it’s McFadden (RunDMC2K anyone?). 150 yards in his first game was a good start, but it’s possible he does even better against a Bills rush D that could be worse than the Broncos were in Week One. Oakland doesn’t have much in the way of a passing game at this point, so it’s a good bet Run DMC touches the ball at least 20-25 times again. If that happens, it wouldn’t surprise me to see over 200 total yards and a TD or two by the end of the game.
3. Ray Rice (@ Ten) – No doubt fantasy owners had Ray Rice high on their draft lists before the season started, but who really thought he could have the game he put up against the Steelers last weekend? 149 total yards (107 rushing) and two combined TDs against a top-tier defense like Pittsburgh’s is pretty sick and wrong. With Joe Flacco tossing the pill around to an improved set of receivers, along with fullback Vonta Leach opening holes as his lead back, there’s no telling how good Ray-Ray will be this season. The Titans won’t be able to stop him, that’s for sure.
4. LeSean McCoy (@ Atl) – As we saw last week in St. Louis, LeSean McCoy is every bit as fast as speedsters Chris Johnson and Darren McFadden. Speed has a tendency to rise to the top when playing in a dome, which is exactly where McCoy will be again this week in Atlanta. LeSean pretty much matched Ray-Ray’s numbers from Week One putting up 137 total yards (122 rushing) and two combined TDs—I expect he’ll do the same against a Falcons D that just lost their best defensive tackle in Jonathan Babineaux.
5. Jamaal Charles (@ Det) – From what we saw in their Week One disaster against the Buffalo Bills, the Chiefs may be in a bit of trouble this season, but it’s not because of Jamaal Charles. The kid is still as electrifying as ever and will get to show his stuff indoors against an improved, though not dominant Lions defense. For the Chiefs, the best way to put a notch in the win column is to get the ball in their best player’s hands and let talent rise to the top. Jamaal Charles will get 20+ touches because of it, which is all he really needs to go ballistic fantasy-wise.
6. Peyton Hillis (@ Ind) – Hillis was a workhorse for the Browns in Week One receiving 23 touches in their loss to the Bengals. Don’t look for this to change against the Colts this weekend just because the team lost and honestly, I expect his usage to rise. Indy couldn’t stop Houston’s backup running backs for a second last Sunday and I can’t see their ineptitude changing in one week of practice. This has the looks of a bang-it-out game which of course, is the 250-pound Hillis’ strong suit. Bet on a big one out of the Cleveland version of Peyton.
7. Rashard Mendenhall (vs Sea) – Everyone on the Steelers should have a field day against the Seahawks this Sunday, and Mendenhall could be the one leading the pack. Pittsburgh has gotta be pretty pissed about that loss to the interdivision Ravens in Week One and I suspect will let loose some anger on Seattle. Big Ben will have his fantasy fun, as will his receivers, but Mendenhall could see a good 25-30 carries in what should be a blow-out victory for the Steelers. After putting up a measly 45 yards on 12 carries last week, Rashard is looking for some payback.
8. Matt Forte (@ NO) – Underrated and underpaid, Forte just keeps on racking up the numbers while driving up his eventual price for the Bears brass. He looked as healthy and fast as ever against the Falcons in Week One and I suspect will look even quicker on the turf in New Orleans this weekend. The Bears will need his versatility on Sunday if they want to win the game, so I expect at least 20 touches and some good numbers to come out of it for his efforts.
9. Michael Turner (vs Phi) – It’s likely the Falcons won’t be able to pass the ball effectively against this Eagles secondary on Sunday and if so, they’ll need to turn to “The Centaur” in order to move the chains. Philly gave up 206 total yards (157 rushing) to the Rams RBs last weekend, a strategy Atlanta may try and copy in an effort to keep the ball out of Michael Vick’s hands. Since coming to Atlanta in 2008, Turner has averaged 97.5 yards rushing at home in the Georgia Dome while putting up 24 TDs in 21 games. He’s definitely a safe bet as an RB1 for your team this week.
10. Cedric Benson (@ Den) – My disdain for Cedric Benson knows no bounds, but I can’t see a way he doesn’t put up some nice fantasy numbers against this awful Denver rush D in Week Two. The Donkeys gave up the most rushing yardage in the NFL last weekend (191 yards) while Benson is nearly a sure bet to see 25 or so carries. Get him in your lineup if you have him.
11. Jahvid Best (vs KC) – This could end up one of the more exciting games to watch this weekend with Jahvid Best lining up on one side of the ball and Jamaal Charles on the other. Add to the electricity the fact that they’ll be playing indoors on the Ford Field turf and you’ve got a scorcher of a matchup to pay attention to. The Chiefs couldn’t stop Fred Jackson from putting up 112 yards on 20 carries last weekend, so Best is a good bet to break at least one long run off and possibly more on Sunday.
12. Arian Foster (@ Mia) – Foster came back to practice on Wednesday and looks primed to start the game against the Dolphins this weekend. How much work he’ll get in his first game back remains to be seen, but in this Houston offense, he may only need 15 or so touches to make a fantasy difference for your team. Don’t expect last year’s numbers right away, but you can at least feel safe getting him back into your starting fantasy lineup.
13. James Starks (@ Car) – I have a sneaky suspicion the Packers are going to light the Panthers up early in this one and then turn the game over to James Starks to see what he can do. After seeing Beanie Wells run roughshod over that Carolina D last weekend, I’m convinced the Packers second-year back will be able to do the same after watching him against the Saints in the season opener. Anyone who watched that game knows that Starks is already a better option than Ryan Grant; and I believe Green Bay will give him a chance to prove it this weekend.
14. Ahmad Bradshaw (vs StL) – The Giants realize their passing game isn’t quite up to snuff yet so in an effort to take the pressure off of Eli Manning, they’ll turn to the run more than usual this weekend against the Rams. The New Meadowlands Stadium can be a very hostile and inspiring environment, factors which usually get Bradshaw up to play his best games. If they continue to feed him the ball in most every situation, he could bust out for a top-ten fantasy day this Monday night against a banged up St. Louis D.
15. Maurice Jones-Drew (@ NYJ) – Even though he slimmed down 15 pounds this offseason, MJD is still a wrecking ball who can put up some major fantasy points in a hurry. However, this Jets defense is pretty stingy in every facet of the game, so I’m not expecting too much here. Playing in New York is pretty tough and the Jets will likely go up early. If that happens, the Jags will need to throw the ball more in order to stay in the game, thus sapping a bit of Jones-Drew’s fantasy potential.
16. Fred Jackson (vs Oak) – Steady Freddy is one of the more underwhelming starting running backs in the entire league, but plain and simple; the guy performs. Last week he put up a solid 112 yards on the ground against Kansas City and will have a chance do so again this weekend against the Raiders. Is he a sure bet to score you fantasy points each week? Not really, but he could shape up as a solid RB2 play against a middling Oakland D this weekend.
17. Tim Hightower (vs Ari) – It looks like Tim Hightower is a little better of a player than people have given him credit for both fantasy-wise and in reality. Last week against the Giants, Timmy amassed 97 total yards and one TD on 28 touches, numbers I’m sure any fantasy owner would like to see out of their RB2 slot. This week Hightower will be facing an Arizona defense that looks pretty beatable on a weekly basis, so don’t be afraid to use him as your RB2, especially in PPR leagues.
18. Felix Jones (@ SF) – Felix had himself a tough first weekend, but owners shouldn’t be discouraged just yet as the Jets have themselves a pretty formidable D. Not just that, but for some strange reason, the Cowboys coaching staff kept running Jones into the line instead of getting him the ball out in space where he can do the most damage. My guess is this doesn’t happen again, but I still wouldn’t expect too much this weekend against a hard-core 49ers rush D.
19. Mike Tolbert (@ NE) – I’m not going to say it was a total surprise to see what Tolbert did last Sunday, but three TDs and 93 total yards was certainly better than expected. Whether this game against the Patriots turns into a shootout or not, I expect Tolbert to get somewhere around 20 touches again either catching balls out of the backfield or pounding it on the ground in an effort to keep the ball away from New England’s offense. Either way, he looks to be a solid play as a RB2 going into this Sunday.
20. Chris Johnson (vs Bal) – For Chris Johnson’s sake and more importantly, for the sanity of his fantasy owners, I hope Mike Munchak learned his lesson. I don’t care if CJ2K held out until five minutes before game-time before signing his contract—rushing him nine times against that Jacksonville defense is inexcusable and grounds for termination. I’m expecting at least 20 touches for Johnson against the Ravens this weekend, possibly more, but I can’t advocate him as more than a low-end RB2 against this Ravens defense.
21. Shonn Greene (vs Jax) – Shonn Greene is another guy who disappointed his fantasy owners in Week One after being anointed as a breakout candidate before the season began. However, I urge you all not to pour out the Kool-Aid on this guy just yet. Coach Ryan has already expressed his regret in throwing the ball so much while depending on Sanchez’s arm to win them the game last weekend and promises to run the ball more going forward. If this is the case, which it should be against this Jaguars D, Greene could prove to be who you thought sooner than you think.
22. LeGarrette Blount (@ Min) – This was possibly the worst start ever for a guy expected to blossom coming into the season. I mean what?!?! Five carries for 15 yards?!?! The horror! Suffice it to say, fantasy owners shouldn’t be too worries because this kind of outing won’t happen again the entire season. Minnesota still has a pretty good rush D, so I’m not expecting the world out of Blount this weekend, but he should at least get enough carries this week to make a fantasy difference for your team… at least that’s what Bucs Coach Raheem Morris said.
23. Frank Gore (vs Dal) – Gore had some serious problems finding holes to run through against the Seahawks last weekend, and it’s possible he could be looking at more of the same in Week Two. Dallas shut down the Jets rushing attack pretty well on Sunday night, so if Gore is going to do any better, he might need to use his speed to the outside a little more. Coach Harbaugh knows what he’s doing, so even though it’s not the greatest matchup for him, he could still put up some pretty good numbers.
24. DeAngelo Williams (vs GB) – DeAngelo barely put up a over single rushing yard for each guaranteed million he got in the offseason last weekend, but don’t be too discouraged just yet fantasy owners. The Cardinals bunched the line like crazy thinking Cam Newton was going to flop in his debut, but BOY were they wrong. Newton’s strong performance likely loosened up opposing defenses in the future, so DeAngelo will still have some nice fantasy days ahead of him. However, Carolina will likely be forced to pass the ball a bunch again this Sunday playing from behind against the Packers, so temper your expectations for this week.
25. Beanie Wells (@ Was) – Chris Wells looked like the Wells of 2009 last week against the Panthers as opposed to the Beanie Baby he turned into last season. He looked quick and strong through the holes and ran through contact with a vengeance throughout the game. I’m not so sure he’ll be able to do the same against a Redskins defense that held Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs to just 73 yards on the ground last week, but you could do worse in your RB2 slot this weekend.
26. Ryan Mathews (@ NE) – For all the love that Mike Tolbert got in Week One against the Vikings, Mathews looked every bit the first round pick the Chargers used on him last season. His speed and shiftiness was on full display and his talent can’t be denied by all who saw him. That said, he’s still out of the mix on third downs and goal-line situations and lost the edge in touches to Tolbert by a 21-15 margin. San Diego will use these two according to match-ups from here on out, and in this one, I like Tolbert’s chances to shine a little bit more than Ryan’s.
27. BenJarvus Green-Ellis (vs SD) – The Law Firm still has a stronghold on short-yardage/goal-line duties for the Patriots, but that looks to be about it. If the Patriots are ahead and simply want to ground-and-pound the ball, BJGE will see more than the seven touches he received in Week One. Other than that, he’s really only good for short TDs.
28. Reggie Bush (vs Hou) – Tony Sparano continues to push for Bush this season and will likely get him another 15-20 touches again this Sunday against the Texans. However, it was plain to see that Reggie has no business trying to run between the tackles and is really only worth playing in PPR leagues at this point.
29. Cadillac Williams (@ NYG) – With Steven Jackson on the sidelines last weekend, Caddy filled in nicely to the tune of 140 total yards (19-for-91 rushing) and 24 touches. S-Jax will be out again this Monday night, so it looks like Williams will take the reins yet again. I’m not sure he does as well against the Giants front-seven, especially if Justin Tuck returns, but if you’re in a bind, Cadillac could take you around the block for a week.
30. Brandon Jacobs (vs StL) – The Giants will be going back to a grind-it-out approach for awhile in order to take the pressure off of Manning, so Jacobs could start to see an increased workload as soon as this Monday. Surprisingly, the big fella only received six carries (for 29 yards) in the game against the Redskins last weekend, but considering the Giants lost, my guess is they change it up a bit and give the Juggernaut his due. He looked awesome in the preseason, and could end up shocking a few people come Monday.
Rounding out the Top-50...
31. Willis McGahee (vs Cin)
32. Mark Ingram (vs Chi)
33. Joseph Addai (vs Cle)
34. Darren Sproles (vs Chi)
35. LaDainian Tomlinson (vs Jax)
36. Danny Woodhead (vs SD)
37. Ryan Grant (vs Car)
38. Jonathan Stewart (vs GB)
39. Pierre Thomas (vs Chi)
40. Ben Tate (@ Mia)
41. Michael Bush (@ Buf)
42. C.J. Spiller (vs Oak)
43. Delone Carter (vs Cle)
44. Marshawn Lynch (@ Pit)
45. Montario Hardesty (@ Ind)
46. Jason Snelling (vs Phi)
47. Ricky Williams (@ Ten)
48. Earnest Graham (@ Min)
49. Deji Karim (@ NYJ)
50. Lance Ball (vs Cin)