Fantasy Football 2012 Rankings: Top 40 Running Backs (Updated 08/15/12)

Eric StashinSenior Writer IAugust 15, 2012

BALTIMORE, MD - JANUARY 15:  Arian Foster #23 of the Houston Texans runs the ball against the Baltimore Ravens during the second quarter of the AFC Divisional playoff game at M&T Bank Stadium on January 15, 2012 in Baltimore, Maryland. Baltimore won 20-13 in regulation. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Chris Trotman/Getty Images

There have been a lot of changes to our running back rankings, as injuries and position battles play themselves out.  Who is on the rise?  Who is falling down our draft board?  Let’s take a look (the number in parenthesis was his previous ranking:

  1. Arian Foster – Houston Texans (1)
  2. Ray Rice – Baltimore Ravens (2)
  3. LeSean McCoy – Philadelphia Eagles (3)
  4. Chris Johnson – Tennessee Titans (4)
  5. Maurice Jones-Drew – Jacksonville Jaguars (5)
  6. Darren McFadden – Oakland Raiders (7)
  7. Ryan Mathews – San Diego Chargers (6)
  8. Matt Forte – Chicago Bears (8)
  9. Marshawn Lynch – Seattle Seahawks (10)
  10. DeMarco Murray – Dallas Cowboys (11)
  11. Adrian Peterson – Minnesota Vikings (16)
  12. Jamaal Charles – Kansas City Chiefs (15)
  13. Trent Richardson – Cleveland Browns (9)
  14. Steven Jackson – St. Louis Rams (12)
  15. Fred Jackson – Buffalo Bills (14)
  16. Frank Gore – San Francisco 49ers (13)
  17. Doug Martin – Tampa Bay Buccaneers (17)
  18. Ahmad Bradshaw – New York Giants (18)
  19. Reggie Bush – Miami Dolphins (19)
  20. Michael Turner – Atlanta Falcons (20)
  21. Darren Sproles – New Orleans Saints (21)
  22. Shonn Greene – New York Jets (22)
  23. Stevan Ridley – New England Patriots (23)
  24. Beanie Wells – Arizona Cardinals (24)
  25. BenJarvus Green-Ellis – Cincinnati Bengals (25)
  26. Willis McGahee – Denver Broncos (26)
  27. Jonathan Stewart – Carolina Panthers (28)
  28. Kevin Smith – Detroit Lions (31)
  29. Ben Tate – Houston Texans (NR)
  30. Evan Royster – Washington Redskins (NR)
  31. Cedric Benson – Green Bay Packers (NR)
  32. Toby Gerhart – Minnesota Vikings (32)
  33. C.J. Spiller – Buffalo Bills (33)
  34. Daniel Thomas – Miami Dolphins (34)
  35. DeAngelo Williams – Carolina Panthers (35)
  36. Michael Bush – Chicago Bears (36)
  37. Peyton Hillis – Kansas City Chiefs (37)
  38. Mark Ingram – New Orleans Saints (30)
  39. LeGarrette Blount – Tampa Bay Buccaneers (NR)
  40. David Wilson – New York Giants (NR)

Dropped from the rankings – Bernard Scott, Jahvid Best, James Starks, Donald Brown


  • Roy Helu already appeared to be slipping on the Redskins’ depth chart.  Now, according to Chris Russell (via Twitter), “Roy Helu has Achilles tendonitis."  Long-term, Helu may be the back to own, but if you are drafting right now Evan Royster is looking like the guy to target.  As it is, with Mike Shanahan running the offense you never know what’s going to happen, so this may be a situation you want to avoid.  That said, Shanahan has a track record of developing backs that no one envisioned, so taking the flier on Royster has definite upside.
  • We all know about the injury to Ryan Mathews and how it could limit his carries early in the season, even if he is able to play in Week 1.  That in itself is still in question, though that’s the goal.  Still, we all know the potential that he has to break out this season.  He does drop a little bit, but even the top of the rankings are riddled with question marks at this point.  That keeps him as a late first round option at this point.
  • Adrian Peterson has been removed from the PUP list, meaning he’s on his way back to full health.  Will he be ready for Week 1?  That is still unknown.  Is he going to get the bulk of the carries or is he going to share touches with Toby Gerhart?  At the very least, in the early going you would think Gerhart would get an increased role in the offense. While Peterson is an elite talent and on the rise, we have to keep him outside the Top 10 for now.
  • It was thought that Doug Martin was going to be the lead back for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.  At this point reports don’t seem to agree with that.  According to the team’s Twitter feed, “Coach Schiano says the Bucs’ backfield is still a ‘fluid situation.’ He won’t force it, and will let the lead back emerge.  In other words, LeGarrette Blount is very much still in the mix.  I still believe it will be Martin, but fantasy owners need to keep a close eye on this situation as the preseason progresses.
  • I talked about Cedric Benson and why he was a RB3 when talk first surfaced of the signing.  For that, click here.

Make sure to check out our 2012 fantasy football rankings: