Full Top 40 Running Backs Rankings

By on September 3, 2011



The top 40 list for running backs is now fully updated as of 9/3. This will be the last ranking of the preseason, unless there is major news regarding someone who is injured during the next. As of now, we still don’t have any official word on Arian Foster’s condition (day-to-day), so make sure to check back with the site to see if there have been any changes. These rankings are based on standard PPR leagues where all scoring touchdowns are six points.

Players in red italics have been updated with new outcomes since last week.

If you have any questions, concerns or see something that sticks out like a sore thumb, make sure you leave a comment below or email me at Greg@FantasyKnuckleheads.com.

Running Backs 1-10

1. Adrian Peterson – Vikings: The Vikings added Donovan McNabb, but lost Sidney Rice (Seattle). AD will still be the main focal point of the offense.
2. Chris Johnson – Titans: Yep, you read this right. After signing a fat contract, Johnson is as good as gold again and will get a big role right out of the gate. The team didn’t pay him all that money to stand on the sidelines for Week One.
3. Arian Foster – Texans: The upside to Foster, in a contract year, is simply too great to drop him any further. But hamstring injuries can be a B, so make sure you get Ben Tate as insurance.
4. Jamaal Charles – Chiefs: Like I predicted, I’ve gotten several owners who have questioned why I have Charles ranked so high. Guess what? That’s not going to change. The Chiefs will still run the ball. Owners shouldn’t worry about Thomas Jones either.
5. Ray Rice – Ravens: Rice get a bump up because of Chris Johnson’s holdout. Plus, the Ravens don’t seem in a hurry to find Willis McGahee’s (Denver) replacement.
6. LeSean McCoy – Eagles: McCoy moves up yet another spot. I’ve seen this guy go in the top 3 in a lot drafts so far this year.
7. Steven Jackson – Rams: A big reason Jackson is slipping is because Josh McDaniels may not use him a lot as a pass catcher.
8. Darren McFadden – Raiders: I REALLY like McFadden this year. You may have to overpay for Michael Bush as insurance.
9. Frank Gore – 49er : With Michael Crabtree out 4-6 weeks with a foot injury, the offense figures to run through Gore. Health is still an issue.
10. Michael Turner – Falcons: Turner’s value dips a little with the passing offense expected to be the focal point. Turner will be used more as a grinder to eat the clock.

Monterio Hardesty’s knee woes have helped Peyton Hillis gain some of his fantasy value back.

Running Backs 11-20

11. Shonn Greene – NY Jets: Just like last year, Greene is moving up. But unlike last year, he will actually talk the talk.
12. Rashard Mendenhall – Steelers: Mendy is going steady at his original spot at No. 12. As usual, don’t expect him to turn around and be a big part of the passing game. He won’t get you many receptions.
13. Maurice Jones-Drew – Jaguars: It would be hard imagining MJD slipping even further unless he was shutdown for good.
14. LeGarrette Blount – Buccaneers: Blount is also seeing his value go up. Young/potent offense should give him a great chance to post huge numbers.
15. Matt Forte – Bears: Forte has been outplayed by Barber in two preseason games. If Barber blows up in the third, Forte is going to slide.
16. Ahmad Bradshaw – NY Giants: The best thing Bradshaw could have done was to re-sign with the Giants. Expect him to remain the featured back ahead of Brandon Jacobs.
17. Knowshon Moreno – Broncos: Even though he didn’t get much competition, I still dropped Moreno. Willis McGahee could easily steal carries more and more every week.
18. DeAngelo Williams – Panthers: Would have been nice to see DeAngelo sign in Denver, but staying in Carolina could prove to be just as fruitful.
19. Peyton Hillis – Browns: Hillis’ value could gain back steam with Monterio Hardesty’s surgically-repaired knee giving him problems.
20. Ryan Mathews – Chargers: With the news that Norv Turner wants Mike Tolbert involved in the backfield, Mathews has been falling fast.

With injuries aplenty in Dallas’ backfield, Jones could be in store for a career season.

Best of the Rest 21-30

21. Felix Jones – Cowboys: With the backfield all to himself, Jones could have his best season to date.
22. Cedric Benson – Bengals: Has a one year prove it deal. Hopefully, Benson proves he isn’t done yet.
23. Jahvid Best – Lions: The Lions’ running game has been very worrisome.
24. Ryan Grant – Packers: Borderline RB2. Could move up in the next couple weeks.
25. (Rookie) Mark Ingram – Saints: Should still start, but Darren Sproles will see receptions.
26. BenJarvus Green Ellis – Patriots: Ocho should help open up holes in the running game, but I don’t know if BGE can be the guy.
27. Fred Jackson – Bills: Jackson’s value could slowly increase over the rest of August.
28. Beanie Wells – Cardinals: With the news that rookie Ryan Williams might miss the season with a torn patellar tendon, Wells will get the lion’s share of the carries.
29. Marshawn Lynch – Seahawks: If Seattle’s passing game fails, and it likely will, Lynch could bump down off this list for good. One huge run against the Saints isn’t going to carry much weight.
30. Joseph Addai – Colts: Could move up before the season.Clearly the team’s starter with a shaky Donald Brown behind him.

Mike Tolbert cracks the top-40 for the first time in the preseason. He could be a solid flex options.

Best of the Rest 31-40

31. James Starks – Packers: Is an injury away from skyrocketing up the rankings.
32. Danny Woodhead – Patriots: More value in PPR leagues.
33. Mike Tolbert – Chargers: Tolbert cracks the top 40 with a RBBC approach in Chargerland. Tolbert could see a lot of work at the goal-line.
34. Reggie Bush – Dolphins:You should have noticed by now that I dropped rookie Daniel Thomas out of the rankings completely. He has been a huge disappointment and has clearly been outplayed by Bush all preseason and in training camp. Bush could move up even more by next week.
35. Brandon Jacobs – NY Giants: Will see some work, but Bradshaw is the main man.
36. Darren Sproles – Saints: Could see low-tier flex value in PPR leagues.
37. Jonathan Stewart – Panthers: Suffered the most with DeAngelo back.
38. Tim Hightower – Redskins: Yep. You’re reading this correctly. Both Mike and Kyle Shanahan love this guy.
39. CJ Spiller – Bills: A weak handcuff if Jackson misses time.
40. Willis McGahee – Broncos: After Matt Forte re-signed with Chicago to a pretty hefty contract, Marion Barber’s value took a hit. I really like McGahee as a possible RB4 with the Broncos offense set to run a lot. Knownshon Moreno still has to prove he is an every-down back.
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