2012 Fantasy Football: Week 7 Top 50 Running Back Rankings

Jeremy Alpert@@pyroman1acSenior Analyst IIOctober 20, 2012

Figuring out who the best fantasy football running backs are from week to week is a little easier than predicting which wide receivers will be the best, but by no means is it simple—especially in Week 7 with six teams on a bye and injuries galore throughout the league.

That's why those of us in the fantasy industry put together these lists for you—to give you a gauge of what to expect from your players on any given Sunday.

With that, here are the weekend's top 50 running backs, along with some detailed analysis on the 10 best plays for the week.

(BYE:  Atlanta Falcons, Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs, Miami Dolphins, Philadelphia Eagles, San Diego Chargers)

50. John Kuhn (@ STL)

49. Shane Vereen (vs. NYJ)

48. Mark Ingram (@ TB)

47. Jamie Harper (@ BUF)

46. Bernard Pierce (@ HOU)

45. Baron Batch (@ CIN, Sunday night)

44. Montario Hardesty (@ IND)

43. Kendall Hunter (vs. SEA, Thursday night) – 9 carries, 31 yards, 0 TDs; 2 recs, 14 yards, 0 TDs

42. Rashad Jennings (@ OAK)

41. LaRod Stephens-Howling (@ MIN)

40. Mike Goodson (vs. JAX)

39. Cedric Peerman (vs. PIT, Sunday night)

38. Joique Bell (@ CHI, Monday night)

37. Pierre Thomas (@ TB)

36. David Wilson (vs. WAS)

35. Phillip Tanner (@ CAR)

34. Andre Brown (vs. WAS)

33. DeAngelo Williams (vs. DaAL)

32. Danny Woodhead (vs. NYJ)

31. Shonn Greene (@ NE)

30. LeGarrette Blount (vs. NO)

29. Daryl Richardson (vs. GB)

28. Michael Bush (vs. DET, Monday night)

27. Ben Tate (vs. BAL)

26. Jonathan Dwyer (@ CIN, Sunday night)

25. Jonathan Stewart (vs. DAL)

24. William Powell (@ MIN)

23. BenJarvus Green-Ellis (vs. PIT, Sunday night)

22. Vick Ballard (vs. CLE)

21. Frank Gore (vs. SEA, Thursday night) – 16 carries, 131 yards, 0 TDs; 5 recs, 51 yards, 0 TDs

20. Steven Jackson (vs. GB)

19. Marshawn Lynch (@ SF, Thursday night) – 19 carries, 103 yards, 0 TDs; 1 rec, 13 yards

18. Ahmad Bradshaw (vs. WAS)

 Bradshaw deserves to be in the top 10 and would probably be ranked there if not for his latest bout with a recurring foot issue.

It’s actually no surprise to hear that Bradshaw is dealing with a foot problem again as the Giants coaching staff decided to give the kid 57 rushes (62 touches) over the past two weeks, easily the most usage he’s seen throughout his six-year, injury-riddled career.

That said, he DID kick some serious ass with those 57 carries, putting up 316 yards and two TDs over the last two games (one of them against a beastly 49ers defense).

Before you get him in your lineup, however, make sure to watch the news coming out of the Giants practices as he was only able to put in one limited session during this week of practice. 

17. Mikel Leshoure (@ CHI, Monday night)

16. Alex Green (@ STL)

15. Darren Sproles (@ TB)

14. Chris Johnson (@ BUF)

13. C.J. Spiller (vs. TEN)

12. Felix Jones (@ CAR)

11. Doug Martin (vs. NO)

Top 10 RB Plays for Week 7

10. Fred Jackson (vs. TEN)

This matchup is just too sweet to pass up for a guy like Fred Jackson.

C.J. Spiller will undoubtedly get his fair share of the workload, but if you notice, I also have C.J. ranked pretty highly, coming in at No. 13.

Both of these guys will put up nice numbers this Sunday against a Tennessee Titans team that not only allows the fourth-most fantasy points per game to RBs this season, but in real life, have also allowed the most points scored against them—34 points allowed per game.

Basically, there should be five touchdowns out there for Buffalo Bills players to grab.

Being the goal-line back, you really think Freddy-J isn’t coming down with at least one of ‘em?

9. Alfred Morris (@ NYG)

Alfred Morris has been one of the biggest and nicest surprises of the season thus far and should continue his hard-nosed ways this week against the Giants.

One of the things we’ve regularly preached here at Pyro is that it’s always nice to have a running back on your fantasy team who happens to be in an offense with a running quarterback. QBs that can gather the attention of opposing linebackers and safeties leave open holes for RBs where there might not normally be.

Morris has taken advantage of his situation very well so far, and with New York giving up nearly 4.8 yards per carry, I see no reason to think he won’t be able to put up some nice fantasy numbers this week.

8. Adrian Peterson (vs. ARI)

Peterson has had 20 or more touches in four straight games now and just put up his most total yards in a game last week with 129 (79 rushing, 50 receiving).

He’s also been running with some serious ferocity lately and seems to be getting better and better every week. One of these games he’s going to break out and show the world that Purple Jesus has indeed risen again to lead his fantasy owners back into the Promised Land.

This week he takes on an Arizona Cardinals team that’s been pretty stout against the run this season but has been eaten up pretty badly the last couple of weeks against the Rams and Bills. There’s no reason to think Peterson won’t be able to continue his success.

7. Matt Forte (vs. DET, Monday night)

 Coming off a bye, Forte is well rested and should be geared up to kick a little ass again right now with the division-rival Detroit Lions on the docket for Monday night.

The strength of the Lions defense right now is obviously in their front four, as they’ve allowed just 3.4 yards per carry to running backs and only one rushing TD. But when it comes to these division games, all stats go out the window.

In his eight career games against the Lions, Forte has never put up less than 12.4 non-PPR fantasy points and has four 100-yard rushing games, one 100-yard receiving game and seven total touchdowns.

Basically, he really, really likes playing these guys.

6. Stevan Ridley (vs. NYJ)

 Stevan Ridley has had a bit of an up-and-down season thus far putting up three fantasy stinkers and three fantasy gems thus far, but I believe he breaks the tie with a monster game this Sunday.

With the Patriots passing all over the place last week and coming away with a loss in the standings, you have to believe they’ll want to change it up a bit and start running the ball with authority again.

Besides, the Jets' rush defense has been one of the worst in the league thus far, so why not give Brady a bit of a break (after putting up a career high in passing attempts last week) and get Ridley going again?

Bill Belichick knows you need a running game to win it all, so it wouldn’t surprise me to see The Riddler get 25 touches in this one.

5. Trent Richardson (@ IND)

 It turns out Richardson is just fine and will play this weekend after a little scare last week against the Bengals when he got nailed in the ribs.

Is it possible it pops up again in the middle of this next game?

Sure, but not likely against a weak Colts defense that allows 5.2 yards per carry to opposing RBs.

Injury or not, the kid is a beast and will surely make his presence known in a game that actually could end up being one of the higher-scoring games of the week.

Trent knows he needs to improve on his yards per carry (3.6 YPC) if he wants to be considered one of the elite backs. There’s no better place than in Indianapolis to do just that.

4. Ray Rice (@ HOU)

 The Ravens are all of the sudden a completely different team without all-world MLB Ray Lewis and shutdown CB Lardarius Webb out there, which might actually play into Ray Rice’s hands.

If I were on the Ravens coaching staff right now, I would vehemently suggest more of a ball-control offense from here on out (as opposed to the up-tempo style they’ve been playing) in order to keep the defense off the field.

My guess is they’ll be thinking the same way, at least for this game against the Texans as they’ll want to keep the ball out of Arian Foster’s hands as much as possible if they want to win the game.

Either way, Houston’s defense has been decimated as well, so Rice should be able to put up his normal numbers regardless of Baltimore’s defensive problems.

3. Maurice Jones-Drew (@ OAK)

 The little fireplug isn’t having quite the fantasy year owners were hoping for when they took the chance on him in their drafts, but he’s still hovering around the top 10 in fantasy points per game and has a relatively favorable schedule against the run for the remainder of the season.

The Jaguars offense is still timid enough to depend on Jones-Drew handling the ball a bunch, but his production has wavered a bit this season after having one of the most consistent fantasy seasons on record in 2011.

This week should be more of a sure thing for him, however, as Oakland isn’t all that wonderful against the run.

In his last game against McFadden and the Raiders, MJD put up 120 total yards (101 rushing) and a TD, numbers that should be repeated this Sunday.

2. Darren McFadden (vs. JAX)

 For all intents and purposes, Darren McFadden has been a royal disappointment to his millions of fantasy owners this year.

I believed he had a chance to land in the top five fantasy RBs this season with the only thing that could possibly stop him being his injury-prone ways. He’s stayed healthy for the most part, but now it seems he can’t get used to the Raiders new zone-blocking scheme, and his numbers have suffered because of it.

This week will be his big chance to get back on the right fantasy track as he’ll face a Jacksonville defense that allows over 4.7 yards per carry and the third-most fantasy points to RBs in the league.

The last time he faced this team was in 2010 where he proceeded to go off for 209 total yards (123 rushing) and three touchdowns (two rushing), numbers that are highly unlikely to be repeated. But with a talent like Run DMC, you never know.

1. Arian Foster (vs. BAL)

 Even though he didn’t get the yardage fantasy owners would have loved to see against the Packers, it didn’t really matter as Foster still put up two touchdowns in one of his worst performances in the last year and a half.

He now has 10 straight games with a TD and has scored in 16 of the last 17 with 22 TDs in that span.

Foster’s prowess at home has been unbelievable throughout his career as he’s averaged 100.5 rushing yards and over a touchdown per game in 20 contests, so with the Ravens aging defensive players dropping like flies out there, I can’t see Foster putting up any worse than high-end RB1 numbers this week.

For rankings at all the positions, check out the: Pyro® Rankings

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