Fantasy Football Week Ten Ranking: Running Backs

Michael WhooleySenior Writer INovember 13, 2009

ATLANTA - NOVEMBER 08:  Michael Turner #33 of the Atlanta Falcons rushes upfield past London Fletcher #59 of the Washington Redskins at Georgia Dome on November 8, 2009 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

As we head into Week 10 of the NFL season we are getting closer and closer to the end of the fantasy football regular season, which means fantasy football playoffs are fast approaching. It is becoming more crucial each week to make sure you don’t make a mistake when putting your weekly starting lineup in order, one simple mistake could not only cost you a victory, it could cost you a playoff birth.

Every position is important to your fantasy team, but maybe none more so then the running back position. There have been a lot of changes in the ranks of the running backs this year. New weekly must-starts have emerged this year led by Ray Rice of the Baltimore Ravens and Cedric Benson of the Cincinnati Bengals. While these running backs and others have taken steps forward obviously there are some who have taken steps back including Willie Parker of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Willis McGahee of the Baltimore Ravens and of course Larry Johnson now formerly of the Kansas City Chiefs.

As you prepare your fantasy football lineup for this very important fantasy week, please enjoy the Bruno Boys Fantasy Football Week 10 Running Back Rankings.

1. Chris Johnson (Tennessee Titans) vs. Buffalo

When you take the leading rusher in the NFL and put him in a match-up with the league’s worst rushing defense, you have the makings of what should be a big fantasy football performance. Chris Johnson has 959 rushing yards on the season with seven total touchdowns and will take on a Buffalo team that is giving up an average of 173.6 yards per game with 12 rushing touchdowns this season. Johnson has rushed for 491 yards with four touchdowns over his last three games and should be considered a must-start RB1 this week against a very poor Bills rush defense.
Point Projection: 23 points

2. Ray Rice (Baltimore Ravens) @ Cleveland

Ray Rice was the lone bright spot in what was a dismal loss to the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 9. He is having an outstanding sophomore season as he has rush for 573 yards with five touchdowns and has added another 436 receiving yards with a touchdown. He has scored double figures in seven of eight games this season. Look for another big fantasy outing from Rice this week going against a Cleveland Browns rush defense that is ranked 31st overall and has given up 170.5 yards per game with 12 touchdowns. He remains a must-start No. 1 running back in this match-up.
Point Projection:  22 points

3. Michael Turner (Atlanta Falcons) @ Carolina

In a Week 9 victory over the Washington Redskins, Michael Turner rushed for a season high 166 yards on 18 carries. He also added two rushing touchdowns in the game, giving him at least one touchdown in each of the Falcons last eight games and 10 rushing touchdowns this year. He now has 720 rushing yards this season on 156 carries and should have another big game against a Panthers defense that has been susceptible to the run, giving up more then 120 rushing yards per game and eight rushing touchdowns through eight games. Turner is once again running like an elite fantasy football running back and should be used as a top-end RB1 this week.
Point Projection:  21 points

4. Adrian Peterson (Minnesota Vikings) vs. Detroit

Coming into this season Adrian Peterson was widely thought of as the best running back in the NFL as well as the best running back in fantasy football. Heading into the Vikings bye week, he has lived up to all the expectations as he has rushed for 784 rushing yards with nine rushing touchdowns through eight games. This week he will face a Detroit Lions team that he has played five times in his career and has rushed for 490 yards with three rushing touchdowns. In the previous match-up with Detroit this season he had 15 carries for 92 yards with a touchdown and a fumble. Peterson should be in your starting line-up each week he plays and he should once again reach double digit fantasy points in Week 10.
Point Projection:  20 points

5. Frank Gore (San Francisco 49ers) vs. Chicago  **THURSDAY NIGHT GAME**

Frank Gore had 15 carries for 83 yards with a touchdown and added seven receptions for 75 yards in a Week 9 loss to the Tennessee Titans. He has 637 total yards with six touchdowns in six games played this season. He has scored 16 or more fantasy points four times this season, including three times with 20 or more. Gore is the focal point of the 49ers offense and he should be used as a RB1 this week against a banged up Chicago Bears defense that he has averaged 6.4 yards per carry against in two career meetings.
Point Projection:  19 points

6. Maurice Jones-Drew (Jacksonville Jaguars) @ New York Jets

Maurice Jones-Drew had 29 carries for 97 yards with a touchdown and added three catches for 37 yards in the Jaguars victory over the Kansas City Chiefs last week. He is one of the hottest fantasy running backs with 407 rushing yards and six touchdowns over his last three games. He has 737 rushing yards this season to go with 11 touchdowns and he should be started as a RB1 this week. Jones-Drew has faced the Jets just once in his career and carried the ball 13 times for 59 yards with two touchdowns. Expect him to continue his stellar play in Week 10.
Point Projection:  18 points

7. Steven Jackson (St. Louis Rams) vs. New Orleans

Over the first eight games of the season Steven Jackson has been one of the best running backs in the NFL. He has carried the ball 165 times for 784 yards, but he has only managed one touchdown. In his last two games he has 55 carries for 283 yards with his lone touchdown. This week he will face a New Orleans Saints defense that gave up 182 rushing yards and two touchdowns last week to the Carolina Panthers. Continue to use Jackson as a starting fantasy running back in all formats this week as he looks for his sixth double digit fantasy football outing of the season.
Point Projection:  18 points

8. Ronnie Brown (Miami Dolphins) vs. Tampa Bay

After rushing for 74 or more yards in four of the Dolphins first five games, Ronnie Brown was held under 50 yards rushing for the third straight game in a Week 9 loss to the New England Patriots. He has rushed for 566 yards with seven touchdowns through eight games, while sharing carries with Ricky Williams. In Week 10 the Tampa Bay Buccaneers come to town and could be exactly what Brown needs to get back on track.  The Buccaneers have given up 1,307 rushing yards with nine touchdowns this season. Brown should be in your starting lineup as a No. 1 fantasy football running back this week.
Point Projection:  18 points

9. DeAngelo Williams (Carolina Panthers) vs. Atlanta

With 149 rushing yards and two touchdowns in Week 9 against the New Orleans Saints, DeAngelo Williams continues to be one of the hottest running backs in fantasy football. Over his last four games he has rushed for 548 yards to go with five touchdowns. Williams is averaging 4.4 yards per carry in seven career games against Atlanta and has two rushing touchdowns. This season the Falcons are giving up 123.5 yards per game and they have allowed six rushing touchdowns in eight games. Williams is a must-start fantasy running back and should be used as a low-end RB1 in this match-up.
Point Projection:  17 points

10. Pierre Thomas (New Orleans Saints) @ St. Louis

Pierre Thomas had 13 carries for 50 yards with a touchdown and added five catches for 31 yards last week against the Carolina Panthers. He topped 80 total yards for the second straight week and has added three total touchdowns in the two games. Thomas has scored six touchdowns over his last six games played and has emerged as the No. 1 running back in New Orleans. He should be used as a low-end No. 1 starting fantasy running back this week against a St. Louis defense that is giving up 134.8 rushing yards per game and has allowed 12 rushing touchdowns.
Point Projection:  17 points

11. Cedric Benson (Cincinnati Bengals) @ Pittsburgh

Cedric Benson had 34 carries for 117 yards with a touchdown in Week 9 against Baltimore and he has totaled 237 rushing yards in two games against the Ravens this season. He has rushed for 837 yards, six touchdowns through eight games and he has emerged as a weekly starting fantasy football running back. He has less then 74 rushing yards just one time this season, but he gets a tough test this week when he faces a Pittsburgh Steelers defense that is ranked No. 1 against the run. Benson had 16 carries for 76 yards with a touchdown in a Week 3 meeting against Pittsburgh. Look for a similar outing this week against the defending Super Bowl Champions.
Point Projection:  16 points

12. Thomas Jones (New York Jets) vs. Jacksonville

Before the Jets bye last week, Thomas Jones had rushed for 433 yards over his last three games and he has scored five touchdowns in his last five games. Many people were expecting a decline in production this season from the 31-year old running back, but in eight games he has 149 carries for 704 yards to go along with seven touchdowns. This week he will face a Jacksonville Jaguars defense that has given up 958 rushing yards with five touchdowns this season. Jones has scored double digit fantasy points in his last five games, a streak that should continue this week against a mediocre Jaguars defense.
Point Projection:  16 points

13. Matt Forte (Chicago Bears) @ San Francisco  **THURSDAY NIGHT GAME**

Matt Forte had just five carries for 33 yards in a Week 9 loss to the Arizona Cardinals, but he did add six receptions for 74 yards. He has 700 total yards and three touchdowns this season heading into his first ever meeting with the 49ers. San Francisco has been very good against the run this season, but did give up 152 rushing yards and three touchdowns in a loss to the Tennessee Titans last week. Plus, the 49ers have been notoriously bad at defending against running back receptions (51 receptions in eight games) and this should fit right into Chicago’s game-plan. Consider Forte a RB2 this week when the Bears travel to the Bay Area to face the 49ers.
Point Projection:  15 points

14. Rashard Mendenhall (Pittsburgh Steelers) vs. Cincinnati

Heading into Week 9, the Denver Broncos had the league’s No. 3 ranked rush defense, but that did not seem to faze Rashard Mendenhall who rushed the ball 22 times for 155 yards. It was his second 100-yard rushing game since taking over the starting running back spot for Pittsburgh in Week 4. Mendenhall has not rushed for less then 62 yards in a game since being the top options and he has scored four touchdowns during that time. Mendenhall should be used as a high-end RB2 this week when the Steelers face the Cincinnati Bengals who also have a good rush defense.
Point Projection:  14 points

15. Ryan Grant (Green Bay Packers) vs. Dallas

Ryan Grant had 21 carries for 96 yards and a touchdown in a Week 9 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. It was the third time in four games that he has exceeded 90 rushing yards and he has rushed for 621 yards this season and added three touchdowns. This week he will take on a Cowboys defense that is allowing just 103 rushing yards per game and has given up only three rushing touchdowns. In two career games against Dallas, Grant is averaging 74 rushing yards per game and has found pay dirt twice. He should be used as a No. 2 fantasy football running back this week when the Packers head to Big D to take on a surging Cowboys team.
Point Projection:  14 points