Fantasy Football 2012 Week 6 Rankings: Top 40 Running Backs

Eric StashinSenior Writer IOctober 10, 2012

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - OCTOBER 08:  Arian Foster #23 of the Houston Texans runs the ball against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium on October 8, 2012 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images

Has Ryan Mathews finally broken out?  Does Rashard Mendenhall’s impressive debut make him a must-use option?  What should we make of struggling backs like DeMarco Murray and Chris Johnson?  Let’s answer these questions and all the rest as we look at our Week 6 rankings:

  1. Arian Foster – Houston Texans – vs. Green Bay
  2. Ray Rice – Baltimore Ravens – vs. Dallas
  3. Jamaal Charles – Kansas City Chiefs – at Tampa Bay
  4. Trent Richardson – Cleveland Browns – vs. Cincinnati
  5. Adrian Peterson – Minnesota Vikings – at Washington
  6. Ryan Mathews – San Diego Chargers – vs. Denver
  7. LeSean McCoy – Philadelphia Eagles – vs. Detroit
  8. Marshawn Lynch – Seattle Seahawks – vs. New England
  9. Reggie Bush – Miami Dolphins – vs. St. Louis
  10. Darren McFadden – Oakland Raiders – at Atlanta
  11. Michael Turner – Atlanta Falcons – vs. Oakland
  12. Frank Gore – San Francisco 49ers – vs. New York Giants
  13. Rashard Mendenhall – Pittsburgh Steelers – at Tennessee
  14. Alfred Morris – Washington Redskins – vs. Minnesota
  15. DeMarco Murray – Dallas Cowboys – at Baltimore
  16. Donald Brown – Indianapolis Colts – at New York Jets
  17. Doug Martin – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – vs. Kansas City
  18. BenJarvus Green-Ellis – Cincinnati Bengals – at Cleveland
  19. Mikel Leshoure – Detroit Lions – at Philadelphia
  20. Stevan Ridley – New England Patriots – at Seattle
  21. C.J. Spiller – Buffalo Bills – at Arizona
  22. Ahmad Bradshaw – New York Giants – at San Francisco
  23. Steven Jackson – St. Louis Rams – at Miami
  24. Willis McGahee – Denver Broncos – at San Diego
  25. Chris Johnson – Tennessee Titans – vs. Pittsburgh
  26. Fred Jackson – Buffalo Bills – at Arizona
  27. Shonn Greene – New York Jets – vs. Indianapolis
  28. Brandon Bolden – New England Patriots – at Seattle
  29. William Powell – Arizona Cardinals – vs. Buffalo
  30. Ben Tate – Houston Texans – vs. Green Bay
  31. Jackie Battle – San Diego Chargers – vs. Denver
  32. James Starks – Green Bay Packers – at Houston
  33. Kendall Hunter – San Francisco 49ers – vs. New York Giants
  34. Shonn Greene – New York Jets – vs. Indianapolis
  35. Daniel Thomas – Miami Dolphins – vs. St. Louis
  36. Bilal Powell – New York Jets – vs. Indianapolis
  37. LaRod Stephens-Howling – Arizona Cardinals – vs. Buffalo
  38. Alex Green – Green Bay Packers – at Houston
  39. Jacquizz Rodgers – Atlanta Falcons – vs. Oakland
  40. David Wilson – New York Giants – at San Francisco


Trent Richardson

Trent Richardson is quickly entrenching himself among the best running backs in the league.  While his 303 rushing yards don’t jump out at you, he has added 20 receptions for 169 yards and has scored a total of five touchdowns.  Taking on a Bengals defense that has allowed seven rushing TDs, he’s an easy top-five option.


Darren McFadden

It has been a disappointing season for Darren McFadden, with just 201 yards and one TD over his first four games.  In fact, he had one big game in Week 3 (113 yards and a TD)—otherwise, he hasn’t surpassed 34 yards in a game.  The Atlanta Falcons are allowing 142.8 rushing yards per game, so you have to think that this could be a breakout performance.  I would still go into the week considering him a RB1.


Ryan Mathews

Ryan Mathews had a breakout performance (albeit it one against a poor rushing defense), rushing for 80 yards and one TD and adding six receptions for 59 yards.  It should be the start of a much-needed greater role in the offense and, with another favorable matchup, he’s worth considering a RB1 this week.


LeSean McCoy

We just keep waiting for the Eagles to lean on LeSean McCoy, don’t we?  He hasn’t been bad (437 yards, one TD), but it is hard to say that he has been tremendous either.  That said, he has as much, if not more, upside then anyone in the league.  Despite the disappointment, keep that in mind.


Donald Brown

Did anyone think Donald Brown would be a borderline RB1 at any point during the NFL season?  While the overall numbers aren’t great, he’s taking on a Jets defense that almost appears to have mailed it in.  At this point, it is easy to consider him a must-use option for the coming week.


Bills Backs

You have to think that this could be the week that both C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson right the ship—maybe.  It would be nice if the Bills would give an indication of who the lead back would be.  I prefer Spiller, since he is the more explosive of the two, but they will likely just share carries, limiting the upside of both of them.


Rashard Mendenhall

It didn’t take long for Rashard Mendenhall to emerge as a good play, did it?  He picked up 81 yards and one TD in his return to the lineup and now takes on a Titans defense that is allowing 144.2 rushing yards per game, as well as six TDs.  Unless you are loaded with other options, he is a must-use option this week.


Ahmad Bradshaw

Ahmad Bradshaw is coming off a monster game and has seemingly entrenched himself once again as the lead back.  Unfortunately, he faces one of the best rushing defenses in the league, which is going to limit his potential, and he could lose a few touches to David Wilson.  Consider him a low-end RB2/FLEX option.


Chris Johnson

Chris Johnson?!?!  Ugh!  Poor performance plus tough matchup equals an option that’s hard to trust.


Packers Backs

With Cedric Benson hurt, I would expect the Packers to use more of a rotation in the backfield.  While James Starks is the one I would prefer to own, none of the options are very intriguing.


Cardinals Backs

The Arizona Cardinals lost Ryan Williams for the season, leaving LaRod Stephens-Howling and William Powell to share carries.  However, there’s a good chance that neither get enough touches to make us pay attention.  They are more of a FLEX option at this point, and that’s because they have an extremely favorable matchup.

Make sure to check out all of our Week 6 rankings: