Fantasy Football Week 4: Early Top 40 Running Back Rankings

Jamal Collier@@JCollierDAnalyst IIISeptember 25, 2012

Jamaal Charles has arrived. Returning to top form following a torn ACL suffered early last season, Charles took 33 handoffs in Week 3 against the New Orleans Saints. He had six receptions.

This dude had 39 touches and 288 total yards for the Kansas City Chiefs.

The chances that a non-quarterback touches the ball 40 times in a game this week are slim to none.

Here’s my list of guys who have the best shot at being the No. 1 fantasy RB this week.


1. Arian Foster, Houston Texans (vs. Tennessee Titans)

Foster has received at least 25 carries in each of the season’s first three games. The Tennessee Titans are allowing the fourth-most points to fantasy running backs.

That’s a recipe for success for Arian Foster and his fantasy owners in Week 4.


2. Ray Rice, Baltimore Ravens (vs. Cleveland Browns)

In two 2011 matchups with the Browns, Ray Rice had 52 carries. He gained 291 yards (204 in one game), caught five passes for 58 yards and scored two total touchdowns.

An average of 175 yards and a touchdown? I’ll take that.


3. LeSean McCoy, Philadelphia Eagles (vs. New York Giants)

The Eagles have to make a concentrated effort to get the ball to Shady. He went for more than 100 yards in each meeting last year with the Giants.


4. Maurice Jones-Drew, Jacksonville Jaguars (vs. Cincinnati Bengals)

MJD got 28 carries last week and took them for 177 yards.

Guys are running all over the Bengals.


5. Frank Gore, San Francisco 49ers (at New York Jets)

The Miami Dolphins just ran the ball 40 times against the Jets. The 49ers should find some success on the ground, which means Gore will have a big day.


6. Jamaal Charles, Kansas City Chiefs (vs. San Diego Chargers)

Would you make it a point to play a guy who had 39 touches last week?

Me too.


7. DeMarco Murray, Dallas Cowboys (vs. Chicago Bears)

Murray’s better games come at home. His 253-yard breakout performance in his rookie season was in Dallas. That was against the St. Louis Rams.

But so was his 186-total-yard performance against a legitimate Seahawks defense in 2011. The Bears defense shouldn’t be scary enough to make you bench Murray this week.


8. Darren McFadden, Oakland Raiders (at Denver Broncos)

McFadden’s last meeting with the Broncos (at Denver in 2011) saw him carry the ball 22 times for 150 yards. He also had a good game last week, so there should be no problem with starting the Raiders rusher.


9. Marshawn Lynch, Seattle Seahawks (at St. Louis Rams)

Lynch has gotten 21 or more carries in every game that the Seahawks have played. That’s why he’s a top-10 RB.

The Rams defense (which was notoriously bad against the run last season) held him to 3.3 yards per carry in St. Louis in 2011. That’s why he’s at the back end of the top-10.


10. Ryan Mathews, San Diego Chargers (at Kansas City Chiefs)

Whether Mathews has a big game against the Chiefs might depend on the Chargers’ success against the Chiefs in Week 4. He saw the Chiefs twice in 2011.

In one game, Mathews had 149 total yards and two touchdowns on 25 touches. The Chargers won that game in San Diego. In the other, he gained 112 total yards on 19 touches with a fumble. The Chargers lost that game in Kansas City.

The Week 4 matchup will take place in Kansas City.


11. Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings (at Detroit Lions)

12. BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Cincinnati Bengals (at Jacksonville Jaguars)

13. Mikel Leshoure, Detroit Lions (vs. Minnesota Vikings)

14. Michael Bush, Chicago Bears (at Dallas Cowboys)

15. Darren Sproles, New Orleans Saints (at Green Bay Packers)

16. Doug Martin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (vs. Washington Redskins)

17. Cedric Benson, Green Bay Packers (vs. New Orleans Saints)

18. Andre Brown, New York Giants (at Philadelphia Eagles)

19. Willis McGahee, Denver Broncos (vs. Oakland Raiders)

20. Stevan Ridley, New England Patriots (at Buffalo Bills)

21. Trent Richardson, Cleveland Browns (at Baltimore Ravens)

22. Ben Tate, Houston Texans (vs. Tennessee Titans)

23. Steven Jackson, St. Louis Rams (vs. Seattle Seahawks)

24. Jonathan Stewart, Carolina Panthers (at Atlanta Falcons)

25. DeAngelo Williams, Carolina Panthers (at Atlanta Falcons)

26. Alfred Morris, Washington Redskins (at Tampa Bay Buccaneers)

27. Jacquizz Rodgers, Atlanta Falcons (vs. Carolina Panthers)

28. Tashard Choice, Buffalo Bills (vs. New England Patriots)

29. Michael Turner, Atlanta Falcons (vs. Carolina Panthers)

30. Ryan Williams, Arizona Cardinals (vs. Miami Dolphins)

31. Chris Johnson, Tennessee Titans (at Houston Texans)

32. Shonn Greene, New York Jets (vs. San Francisco 49ers)

33. Pierre Thomas, New Orleans Saints (at Green Bay Packers)

34. Mark Ingram, New Orleans Saints (at Green Bay Packers)

35. Daniel Thomas, Miami Dolphins (at Arizona Cardinals)

36. Lamar Miller, Miami Dolphins (at Arizona Cardinals)

37. Mike Goodson, Oakland Raiders (at Denver Broncos)

38. Bilal Powell, New York Jets (vs. San Francisco 49ers)

39. Jackie Battle, San Diego Chargers (at Kansas City Chiefs)

40. Daryl Richardson, St. Louis Rams (vs. Seattle Seahawks)



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