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Week 7 Rankings (2016): Top 40 Running Backs

Wednesday, October 19, 2016 2:10
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(Before It's News)

by Ray Kuhn

The good news is that just two teams are on bye this week, a good sign for fantasy owners coming off a week that saw just one running back, Eddie Lacy, fall victim for injury. By no means should we relax as the running back position hasn’t gotten any easier to navigate, and the two backs sitting on the sidelines are Ezekiel Elliot and Jonathan Stewart. Let’s take a look at how the running backs rank:

  1. LeVeon Bell – Pittsburgh Steelers – vs. New England
  2. LeSean McCoy – Buffalo Bills – at Miami
  3. DeMarco Murray – Tennessee Titans – vs. Indianapolis
  4. Devonta Freeman – Atlanta Falcons – vs. San Diego
  5. David Johnson – Arizona Cardinals – vs. Seattle
  6. Melvin Gordon – San Diego Chargers – at Atlanta
  7. Todd Gurley – St. Louis Rams – vs. New York Giants
  8. Lamar Miller – Houston Texans – at Denver
  9. Jordan Howard – Chicago Bears – at Green Bay
  10. C.J. Anderson – Denver Broncos – vs. Houston
  11. Carlos Hyde – San Francisco 49ers – vs. Tampa Bay
  12. Mark Ingram – New Orleans Saints – at Kansas City
  13. Jamaal Charles – Kansas City Chiefs – vs. New Orleans
  14. Doug Martin – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – at San Francisco
  15. Christine Michael – Seattle Seahawks – at Arizona
  16. James White – New England Patriots – at Pittsburgh
  17. Giovani Bernard – Cincinnati Bengals – vs. Cleveland
  18. Terrance West – Baltimore Ravens – at New York Jets
  19. Frank Gore – Indianapolis Colts – at Tennessee
  20. Theo Riddick – Detroit Lions – vs. Washington
  21. Jay Ajayi – Miami Dolphins – vs. Buffalo
  22. Matt Jones – Washington Redskins – at Detroit
  23. Jerick McKinnon – Minneosta Vikings – at Philadelphia
  24. Matt Forte – New York Jets – vs. Baltimore
  25. Telvin Coleman – Atlanta Falcons – vs. San Diego
  26. Duke Johnson – Cleveland Browns  - at Cinncinnati
  27. Darren Sproles – Philadelphia Eagles – vs. Minnesota
  28. Chris Ivory – Jacksonville Jaguars –  vs. Oakland
  29. Spencer Ware – Kansas City Chiefs – vs. New Orleans
  30. Isaiah Crowell – Cleveland Browns – at Cincinnati
  31. LeGarrette Blount – New England Patriots – at Pittsburgh
  32. Jeremy Hill – Cincinnati Bengals – vs. Cleveland
  33. Jazquizz Rodgers – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – at San Francisco
  34. DeAndre Washington – Oakland Raiders – at Jacksonville
  35. Knile Davis – Green Bay Packers – vs. Chicago
  36. Rashad Jennings – New York Giants – at Los Angeles
  37. Ryan Mathews – Philadelphia Eagles – vs. Minnesota
  38. Zach Zenner – Detroit Lions – vs. Washington
  39. Bilal Powell – New York Jets – vs. Baltimore
  40. Matt Asiata – Minnesota Vikings – at Philadelphia


  • Welcome to the NFL Jay Ajayi. After gaining 187 yards on 49 carries in his rookie season, Ajayi surpassed that in just one game. While he didn’t take advantage of things while Arian Foster was sidelined with a hamstring injury, he made up for that in Miami’s victory against Pittsburgh. Entering last week’s game Ajayi had 117 yards on 31 carries, but he showed an explosiveness we have yet to see while finding the end zone twice. Foster touched the ball five times, gaining 11 yards, but is still not 100% healthy. The full plan for Miami was never to ride Foster as their main running back to begin with, so playing time shouldn’t appear to be an issue moving forward for Ajayi. It goes without saying that he will take a step back this week, and facing Buffalo and their tough defense this week will also hinder his value. However, if he is going to carry the ball 25 times again, he is a low-end RB2.
  • It took five weeks but Lamar Miller finally found the end zone for Houston. Things haven’t exactly gone as planned for Brock Osweiler and the Texans’ offense, but Miller wasn’t a disappointment to start the season either. Eventually he had to score a touchdown, and he did that twice (once on the ground and once through the air) while putting up his second 100 yard game of the young season. The Texans committed to giving Miller the ball, 24 carries for 149 yards, and he also caught three passes for 29 yards. He is averaging 4.2 yards per carry while catching 17 passes for 111 yards. Miller has a tough match-up against Denver, but he is averaging 86.7 yards per game on the ground.
  • Chris Ivory’s career in Jacksonville was delayed by illness and got off to a slow start, but this past week it looked like he’s taking control of the Jaguars’ backfield. It’s not saying much as Ivory carried the ball 11 times for 32 yards, but he did receive Jacksonville’s lone goal line carry. Ivory converted that into a touchdown, and both Jaguars’ running backs were targeted twice. T.J. Yeldon touched the ball seven times, and it appears a shift might be coming. Ivory is still not a sure thing, he has 75 yards on 31 carries, but he is trending in the right direction. Yeldon didn’t exactly take advantage of his chance in Jacksonville’s backfield as he is averaging 3.3 yards on 54 carries, and it’s possible he missed his chance. With the Jaguars facing Oakland, things are looking good for their offense.
  • Will this be the week Todd Gurley lives up to his first round draft status? Two weeks ago he gained 108 yards, but he needed 26 touches to do it. That doesn’t exactly scream “elite”. Last week, despite the fact that Rams had an offensive explosion in Detroit, he was nothing more than ordinary as he gained 58 yards on 14 carries (with 27 of those yards came on his first three carries). While he didn’t score a touchdown, he does have three this season, Gurley saved some value as he caught four passes for 39 yards. There has been a noticeable improvement to his receiving skills so far this season, and that has helped his fantasy value despite the fact that he is averaging 2.9 yards per carry.
  • Is this the week where we see Duke Johnson surpass Isaiah Crowell in Cleveland’s backfield? Game flow is always going to be an issue and it’s hard to trust the Browns’ offense, but there is some value to both running backs. Crowell started the season off well, he is still averaging 5.2 yards per carry, but the last two weeks have seen his performance drop off. After gaining just 22 yards on the ground in New England two weeks ago, he managed 16 rushing yards last week in Tennessee. Crowell had just three more touches (11 to eight) than Johnson last week. It was Johnson who scored the last game touchdown on one of his four carries, but his true value comes in the passing game. He caught four passes for 56 yards and has 24 receptions for 192 yards on the season. When he does carry the ball, Johnson has already had success averaging 5.2 yards per carry on 32 carries.


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