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Week 11 Rankings (2016): Top 40 Running Backs

Wednesday, November 16, 2016 3:54
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(Before It's News)

by Ray Kuhn

Finally things appear to be calming down. There are just four teams on bye this week and no major injuries to be aware of, though fantasy owners will be missing some legitimate production. Devonta Freeman, Matt Forte and Melvin Gordon all will be taking the week off, but there shouldn’t be any other gaping holes at the position. Plus we are getting Dion Lewis and Thomas Rawls back, in some form. Let’s take a look at how the running backs rank for this week:

  1. Le’Veon Bell – Pittsburgh Steelers – at Cleveland
  2. DeMarco Murray – Tennessee Titans – at Indianapolis
  3. David Johnson – Arizona Cardinals – at Minnesota
  4. Ezekiel Elliot – Dallas Cowboys – vs. Baltimore
  5. Spencer Ware – Kansas City Chiefs – vs. Tampa Bay
  6. LeSean McCoy – Buffalo Bills – at Cincinnati
  7. Lamar Miller – Houston Texans – at Oakland
  8. Latavius Murray – Oakland Raiders – vs. Houston
  9. LeGarrette Blount – New England Patriots – at San Francisco
  10. Jay Ajayi – Miami Dolphins – at Los Angeles
  11. Todd Gurley – St. Louis Rams – vs. Miami
  12. Frank Gore – Indianapolis Colts – vs. Tennessee
  13. Theo Riddick – Detroit Lions – vs. Jacksonville
  14. Jonathan Stewart – Carolina Panthers – vs. New Orleans
  15. Doug Martin – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – at Kansas City
  16. Mark Ingram – Carolina Panthers – at Carolina
  17. C.J. Prosise – Seattle Seahawks – vs. Philadelphia
  18. Robert Kelley – Washington Redskins – vs. Green Bay
  19. Giovani Bernard – Cincinnati Bengals – vs. Buffalo
  20. Carlos Hyde – San Francisco 49ers – vs. New England
  21. Darren Sproles – Philadelphia Eagles – at Seattle
  22. Isaiah Crowell – Cleveland Browns – vs. Pittsburgh
  23. Jordan Howard – Chicago Bears – at New York Giants
  24. Chris Ivory – Jacksonville Jaguars – at Detroit
  25. Jeremy Hill – Cincinnati Bengals – vs. Buffalo
  26. Thomas Rawls – Seattle Seahawks – vs. Philadelphia
  27. Ryan Mathews – Philadelphia Eagles – at Seattle
  28. Matt Asiata – Minnesota Vikings – vs. Arizona
  29. Chris Thompson – Washington Redskins – vs. Green Bay
  30. Rashad Jennings – New York Giants – vs. Chicago
  31. Duke Johnson – Cleveland Browns – vs. Pittsburgh
  32. James White – New England Patriots – at San Francisco
  33. Kenneth Dixon – Baltimore Ravens – at Dallas
  34. James Starks – Green Bay Packers – at Washington
  35. Terrance West – Baltimore Ravens – at Dallas
  36. T.J. Yeldon – Jacksonville Jaguars – at Detroit
  37. Jeremy Langford – Chicago Bears – at New York Giants
  38. Paul Perkins – New York Giants – vs. Chicago
  39. Jerick McKinnon – Minnesota Vikings – vs. Arizona
  40. Damien Williams – Miami Dolphins – at Los Angeles

Notes:

  • With Thomas Rawls returning to action from a leg injury that has had him sidelined for the majority of the season, he has just 19 carries for 25 yards, you would expect that the Seattle running back picture would be quite cloudy. However that isn’t exactly the case. After spending some time this season as an RB1 and a popular DFS option, Christine Michael was waived by the Seahawks on Tuesday. While he showed some flashes of success, he has six touchdowns in nine games this season, his performance took a noticeable dip in the past few weeks. That dip coincided with the return to health of rookie C.J. Prosise who has a legit role in Seattle’s offense. He was on the field for 77% of the Seahawks’ snaps last week and lived up to the expectations that were set for him to have a bigger role. He gained a combined 153 yards, 66 on the ground on 17 carries and seven receptions for 87 yards, and was on the field in all of the situations. What is clear is that Prosise is not the back you want running between the tackles, but the release of Michael shows that Rawls is up to the task.
  • Trying to figure out playing time and depth charts in New England is sometimes a fool’s errand. There was speculation that Dion Lewis was slated to return last week, but he ultimately was declared inactive (not for health reasons). Last season, prior to his injury, he had success in the passing game catching 36 passes for 388 yards and two touchdowns in seven games. I wouldn’t expect an immediate return to that form, who did have major knee surgery and also has to leap James White on the depth chart. While Lewis is the better player, White has 33 receptions for 290 yards and three touchdowns so far this season. With LeGarrette Blount’s firm hold on the early down and goal line work (678 yards and 12 touchdowns), Lewis’ value will come just on passing downs. I would wait to use him until he proves otherwise.
  • Spencer Ware didn’t wow anyone in his return from a concussion last week, but he also didn’t take a step back either. He carried the ball 13 times for 61 yards against a tough Carolina defense on the road while catching three passes for 11 yards. This week he gets the Buccaneers and their 26th ranked fantasy defense against opposing running backs. Charcandrick West didn’t do much in Ware’s absence to stake a claim on any true role, and last week he gained a combined 10 yards on two carries and three receptions.
  • In reality the Bills really should have waited until this week for LeSean McCoy to return to the lineup, after their bye week. However he proved those sentiments wrong as he certainly looked healthy against a tough Seattle defense. McCoy gained 85 yards on 21 carries while catching four passes for another 35 yards. While his performance was a good one from a fantasy perspective and he ran well and made some play, things should be even better for him this week now that he another week off. The Bengals are the 21st ranked fantasy defense against running backs, and McCoy is a top option. At this point, Mike Gillislee is strictly handcuff material and has no other value.
  • If you are playing match-ups in the middle tier of running backs this week, then Jonathan Stewart is worth a look. Despite the fact that he has been held out of practice for the past two days he is healthy, and the Panthers are just being cautious since they take field Thursday against the Saints. Last week was not a good week for him against the Chiefs and their 13th ranked run defense, 13 carries for 39 yards, but he catches a break as New Orleans has the 29th ranked defense. When Stewart faced the Saints in Week 6 he gained 85 yards on the ground and scored two touchdowns, and I would look for a repeat of that this week.

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Make sure to check out all of our Week 11 rankings:

Quarterbacks
Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Kickers
Defense

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