Week 14 Fantasy Rankings: Top 40 Running Backs

Kevin Hanson@EDSFootballAnalyst IIIDecember 8, 2011

Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch began the season with inconsistency and a much lighter workload than he's getting now.

In his first six games of the season, Lynch rushed for 33 yards or less four times and for 73 yards or more twice. During that span, the Seahawks did not give Lynch the workload he has received in the past five weeks. Through those first six games, Lynch had a total of 74 carries. Since then, he has 128 carries in five games.

That said, Lynch has scored a touchdown in every game he has played in October, November and December.

In his past five games, Lynch has 22-plus carries in all five games and has gone over 100 yards four times. With the Seahawks facing the Rams, who rank last in the league in run defense, Lynch should be in store for another heavy workload and highly productive game.

After this week, however, his schedule will be much tougher against Chicago and San Francisco in Weeks 15 and 16, respectively.

Here are some more running back notes from Week 13:

- In last week's favorable matchup against the Bucs, Panthers running back Jonathan Stewart had 99 yards from scrimmage and scored a touchdown. The Daily Show rushed for 80 yards on 14 carries, both of which were season highs, and had two receptions for 19 yards, but the Panthers have a much tougher matchup in Week 14 against the Falcons, who have allowed the fifth-fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs.

- Texans running back Arian Foster finished with 31 carries for 111 yards and a touchdown. It was the Foster's fifth 100-yard rushing game (and he has three 100-yard receiving games). But it was also the first 100-yard rushing game allowed by the Falcons this season. (Going into Week 14, there are only two teams that have yet to allow a 100-yard rusher: San Francisco and New England.)

- For a second straight game (and against tough run defenses), Redskins rookie running back Roy Helu finished with exactly 23 carries and more than 100 rushing yards. In those two games, Helu has 46 carries for 208 yards and two touchdowns, plus 11 receptions for 96 yards.

- Two things looked good for LeGarrette Blount going into today's game: he was coming off back-to-back 100-yard games and the Panthers had allowed the most fantasy points to opposing running backs. Instead it did not go well for Blount and his fantasy owners as he finished with only 19 rushing yards on 11 carries.

- Baltimore's Ray Rice set a career high with 204 rushing yards against the Browns last week. Cleveland has allowed six running backs to rush for 100-plus yards in their past six games. Next up...

- Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall rushed for only 60 yards on 16 carries, but he scored two touchdowns. Mendenhall has 70 rushing yards or less in every game this season except one (vs. Jacksonville in Week 6). That said, Mendy has scored in three of his past four games and has a total of five touchdowns during that span. Plus, this week Mendenhall faces the Browns.

- Jets running back Shonn Greene came up big for fantasy owners. Greene finished with a season-high 22 carries for 88 yards and three scores. Coming into last week's game, Greene had only two rushing touchdowns.

- None of the Patriots running backs reached double-digit carries in Week 13, but BenJarvus Green-Ellis scored a touchdown on six carries for 14 yards. The Law Firm has three rushing touchdowns in his past two games, but he has only 20 carries for 60 yards in those two games combined.

- The Dolphins have a good run defense and have allowed the second-fewest rushing touchdowns (three) in the NFL. That said, I expected more, much more, from Michael Bush, who carried the ball 10 times for only 18 yards in Week 13. Bush's longest run of the day was for just THREE YARDS. In his past three games, Bush has 64 carries for 196 yards (3.1 yards per carry).

- Meanwhile, Dolphins running back Reggie Bush rushed for his second 100-yard game of the season and a touchdown on 22 attempts. Bush now has five rushing touchdowns in his past five games and he has scored in four of those five games. Teammate Daniel Thomas had 13 carries for 73 yards, which was the most he had since Week 3.

- For a second straight game, Broncos running back Willis McGahee had at least 20 carries and 100 yards. McGahee, who missed Wednesday's practice, has six 100-yard games this season.

- Titans running back Chris Johnson finished last week's game with 23 carries for 153 yards and two touchdowns. Despite having only 13 yards against the Falcons in Week 11, CJ2K now has 130-plus yards in three of his past four games.

- Bills running back C.J. Spiller rushed 14 times for 83 yards and a touchdown. He also caught three passes for 19 yards. It was Spiller's first game with double-digit fantasy points this season.

- Although Thomas Jones (16) and Jackie Battle (11) had more carries, Dexter McCluster led the Chiefs in rushing with 61 yards on nine carries. He also caught four passes for 46 yards and the only touchdown of the game last week.

- Browns running back Peyton Hillis had 12 carries for 45 yards and one reception for 52 yards. Chris Ogbonnaya had one carry for two yards, but he had five receptions for 28 yards.

- Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray had only 12 carries for 38 yards while Felix Jones had six carries for 36 yards. It was the first time in five weeks that Murray had less than 20 carries.

- While Beanie Wells got a lot of work (20 carries) and scored a touchdown, he finished with only 67 rushing yards after last week's career-best 228-yard performance. Next week, Wells has another tough matchup against the 49ers.

- Ahmad Bradshaw returned and had more carries (11) than Brandon Jacobs (eight), but Jacobs led the team in rushing (59 yards) and scored its rushing touchdown.

- Rams running back Steven Jackson finished with only 10 carries for 19 yards. Unfortunately, Jackson's playoff matchups aren't great either (Seattle, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh), but at least his second matchup against the 49ers is in Week 17.

- 49ers running back Frank Gore had 21 carries for 73 yards and he became the franchise's all-time leading rusher as he passed Joe Perry. That said, Gore has had four straight games with less than 100 yards after his five-game streak of 100-yard games. During the past four games, Gore has 65 carries for 200 yards (50.0 yards per game and 3.08 yards per carry).

- Saints running back Mark Ingram led the team with 16 rushing attempts and 54 yards and rushed for a touchdown in his second straight game. However, Ingram missed today's practice with turf toe, which puts his status for Week 14 in jeopardy.

Here are our top 40 fantasy running backs for Week 14:

1. Ray Rice, Ravens (vs IND)
2. Maurice Jones-Drew, Jaguars (vs TB)
3. Arian Foster, Texans (at CIN)
4. Marshawn Lynch, Seahawks (vs STL)
5. Michael Turner, Falcons (at CAR)
6. LeSean McCoy, Eagles (at MIA)
7. Chris Johnson, Titans (vs NO)
8. Rashard Mendenhall, Steelers (vs CLE)
9. Ryan Mathews, Chargers (vs BUF)
10. Frank Gore, 49ers (at ARI)
11. DeMarco Murray, Cowboys (at NYG)
12. Michael Bush, Raiders (at GB)
13. Reggie Bush, Dolphins (vs PHI)
14. Roy Helu, Redskins (vs NE)
15. Shonn Greene, Jets (vs KC)
16. Steven Jackson, Rams (at SEA)
17. Willis McGahee, Broncos (vs CHI)
18. LeGarrette Blount, Buccaneers (at JAX)
19. Darren Sproles, Saints (at TEN)
20. BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Patriots (at WAS)
21. C.J. Spiller, Bills (at SD)
22. Ahmad Bradshaw, Giants (at DAL)
23. Toby Gerhart, Vikings (at DET)
24. Beanie Wells, Cardinals (vs SF)
25. Cedric Benson, Bengals (vs HOU)
26. Marion Barber, Bears (at DEN)
27. Jonathan Stewart, Panthers (vs ATL)
28. Mike Tolbert, Chargers (vs BUF)
29. Peyton Hillis, Browns (at PIT)
30. Maurice Morris, Lions (vs MIN)
31. Kevin Smith, Lions (vs MIN)
32. Ben Tate, Texans (at CIN)
33. DeAngelo Williams, Panthers (vs ATL)
34. Adrian Peterson, Vikings (at DET)
35. Pierre Thomas, Saints (at TEN)
36. Brandon Jacobs, Giants (at DAL)
37. Donald Brown, Colts (at BAL)
38. Mark Ingram, Saints (at TEN)
39. Ryan Grant, Packers (vs OAK)
40. Daniel Thomas, Dolphins (vs PHI)

If you're in a point-per-reception (PPR) league, here are our running back PPR rankings for Week 14.

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 14!


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