Fantasy Football 2012 Week 3 Rankings: Top 40 Running Backs
There are multiple injury questions facing fantasy owners as we head into Week 3, like Ryan Mathews, Steven Jackson and Ahmad Bradshaw. Throw in the struggles of Darren McFadden, the matchup for Adrian Peterson and the emergence of C.J. Spiller and there are a lot of tough decisions to be made.
Let’s take a look at how our rankings currently look for the coming week:
- Arian Foster – Houston Texans – at Denver
- C.J. Spiller – Buffalo Bills – at Cleveland
- LeSean McCoy – Philadelphia Eagles – at Arizona
- Ray Rice – Baltimore Ravens – vs. New England
- Marshawn Lynch – Seattle Seahawks – vs. Green Bay
- Trent Richardson – Cleveland Browns – vs. Buffalo
- Reggie Bush – Miami Dolphins – vs. New York Jets
- Doug Martin – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – at Dallas
- DeMarco Murray – Dallas Cowboys – vs. Tampa Bay
- Maurice Jones-Drew – Jacksonville Jaguars – at Indianapolis
- Darren McFadden – Oakland Raiders – vs. Pittsburgh
- Ryan Mathews – San Diego Chargers – vs. Atlanta
- Alfred Morris – Washington Redskins – vs. Cincinnati
- Frank Gore – San Francisco 49ers – at Minnesota
- Michael Bush – Chicago Bears – vs. St. Louis
- Adrian Peterson – Minnesota Vikings – vs. San Francisco
- Steven Jackson – St. Louis Rams – at Chicago
- Jamaal Charles – Kansas City Chiefs – at New Orleans
- BenJarvus Green-Ellis – Cincinnati Bengals – at Washington
- Stevan Ridley – New England Patriots – at Baltimore
- Darren Sproles – New Orleans Saints – vs. Kansas City
- Chris Johnson – Tennessee Titans – vs. Detroit
- Donald Brown – Indianapolis Colts – vs. Jacksonville
- Willis McGahee – Denver Broncos – vs. Houston
- Kevin Smith – Detroit Lions – at Tennessee
- Jonathan Stewart – Carolina Panthers – vs. New York Giants
- Michael Turner – Atlanta Falcons – at San Diego
- Pierre Thomas – New Orleans Saints – vs. Kansas City
- Peyton Hillis – Kansas City Chiefs – at New Orleans
- Andre Brown – New York Giants – at Carolina
- Shonn Greene – New York Jets – at Miami
- Ben Tate – Houston Texans – at Denver
- Cedric Benson – Green Bay Packers – at Seattle
- DeAngelo Williams – Carolina Panthers – vs. New York Giants
- Beanie Wells – Arizona Cardinals – vs. Philadelphia
- Mikel LeShoure – Detroit Lions – at Tennessee
- Jonathan Dwyer – Pittsburgh Steelers – at Oakland
- Kendall Hunter – San Francisco 49ers – at Minnesota
- Bilal Powell – New York Jets – at Miami
- Ryan Williams – Arizona Cardinals – vs. Philadelphia
- Does anyone still believe that Spiller’s Week 1 outburst was due to a blowout and the Jets backing off? He was the centerpiece of the Bills offense this past week, with 123 yards on the ground, 47 through the air and scoring two TD. Taking on the Browns, Spiller definitely should be considered not only a RB1, but one of the best options in the league.
- Adrian Peterson looks healthy and back to being one of the top running backs in the league. Of course he draws the San Francisco 49ers this week, the staunchest rushing defense in the league. He needs to be active, but I would consider him more of a RB2. There’s just too much risk in the matchup to consider him more than that.
- All indications point to Mathews being active for the Chargers in Week 3. Fantasy owners have been waiting patiently, but they should find that it was well worth it. He draws an Atlanta defense that allowed 152.0 rushing yards in the opening week of the season.
Mathews should easily step right in and shoulder the load, meaning he’s a borderline RB1/RB2 this week (only as he brushes off the rust). Once up to speed, he’s going to be a RB1 in most formats on a weekly basis.
- Yes, Jamaal Charles is sharing carries with Peyton Hillis, but I would expect there to be more than enough touches to go around in Week 3 against a Saints defense that has allowed 186.0 rushing yards/game over the first two weeks, as well as 5 rushing TD. Charles has more talent, but he remains more of a RB2 after he got limited touches in Week 2.
- Reggie Bush is a one-man show for the Miami Dolphins, and while the Jets defense is supposed to be one of the better units in the league, they have allowed 130.5 rushing yards per game over the first two weeks. Look for Bush, who had 197 total yards in Week 2, to continue to be a dual threat and leaned on heavily by Miami.
- Sure, Darren McFadden has gotten off to a slow start, but does anyone not believe that he is going to get things turned around? You don’t want to lose hope because, when you do, that’s when he’s going to light things up while on your bench.
- Does anyone not expect Michael Bush to step right in for Matt Forte and flourish for the Bears? He should be a good play in all formats, though that isn’t really news…
- There are a lot of injuries fantasy owners are going to have to monitor, like Ahmad Bradshaw, Shonn Greene and Steven Jackson. For now we will leave them all on the rankings (well, except for Bradshaw), but be ready to move to the next option if we get bad news.
The most concerning is probably Bradshaw, with a game coming up on Thursday. Fantasy owners should definitely be planning on not having him available to them.
- Both Pierre Thomas and Darren Sproles are going to have value this week, especially against the Kansas City Chiefs. With Thomas running the ball and Sproles catching it, there should be enough touches to go around. They should both be considered RB2/FLEX options.
- As DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart continue to share carries, neither can be trusted as more than a low-end RB2/more of a FLEX option. Hopefully one emerges, but until they do there’s a lot of risk.
- Will Kevin Smith or Mikel Leshoure get the bulk of the carries for the Lions? There’s too much risk to trust either at this point.
- I know Cedric Benson looked good in Week 2, but the Seahawks defense has been solid against the run thus far this season. It’s hard to put too much faith into him and I wouldn’t consider him more than a FLEX option.
Make sure to check out the rest of our Week 3 rankings:
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