Week 2 Fantasy Football Rankings: Top 10 Running Backs Who Will Shine

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistSeptember 14, 2012

Week 2 Fantasy Football Rankings: Top 10 Running Backs Who Will Shine

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    With Week One throwing up its annual dose of surprises, we can now look towards Week Two matters and predict just which running backs will and won’t perform to their true potential.

    Will it be a matter of old names meeting expectations, or can some more inconspicuous figures throw a spanner in the works?

    Old and young, from backgrounds far and wide, the players mentioned herein are ones you may want to consider giving a starting place in your team for Week Two.

    You can follow Tom on Twitter @TomSunderland_

Trent Richardson

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    39 yards from 19 attempts doesn’t exactly scream “superstar”, but it would certainly appear as if it’s only uphill from here for Trent Richardson.

    The 21-year-old had a difficult time against the Philadelphia Eagles but should see much more luck against a Cincinnati Bengals defensive line that Ray Rice ripped open last week.

    Listed at 5’9” and 230 pounds, Richardson will live up to the expectations put before him and open up some of the explosive speed he became so popular for.

    With the nerves of an NFL debut now firmly off his shoulders, T-Rich can get along with his business this weekend, something which bodes badly for the Bengals.

Adrian Peterson

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    This time last week, it was very much a question of “Will he, won’t he?” regarding Adrian Peterson’s early season involvement and whether or not he could return to his playing best.

    The answer? He did.

    Peterson returned from an eight-month injury layoff to run for 84 yards and two touchdowns, making him the Vikings’ all-time highest rusher in the process.

    The 27-year-old is coming into the part of his career regularly looked upon as the playing prime.  If last week's exerts were a sign of things to come, the RB will be bagging some big points against the Indianapolis Colts. 

Alfred Morris

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    During the summer, the question on the lips of every Redskin was whether it would be Roy Helu or Evan Royster that would get the nod as starting running back.

    In the end, it was rookie Alfred Morris that stole the limelight in Week One; running for 96 yards and two TDs from 28 carries—not too shabby for an NFL debut.

    The faith put in Morris by Mike Shanahan now seems well-placed, and the youngster will surely be given the green light for Week Two.

    Shanahan has shown the tendency to tinker with his lineups in the past, regardless of previous success.

    However, last season, the former Broncos coach would always give Helu or Royster more than 20 carries the week after they’d run a 100-yard game.

    Morris won’t have been picked up by that many fantasy teams, but any waivers selections would certainly appear smart in retrospect.

C.J. Spiller

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    Fred Jackson’s Week One injury will have been looked upon as disappointing news for almost everyone within the Buffalo Bills fraternity. Almost everyone.

    The knee ligament injury means that C.J. Spiller will now seize his chance as a regular starter, and build on a vastly impressive season opener.

    The 25-year-old averaged an incredible 12.1 yards per carry, scoring a sole touchdown against the New York Jets.

    The Kansas City Chiefs may have a slightly tighter defence to unlock this week, but Spiller’s increase in playing time definitely isn’t hurting his chances at making an impact.

Ray Rice

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    Emerging as one of the elite running backs in the entire league, there aren’t many defensive lines that can cope with the talents of Ray Rice.

    Ask the Cincinnati Bengals and they’ll tell you.

    Rice carried on 10 occasions last week, running for 68 yards and scoring two TDs for his efforts.

    The Ravens go up against the Philadelphia Eagles this time around, and while the opposition stood up to the assault of Trent Richardson last week, Rice is an altogether more experienced creature.

    The 25-year-old is one of those rare talents that can get you points from just about any fixture.

Arian Foster

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    A suitable tip to be this weekend’s highest scorer, the Jacksonville Jaguars will have a near impossible time coping with Arian Foster in Week Two.

    Foster notched up two TDs and ran for 79 yards against the Miami Dolphins, and can only improve against the Jags.

    One of 2012’s most sought-after fantasy picks, a healthy Arian Foster is a powerful weapon indeed, and the Houston Texans will continue their run at a playoff place this weekend with their star RB at the front of the battle.

Darren McFadden

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    With Oakland’s wide receivers still suffering slightly, it’s likely that Carson Palmer will utilise the running game on a frequent basis.

    Despite not posting big numbers in Week One, the fixture against the Miami Dolphins gives Darren McFadden all the more reason to shine this weekend.

    McFadden is a pass-catching running back that can cause real problems to the Dolphins’ defence when coming from the backfield.

    The Raiders haven’t exactly hit their attacking stride yet, but if they do, you can guarantee that McFadden will be at its core.

DeMarco Murray

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    In the first game of the 2012 campaign, the Dallas Cowboys turned the odds on their heads and led out a resounding win over the New York Giants—of which DeMarco Murray was a massive contributor.

    The 24-year-old carried 20 balls for 131 yards, averaging 6.6 yards and impressing a whole load of pundits in the process.

    The Seattle Seahawks will pose stiff competition for Murray this week, but the NFC West side didn’t have the most difficult Week One opponents in the Arizona Cardinals.

    Murray has emerged as a primary running option for the Cowboys and while they’re passing game is strong, Murray holds huge value for any fantasy coach.

BenJarvus Green-Ellis

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    The Cleveland Browns had one of the leakiest rush defences in the league in Week One, a trait that the Cincinnati Bengals and BenJarvus Green-Ellis will look to exploit.

    A consistent short-yardage finisher, Green-Ellis was a rare glimmer of positivity in Monday’s 44-13 loss to Baltimore.

    91 yards from 18 carries and a touchdown were positive numbers for the ex-New England Patriot.

    While he may not have been relied upon that heavily under Tom Brady, BJGE would appear to be flourishing as a star player at the Paul Brown Stadium.

Maurice Jones-Drew

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    With the dust now settling on the summer saga of the contract holdout, Maurice Jones-Drew can finally get back to what he does best as Jacksonville’s main attacking threat.

    The 27-year-old recorded 77 yards from 19 carries in Week One and with another seven days of training under his belt, the running back may have smoothed out some rather grisly edges in time for this weekend’s meeting.

    Reports originally stated that Jones-Drew was fined $800,000—although Jacksonville.com say otherwise—for his contract shenanigans, but his mind will be focused on posting big numbers now that the disagreement is in the past.

    The Jaguar will have even more responsibility when you consider that Rashad Jennings has been ruled out of Week Two’s proceedings, limiting the team’s attacking options.

    You can follow Tom on Twitter @TomSunderland_