Week 7 is almost here, and it’s time to start setting lineups and making sure you’re ready to win your fantasy matchup.
Every week, FanSided will bring you rankings compiled by our duo of fantasy experts. This week, the list was derived from averaging rankings from myself and Zachary Thompson.
Let’s take a look at the running backs and how they rank for Week 7. (Unless otherwise noted, statistics obtained from ESPN Fantasy Football.)
1. Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings
Adrian Peterson has it all this week. He’s the most talented running back in football, facing an awful defense from the New York Giants, with a quarterback under center in Josh Freeman who can stretch the field and keep the already lousy defense honest.
This was a good matchup against a bottom-10 rushing defense before the news that Freeman would start. But with Freeman’s cannon arm and Jerome Simpson’s speed threatening the Giants, there will be room to run for Peterson.
2. LeSean McCoy, Philadelphia Eagles
The Eagles take on a banged up Dallas Cowboys’ defense this week. It’s also the same Dallas defense which has slowed down after a hot start defending the run. They’re on a three game stretch of allowing 100+ yards and a touchdown to running backs.
Not that Shady McCoy needed any help. He’s a must-start running back in every format every week.
3. Matt Forte, Chicago Bears
The Bears take on Washington this week, which means the sixth-worst rushing defense and fifth-worst passing defense on a yards-per-game basis will be lined up against one of the most versatile backs in the NFL.
That’s great news for Forte. Start him everywhere.
4. Jamaal Charles, Kansas City Chiefs
Zachary is a bit lower on Charles than I am, but we both agree that he’s an RB1 this week. Zach is probably a bit hesitant due to a matchup against Houston, but Charles is still a must-start.
Then consider that the Texans have allowed the eighth-most yards per game on the ground this year, and you can see why Charles is my third best running back this week.
5. Marshawn Lynch, Seattle Seahawks
The 49ers were the first team to score a rushing touchdown from a running back against the Cardinals this season, and Lynch is going to continue that trend. Arizona is a tough matchup, but Lynch is not overly matchup dependent. He’s a hard runner in a good offense, and that’s enough to merit a spot as an RB1.
6. Arian Foster, Houston Texans
The Kansas City defense is brutal. This is not a matchup to be taken lightly for Foster.
But he’s still Arian Foster, and he has worked his way back into unquestioned RB1 status with his recent performances. He’s still going to show up on the injury report and occasionally be pulled from the game for Ben Tate. But he’s going to be the focal point for an offense in desperate need of a boost with its quarterback conundrum.
7. Doug Martin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Martin has been on the verge of breaking out of his “slump” on multiple occasions in the past couple of weeks. He’s not getting any help from his quarterback, receivers, or offensive line, but still continues to fight for every yard.
The Falcons are the 31st defense in Football Outsiders’ efficiency ranking, meaning that their seemingly impressive yardage numbers on defense are a bit of fool’s gold. Look for Martin to find the end zone on a long run against Atlanta this weekend.
8. Knowshon Moreno, Denver Broncos
The Colts give up the second-most rushing yards in the NFL. The Broncos score the most points in the NFL.
You know what to do.
9. Ray Rice, Baltimore Ravens
Rice has been incredibly frustrating to own this year in fantasy football, but patience will prevail for those who continue to start the talented Baltimore runner.
This week he faces the Steelers, who have allowed decent fantasy production to the running backs they’ve faced this season. Before their bye week, they allowed running backs to rush for six touchdowns in four games.
10. Reggie Bush, Detroit Lions
I am concerned about Bush’s matchup against the Bengals, but Zachary is not. Either way, we agree he’s start-able this week as the most important element of the Detroit offense with Calvin Johnson still dealing with an injury.
11. Alfred Morris, Washington Redskins
The Redskins face the Bears this week, who are fresh off of a beatdown from New York Giants’ running backs in Week 6. Chicago’s defense is missing Henry Melton in the middle of the defensive line, and it’s no longer a defense that signals benching your less-than-superstar running backs.
12. Frank Gore, San Francisco 49ers
13. Eddie Lacy, Green Bay Packers
These two bruising tailbacks will take on run-of-the-mill defenses on Sunday in games their teams should win. That means that Gore (against Tennessee) and Lacy (against Cleveland) will both have a chance to punch in a few short scores, and likely get a chance in the fourth quarter to run out the clock.
Football Outsiders ranks the opponents for Gore and Lacy to be 20th and 19th, respectively, against the run this season. In other words, these are not juggernaut defenses against the run game.
14. C.J. Spiller, Buffalo Bills
Zachary has Spiller 9th on his running back rankings. I have him much, much lower. But Zachary must think that Spiller is recovering well enough to have a spring in his step against his division rivals when the Bills take on the Dolphins this week.
15. Danny Woodhead, San Diego Chargers
He’s a do-it-all back that the Chargers will trust with the football in what should be a fairly competitive game against the Jaguars. The Jags give up the most rushing yards in the NFL this season, and Woodhead will also chip in with a few catches along the way.
Honorable Mention: Trent Richardson, Indianapolis Colts and Joseph Randle, Dallas Cowboys
Topics: Adrian Peterson, Alfred Morris, Arian Foster, Baltimore Ravens, Buffalo Bills, C.J. Spiller, Chicago Bears, Danny Woodhead, Denver Broncos, Detroit Lions, Doug Martin, Eddie Lacy, Fantasy Football, Frank GOre, Green Bay Packers, Houston Texans, Jamaal Charles, Kansas City Chiefs, Knowshon Moreno, LeSean McCoy, Marshawn Lynch, Matt Forte, Minnesota Vikings, Philadelphia Eagles, Ray Rice, Reggie Bush, San Diego Chargers, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Washington Redskins