Fantasy Football Week 12 Rankings: Top 40 Running Backs

Eric StashinSenior Writer INovember 21, 2012

OAKLAND, CA - NOVEMBER 04:  Doug Martin #22 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers celebrates afte the bench after he scored a touchdown against the Oakland Raiders at Coliseum on November 4, 2012 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Injuries are starting to take a major toll with several high-profile backs either going down, or likely staying down, as we enter the week. Luckily the byes are behind us, but that doesn’t necessarily make decisions easy. 

Let’s take a look at how everything shakes out for the coming week:

  1. Doug Martin – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – vs. Atlanta
  2. Adrian Peterson – Minnesota Vikings – at Chicago
  3. Arian Foster – Houston Texans – at Detroit
  4. Chris Johnson – Tennessee Titans – at Jacksonville
  5. C.J. Spiller – Buffalo Bills – at Indianapolis
  6. Marshawn Lynch – Seattle Seahawks – at Miami
  7. Frank Gore – San Francisco 49ers – at New Orleans
  8. Trent Richardson – Cleveland Browns – vs. Pittsburgh
  9. Ray Rice – Baltimore Ravens – at San Diego
  10. BenJarvus Green-Ellis – Cincinnati Bengals – vs. Oakland
  11. Matt Forte – Chicago Bears – vs. Minnesota
  12. Alfred Morris – Washington Redskins – at Dallas
  13. Jamaal Charles – Kansas City Chiefs – vs. Denver
  14. Stevan Ridley – New England Patriots – at New York Jets
  15. Marcel Reece – Oakland Raiders – at Cincinnati
  16. Felix Jones – Dallas Cowboys – vs. Washington
  17. Steven Jackson – St. Louis Rams – at Arizona
  18. Ryan Mathews – San Diego Chargers – vs. Baltimore
  19. Bryce Brown – Philadelphia Eagles – vs. Carolina
  20. Ronnie Hillman – Denver Broncos – at Kansas City
  21. Ahmad Bradshaw – New York Giants – vs. Green Bay
  22. Jalen Parmelee – Jacksonville Jaguars – vs. Tennessee
  23. Vick Ballard – Indianapolis Colts – vs. Buffalo
  24. Michael Turner – Atlanta Falcons – at Tampa Bay
  25. Rashard Mendenhall – Pittsburgh Steelers – at Cleveland
  26. Reggie Bush – Miami Dolphins – vs. Seattle
  27. Jonathan Stewart – Carolina Panthers – at Philadelphia
  28. Shonn Greene – New York Jets – vs. New England
  29. Mikel Leshoure – Detroit Lions – vs. Houston
  30. LaRod Stephens-Howling – Arizona Cardinals – vs. St. Louis
  31. James Starks – Green Bay Packers – at New York Giants
  32. Mark Ingram – New Orleans Saints – vs. San Francisco
  33. Daniel Thomas – Miami Dolphins – vs. Seattle
  34. Beanie Wells – Arizona Cardinals – vs. St. Louis
  35. Jonathan Dwyer – Pittsburgh Steelers – at Cleveland
  36. Donald Brown – Indianapolis Colts – vs. Buffalo
  37. Andre Brown – New York Giants – vs. Green Bay
  38. Chris Ivory – New Orleans Saints – vs. San Francisco
  39. Daryl Richardson – St. Louis Rams – at Arizona
  40. Ronnie Brown – San Diego Chargers – vs. Baltimore


  • As we have said before, Doug Martin has become virtually matchup proof. Of course, having a favorable matchup doesn’t hurt (Atlanta is allowing 130.5 rushing yards per game and 10 TD). He is coming off another impressive outing with 138 rushing yards on 24 carries, while adding another 23 yards through the air. Martin has quickly emerged as one of the elite running backs in the game.
  • A few of the top backs in the league draw difficult matchups this week, most notably Adrian Peterson vs. the Bears. Of course, over his previous four games Peterson has averaged 157.3 yards per game while scoring five touchdowns. The stretch includes impressive outings against the Seahawks (at Seattle) and with the way he’s playing right now, it is impossible to downgrade him for matchup purposes. Peterson is a top-five back and is going to continue to get opportunities to produce.
  • Chris Johnson is looking more and more like his old self, averaging 140.3 rushing yards per game and a touchdown over his past four games (including matchups with the Bears and Dolphins). Now, taking on a Jaguars defense that is among the worst in the league stopping the run (137.3 yards per game, 14 TD), he should be counted on to continue to wreak havoc once again.
  • Even if Fred Jackson is healthy, we have to think C.J. Spiller is going to be the focal point of the offense, right? What else does he have to do to earn that respect? For now he is coming in as a RB1 under that pretense, but the news this week could change that.
  • Sure, there has been talk of a Darren McFadden return, but we all know his history of injuries and slow recoveries. Plus, Marcel Reece is producing, which helps give the Raiders reason to be cautious with their star running back. For now, McFadden is being left off the rankings.
  • We can blame Ryan Mathews’ Week 11 lack of effectiveness to being banged up (47 yards on 15 carries), but at this point who are we kidding? In what was supposed to be a breakout campaign, Mathews has been a huge bust. He remains a viable RB2, but until he proves otherwise, he needs to be pushed down on the rankings.
  • Speaking of struggling running backs, would it surprise anyone if the Dolphins turned to Daniel Thomas at some point soon in order to see if he can handle regular duties in 2013? In the past few weeks, Reggie Bush certainly hasn’t cut it…
  • Will this be the week DeMarco Murray returns to the lineup? Even if he does, given his lengthy absence there is going to be some risk as to how many touches he gets. At this point, it is impossible to trust him.
  • With Beanie Wells expected back this week, LaRod Stephens picked the right game to bust out in, didn’t he? That said, I would expect this to be a time share (at least), with Wells eventually take on the bulk of the duties.
  • We will be taking a look at some of the other injury replacements, like Bryce Brown and Ronnie Hillman, later this morning.

Make sure to check out all of our Week 12 rankings: