Week Eight Running Back Rankings
1. LaDainian Tomlinson vs. Texans – It doesn’t matter where the Chargers play or when they play, Tomlinson is the top ranked back. And, if the game is moved to Dallas, I’m totally going.
2. Adrian Peterson vs. Eagles – With Ronnie Brown out for the year, Brian Westbrook going against the Vikings, and Willis McGahee on bye, the running back options this week are kind of slim. Peterson faces a tough Eagles’ defense, but they haven’t faced anyone like Peterson yet this season. He should be good for his patented fancy touchdown run.
3. Willie Parker @ Bengals – Ever since Week Three, Parker hasn’t exactly lit the world on fire. He’s averaged 3.4 yards per carry over the last three games after posting a 4.9 yards per carry average in the first three contests. Defenses have keyed on him and the offensive line isn’t opening the same kind of holes. Still, it’s the Bengals, so Parker should at least get a touchdown.
4. Marshawn Lynch @ Jets – This pick is on me. I’ve been a proponent of trading for Lynch based on the fact that he’s run well against the third, fourth, fifth, and sixth best run defenses in the league. Now he gets to face the dregs of the league in terms of run defense, and Lynch should get his first 100-yard game this week.
5. Brian Westbrook @ Vikings – We all know the Vikings make running backs their you-know-whats. But that’s okay, because Westy is a dual threat. They might bottle up his rushing stats, but his receiving numbers stand to be pretty good.
6. Reggie Bush @ 49ers – Despite the poor yardage numbers last week, Bush’s touchdown made it two straight productive weeks from the former USC star. That’s good enough for me to put him in my top 10 for the week. Frankly, it still scares the hell out of me.
7. Joseph Addai @ Panthers – The word is that Kenton Keith will steal a good number of carries from Addai for the rest of the year. Uhh, well, that may be the case, but Addai is still the better running back, which means he’ll have more chances. The vultured touchdowns hurt, but Addai is still a start since no defense-man will pay him much mind.
8. Steven Jackson vs. Browns – Whatever you say, man.
9. Kenny Watson vs. Steelers – As long as Rudi Johnson is out, Watson stands to get 20 carries for the Bengals. Much like Addai with the Colts, the Bengals’ running game has always snuck under the radar thanks to Carson Palmer and the passing offense. The Steelers make life tough for any offense, but Watson could steal a couple short scores anyway.
10. Brandon Jacobs @ Dolphins – Colour me impressed with the Giants. I figured they’d be lucky to win six games this year. As it turns out, they have a shot at 10. Jacobs has been a big part of the offense whenever he’s been healthy. I’m inclined to predict a big game for him in London.
11. LenDale White vs. Raiders – I don’t think White’s career in the NFL will be especially long. It seems to take him 25 carries just to get going. That’s not a recipe for a 10-year stint in the bigs. Still, it will work out as long as he’s healthy. And with the Raiders’ porous run defense, White’s 25 carries should go for 100 yards.
12. LaMont Jordan @ Titans – When opponents average less than 60 rushing yards against a team, it’s tough to go hog wild with ranking an opposing running back too high against them. Jordan does have the advantage of being a good pass catcher. That should allow him to make fantasy contributions. Just don’t expect the world.
13. Frank Gore vs. Saints – Monitor his health. If it looks like he’ll play, he should have a solid, unspectacular game.
14. Maurice Jones-Drew/Fred Taylor @ Bucs– Watch for how Jones-Drew progresses this week. If he’s healthy, he’ll be the play. If not, Taylor makes for an interesting sneaky play.
15. Cedric Benson vs. Lions – Against decent run defenses, Benson has absolutely no chance to be a productive back. Against bad units, he has a shot. The Lions fall into that latter group, which means Benson is a risky, high ceiling play. If you can use him as a flex player, you’re better off.
16. Kevin Jones @ Bears – I guess he’s healthy? I figured the Lions rushed Jones back into the lineup, which usually ends with poor play, another injury, and a divorce. But all things are quiet on the running back’s front. That’s good news, and it means he’s worth a flier against a terribly banged up Bears defense.
17. Laurence Maroney vs. Redskins – Six carries against the Dolphins doesn’t instill me with a ton of confidence. If you know what’s going on with the Patriots’ running game, then you should get back to coaching the team, Bill. No one else has any great insight, including Jay Glazer, my favorite NFL pregame personality. What a guy.
18. Clinton Portis @ Patriots – I’d pass if at all possible.
19. Thomas Jones vs. Bills – I don’t really discuss Jones. Sorry. Any good new shows on television this year? I’ve been disappointed with Grey’s Anatomy. It’s suffering from quite a slump. Yes, the Hills continues to be awesome. Yes, South Park is amazing. But I need something new. Any suggestions?
20. Travis Henry vs. Packers – Not suspended yet?
21. Kenton Keith @ Panthers – Hey, meet the new most-hated player in the NFL by fantasy football owners. Yay.
22. Earnest Graham vs. Jaguars – He’ll be lucky to get to 75 total yards this week.
23. Packers RB’s @ Broncos – It’s impossible to know who will do well, but one will score a touchdown.