Figuring out who the best running back plays are from week to week is a little easier than wide receiver, but by no means is it simple. With some of the leagues top players injured and more than a few inter-division rivalries to consider, Week 10 is certainly no walk in the park.
That's why those of us in the fantasy industry put together these lists for you—to give the reader a gauge of what to expect from his or her players on any given Sunday.
With that, here are the weekend's top 10 running backs along with some detailed analysis on each player's overall game and matchup for the week.
Last weekend when DeMarco Murray ran for 139 yards on 22 carries against the Seahawks, he set a record for the most rushing yards over a three-game stretch in the history of the Dallas Cowboys franchise (466 yards).
When you think of the running backs that have played there, like Tony Dorsett and the NFL’s career rushing leader, Emmitt Smith; the feat becomes a tad unbelievable.
This weekend he’ll be squaring off against a Bills team that has allowed the second-most TDs and eighth-most fantasy points/game to opposing RBs this season.
I don’t think he has another 200-yard game in him, but he should be able to put up around 100 with a TD.
The New Orleans Saints have allowed their opponents to rush for a league-high 5.3 yards per carry this season, something Michael Turner fantasy owners should love to hear.
Turner loves facing the Saints anyway as he’s rushed for a TD in four of his last five games against them while averaging over 94 yards/game in that same span.
These Saints-Falcons matchups tend to be high-scoring contests as they’ve averaged over 50 points a game combined over the last three seasons. With that type of scoring, Turner shouldn’t have a problem getting into the end zone at least once this Sunday.
From both a real-life and fantasy perspective, Fred Jackson has been as consistent as anyone in the league up to this point. Putting up double-digit fantasy points in every game this season (standard scoring); Fred is a man who doesn’t discriminate as he’s done well against both the good teams and the bad.
The Cowboys were absolutely dominant against the run during their first five games of 2011, but in the last three weeks, they’ve allowed their opponent’s three lead runners to average 130 rushing yards with each of them scoring at least one touchdown.
There’s no reason to believe F-Jax won’t continue this current trend on Sunday.
Frank Gore currently ranks ninth in the league in fantasy points per game and fifth in rushing yards per game. He’s also on a nice little streak rushing for over 100 yards in each of the 49ers last five games, though he was finally held without a touchdown in the last one after scoring in each of the previous four.
The Giants rush D has been relatively porous this season allowing over 4.6 yards per carry and the second-most rushing touchdowns to opposing RBs in 2011, so look for Gore to maybe get his TD mojo going again while also having a good chance to keep his 100-yard game streak alive as well.
Steven Jackson has played like a man possessed this season rushing for 159 and 130 yards in just the last two weekends alone.
Sunday’s matchup looks to be another easy game for him to rack up the yardage as the Browns have really only stopped one team from running all over them this season; the Seattle Seahawks (third-worst rushing team in the NFL).
In fact, the Browns are so bad against the run right now that they even let TWO guys rush for over 100 yards against them last weekend (Arian Foster and Ben Tate).
Expect a big showing from The Beast on Sunday.
Matt Forte has become a yardage-monger this season putting up 150 total yards in six of his eight games while leading the league in that category with a massive 1,241 yards.
In Week 5 against this Detroit Lions team, Forte rushed for 116 yards while adding another 35 through the air, so it seems he already knows how to put up numbers against them. Plus, after some early-season domination, the Lions rush D looks like they’ve taken a step back giving up 100 or more yards to three of the last four starting RBs to start against them.
The Bears will likely want to win this game by grinding it out on the ground and keeping the ball away from Matthew Stafford, so expect some big numbers from Forte at Soldier Field this weekend.
McCoy currently heads up the league in fantasy points per game and shouldn’t have a problem extending that lead against the Cardinals this Sunday.
He’s also tied for the league lead in total touchdowns (11) with Calvin Johnson and has become as close of a guarantee to score each week as there is in the NFL (he has at least one touchdown in all eight games this season).
With Arizona sporting a lower-tier defense in every respect and the Eagles playing at home, expect no less than 140 total yards and a touchdown of some kind this Sunday.
Maurice Jones-Drew is just one carry behind Adrian Peterson for the most rushing attempts in the league this season, but he could find himself in the lead after this weekend’s game.
Like Peterson’s history with Green Bay, MJD has put up the most rushing and receiving yards against the Colts throughout his career and turns in 100-yard games against them with good regularity.
As it is in 2011, with Indianapolis owning possibly the worst defense in the league while also allowing the second-most fantasy points to opposing RBs, I don’t see a way in the world Jones-Drew doesn’t come out of this one with some serious numbers for your fantasy team.
Purple Jesus has the talent to rise up against any team he faces, but over his four and a half year career, Peterson has rushed for more yards against these Green Bay Packers than against any other team in the league. He also has the most receiving yards of his career against them as well.
Basically, All Day would love to play the Packers all year if he could.
Just three weeks ago in their first matchup, AP went off for as season-high 175 yards while plowing in a one-yard score as the Vikings gave the Packers their toughest game of the year.
I can’t say Minnesota will be able to keep this one as close with the game being played up in Lambeau Field, but I guarantee it won’t be because of the Purple Jesus.
Look for his four-game touchdown streak to continue as well.
At this point, Arian Foster is looking like the same player who ran away with world-wide fantasy MVP honors last season and ain’t slowing down for nobody. Nooooo-body.
As a matter of fact, if you take away his first game of the season where he came out at halftime due to injury, he’s averaged 22 fantasy points/game which not only would lead the league again, but would also be close to a full point and a half better than his stats from 2010!
This week he’ll be facing a Buccaneers defense that allows the third-most fantasy points to running backs this season, so it doesn’t take a genius to know what’s going to happen here.
Click here to see the Full List of RBs 1-50 and Rankings For All Other Positions
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