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Running Back Player Rankings – Week 8
Bye Week Teams
Baltimore Ravens, Buffalo Bills, Cincinnati Bengals, Houston Texans
Running Backs (Updated: Friday, Oct. 26 - 10:49PM CT)
1. Matt Forte (vs. Car) – I can almost see the question mark hovering over your head as you digest Matt Forte being my top-ranked running back for the week. Please, allow me to explain. First of all, the Carolina Panthers rush D has been one of the worst in the league for a few years running now. Since 2009, they’ve allowed no better than the ninth-most fantasy points per game to RBs with that being precisely where they sit right now in 2012. Second, the Panthers just lost their middle linebacker (Jon Beason) for the season so they’ll likely be in a bit of disarray in Week 8. Third, and probably the most important factor; Matt Forte OWNS the Carolina Panthers. Last year in Week 4, Forte rattled off 205 yards and a touchdown on 25 carries while in Week 5 of 2010, he put up 166 yards and two TDs on just 22 carries. Every season is different, I know, but the mind somehow forgets those things come game-time, so with the Bears likely to deploy another rushing onslaught this week, I fully expect Forte to come through with some monster numbers.
2. LeSean McCoy (vs. Atl) – McCoy certainly hasn’t been the fantasy stud he was drafted to be for most fantasy teams, but before the Eagles recent bye, he was just starting getting back into the flow of the offense again. The fact is, he’s actually put up double-digit fantasy points in five out of six weeks thus far, but as a first-round draft pick who put up over 18 points a game last year, more should be expected. This week he’ll be well rested and ready to explode against an Atlanta Falcons rush D that’s allowed 4.9 yards per carry to RBs as well as two 100-yard games and touchdowns to guys like Shaun Draughn and DeAngelo Williams. The Eagles and its coaching staff had a nice week off to right their offensive ship and if they did, I guarantee LeSean McCoy sees at least 25 touches in this game. Why? Because in the Eagles three wins, McCoy got 25-plus touches and in their three losses, he didn’t. Plain and simple.
3. Adrian Peterson (vs. TB - Thursday Night) – Peterson has had 20 or more touches in five straight games now and just put up his most total yards in a game with 159 last week (153 rushing, 6 receiving). He’s also been running with some serious ferocity lately and seems to be getting better and better by the minute. Like I said before the season, every time Purple Jesus feels his domination as a running back is being questioned, he responds by taking the collective feet of the questioners and shoving it straight back into their collective mouths. As for this week’s game, the Buccaneers have been surprisingly effective against the run this year… much like Arizona was before AP dismantled them last weekend. With the way Peterson is running right now, fantasy owners shouldn’t be worried about the Bucs game-planning against him. Look for the Vikings to run Peterson as much as possible until they gain enough of a lead to get him some rest. However, because Tampa’s pass defense is so inept, it wouldn’t surprise me to see Christian Ponder tossing the pill around a bit so AP may not go totally ballistic in this game. Final Numbers: 15 rushes - 123 yards - 1 TD / 1 catch - 4 yards - 0 TDs
4. Willis McGahee (vs. NO - Sunday Night) – McGahee has done very well this year putting up solid fantasy RB2 stats while transforming his game into a Peyton Manning-led offensive system. Some games have been better than others, but I expect this to be one of his best going up against a New Orleans Saints defense that has allowed RBs to run for 4.87 yards per carry and put up the second-most fantasy points per game in the league. I’d be shocked if 70 points weren’t scored in this game, which means there are five TDs on each side to be had. McGahee WILL get at least one of them and maybe even 130 total yards to boot.
5. Jamaal Charles (vs. Oak) – Charles was a bit overused in the three weeks prior to his Week 6 game against the Bucs, which likely contributed to his minor back injury and slight usage throughout the game. That being said, the Ostrich is back to full health after a nice bye week off and ready to run circles around whoever is in front of him. Two years ago, Charles had 100 total yards in each of his two games against the Raiders, though I expect much more in this one. Yes, the Raiders will likely crowd the line against the run in this game with Brady Quinn being announced as the Chiefs starting QB. However, all Jamaal needs to do is get through the front line ONCE and it’s off to the races for him as there’s nobody in the league who can catch him. Oakland may look good on paper against the run, but against dynamic RBs like Reggie Bush and even Willis McGahee, they gave up the fantasy farm.
6. Ryan Mathews (@ Cle) – More more more more more. That is the word San Diego should be in love with this week when it comes to Ryan Mathews. Use him more. Run him more. Pass to him out of the backfield on little screens and dump-offs more more more. The guy is simply the most athletic player on the team and needs to have the ball in his hands to make things happen. With the Chargers getting embarrassed on Monday night right before its bye week, you can bet they went back to the drawing board to see what works and I’ll guarantee you this; they saw that Ryan Mathews works. Against a Browns rush D that allows 4.84 yards per carry, it’s pretty much a no-brainer that Mathews will be getting the ball. If he doesn’t, their whole coaching staff should be fired within 10 minutes of the final whistle.
7. Chris Johnson (vs. Ind) – Chris Johnson’s monster 195-yard output against the worst rushing defense in the league last week has him leading the NFL in rushing from Week 4 through Week 7. However, it cannot be overlooked that he STILL ranks 24th in the league in fantasy points per game. That’s how BAD he has been in four of his seven games this year and though he’s been awesome three of the last four weeks, I still have my reservations. This week, however, I can’t help but put him in the top-10 as he’s facing an Indianapolis Colts defense that allows 4.95 yards per carry and the fifth-most fantasy points per game to RBs this year. I know it’s scary to press “submit” when you see CJ2K in your lineup, but this is one of those weeks you kind of have to get him in there.
8. Marshawn Lynch (@ Det) – I’m going to keep this brief as Marshawn isn’t as much for words as he is for showing his beastliness on the field. The touchdowns aren’t there for him yet, but they will be. Defenses haven’t respected Russell Wilson yet so they’ve been playing to stop Lynch as much as possible, but it looks like Wilson is starting to demand a little respect. To my surprise because of the contract he signed in the offseason, Lynch is still running as hard as he did last year which is harder than any other RB in the league. Pete Carroll rewards this kind of hard-nosed work and will get Lynch his TDs no matter what this season. The Lions have an ass-kicking rush D, but NOBODY kicks Fugly Skittles ass. 85 yards and a touchdown.
9. Alfred Morris (@ Pit) – Alfred Morris has the third-most rushing attempts in the NFL… and he’s in a Shanahan offense!!! Has the world gone bat$#!+ crazy?!?! Actually, if you’ve seen this kid in action, you’d understand. Besides the fact that he can supposedly squat almost 650 pounds, his motor is non-stop as he continues to run through the whistle better than anyone I’ve seen since Purple Jesus broke into the league in 2007. Whatever the case, defenses are focused in on Robert Griffin now so Morris will always have a chance to put up nice fantasy numbers. He’s actually fourth in the league right now in fantasy points per game and is running the ball at 4.8 yards per clip. Pittsburgh’s rush D isn’t what it used to be, either, so I’m expecting another RB1 day from the rookie monster this weekend.
10. Reggie Bush (@ NYJ) – WOW did Reggie Bush need that bye week Miami just had. After injuring both his knee and hip a few weeks ago, Bush had severe problems getting himself rolling the last few weeks and disappointed his fantasy owners to the extreme because of it. His potential was shown in Week 2 against the Raiders when he exploded for 197 total yards (172 rushing) and two TDs, but the same fire hasn’t been seen since. This week he’ll take on a Jets team that he had 10 carries for 61 yards against before they messed up his knee back in Week 3. If there’s another sport where players focus in on payback more than football, please let me know. Otherwise, look for a healthy Bush to take care of business this Sunday.
Running Backs 11-50
11. Darren McFadden (@ KC)
12. Frank Gore (@ Ari - Monday Night)
13. Ahmad Bradshaw (@ Dal)
14. Darren Sproles (@ Den - Sunday Night)
15. Stevan Ridley (@ StL)
16. Trent Richardson (vs. SD)
17. Jonathan Dwyer (vs. Was)
18. Michael Turner (@ Phi)
19. Rashad Jennings (@ GB)
20. Felix Jones (vs. NYG)
21. Doug Martin (@ Min - Thursday Night) – 29 rushes - 135 yards - 1 TD / 3 catches - 79 yards - 1 TD
22. Mikel Leshoure (vs. Sea)
23. Steven Jackson (vs. NE)
24. Jonathan Stewart (@ Chi)
25. Michael Bush (vs. Car)
26. Shonn Greene (vs. Mia)
27. Alex Green (vs. Jax)
28. Donald Brown (@ Ten)
29. Montario Hardesty (vs. SD)
30. LaRod Stephens-Howling (vs. SF - Monday Night)
31. Andre Brown (@ Dal)
32. Pierre Thomas (@ Den - Sunday Night)
33. Daryl Richardson (vs. NE)
34. Danny Woodhead (@ StL)
35. Ronnie Hillman (vs. NO - Sunday Night)
36. Jaime Harper (vs. Ind)
37. Vick Ballard (@ Ten)
38. Phillip Tanner (vs. NYG)
39. Daniel Thomas (@ NYJ)
40. Kendall Hunter (@ Ari - Monday Night)
41. Shane Vereen (@ StL)
42. Ronnie Brown (@ Cle)
43. Jacquizz Rodgers (@ Phi)
44. James Starks (vs. Jax)
45. Joique Bell (vs. Sea)
46. DeAngelo Williams (@ Chi)
47. LeGarrette Blount (@ Min - Thursday Night) – 8 rushes - 16 yards - 0 TDs / 0 catches - 0 yards - 0 TDs
48. Mike Goodson (@ KC)
49. Peyton Hillis (vs. Oak)
50. Chris Rainey (vs. Was)
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