Fantasy football managers always struggle with lineup issues throughout the fantasy season. Who do I start? Should I grab that free agent? Shoud I accept that trade? The problem is that we always have our cheetsheats for our drafts prior to the season. And we always have access to the many weekly player rankings throughout the season. But we do not seem to have any help deciding which players to target and hold for the remainder of the season. Riding the pre-draft rankings or only focusing on just the short-term weekly rankings can easily lead to losing season. Successful fantasy managers generally take a longer-term perspective while trying to capitalize on other coach's short term emotions and poor decisions.
Some decisions such as keeping Darren McFadden (after a slow rushing start) or Matt Forte (after an early season injury) are fairly easy to make. However, other decisions are not so easy. As a result, I have developed this weekly running back power ranking list to help guide you through starting lineup decisions, trade offers, and free agent / waiver wire pickups. Simply stated, this list focuses more on the player's potential or projected future for the remainder of the fantasy season (not just this week's matchup). I would recommend using this as a guide for all player transactions, moving up the list whenever possible. Your team's results and record should benefit in the end.
Here are my RB rankings through the beginning of Week 4.
Fantasy Running Back Power Rankings - Week 4:Fantasy points are based on standard Yahoo! fantasy football league scoring rules.
1) Arian Foster - Houston Texans:57.00 fantasy points
294 yards rushing, 3 TDs, 36 yards receiving, and 1 receiving TD.
2) Ray Rice - Baltimore Ravens:57.50 fantasy points
268 yards rushing, 3 TDs, and 127 yards receiving.
3) LeSean McCoy - Philadelphia Eagles:32.30 fantasy points
261 yards rushing, 1 TD, 42 yards receiving, and 2 Fumbles.
4) Maurice Jones-Drew - Jacksonville Jaguars:47.50 fantasy points
314 yards rushing, 1 TD, 41 yards receiving, and 1 receiving TD.
5) Matt Forte - Chicago Bears:26.00 fantasy points
111 yards rushing, 1 TD, and 89 yards receiving.
No big surprises here, as Foster, Rice, and McCoy (the first three RBs off of everyone's fantasy draft board) maintain the top 3 positions. McCoy has started slow, but the carries and the yardage are there. He just needs QB Vick to stop turning the ball over and give him a chance to get some TDs (only 1 on the season). Jones-Drew returns to the top 5 after being downgraded in the preseason due to a holdout. He has been money every since returning. Forte has been hurt, but once healthy he is a definite top 5 RB.
6) Marshawn Lynch - Seattle Seahawks:37.80 fantasy points
305 yards rushing, 1 TD, and 13 yards receiving.
7) Jamaal Charles - Kansas City Chiefs:45.70 fantasy points
323 yards rushing, 1 TD, and 74 yards receiving.
8) C.J. Spiller - Buffalo Bills:64.20 fantasy points
308 yards rushing, 3 TDs, 114 yards receiving, 1 receiving TD, and 1 Fumble.
9) Darren McFadden - Oakland Raiders:33.40 fantasy points
167 yards rushing, 1 TD, and 107 yards receiving.
10) Adrian Peterson - Minnesota Vikings:39.40 fantasy points
230 yards rushing, 2 TDs, and 44 yards receiving.
Any of the #6 - #10 RBs can easily make an argument to be in the top 5. Lynch is as good as they get on the ground, the fantasy issue is that there's not a lot through the air. Charles finally showed up in Week 3, and fortunately for fantasy owners, it does not appear that RB Peyton Hillis will take a lot of his carries. Spiller may be a top 5 RB if he can stay healthy and keep the starting job in Buffalo. Currently, he may have problems with both. McFadden did it all receiving in Week 1 and rushing in Week 3. Fantasy owners do not care. Fantasy points are fantasy points. Peterson has been as good as expected coming back from his injuries from last season. If he can continue getting the ball in the red zone, his ranking will increase.
11) DeMarco Murray - Dallas Cowboys:33.00 fantasy points
213 yard rushing, 1 TD, and 57 yards receiving.
12) Trent Richardson - Cleveland Browns:42.00 fantasy points
175 yards rushing, 2 TDs, 65 yards receiving, and 1 receiving TD.
13) Reggie Bush - Miami Dolphins:49.40 fantasy points
302 yards rushing, 2TDs, and 72 yards receiving.
14) Frank Gore - San Francisco 49ers:39.00 fantasy points
264 yards rushing, 2 TDs, 26 yards receiving, and 1 Fumble.
15) Willis McGahee - Denver Broncos:35.00 fantasy points
213 yards rushing, 2 TDs, 17 yards receiving, 1 2pt. Conversion, and 1 Fumble.
16) Ryan Mathews - San Diego Chargers
17) Steven Jackson - St. Louis Rams
18) Doug Martin - Tampa Bay Buccaneers
19) Stevan Ridley - New England Patriots
20) Andre Brown - New York Giants
21) Michael Turner - Atlanta Falcons
22) BenJarvus Green-Ellis - Cincinnati Bengals
23) Darren Sproles - New Orleans Saints
24) Cedric Benson - Green Bay Packers
25) Alfred Morris - Washington Redskins
Please make sure to watch for this list every week. Use it to guide your team through setting starting lineups, making trades, and picking up players through free agency and waivers. Other articles ranking the quarterback and wide receiver & tight end positions are also available each week and can be found by clicking on my name at the top of the article and accessing my Yahoo! profile. Also, please feel free to read my many other fantasy football articles found there as well. Good luck with your fantasy team!
Brian Music is one of five inaugural inductees to the 2011 Toyota Legends of Fantasy Football Hall of Fame on Yahoo! Sports. He has participated in fantasy football for 23 years and began playing Yahoo! fantasy football league in 2001, winning trophies in 17 of the 25 leagues that he has played.
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