There have been some surprising performances among running backs thus far this season. Did anyone expect Fred Jackson or Matt Forte to be virtual locks to be among the top 10 running backs every week? Let’s take a look at where they stand, as well as all the rest, for the coming week:
- Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings, at Chicago
- Darren McFadden, Oakland Raiders, vs. Cleveland
- Fred Jackson, Buffalo Bills, at New York Giants
- Ray Rice, Baltimore Ravens, vs. Houston
- LeSean McCoy, Philadelphia Eagles, at Washington
- Matt Forte, Chicago Bears, vs. Minnesota
- Frank Gore, San Francisco 49ers, at Detroit
- Maurice Jones-Drew, Jacksonville Jaguars, at Pittsburgh
- Arian Foster, Houston Texans, at Baltimore
- Michael Turner, Atlanta Falcons, vs. Carolina
- Cedric Benson, Cincinnati Bengals, vs. Indianapolis
- Ahmad Bradshaw, New York Giants, vs. Buffalo
- Daniel Thomas, Miami Dolphins, at New York Jets
- Peyton Hillis, Cleveland Browns, at Oakland
- Steven Jackson, St. Louis Rams, at Green Bay
- LeGarrette Blount, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, vs. New Orleans
- Rashard Mendenhall, Pittsburgh Steelers, vs. Jacksonville
- Shonn Greene, New York Jets, vs. Miami
- BenJarvus Green-Ellis, New England Patriots, vs. Dallas
- Ryan Torain, Washington Redskins, vs. Philadelphia
- Darren Sproles, New Orleans Saints, at Tampa Bay
- James Starks, Green Bay Packers, vs. St. Louis
- DeAngelo Williams, Carolina Panthers, at Atlanta
- Jahvid Best, Detroit Lions, vs. San Francisco
- Felix Jones, Dallas Cowboys, at New England
- Joseph Addai, Indianapolis Colts, at Cincinnati
- Tim Hightower, Washington Redskins, vs. Philadelphia
- LaDainian Tomlinson, New York Jets, vs. Miami
- Pierre Thomas, New Orleans Saints, at Tampa Bay
- Brandon Jacobs, New York Giants, vs. Buffalo
- Michael Bush, Oakland Raiders, vs. Cleveland
- Earnest Graham, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, vs. New Orleans
- Jonathan Stewart, Carolina Panthers, at Atlanta
- Ryan Grant, Green Bay Packers, vs. St. Louis
- Carnell Williams, St. Louis Rams, at Green Bay
- Stevan Ridley, New England Patriots, vs. Dallas
- C.J. Spiller, Buffalo Bills, at New York Giants
- Reggie Bush, Miami Dolphins, at New York Jets
- Montario Hardesty, Cleveland Browns, at Oakland
- Kendall Hunter, San Francisco 49ers, at Detroit
Fred Jackson continues to produce coming off a game where he rushed for 111 yards and one TD as well as adding six receptions for 85 yards against the Eagles. In fact, he now has five receptions or more in each of the past three weeks. On the season he has 480 rushing yards and five TDs, while adding 232 passing yards. The New York Giants will have a hard time shutting him down this week.
With LeSean McCoy producing both on the ground (443 yards and five TDs) and in the air (nine receptions for 110 yards and two TDs) there is a lot to like no matter who the opponent is.
In two of the past three weeks the Carolina Panthers have been burned on the ground by Maurice Jones-Drew (122 yards) and Matt Forte (205 yards). This past week they took on the Saints, so it was a more air-oriented attack, though Darren Sproles did combine for 91 total yards.
I know Michael Turner has been struggling of late (outside of three TDs in his past two games), but would it surprise anyone if he had a strong performance? Consider him a low-level RB1/top-level RB2 for the coming week. That’s only because of the risk that the team continues to go throw-heavy.
Ahmad Bradshaw has a positive matchup with the Buffalo Bills (allowing 138.4 rushing yards/game), but will a banged-up offensive line cost him a chance to be productive? With the team’s best offensive lineman, Chris Snee, likely out due to a concussion you have to be concerned. He hasn’t had a huge season (286 yards over five games) and with all these things piling up against him I would consider him a RB2 this week.
Will LeGarrette Blount be healthy enough to play? If he is then he’ll be a solid option. However, is anyone confident he’s going to take the field? If he doesn’t, the Buccaneers running back situation will be a cloudy one, with Earnest Graham, Kregg Lumpkin and Allen Bradford all sharing carries.
Prepare accordingly, but I would try to avoid the Tampa Bay situation altogether. There’s just too much risk involved. He’s included in the rankings, but monitor the news and prepare to move on.
Normally taking on the Jets defense would worry fantasy owners, but they clearly aren’t the same unit that they once were. Coming into the game they are allowing 134.8 rushing yards/game, as well as eight TDs. They also just gave up 136 rushing yards to BenJarvus Green-Ellis. Daniel Thomas, if healthy, is suddenly looking like a solid option, isn’t he?
Arian Foster showed in Week 5 that even if he isn’t going to produce on the ground, he can make a major impact in the passing game. He combined for 184 yards, his second consecutive week over 165 yards. He’s back to being a must-use option regardless of the opponent.
Suffering a hamstring injury that forced him to miss the majority of their Week 5 matchup, Joseph Addai is a major question mark at this point. Delone Carter would get the bulk of the carries if that does happen, though I wouldn’t consider him more than a FLEX option. He’s on the rankings, for now, but be prepared to move on.
Ryan Torain erupted in Week 4 rushing for 135 yards and one TD on 19 carries. Did anyone see that coming? Tim Hightower has actually struggled for two games running (65 yards on 22 carries), so Torain should be considered the better option in the Washington backfield. However, the team will likely ride the hot hand (Roy Helu included), meaning this situation is a tough one predict.
If James Starks played on a team that actually ran the ball he would be considered a tremendous option this week taking on the St. Louis Rams (league-worst 179.8 yards/game). However, does anyone believe that the Packers are going to go with a run-oriented attack? Consider him a low-end RB2 at this point and nothing more.
Make sure to check out the rest of Rotoprofessor’s Week 6 information: