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Week 3 Running Back Rankings 

Arian Foster

I get it. There is bad luck and then there was week 2. The amount of injuries to star players was insane! The fact that so many of these injuries happened in the first quarter of games was even more ridiculous and most people got close to zero value for some of their starters. I am not saying injuries hurt regardless, but when they happen in the second half or closer to games end, at least you do not have to stare a big ol goose egg in the face. Jamal Charles, AJ Green, Knowshon Moreno, etc. Throw in a few suspensions and some teams are already forced to start some waiver wire fodder hoping for a lucky td or fluke game. To add insult to injury, it was reported that both star Bears receivers only had a 25% chance of playing in the night game. If you were like me, you trust that report and figure even if a guy suits up, how effective can he really be if there was a 75% chance he would not even make it out on the field? It’s cruel when that happens and the guys slaps you in the face for betrayal of doubting him with not one, not two, but three tds! It’s like a hot girlfriend that you cheated on with some grimey bar hog during a bachelor party hitting the lotto five minutes after she found out your drunken mistake. I always agree with start your studs under all conditions and matchups, but when the experts say a player will not play, most people generally take their word for it. It is a huge difference than trusting somebody such as myself’s gut call on a healthy player. Just remember, there is absolutely nothing you can do about injuries and it is why I recommend drafting RB and WR depth instead of reaching for a defense early. Fantasy football is so much about luck with injuries (and sadly enough now, suspensions) that depth is required and you can never have enough quality at the skill positions. Speaking of defenses, is it just me or is Seattle overrated in terms of fantasy production? Stick with me here. They are a great real life defense, but even when they dominate, I feel they do not score a ton of fantasy points. I am not talking about their stinker last weekend on SanDiego, but overall real life does not always translate to the fantasy world. I have them in a dynasty league, and while they are usually a solid start, they rarely turn the tides of a fantasy matchup in a persons favor. Either way, you always start them, regardless of last week, but sometimes if you cannot get the best defense, wait and play the waiver wire match up based scenario each week. Teams such as Washington and Buffalo go off every week. Now it is guaranteed Seattle completely dominates the Broncos, scoring a couple tds on defense, one on special teams, and sacking Peyton fifteen times. Enough about fantasy defense, my Week 3 RB rankings.

1. Arian Foster, Houston Texans. The Giants are just awful and Foster is looking great while healthy. I see a heavy dose of him on the road again.

2. DeMarco Murray, Dallas Cowboys. He went nuts last week and the normally stout Rams D line got ran all over on by Bobby Rainey. I am just taking a shot on the dark that DeMarco is a slightly better talent than Bobby.

3. LeSean McCoy, Philadelphia Eagles. Even with Sproles going off, Shady had a very solid game. This should help him more than it hurts as defenses cannot solely game plan their run stopping strategy at him now. Plus, he is avoiding a lot of the wear and tear he gets without help.

4. Giovani Bernard, Cincinnati Bengals. The Titans just gave up close to 200 yards to DeMarco Murray last week. Gio had a huge game catching and running, though we did see a good amount of Jeremy Hill for the first time. This does not concern me, most teams need two RBs to share the workload. Also, with AJ Green hurt, they needed to lean on the run more and were not about to give the smaller Bernard 50 carries.

5. Alfred Morris, Washington Redskins. The Eagles were really easy to run on, especially up the middle. They even made Trent Richardson look competent. Alfred will continue his early season success in this divisional game.

6. Marshawn Lynch, Seattle Seahawks. Do not worry about last week, it happens. I for some reason remember Seattle playing slightly better than Denver the last time they met, and that was on a neutral field. They will bounce back in this week’s key matchup.

7. Knile Davis, KC Chiefs. I am usually against handcuffing most RBs nowadays when drafting, but I screamed at everybody who chose Charles to grab Knile a couple rounds earlier than projected. He is a great fantasy producer and one of the must have insurance players. Looks like excellent advice now. I admit, I did not think he would be relevant his early on in the season, but he is. The matchup is not the greatest on the road, but either was Denver. He runs hard, gets the goal line carries, and catches the ball. Shoot for the stars sometimes.

8. Eddie Lacy, Green Bay Packers. I didn’t like how he looked coming back from his concussion, but the Jets are really tough to run on. Detroit has a very good front line, but feel they will focus a little more on stopping the pass after seeing Jordy run all over the field.

9. Matt Forte, Chicago Bears. The Niners keyed on him and it showed. Now he gets another difficult road defense. You gotta start him and the receivers should be healthier this week, forcing the Jets to pay more attention to them. Matt will bounce back, just needs to find the end zone and I think he will.

10. Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings. Did you notice that I failed to bring up anything about him in my introduction to my rankings.? We have all heard so much about it since last week that I figured nobody wanted to hear it from me. It was announced he will play, even with new allegations arising. I believe he will run angry and with a chip on his shoulder. Plowing over some Saints defenders will help him get his mind off some things for a few hours and while I was hesitant to rank him higher, where he would normally be, he is still a top ten play when healthy. Realistically, I would like him a lot more than a handful of players ahead of him on this list, but I need to see how he does after all this before giving him his spot back. (EDITOR’S NOTE: Peterson has been placed on the exempt list, meaning he will not play until further notice.)

11. Zac Stacy, St. Louis Rams. He still does not inspire confidence in me yet, but he improved last week and dominated the touches. Austin’s Davis is not a terrible QB and I am not sure if the Cowboys defense that showed up last week is to be trusted. He has a better match than others, so this may be more be default than anything.

12. Le’Veon Bell, Pittsburgh Steelers. Hate the matchup, but I like the player. He will do decent since he will get plenty of opportunities, but temper your expectations. In ppr leagues he will score decent with his receptions, but of he does not find the end zone, his standard scoring will most likely be very low. Carolina may have the best defense in the NFL. Sorry Seattle, but they have carried this team for the first two weeks.

13. Khiry Robinson, N.O. Saints. What am I doing here?! It’s called gambling with my gut. Mark Ingram is out, Pierre is more of a receiving back, and the Vikes just gave up 100 yards to Stevan Ridley. The Saints are 0-2 and in a must win, home opener. They have been running the ball with authority and it’s sometimes all about getting the chance. I think Khiry has a breakout game and introduces himself to the football world.

14. Andre Ellington, Arizona Cardinals. He is getting better and last week the foot did not seem to bother his performance at least. Yes this is a difficult matchup on he road, but he is dangerous enough to feel confident in him breaking one against anybody. He will get some good combo yards in this key divisional game versus the Niners. I think he finds the end zone too, so do not worry about that Dwyer td last week.

15. Monte Ball, Denver Broncos. I am not overly confident in him due to the defense he is facing and the fact that he has not seemed to grab this opportunity and run win it yet. Something in me says he loses it to CJ Anderson at some point in the season. I will still give him a solid ranking just for the fact he still has the job. For now.

16. Rashad Jennings, NY Giants. He had a really bad fumble last week and his team is not too good. He still seems to be their number one weapon at the moment, unless you really want to stretch and say their TE Donnell is. Victor Cruz has a case of the dropsies and is losing Eli’s confidence. I see this as leading to more check downs to Rashad, so feel very good about his chances in ppr leagues.

17. CJ Spiller, Buffalo Bills. The Bills somehow sit alone in first place, which is not often. I got a feeling he has one of his random monster yearly breakout games, but am not going to over rank him because of that feeling. He is still dangerous anytime he touches the ball as shown on his game changing, momentum building kickoff return.

18. Stevan Ridley, N.E. Patriots. This is not as much as me buying into his 100 yard performance last week as it is to me buying onto the Raiders really sucking. Couple that with the fact the Pats should be up early and running the ball with a lead. Come to think of it, he would be ranked higher of it were not for BBB (burned by Belichek). I am willing to bet some random backup RB gets in a flex-worthy performance in garbage time (White, Bolden?).

19. Frank Gore, SF 49ers. He still scores when given the chance and is their lead back. He almost had a huge game last week, so we know he still has it in him.

20. Joique Bell, Detroit Lions. He had a good amount of yardage versus the Cats last week and will be glad to see Green Bay as opposed to them this week. He would be higher in ppr leagues and should do well at home.

21. Terrance West, Cleveland Browns. In his first start of his brief career, he played very well. Baltimore has an underrated defense, but he will be a good low-end RB2/Flex player still.

22. Shane Vereen, N.E. Patriots. If this were ppr, I would rank him about a half dozen spots higher. After dominating the running attack touches week one, he got BBB in week 2. It’s hard to trust anybody out of this backfield, except when playing Oakland. He should have a nice, not spectacular, day.

23. Reggie Bush, Detroit Lions. He is losing value to Joique Bell by the week and only seems like he will get in the end zone on a long run or catch now. It’s still a fairly decent matchup for him, but he is behind in the pecking order and that needs to be considered while assessing his weekly positioning.

24. Lamar Miller, Miami Dolphins. I am usually against this guy, but since Knowshon is out and they are playing the Chiefs, he should get a little love in the fantasy world. Don’t trust him if you do not have to, but you could do worse this week.

25. Chris Johnson, NY Jets. After a nice opening game, he sure put up a stinker last week even with the Jets jumping out to an early big lead. He didn’t see many passes thrown his way either, so we will have to see how they use him this week. One good game, one bad, this may be the feast or famine routine we see out of him all year.

26. Ahmad Bradshaw, Indianapolis Colts. I mean, I have to put him ahead of at rent after the first two weeks right? Though T-Rich did not look terrible on Monday Night, we still know what he is most likely bringing to the table. Normally a matchup against the Jags would skyrocket a RB up this list, but since it is close to an even split between the two, you really cannot. I would at least flex either of the two based off the matchup.

27. Donald Brown, San Diego Chargers. Now that Ryan Mathews is the latest week 2 injury big bitten player, Brown has plenty of value. I would wait a week to really get a feel for how they use he and Danny Woodhead first, but he will get his chances. The Bills have an excellent Dline so look for the Chargers to pass the ball more, which is their preference in the first place. Donald is a good player to pick up and stash though and may be a player who can help you out extremely well in the upcoming weeks.

28. Pierre Thomas, N.O. Saints. He might end up receiving a lot more carries than I am projecting, but let’s see what happens first. He does have a great matchup and in ppr leagues he gets a far better ranking, I just like Khiry more as strictly a runner, I may be very wrong.

29. Bernard Pierce, Baltimore Ravens. This is the classic example of not looking too far into one bad week and/or benching. Most people, me included, though Justin Forsett would be the starter after Week 1. Wrong. Bernard started and got the bulk of the carries right away. He ran hard and with purpose too, but failed to convert down by the goal line. Cleveland has a defense that every year is under the radar in terms of their talent level, so it will be no walk in the park for the Ravens.

30. Toby Gerhart, Jacksonville Jaguars. After last week, I feel guilty even putting him on this list. He is the starter though, they are at home, and the Colts just got ripped apart by two running back this past week. The Eagles and their backs are far more talented than the Jags and Toby, but he may churn out flex numbers this week. Stranger things have happened.

31. Trent Richardson, Indianapolis Colts. T-Rich is here simply because they are playing the horrid Jags and he is still the starter, right? I think he is for some odd reason, even though he has looked like the clear backup to Ahmad Bradshaw. Regardless, he should get some yards and maybe even score in this game. Both RBs have quality chances in this game, because, well, they are playing the Jags. That’s what happens when you play them.

32. Darren Sproles, Philadelphia Eagles.Stop. I know. I get it. I did watch the entire game on Monday and this is a preposterous ranking for the little spark plug after that performance. If this was a ppr ranking list, he would be about halfway up. Since it is not, I will tone it down, assuming he does not get that kind of yardage and is not the best bet to see the end zone often. I think we see more of LeSean in the running game and a little more focus gets put on Sproles skills after everyone saw what he put on display last game. I have learned that players like him do not always have back to back big games like that, as they are more of a novelty in standard scoring leagues, than a consistent scorer. He has had two games where he scored, he fails to find the end zone on his one, but has a solid receiving game.
Remember to leave comments and ask questions. I promise to answer and respond to every single one of them. My Twitter handle is @Friction218 also, as I get a lot of questions on there too. Hopefully, the injury curse was satisfied for a little while after last week. If you were one of those who really got burned by it, keep your head up. It gets very frustrating and bad luck is nothing you can predict, especially with early injuries like that. The season is still young and there is plenty of time for hope, even if you are 0-2. Do everything you can to avoid a third straight loss though, as that is a tough hole to climb out of and make the Fantasy Playoffs. See you all next week!