NFL Power Rankings Week 8: The Top 32 Running Backs
This was quite the controversy last week.
Of course, that must be expected I guess, given that I didn't exactly rank the backs like everyone wanted them ranked.
But before I go into the second edition of the running back power rankings, let me clarify a few things.
First off, this is not a matter of the best running backs in the NFL. That would be far easier of a task.
This is a ranking of the 32 best backs in the NFL at this particular time. Thus, Chris Johnson is not number one this week, even though he's widely considered the best in the NFL, because he struggled again this week.
As well, this is not a fantasy ranking. I'm not ranking the best 32 backs last week based of their "points" or anything. Performance plays a key part, however.
And that leads me to my last point: there are numerous factors that go into the picking of these players.
Probably the biggest issue everyone had last week was Ahmad Bradshaw at 5. But, as of right now, I think he's playing better football than Maurice Jones-Drew, number 10 from last week.
Hope that clears things up.
Let's jump into the rankings, which have been shaken up a lot since last week.
32. Beanie Wells, ARI
Beanie did just enough to stay in his spot at 32.
And by just enough, I mean he didn't fumble like Tim Hightower did.
Which may result in Beanie starting this next week against Tampa Bay, who is not known for their rush defense.
Wells may be in the 20s next week...
31. LeGarrette Blount, TB
Probably one of the hotter pickups this week in fantasy circles, Blount's stock has risen in real life as well.
With the ineffective Carnell Williams not doing anything, Blount finally got his chance against St. Louis Sunday and ran for 72 yards.
He's a big, physical back that as long as he doesn't deck anyone could be a great running back in this league.
Next up? Arizona's defense.
Blount too may be in the 20s next week.
30. Ricky Williams, MIA
Not an overly impressive performance from Williams on Sunday, but then again he outrushed his partner in crime, Ronnie Brown.
And he was playing the Steelers, so what do you expect?
29. Brandon Jackson, GB
Slowly, Jackson is getting the hang of things in Green Bay's pass-happy offense.
He's not going to be the Ray Rice lite I once thought, but he did score this past week against a good rush defense in Minnesota.
However, he faces a tough task against the Jets this Sunday, so we'll see how far he's really come.
28. Ryan Mathews, SD
It's not his fault he only got a few carries, as the Chargers self-destructed early and had to pass to catch up.
His job doesn't get a ton easier with the Titans coming to town.
Not to mention he's losing goal line carries to a guy from Coastal Carolina (Mike Tolbert).
Matthews will be a great back at some point in time, but it may not be this season.
27. Shonn Greene, NYJ
As long as LT keeps doing his thing, Greene will stay down here.
But he will also stay in the top 32 as long as he keeps playing for the Jets, who are content to run the ball...a lot.
Good matchup this week too for Greene, as the Packers come to town after Adrian Peterson lit them up.
26. Fred Jackson, BUF
Jackson is an underrated running back playing for a terrible team with a dynamic backup running back.
Recipe for disaster.
Good news is that Ryan Fitzpatrick seems to have perked up the offense a bit, which should only help Jackson.
25. DeAngelo Williams, CAR
Williams' stock should rise soon if Matt Moore can play at the level he did Sunday.
Of course, he was playing San Fran.
Good news for Williams is he gets the Rams this week, who, although improved, still don't boast a great run defense.
24. Felix Jones, DAL
I'm not sure whether the Tony Romo injury hurts or helps Jones.
It would seem to help him if Dallas will run more.
But Jones was an asset in the passing game as well, and Romo liked to use him in checkdown situations, something that Jon Kitna didn't seem to like doing Monday.
23. Jahvid Best, DET
Best should improve with the return of Matthew Stafford, who should stretch defenses enough to allow Best some more room.
At least that's the plan anyway.
22. Ronnie Brown, MIA
Let's be honest: it was Pittsburgh, but Brown did not look very good this past week.
He still is the featured back in a Miami offense that likes to run though, so look for a bounceback effort this week against Cincy.
21. Peyton Hillis, CLE
Hillis remains in his spot at 21 with a solid performance against the Saints.
What may make it more impressive that it was without much of a passing game to take away some attention from him.
In fact, Colt McCoy only had five more yards than Hillis (74 to 69).
That can't continue for Hillis.
20. Joseph Addai, IND
Addai's stock drops due to a shoulder injury that could cause him to miss just a week, or several.
So this ranking will probably be much worse next week, but I'm waiting on his injury status.
But then again this is Joseph Addai we're talking about.
19. Matt Forte, CHI
Chicago's offense as a whole is struggling, and that includes Forte.
It's not his fault for the most part though.
He can't keep Jay Cutler from throwing interceptions, or make the offensive line better.
Forte could use the Bears bye just as much as the next guy for sure.
18. Cedric Benson, CIN
Cincinnati isn't nearly as good of a rushing offense as many thought coming into this season.
Of course it's difficult to run when your defense puts you in a huge hole like they did last Sunday.
Either way, Benson has lost a step this season in my opinion, and I think we'll see Bernard Scott take on a bigger role before too long.
17. Marshawn Lynch, SEA
Lynch takes a huge leap in the rankings this week because of his solid performance against Arizona.
Granted, his stats are a bit inflated with his long early run, but he was tough in between the tackles, and got 24 carries to boot.
It's clear Seattle likes him, as he provides something in the run game that Forsett cannot.
He'll be one to watch the rest of the year.
16. Thomas Jones, KC
Jones looked a few years younger this past week, even if it was Jacksonville's run defense he shredded.
Either way, guys his age don't get 70-yard runs too often.
On top of all that, he ran 20 times to Jamaal Charles' 15.
He has certainly been a key piece in KC's turnaround.
15. Ryan Torain, WSH
Torain may keep the starting job even after Clinton Portis comes back.
Torain ran for 125 yards this past week against a pretty decent run defense in Chicago, and he did it on only 21 carries.
Even bigger is that many of his big runs came in the fourth quarter, when Washington was trying to keep the ball out of Jay Cutler's hands.
14. Jamaal Charles, KC
Charles may be the more talented back in Kansas City, but right now he's basking in the glow of Thomas Jones.
Who could've guessed that?
Still, Charles had a solid game on Sunday, and gets another great matchup against Buffalo this week.
13. LeSean McCoy, PHI
McCoy had very similar statistics to what his predecessor, Brian Westbrook, has done many times: he got more receiving yards than rushing yards.
Hmm...maybe it's just a Philly thing?
12. Rashard Mendenhall, PIT
I can already imagine the flak I'm going to receive for this.
Again, let me make this clear: it's not a reflection on his talent, but rather the fact that his stats were paltry this past week.
He'll bounce back, but it's also clear that this is Big Ben's offense now.
11. Maurice Jones-Drew, JAX
As sad as it is, Pocket Hercules's stock is dropping fast.
16 carries for 47 yards isn't a great statline.
Add to that that his backup averaged twice the yards per carry that he did, Jones-Drew may be outside the top half next week.
The good news? He gets the reeling Cowboys this week and David Garrard should be back.
10. Darren McFadden, OAK
What a performance this past week by Darren McFadden.
The third-year pro, who was considered a possible draft bust at the beginning of this year, already has 557 yards this season, despite missing a couple of games.
This past week's four-touchdown effort against Denver served the NFL a notice: watch out for Darren McFadden.
9. Ray Rice, BAL
Rice keeps his spot for now, even though Willis McGahee outrushed him last week, which I view as a fluke.
Rice will bounce back soon. At least that's my theory. The bye week should help him as well.
8. LaDainian Tomlinson, NYJ
This is really only a product of the fact that LT was on a bye last week, and everyone in the top 10 had a great performance...well except one.
I'm interested to see what LT can do against a suddenly porous Green Bay defense this week.
7. Frank Gore, SF
Gore retains his seven spot because he did what he was supposed to against Carolina.
He can't help that the rest of his team sucks. I bet he's getting tired of it too.
6. Ahmad Bradshaw, NYG
Ahmad remains controversally in the top 10 for now, but Brandon Jacobs is looming even bigger now, given his recent turnaround.
Still, Bradshaw tore up the Cowboys defense this past week for yet another 100-yard game.
So until he slows down, he'll remain here.
5. Steven Jackson, STL
Much like Gore, Jackson did what he was supposed to Sunday.
As for the rest of the offense, well we saw how that went.
4. Arian Foster, HOU
Two things make me think Foster may not be in the top 10 much longer: The Texans' passing game is due to come back to life and dominate the offense, and Derrick Ward's emergence makes me think he'll get a few more touches at Foster's expense.
3. Chris Johnson, TEN
Yet another subpar performance from CJ2K. If he's to get over 2,500 yards, he better hurry up, because 64 yards isn't going to cut it.
We'll see what he does this week against San Diego this week.
2. Michael Turner, ATL
Turner finally had the breakout game we were all waiting for this past week, rushing for over 100 yards to go along with two TDs.
What's crazy is that schedule is fairly easy after the bye week, with the only decent run defense being Baltimore.
1. Adrian Peterson, MIN
It seems like a lot of the backs in the top 10 lost this past week.
And like them, Peterson did all he could to help the Vikes beat the Packers, rushing for 131 yards and a touchdown.
The Vikings offense may be in flux, but Peterson certainly isn't having any problems whatsoever.
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