Fantasy Football 2012 Week 7 Rankings: Top 40 Running Backs

Eric StashinSenior Writer IOctober 17, 2012

CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 14: Running back Trent Richardson #33 of the Cleveland Browns runs for a gain against the Cincinnati Bengals during the second quarter at Cleveland Browns Stadium on October 14, 2012 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Jason Miller/Getty Images

There are some injury concerns (Trent Richardson and DeMarco Murray), which definitely causes some problems when coupled with the bye weeks.  Which running backs are recommended?  Which should be avoided?  Let’s take a look at how the rankings look:

  1. Arian Foster – Houston Texans – vs. Baltimore
  2. Trent Richardson – Cleveland Browns – at Indianapolis
  3. Maurice Jones-Drew – Jacksonville Jaguars – at Oakland
  4. Adrian Peterson – Minnesota Vikings – vs. Arizona
  5. Ray Rice – Baltimore Ravens – at Houston
  6. Darren McFadden – Oakland Raiders – vs. Jacksonville
  7. Chris Johnson – Tennessee Titans – at Buffalo
  8. Matt Forte – Chicago Bears – vs. Detroit
  9. C.J. Spiller – Buffalo Bills – vs. Tennessee
  10. Alfred Morris – Washington Redskins – at New York Giants
  11. Doug Martin – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – vs. New Orleans
  12. Stevan Ridley – New England Patriots – vs. New York Jets
  13. Marshawn Lynch – Seattle Seahawks – at San Francisco
  14. Frank Gore – San Francisco 49ers – vs. Seattle
  15. Ahmad Bradshaw – New York Giants – vs. Washington
  16. Felix Jones – Dallas Cowboys – at Carolina
  17. Steven Jackson – St. Louis Rams – vs. Green Bay
  18. Rashard Mendenhall – Pittsburgh Steelers – at Cincinnati
  19. BenJarvus Green-Ellis – Cincinnati Bengals – vs. Pittsburgh
  20. Darren Sproles – New Orleans Saints – at Tampa Bay
  21. Shonn Greene – New York Jets – at New England
  22. Alex Green – Green Bay Packers – at St. Louis
  23. Mikel Leshoure – Detroit Lions – at Chicago
  24. William Powell – Arizona Cardinals – at Minnesota
  25. Fred Jackson – Buffalo Bills – vs. Tennessee
  26. Ben Tate – Houston Texans – vs. Baltimore
  27. Jonathan Stewart – Carolina Panthers – vs. Dallas
  28. Vick Ballard – Indianapolis Colts – vs. Cleveland
  29. Pierre Thomas – New Orleans Saints – at Tampa Bay
  30. Brandon Bolden – New England Patriots – vs. New York Jets
  31. DeAngelo Williams – Carolina Panthers – vs. Dallas
  32. LeGarrette Blount – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – vs. New Orleans
  33. Michael Bush – Chicago Bears – vs. Detroit
  34. Daryl Richardson – St. Louis Rams – vs. Green Bay
  35. Isaac Redman – Pittsburgh Steelers – at Cincinnati
  36. Montario Hardesty – Cleveland Browns – at Indianapolis
  37. LaRod Stephens-Howling – Arizona Cardinals – at Minnesota
  38. Kendall Hunter – San Francisco 49ers – vs. Seattle
  39. David Wilson – New York Giants – vs. Washington
  40. James Starks – Green Bay Packers – at St. Louis


  • It was a surprisingly down week for Arian Foster, rushing the ball 17 times for just 29 yards (though he did manage to score 2 TD).  That said does anyone expect him not to bounce back against a Ravens defense that enters the week allowing 136.5 rushing yards per game (and seven TD) and now has to go forward without Ray Lewis?  In his last meeting with Baltimore (2011 playoffs) he torched them for 132 yards and a TD.
  • Chris Johnson has had a tough schedule and struggled early, yet has rushed for more than 90 yards in two of the past three games.  Is he the same player he once was?  Of course not, but he draws the league’s worst rushing defense in Week 7 (173.5 yards per game, nine TD).  In other words Johnson has restored his status as a RB1, at least for one week.
  • We’ll have to monitor the news all week to make sure Trent Richardson is healthy, but after seeing Shonn Greene demolish the Colts on the ground (161 yards, three TD) it is impossible not to consider him among the top options this week.
  • When it comes to Greene this week, does anyone really believe he is going to be able to come remotely close to that success?  Eventually, the Jets are going to have to pass the ball, especially against a Patriots team that could cause them to try to play catch-up.  Besides that, does one big game really erase his early struggles?  He looks better, but it’s still hard to consider him a “good” option.
  • The San Francisco 49ers are considered one of the best rushing defenses in the league, yet Ahmad Bradshaw torched them in Week 6 (116 yards, a TD).  A lot of that had to do with the team sticking with the run (27 carries), however.  Marshawn Lynch draws them this week and he has had success against the 49ers in the past (107 yards and a score in his last matchup), so don’t completely write him off.  However, I would anticipate the 49ers coming out with something to prove.  Consider Lynch more of a RB2, especially considering he also tossed up a dud in Week 1 of 2011 (13 carries for 33 yards).
  • Speaking of Bradshaw, after two big weeks it will be interesting to see how many carries he gets against a Redskins defense that is among the worst against the pass.  With Eli Manning at the helm, don’t think Bradshaw is a lock to produce big once again.
  • C.J. Spiller was the more impressive back in Week 6 and is the more explosive option among the Bills RB duo.  He would be a Top 5 option if it was clear that he was going to be the lead back, but since he’s in a timeshare he has to be bumped down the rankings due to risk.  That said, if I owned him I’d be playing him this week unless you were loaded with alternatives.
  • While Doug Martin hasn’t been great, he did have a nice game with 13 carries for 76 yards (as well as 2 receptions for 55 yards) in Week 6.  Taking on a Saints’ defense that has not performed against the run, look for him to have another strong week.
  • Alex Green got 22 carries in Week 6, albeit in a blowout.  That said, he has an easier matchup and should again get the bulk of the carries.  He’s going to be a viable RB2.
  • Felix Jones looked good and, assuming DeMarco Murray can’t go, he should have another strong performance.  Monitor the news, but as a RB2 he’s well worth playing.
  • Jonathan Stewart or DeAngelo Williams?  That question keeps them both as FLEX options.

Make sure to check out all of our Week 7 rankings: