Fantasy Football Week 12 Rankings: Top 40 Running Backs
Where do Adrian Peterson injuries turn for Week 12? Has Kevin Smith emerged as a must use option? How should owners view Chris Johnson? Let’s look at these questions and all the rest as we head into Week 12:
- Arian Foster – Houston Texans – at Jacksonville
- LeSean McCoy – Philadelphia Eagles – vs. New England
- Matt Forte – Chicago Bears – at Oakland
- Ray Rice – Baltimore Ravens – vs. San Francisco
- Michael Turner – Atlanta Falcons – vs. Minnesota
- DeMarco Murray – Dallas Cowboys – vs. Miami
- Michael Bush – Oakland Raiders – vs. Chicago
- Maurice Jones-Drew – Jacksonville Jaguars – vs. Houston
- Steven Jackson – St. Louis Rams – vs. Arizona
- Rashard Mendenhall – Pittsburgh Steelers – at Kansas City
- Cedric Benson – Cincinnati Bengals – vs. Cleveland
- Frank Gore – San Francisco 49ers – at Baltimore
- Marshawn Lynch – Seattle Seahawks – vs. Washington
- Willis McGahee – Denver Broncos – at San Diego
- Reggie Bush – Miami Dolphins – at Dallas
- Fred Jackson – Buffalo Bills – at New York Jets
- LeGarrette Blount – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – at Tennessee
- Chris Johnson – Tennessee Titans – vs. Tampa Bay
- Darren Sproles – New Orleans Saints – vs. New York Giants
- Kevin Smith – Detroit Lions – vs. Green Bay
- Beanie Wells – Arizona Cardinals – at St. Louis
- Shonn Greene – New York Jets – vs. Buffalo
- Ryan Mathews – San Diego Chargers – vs. Denver
- DeAngelo Williams – Carolina Panthers – at Indianapolis
- BenJarvus Green-Ellis – New England Patriots – at Philadelphia
- Ben Tate – Houston Texans – at Jacksonville
- James Starks – Green Bay Packers – at Detroit
- Chris Ogbonnaya – Cleveland Browns – at Cincinnati
- Toby Gerhart – Minnesota Vikings – at Atlanta
- Mike Tolbert – San Diego Chargers – vs. Denver
- Brandon Jacobs – New York Giants – at New Orleans
- Donald Brown – Indianapolis Colts – vs. Carolina
- Jackie Battle – Kansas City Chiefs – vs. Pittsburgh
- Roy Helu – Washington Redskins – at Seattle
- Jonathan Stewart – Carolina Panthers – at Indianapolis
- Daniel Thomas – Miami Dolphins – at Dallas
- Javon Ringer – Tennessee Titans – vs. Tampa Bay
- Joe McKnight – New York Jets – vs. Buffalo
- Pierre Thomas – New Orleans Saints – vs. New York Giants
- Ryan Grant – Green Bay Packers – at Detroit
- After injuring his ankle on Sunday, it is a major question whether Adrian Peterson will be able to play in Week 12 or not. It is likely that he will be forced out for at least one game, meaning Toby Gerhart will likely get to carry the load. However, it is a tough matchup against one of the better rushing defenses in the league, so keep expectations tempered and consider him more of a FLEX option.
- Kevin Smith may have emerged as the go-to running back in Detroit, which shouldn’t be the biggest of surprises. Maurice Morris is still going to get his touches, but after Smith had 140 yards and two TDs on 16 carries, it’s hard to imagine him not considered the top option heading into Week 12. Of course, his value may be limited due to the game likely being a shootout with the Packers, but he’s worth considering as a low-end RB2/FLEX option.
- Would anyone be surprised if the Houston Texans go extremely run heavy without Matt Schaub? Look for both Arian Foster and Ben Tate to potentially post strong games.
- The Baltimore Ravens were not the same defense without Ray Lewis, with Cedric Benson rushing for two touchdowns against them in Week 11. The concerns surrounding Frank Gore were easily dismissed (he rushed for 88 yards on 24 carries), so consider Gore a strong play for the coming week, especially if Lewis is forced to miss another game.
- Despite Ray Rice drawing the toughest rushing defense in the league, there is no reason to downgrade him. The Ravens have clearly learned their lesson and will continue to get him involved in the offense (he had 20 carries for 104 yards and two TDs in Week 11). Plus, he has just as much potential to post strong numbers in the passing game. He’s a RB1 in all formats.
- In his first game against the Browns this season (Week 1), Cedric Benson went off for 121 yards and a TD. That was actually his second consecutive game against the Browns with at least 120 yards (he had 150 yards and a TD in Week 15 of 2010). Despite the less-than-stellar play thus far in 2011 (averaging 70.4 yards per game), he should be considered a must-use this week.
- Chris Johnson was awful in Week 11 (28 total yards), but I also wouldn’t just ignore what he did in Weeks 9 and 10 and simply write him off. He draws a Buccaneers defense that has allowed the second-most rushing touchdowns this season (13) and should be in store for a solid performance. I wouldn’t consider him more than a mid-level RB2, but he should be a viable option.
- You want to think that James Starks is going to be a great option against the Lions, who are allowing 134.7 rushing yards per game. However, this is the Packers, which means pass, pass and pass some more. He’s got to be considered more of a FLEX option in most weeks.
- Does anyone want to trust any of the Redskins running backs at this point? Who knows what Mike Shanahan is going to do, making Roy Helu and Ryan Torain virtually unusable. Consider Helu the better option as a potential FLEX, but that’s about it.
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