Fantasy Football Week 11 Initial Rankings: Running Backs

Kevin Hanson@EDSFootballAnalyst IIINovember 15, 2011

KANSAS CITY, MO - NOVEMBER 13:  Running back Lance Ball #35 of the Denver Broncos rushes the ball against the Kansas City Chiefs during the second half on November 13, 2011  at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri.  Denver defeated Kansas City 17-10.  (Photo by Peter Aiken/Getty Images)
Peter Aiken/Getty Images

In their win over the Kansas City Chiefs last week, Denver Broncos' quarterback Tim Tebow threw only eight passes and completed only two of them.

Since Tebow has taken over as the team's starting quarterback, the Broncos have averaged 230 rushing yards per game (vs. 132 passing yards per game).

Tebow, who is averaging more than 70 rushing yards per game as a starter, has only two more completions (43) than rush attempts (41) during that four-game span.

With running back Knowshon Moreno on injured reserve, Lance Ball, who was on our waiver-wire list, is in position for a heavy workload if Willis McGahee can't play Thursday night against the New York Jets.

Per Lindsay Jones of the Denver Post, McGahee "isn't a sure thing to play" this week.

With McGahee and Moreno leaving last week's game with injuries, Ball had 30 carries for 96 yards. While that is not a great yards-per-carry average (3.2), Ball should be in line for at least 20 carries if McGahee does not play.

For the Jets, backup running back LaDainian Tomlinson, who has an MCL sprain, won't play Thursday night.

Here are some more running back notes for Week 11:

- In the four games that Felix Jones has missed, Cowboys rookie running DeMarco Murray has run all over the opposition. With 75 carries during that four-game span, Murray has rushed for 601 yards (more than eight yards per carry). Although Jones is expected to return this weekend, Murray is expected to continue to be the team's "workhorse running back."

- Buffalo running back Fred Jackson rushed for 114 yards on only 13 carries against the Cowboys last week. It was his fourth 100-yard game in the past five weeks and his sixth of the season. Jackson currently leads the NFL in rushing with 917 yards.

- Giants running back Ahmad Bradshaw has now missed two consecutive games with a broken foot. If Bradshaw can't go this week, Brandon Jacobs will get a favorable matchup against the Eagles, who have allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing running backs this season. That said, Philadelphia has been much better against the run in their past four games than they were in their first five matchups.

- Against the Colts last week, Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew rushed for 114 yards and a touchdown. It was MJD's third 100-yard game of the season and eighth time MJD had at least 80 rushing yards in nine games this season.

- Redskins running back Ryan Torain unexpectedly got the start after Roy Helu set the franchise single-game record for receptions (14) in week nine. That said, Torain was much less productive (10 carries for 20 yards) than Helu (six carries for 41 yards). Who gets the majority of work in Week 11 is anyone's guess with Mike Shanahan calling the shots.

- Dolphins running back Reggie Bush had only 47 rushing yards on 14 carries last week, but he also scored two touchdowns. Daniel Thomas had more carries (17) but less yards (42) and touchdowns (zero).

- Tennessee's Chris Johnson rushed for a season-high 130 yards against the Panthers last week. It was CJ2K's second 100-yard game of the season, although the Panthers have allowed eight running backs to rush for at least 85 yards in nine games this season. This week, the Titans face the Falcons, who have allowed only one running back to rush for at least 85 yards (LeSean McCoy, 95, in Week 2).

- Maurice Morris rushed 10 times for 44 yards last week. Will he (or Jahvid Best, if he returns, or Kevin Smith) be able to take advantage of this week's favorable matchup against the Panthers, who have allowed the most fantasy points to running backs this season?

- 49ers running back Frank Gore rushed only six times for zero yards and suffered a knee injury in the third quarter. While Gore is expected to play on Sunday, he likely won't be at 100 percent and may not get his full workload considering they play four days later on Thanksgiving night.

- Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch has had strong 100-yard performances against good run defenses (Dallas and Baltimore). In those two games, Lynch carried the ball 55 times for 244 yards. Lynch has also scored in five straight games and this week he faces the Rams, who have allowed the most rushing yards in the NFL this season.

- Rams running back Steven Jackson has had 25-plus carries and 125-plus yards in three straight games. During that three-game span, Jackson has 81 carries for 417 yards and two touchdowns in addition to eight receptions for 67 yards.

Here are our top 40 fantasy running backs for Week 11:

1. LeSean McCoy, Eagles (at NYG)
2. Adrian Peterson, Vikings (vs OAK)
3. Matt Forte, Bears (vs SD)
4. Fred Jackson, Bills (at MIA)
5. Maurice Jones-Drew, Jaguars (at CLE)
6. DeMarco Murray, Cowboys (at WAS)
7. Ray Rice, Ravens (vs CIN)
8. Steven Jackson, Rams (vs SEA)
9. Michael Turner, Falcons (vs TEN)
10. Michael Bush, Raiders (at MIN)
11. Frank Gore, 49ers (vs ARI)
12. Shonn Greene, Jets (at DEN)
13. Marshawn Lynch, Seahawks (at STL)
14. Chris Johnson, Titans (at ATL)
15. Reggie Bush, Dolphins (vs BUF)
16. Ryan Mathews, Chargers (at CHI)
17. Brandon Jacobs, Giants (vs PHI)
18. Willis McGahee, Broncos (vs NYJ)
19. Mike Tolbert, Chargers (at CHI)
20. LeGarrette Blount, Buccaneers (at GB)
21. James Starks, Packers (vs TB)
22. Maurice Morris, Lions (vs CAR)
23. Ahmad Bradshaw, Giants (vs PHI)
24. BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Patriots (vs KC)
25. Beanie Wells, Cardinals (at SF)
26. Cedric Benson, Bengals (at BAL)
27. Jonathan Stewart, Panthers (at DET)
28. Lance Ball, Broncos (vs NYJ)
29. Daniel Thomas, Dolphins (vs BUF)
30. Jackie Battle, Chiefs (at NE)
31. Kendall Hunter, 49ers (vs ARI)
32. Chris Ogbonnaya, Browns (vs JAX)
33. Roy Helu, Redskins (vs DAL)
34. DeAngelo Williams, Panthers (at DET)
35. Ryan Grant, Packers (vs TB)
36. Danny Woodhead, Patriots (vs KC)
37. Ryan Torain, Redskins (vs DAL)
38. Marion Barber, Bears (vs SD)
39. Felix Jones, Cowboys (at WAS)
40. Kevin Smith, Lions (vs CAR)

If you're in a point-per-reception (PPR) league, here are our running back PPR rankings for Week 11.

For more positions and/or flex rankings, visit our fantasy section.

To keep track of our fantasy updates throughout the week, you can (1) follow us on Twitter @EDSFootball or (2) "like" us on Facebook or both.

Good luck in Week 11!


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