Figuring out who the best fantasy football running backs will be from week to week is a little easier than predicting which wide receivers will shine, but it is by no means simple—especially in Week 11, with four teams on byes 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 an idea 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: Minnesota Vikings, New York Giants, Seattle Seahawks, Tennessee Titans)
50. Tashard Choice (vs. Mia, Thursday night)
49. Michael Bush (at SF, Monday night)
48. Mark Ingram (at Oak)
47. Kendall Hunter (vs. Chi, Monday night)
46. Taiwan Jones (vs. NO)
45. Justin Forsett (vs. Jax)
44. Alex Green (at Det)
43. Peyton Hillis (vs. Cin)
42. James Starks (at Det)
41. Jonathan Dwyer (vs. Bal, Sunday night)
40. Isaac Redman (vs. Bal, Sunday night)
39. Shane Vereen (vs. Ind)
38. Pierre Thomas (at Oak)
37. Ronnie Brown (at Den)
36. Rashad Jennings (at Hou)
35. DeAngelo Williams (vs. TB)
34. Ronnie Hillman (vs. SD)
33. Joique Bell (vs. GB)
32. Chris Ivory (at Oak)
31. Daryl Richardson (vs. NYJ)
30. Vick Ballard (at NE)
29. Danny Woodhead (vs. Ind)
28. Jacquizz Rodgers (vs. Ari)
27. Jonathan Stewart (vs. TB)
26. Donald Brown (at NE)
25. Daniel Thomas (at Buf, Thursday night)
24. Michael Turner (vs. Ari)
23. Matt Forte (at SF, Monday night)
22. Rashard Mendenhall (vs. Bal, Sunday night)
21. Darren Sproles (at Oak)
20. BenJarvus Green-Ellis (at KC)
19. LaRod Stephens-Howling (at Atl)
18. Mikel Leshoure (vs. GB)
17. Ryan Mathews (at Den)
16. Marcel Reece (vs. NO)
15. Felix Jones (vs. Cle)
14. Shonn Greene (at StL)
13. Reggie Bush (at Buf, Thursday night)
12. Willis McGahee (vs. SD)
11. Steven Jackson (vs. NYJ)
Top 10 RB Plays for Week 11
10. Trent Richardson (at Dal)
Trent Richardson went into his Week 10 bye on a little bit of a roll, putting up two straight 100-yard games against the San Diego Chargers and Baltimore Ravens.
Now that the rookie has had a week to rest up a bit, you can bet he’ll come out of the gates roaring this Sunday as he looks to put his mark on the league in the team’s final seven games.
If the Dallas Cowboys have shown to have a weak spot on defense this year, it’s been against the run, as they’ve allowed a rushing touchdown in seven of nine games this season and at least one in each of their last five.
Since Cleveland will have a tough time passing in this game as well, I expect to see a good 20-25 touches out of Richardson and top-10 fantasy points because of it.
9. Frank Gore (vs. Chi, Monday night)
The Bears are obviously one of the more stifling defenses against the run this season, allowing just two rushing touchdowns and the third-fewest fantasy points to RBs on the season.
However, Frank Gore and the 49ers' dominating offensive line should be pissed as all hell this Monday night after coming away with a tie at home against a beatable Rams team last Sunday.
Just prior to last week’s debacle, the ‘Niners were on a bye, and before that, they were doing all they could to keep Frank the Tank good and rested for a strong second-half push.
Well, the second half is here now, and against the Rams, the coaching staff gave Gore the most work he’d seen all season (24 touches).
I expect them to do the same against the Bears this Monday as they look to gain home-field advantage for the playoffs.
8. Alfred Morris (vs. Phi)
The Redskins gave Alfred Morris the ball 16 or more times in each of the first seven games, to which Morris responded by putting up double-digit fantasy points in six of them while averaging 13.9 fantasy points a game.
However, in their last two games, Washington only gave Alfred the ball 13 times in each game and unsurprisingly saw his fantasy points dip to 13.5 points combined in the two games.
That being said, they were likely just trying to get the rookie a little rest before their bye week, so now that they have, I fully expect to see his carries rise up to around the 20-mark again this weekend.
Philly has a pretty good rush defense and hasn’t allowed a 100-yard rusher yet this season, but a well-rested power back like Morris should be able to do some nice damage and possibly get into the end zone with 20 touches in this one.
Also, if the Redskins defense can get the Eagles rookie QB to turn the ball over like they should be able to, Morris will have himself quite a few red-zone opportunities.
7. Ray Rice (at Pit, Sunday night)
While the Raiders were able to keep him pretty well in check in terms of yardage last weekend (35 rushing, 33 receiving), Rice still ran in his seventh touchdown of the season, which ties him for second in the league behind Arian Foster.
This week, however, will be a much tougher test going up against the Steelers, as Rice has been a bit of a mixed bag against these guys throughout his career.
Sometimes he’ll go off for more than 100 yards and a touchdown—other times he’ll suck a lemon and rush for fewer than 40 yards.
One of the bummers for fantasy owners here is that Rice isn’t nearly the same scoring machine on the road as he is in Baltimore, putting up just 12 total TDs in 35 road games compared to 25 TDs in 34 games at home.
His saving grace, however, could be that without Roethlisberger or Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh may not be able to score either. If not, it’s possible the Ravens will want to turn this into a game of time possession using Rice to control the clock all day long.
Rice has also rushed for a TD against the Steelers in each of their last three matchups, so for fantasy owners, let’s hope the streak continues.
6. LeSean McCoy (at Was)
I’m going to mention this one more time because I’m pretty sure this will be the week that the Philly coaching staff finally realizes the trend:
In each of the Eagles' three wins this season, LeSean McCoy was the main focus of the offensive game plan and received 25-plus touches during the game. In each of Philly’s six losses, he received fewer than 25 touches.
Open and shut case, plain and simple.
So why do I believe the trend gets bucked this weekend? Because, as we all know by now, the Eagles will be starting rookie Nick Foles at QB due to Michael Vick’s concussion.
If the coaching staff has any intention of winning this game, they will have to take the pressure off Foles and let Shady McCoy do his thing.
The Redskins will undoubtedly stack the front line a bit in an effort to take McCoy out of the game, but with 25-30 touches, there’s no reason to think he won’t put up close to top-five fantasy numbers this week.
5. Jamaal Charles (vs. Cin)
Jamaal Charles finally got back on track last Monday night when he put up his third 100-yard game of the season against a stout Steelers D that had allowed just one other runner to hit the century-mark this year.
He also grabbed his third touchdown of 2012 and will be in prime position to make it a fourth this weekend against a weak Bengals rush D.
Out of nine games thus far, Cincinnati has kept an opposing RB from rushing for a TD against them only twice.
It’s also no coincidence that they’ve only twice kept a running back from scoring double-digit fantasy points against them, so look for Charles to keep his little hot streak going this weekend.
4. C.J. Spiller (vs. Mia, Thursday night)
Even though he’s been given double-digit carries in only four of his nine games while never getting more than 18 touches in any one game, C.J. Spiller has still found a way to put up the seventh-most fantasy points per game for running backs this season.
His 7.3 yards per carry is the highest YPC in the league, and despite only running the ball 87 times this year, his seven runs of 20 or more yards has him tied for second in that category as well (AP has 13 in 195 carries, McCoy has seven in 162 carries).
Basically, Spiller is not only the most under-utilized threat in the entire league, but possibly the most misused player since the turn of the century!
That being said, fantasy owners can finally dismantle the lynch mob because the Buffalo Bills' coaching lunacy will all come to an end this Thursday night.
With Fred Jackson officially being diagnosed with a concussion and ruled out for the game, owners can safely pencil Spiller into RB1 spots for the week.
Yes, the Miami Dolphins rush D has been one of the better ones so far this season, but if Chris Johnson can tear them up for 126 yards and a touchdown like he did last week in Miami, then you have to believe that Spiller can do the same at home.
3. Stevan Ridley (vs. Ind)
Ridley’s had a bit of an up-and-down, unpredictable fantasy season thus far, though I’m pretty sure I can predict what he’ll do in this one.
With a 98-yard, one-touchdown performance last weekend against the Bills, Ridley is now on pace for 306 carries, 1,447 yards and 11 touchdowns on the season.
After this weekend’s tilt at home with the Indianapolis Colts, I predict those numbers will rise.
For that to happen, the Riddler will have to rush the ball at least 20 times for about 100 yards or more and take at least one carry into the end zone.
I realize the Colts are one of the more up-and-coming teams right now, but it hasn’t been due to their rush defense, as they’ve given up a couple of pretty gigantic fantasy performances thus far, a whopping 4.7 yards per rush (fourth-largest in the NFL) and allow the seventh-most fantasy points per game to RBs.
2. Doug Martin (at Car)
Alright, so Martin was slowed down a bit last weekend by a hard-nosed San Diego Chargers front seven, but he was still able to put up 119 total yards, including 51 yards on three receptions.
His streak of three straight games with at least one touchdown came to an end as well, but I expect another one to be started up again this Sunday when the Bucs travel to Carolina to take on a bottom-tier Panthers rush D.
In their first matchup of the season, which was also Martin’s first game of his career, the Muscle Hamster ran for 95 yards on 24 carries and caught another four balls for 23 yards.
He had to wait until Week 2 to grab his first TD, but he’s had plenty since then (eight total) and seems to have developed a bit of a taste for it.
Look for Martin to hit pay dirt again and extend his streak of games with double-digit fantasy points to six this Sunday.
1. Arian Foster (vs. Jax)
It wasn’t pretty, but after putting up 102 yards and a TD on 29 carries against the Bears last Sunday night, Foster now has a touchdown in 13 straight games (including playoffs) dating back to last season and in 19 of his last 20.
Pretty f-in ridiculous if you ask me.
Fantasy owners haven’t had this sort of weekly assurance out of their running back since the days when LaDainian Tomlinson was breaking pretty much every fantasy record in the book.
This week will be no different, with the Texans taking on the Jags for the second time this season.
In the first game, Foster ran for 110 yards and a TD on 28 carries, but he also caught a season-high six passes for 37 extra receiving yards.
He’s faced them five times in his career thus far, and not only did he score at least one touchdown in each of those games, but he also averaged 104.6 rushing yards per contest as well.
I’d like to say that Jacksonville has a chance of stopping him this Sunday, but considering they’ve allowed the second-most touchdowns and fourth-most fantasy points to RBs this season, I’d be lying if I did.
For rankings at all the positions, check out the: Pyro® Rankings
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