Fantasy Football Week Three Rankings: Running Backs

Michael WhooleySenior Writer ISeptember 23, 2009

ATLANTA - SEPTEMBER 20:  Michael Turner #33 of the Atlanta Falcons rushes upfield against Charles Johnson #95 of the Carolina Panthers at Georgia Dome on September 20, 2009 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Last week, we experienced plenty of highs (e.g. Chris Johnson’s mammoth 45 point outing) and lows (e.g. Joseph Addai’s mere three points on Monday night) that left us all talking around the water cooler. What will Week Three have in store for the running back position?

The Bruno Boys have a pretty good idea and we are looking to share, that way the Bruno Boys Nation can dominate yet another week in fantasy football.So, let’s jump right in to the Bruno Boys Fantasy Football Week Three Running Back Rankings.

Key Abbreviations: YPC (Yards Per Carry), YPG (Yards Per Game)


1. Adrian Peterson (Minnesota Vikings) vs. San Francisco

After going for 198 yards and 3 touchdowns against the Cleveland Browns, Adrian Peterson went for 116 all-purpose yards and another visit to pay dirt against the Detroit Lions. This week he faces his toughest test yet in the third ranked rush defense of the San Francisco 49ers, a team that he struggled against in his first meeting, accumulating only three yards.

However, Peterson is running like a man on a mission with fantasy performances of 37 and 15 points on the year. In Week Three, we are certain that you will see what you have seen so far in 2009, Peterson domination, which is why, despite the tough matchup, he rates as the best running back to play this week.
Point Projection: 21 points


2. Brian Westbrook (Philadelphia Eagles) vs. Kansas City **Check Status**

Brian Westbrook has gotten off to a slow start compared to his normal production as he has averaged 70 yards in his first two games of 2009; although, he does have one touchdown. The sputtering will come to a close in Week Three as his opponent is the weak rush defense of the Kansas City Chiefs.

With or without Donovan McNabb, Westbrook along with his partner LeSean McCoy will get their touches. While Westbrook has not faced the Chiefs during the past three seasons, it is safe to say that he will get the best of them as most running backs do, making Westbrook one of the best plays this week.
Point Projection: 19 points


3. Michael Turner (Atlanta Falcons) @ New England

After an average showing against the Miami Dolphins to kick off 2009, Michael Turner broke out in Week Two against the Carolina Panthers as he rushed for 105 yards and a touchdown. This week he faces the New England Patriots who just allowed triple-digit rushing yards to the New York Jets.

Look for a continuation of solid productivity from this Atlanta Falcons back, making him a clear choice as a RB1 during Week Three
Point Projection: 18 points


4. Maurice Jones Drew (Jacksonville Jaguars) @ Houston

After a solid start to the season Maurice Jones-Drew went for eight fantasy points against the Arizona Cardinals last week. Part of the reason is because the Cardinals got off to such a big lead, forcing the Jaguars to pass the ball—something that the Houston Texans could do in Week Three.

But that doesn’t mean that they will, and Jones-Drew is a massive weapon to have in the open field. Look for the Jacksonville Jaguars to feed the rock to Jones-Drew who has four touchdowns in five career games against the Texans. As long as the Texans don’t establish too big of a lead, Jones-Drew will finish this week as one of the better plays at the running back position.
Point Projection: 18 points


5. DeAngelo Williams (Carolina Panthers) @ Dallas

DeAngelo Williams has started 2009 as he had finished in 2008, as a touchdown machine. In fact, he has a touchdown in each of his first two games of 2009 and just topped 110 all-purpose yards in Week Two against the Atlanta Falcons.

This week he faces the Dallas Cowboys, a team that has given up 135.5 rushing yards per game this year to go along with two rushing scores. This week the Bruno Boys believe that Williams will make the Cowboys defensive unit look ridiculous, as he will once again go for triple-digit yardage and a touchdown.
Point Projection: 18 points


6. Ryan Grant (Green Bay Packers) @ St. Louis

To kickoff the 2009 season, Ryan Grant has had back-to-back 12 point fantasy football games; a very solid start. In Week Three, he faces his weakest opponent so far this year as he goes head-to-head with the St. Louis Rams.

It looks as if Grant’s disappointing 2008 is behind him, and he is back on track to become one of the better backs in the business. Look for Grant’s first triple digit yardage performance and yet another touchdown during this campaign, making him one of the better plays this week.
Point Projection: 17 points


7. Steve Slaton (Houston Texans) vs. Jacksonville

In Week Two, the Jacksonville Jaguars allowed the Arizona Cardinals duo of Tim Hightower and Beanie Wells to run all over them. That is great news for Steve Slaton who has gotten off to a really rocky start this year after having been drafted frequently in the first round of many fantasy football leagues just a few short weeks ago.

The Jaguars will be just what the doctor ordered as Slaton looks to get himself back on track, playing like he did during his stellar 2008 rookie campaign in which he came from no where to become one of the most dominant football players in the game. Solid yardage and a touchdown is what is to be expected during Week Three.
Point Projection: 17 points

8. Clinton Portis (Washington Redskins) @ Detroit

While aging and starting the season off on a slow note with just seven fantasy points in each of his first two games, Clinton Portis is still one of the most consistent running backs in the league. This week he faces a Detroit Lions rush defense which is also very sucking it up.

It seems that nearly every game during the past few years the Lions have given up at least one rushing touchdown; that bodes well for Portis who has never had a touchdown against the Lions but has averaged 127 all-purpose yards a game against them in his career.

Great yardage and a possible touchdown are to be expected; after all, Portis can’t continue to be shut out from reaching pay dirt by this horrible defense.
Point Projection: 16 points


9. Matt Forte (Chicago Bears) @ Seattle

After an excellent rookie season, Matt Forte was drafted high in all fantasy football league formats. He has been perhaps the biggest bust so far, though, as he has averaged five fantasy points per game through the first two weeks of the season.

We expect things to change some as the Seattle Seahawks were just manhandled by Frank Gore; a back that also is a dual-threat like Forte. This week Forte will see his first double-digit performance of the year in what his owners hope to be the first of many.
Point Projection: 16 points


10. Fred Jackson (Buffalo Bills) vs. New Orleans

Look out Marshawn Lynch, it is looking like Fred Jackson might be putting a strangle hold on the starting gig in Buffalo after having two very impressive starts to begin the 2009 season.

In Week Three, he faces a New Orleans Saints defense which has benefited from opposing teams having to change their offensive philosophy by becoming a pass-first offense after falling behind early in games.

The Buffalo Bills are going to do whatever they possibly can to keep Drew Brees and crew off of the field; so expect Jackson to see plenty of carries, especially early on in the game and throughout if the contest is close. Jackson will continue his solid start to the season, making it a difficult decision of what to do when Lynch returns for the Bills coaching staff.
Point Projection: 15 points


11. Willis McGaheee (Baltimore Ravens) vs. Cleveland

While Ray Rice is getting all of the hype, Willis McGahee has quietly grabbed four touchdowns to start the season. While we don’t expect his yardage to stay as high as it has been and as it is impossible to keep up with the two touchdowns a game pace that McGahee has established so far, we do expect some decent yardage for the back while he serves as the goal-line back for the Baltimore Ravens this year.

His fantasy production will heavily rest on finding pay dirt, making him a do or die type of play. Based on the first two weeks of the season and his weaker opponent for Week Three in the Cleveland Browns, who rank 31st against the run, it is hard not to like what McGahee could bring to the table.

Keep expectations lower than what he has produced so far this year as the Ravens backfield is crowded, and you never know what you will be getting, but note that McGahee is still a must start.
Point Projection: 14 points


12. Marion Barber (Dallas Cowboys) vs. Carolina **Check Status**

After a disappointing 2008 season, Marion Barber wanted to silence the critics; well, so far he has done it. Barber has reached double-digit fantasy points while collecting a touchdown in each of the first two weeks of the year.

What makes this even more impressive is that he has done it against what is considered two of the better rush defenses in the game—the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the New York Giants. Barber does have a quad injury, but as of now, it is not considered serious. Still, check on Barber’s status throughout the week.

If he’s good to go, use Barber as a low-end RB1 during Week 3 in larger leagues.
Point Projection: 14 points


13. Chris Johnson (Tennessee Titans) @ New York Jets

Chris Johnson followed up a weak beginning to the season by tallying 282 total yards and three touchdowns last week against the Houston Texans. While he is a great young running back, don’t expect him to repeat Week Two’s performance as he faces a very good New York Jets defense.

However, due to his studly nature, solid yardage and a possible touchdown is expected from Johnson this week, making him a high-end RB2 in deeper leagues.
Point Projection: 14 points


14.  Frank Gore (San Francisco 49ers) @ Minnesota **Check Status**

So how did Frank Gore follow up his two touchdown performance in Week One? By simply going for over 200 yards with another multi-touchdown game. There is no doubt that the San Francisco 49ers offense is gong to be ran through Gore this season; as it should be.

With him riding high, there is somewhat of a road block in Week Three as he faces a Minnesota Vikings defense that is one of the better ones in the game. Don’t be disappointed if Gore fails to reach triple-digits or score as you can’t expect that every single week. None-the-less we are projecting Gore to have decent yardage and a possible score.
Point Projection: 14 points


15. Brandon Jacobs (New York Giants) @ Tampa Bay

After going for 15 touchdowns in 2008 Brandon Jacobs has been shut out in 2009. While this isn’t something to be concerned with just yet, it is still something that you will want to keep an eye on. In Week Three, Jacobs faces the Tampa Bay Buccaneers whose rush defense has looked vulnerable this year as they rank 27th against the run.

Plug Jacobs in your lineup once again unless you have similar options, and you don’t have a good gut feeling on him. My gut says that Jacobs finally reaches pay dirt.
Point Projection: 14 points


For the rest of the Week Three Running Back Rankings, click HERE!