Running backs in the NFL have been fluctuating as bad as the stock market this season.
Similar to what I wrote in my Week 10: Ranking Fantasy Quarterbacks Based on Opponents article, I have put together a chart for all fantasy running backs based on the rank of their opponents' rush defense.
The statistics provided in the chart are based off of ESPN.com's statistical reference sheet. The fantasy player rankings located in the first column of the chart are rankings that I have put together.
Before you take a look at the chart, here is a bit of analysis for some of these running backs getting into action this Sunday.
I called Mikel Leshoure's breakout performance last week and have no reason to believe he won't continue his success in Minnesota.
I know I have Marshawn Lynch ranked fifth on my list, but I love his matchup against the New York Jets. Seattle playing at home is just a bonus.
I am also loving Michael Turner's matchup against the New Orleans Saints. We just watched the Philadelphia Eagles torch the Saints for nearly 200 rushing yards. That number would have been significantly higher had they not been playing catch-up all game. Expect big numbers from Turner at the Superdome.
Assuming Miami Dolphins offensive coordinator Mike Sherman adjusts his game plan to match up against a Tennessee Titans rush defense that ranks 30th in the league, we could finally see a performance from Reggie Bush equivalent to the 176-yard game he had back in Week 2 against Oakland.
I had to rank Ryan Mathews in the top 20 because of what he could potentially do if he breaks out, but I don't see that happening this week as he is going up against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' top-ranked rush defense. Be careful with this guy this week.
Ray Rice is without a doubt the top option at running back for Sunday. Anytime a premier tail back goes up against a defense ranked lower than 20th in the league, it is a great sign for their respective fantasy owners.
Adrian Peterson is coming off a 183-yard outburst. Expect to see similar numbers at home against Detroit.
I am some what worried about Arian Foster due to the fact that he is going up against a terrific Chicago Bears run defense. Obviously you are not going to sit him on your bench, but always be aware of running backs matched up against difficult opponents.
The same thing goes for Matt Forte. He is facing a Houston Texans rush defense that ranks second in the league against the rushing attack. Again, it's hard to bench a guy like Forte, but the matchup concerns me.
If you have a solid arsenal of running backs on your bench and have Jamaal Charles on your team, switch them out for each other. I do not like Charles' matchup one bit at Pittsburgh.
Depending on how much Carson Palmer decides to use his arm, Mike Goodson could be a great option against the Baltimore Ravens 28th ranked rush defense. Keep an eye on Darren McFadden's recovery process as well.
As far as sleepers go, Rashad Jennings has a matchup against the Indianapolis Colts' 25th ranked rush defense. That could very much bode well for him and your fantasy team. I also like Isaac Redman to get the majority of the carries against the Kansas City Chiefs and to continue to build on the success he had last week at Met Life Stadium.
In the chart below you will find each running back's ranking for the week along with their opponent's rank against the run and the average rushing yards they give up each game.
|PLAYER||TM||OPP||OPP RK VS RUN||YPG|
|2||A. Foster||HOU||@ CHI||6||88|
|8||M. Turner||ATL||@ NO||32||176.5|
|9||W. McGahee||DEN||@ CAR||20||119|
|11||C. Johnson||TEN||@ MIA||3||83.9|
|12||F. Jones||DAL||@ PHI||16||114.1|
|15||M. Leshoure||DET||@ MIN||18||117.3|
|16||A. Bradshaw||NYG||@ CIN||17||117|
|17||J. Charles||KC||@ PIT||7||88.6|
|18||R. Mathews||SD||@ TB||1||77.3|
|21||C. Spiller||BUF||@ NE||7||88.6|
|23||F. Jackson||BUF||@ NE||7||88.6|
|25||S. Greene||NYJ||@ SEA||11||102.4|
|26||M. Goodson||OAK||@ BAL||28||139.5|
|27||S. Jackson||STL||@ SF||5||87.4|
|28||V. Ballard||IND||@ JAC||27||137.4|
|29||R. Brown||SD||@ TB||1||77.3|
|31||J. Rodgers||ATL||@ NO||32||176.5|
|32||J. Bell||DET||@ MIN||18||117.3|
|33||D. Richardson||STL||@ SF||5||87.4|
|38||P. Hillis||KC||@ PIT||7||88.6|
|40||J. Forsett||HOU||@ CHI||6||88|
|41||A. Brown||NYG||@ CIN||17||117|
|43||T. Jones||OAK||@ BAL||28||139.5|
|44||R. Hillman||DEN||@ CAR||20||119|
|45||D. Brown||IND||@ JAC||27||137.4|
|46||M. Reece||OAK||@ BAL||28||139.5|
|50||B. Powell||NYJ||@ SEA||11||102.4|
|55||J. Harper||TEN||@ MIA||3||83.9|
|59||D. Carter||IND||@ JAC||27||137.4|
|60||D. Wilson||NYG||@ CIN||17||117|