1. Brian Westbrook (PHI) – He may be injury prone, but Westbrook remains one of best fantasy options out there. He appears to be completely healthy at this point, and has a great match up against the Bears 26th ranked run defense. Westbrook should also shine in the Eagles passing game, making him “the stud” of fantasy RB’s for week 7.
2. Willie Parker (PIT) – No RB has a better week 7 match up than Willie Parker. He should run wild on the Broncos 32nd ranked rush defense. He is a must start in any league.
3. Larry Johnson (KC) – Johnson has not been the most consistent back this season, but he seems to be on track at this point. He has averaged over 100 ypg in 6 career games against the Raiders, and the Raiders, ranked 28th in the league against the run, have never looked worse in that area. Johnson should have a huge game.
4. Reggie Bush (NO) – Bush is actually starting to look more like an NFL RB than a WR, although, he is still a solid pass catcher too. He faces an Atlanta defense that ranks 24th against the run and combined with his pass catching skills, Bush could do some serious damage in this one.
5. Adrian Peterson (MIN) – He may be the best back up RB in NFL history. Peterson was able to run all over a Bears defense whose game plan was to stop him specifically. He will face a better Cowboys rush defense this week whose game plan will also be centered on him, but Peterson has proven to be too talented for any defense to slow down.
6. Maurice Jones-Drew (JAC) – In 2 games vs. the Colts last season, Jones-Drew accumulated a mind numbing 547 total yards (includes kick returns) and 4 TD’s. The Colts run defense has improved, but Jones-Drew appears to be over his sophomore slump, and could torch the Indianapolis defense again on Monday night. Start him with confidence if he is cleared to play. (Check injury report: thigh)
7. Shaun Alexander (SEA) – He has seen his fantasy production drop steadily throughout the season. It could have something to do with his injured wrist, but he just seems tentative to hit his holes with confidence. If any run defense can restore his confidence it is the Rams. Alexander should return from his slide into the fantasy abyss with a solid game.
8. Willis McGahee (BAL) – When you look at the over all numbers, it seems very easy to think that McGahee will run all over the Bills defense which ranks 25th against the run. When you look at the recent numbers, you will see that Buffalo has not allowed more than 41 yards rushing by any RB in their last 2 games, including Thomas Jones, Marion Barber, and Julius Jones. This match up is a little misleading, but we still feel that McGahee will come out on top. He is one of the better RB options for week 7 and should be productive, but do not get your hopes up for a monster game. (Check injury report: knee)
9. Clinton Portis (WAS) – He has not had the best season of his career to this point, but he has not been bad by any means. We expect Portis to have a really solid week against a Cardinals run defense that has gone from pretty good to really bad in a hurry. The Cards have allowed 2 consecutive 100 yard rushers, and neither of those 2 guys (D. Foster & B. Leonard) are as talented as Portis.
10. Ronnie Brown (MIA) – Few NFL running backs have topped Brown’s numbers the last few weeks, and none have been as consistent. He appears to be at the top of his game, and the focal point of the Dolphins offense. He should see plenty of action this week against the Patriots, but it will be an up hill battle all day.
11. Joseph Addai (IND) – He is looking at a tough match up against a stingy Jacksonville run D, but Addai has the tools and supporting cast to over come almost any obstacle. It is not likely to be one of his better weeks, but Addai is still a must start, and has a knack for finding the end zone even against the toughest defenses.
12. Thomas Jones (NYJ) – He has been about as inconsistent as is humanly possible this season. Jones finds a way to defy logic, and statistical reasoning on a weekly basis. Fortunately, he is coming off of a great game against a solid Eagles defense. Even more fortunate, Jones has a very favorable match up against the Bengals 29th ranked run D. He should have consecutive solid weeks for the first time all season, but you never know for sure with this guy.
13. LaMont Jordan (OAK) – He appears to be much healthier (back injury) this week than he was last week against San Diego. Jordan faces a Chiefs defense that he has a pretty good track record against, and barring any setbacks with his back, he should be a solid starting option for week 7. (Check injury report: back)
14. Laurence Maroney (NE) – Maroney is actually taking reps in practice this week which is a good indicator that he will be in the starting line up. If he is able to start, he should have a good game against Miami who ranks second to last against the run. He should see the majority of the carries, including the goal line carries, with Sammy Morris sidelined this week. There is a possibility that Kevin Faulk could get the start, so pay close attention to the situation as Sunday approaches. (Check injury report: groin)
15. Travis Henry (DEN) – He is a very capable RB and a lock for almost any week. This is not one of them. Henry is talented enough to do a little damage, but he is facing one of the league’s best run defenses in the Steelers. You almost have to start him, but this will not likely be one of his better games.
16. Edgerrin James (ARI) – He is not going to rewrite any of the NFL’s single season record this season, but he has been one of the more stable fantasy backs out there. James is looking at a very tough Redskins defense this week, and should not be considered a top level RB for week 7. Start him, but do not anticipate big numbers.
17. LenDale White (TEN) – White should have the RB duties all to himself this week with Chris Brown likely sidelined by injury. He has the opportunity to have his best game of the season against a mediocre Texans run D. If Vince Young is unable to play, expect White to be the focal point of this offense this week. He is a pretty solid start for week 7.
18. Frank Gore (SF) – He has failed to find the end zone since week 2, and struggles to reach the 50 yard mark on a weekly basis. Gore is a very talented RB that has fallen victim to the poor supporting cast around him. He should be a big part of the 49er offense this week for what that is worth, but do not expect a big turn around this week against a decent Giants run defense.
19. Brandon Jacobs (NYG) – He is capable of a big game any week, but with the nagging injuries and the ever revolving door of running backs being used in the Giants line up, Jacobs is a little risky. It is a guess game as to what the situation will be for Jacobs this week, but we anticipate that he will get the majority of carries if he is healthy. Check his player news for updates, and if things look good, start him with some degree of confidence. (Check injury report: ankle)
20. Marion Barber (DAL) – He faced some pretty stiff competition last week and understandably struggled, but Barber has struggled for the last 3 weeks, even against weak opponents. He has the potential to break loose at any time and is one of the better goal line backs in the league, but this week’s match up against one of the best run defenses in the NFL does not bode well.
21. Earnest Graham (TB) – This week’s acquisition of Michael Bennett does not speak highly of Grahams future as the Bucs premier RB, but it should be at least a couple of weeks before Bennett steals the spotlight. Graham has not exactly made the most of his opportunity either, but in his defense he faced the Titans top ranked run D. He should have a much easier go of it this week against a very porous Lions run defense. He could be a quality contributor for your fantasy team in week 7.
22. Cedric Benson (CHI) –Benson has been little more than a mediocre to average back this season. For a RB that gets almost 20 carries per game, his stats are very lack luster. You should probably expect to see more of the same this week against the Eagles, and their 9th ranked run defense.
23. Brian Leonard (STL) – He has shown signs that he is a gifted RB, but the offense around him has really limited his abilities. Leonard followed a great week 5 performance with a horrible week 6. This week’s match up looks pretty good and there is potential for a nice game, but it would be a gamble to start him.
24. Marshawn Lynch (BUF) – He has been a fairly steady fantasy performer this season, which is rare for a rookie. He has posted very average yardage totals, but has managed to find the end zone on occasion. Lynch is looking at a very big test this week against the Ravens 3rd ranked rush defense. A test he is likely to do poorly with. He is not a great starting option for week 7
25. Kenny Watson (CIN) – As of right now, count on Watson getting the start and the majority of the carries. Rudi Johnson should play again this week, but he has not practiced, and his role will likely be limited again in week 7. Watson is looking at a very favorable match up against the Jets, but he is a risky start given the Rudi Johnson situation.
26. Fred Taylor (JAC) – Taylor only had 6 carries last week as he was nursing a hamstring, but he managed to snag 90 yards on the ground, his best game of the season. If he is healthy, he should provide fantasy owners with a few points, but do not expect anything dramatic. (Check injury report: groin)
27. Kevin Jones (DET) – It appears as though he will get the start and be the premier back in the Detroit offense this week. The match up bodes well against Tampa, but the problem is that the Lions rarely go to the running game on a consistent basis. So, unless Jones can get a lot out of a few carries, he has minimal upside as a starter this week.
28. Ahman Green (HOU) – Green should be the starting running back when the Texans take the field against the Titans. The Titans come into this game with the NFL’s #1 ranked defense, so do not expect much from a gimpy Green this week. He is an emergency option only this week. (Check injury report: knee)
29. Kevin Faulk (NE) – If Maroney is unable to go this week, Faulk could have a huge game against Miami’s 31st ranked run defense. The problem lies in knowing what his level of participation will be. He will definitely see some action, even if Maroney does start, so he has value either way. It is just hard to gauge how much. Follow the situation, and if Faulk is named the starter, put him in your line up immediately.
30. Chester Taylor (MIN) – He actually started and had more carries than running mate Adrian Peterson, he just did much less with his opportunities. He is likely to see a fair share of the load again this week, but it is a tough match up, and he is little more than a fill in starter for week 7.
31. Derrick Ward (NYG) – He is still battling an ankle injury and is unlikely to see a whole lot of action in week 7. Ward was less than spectacular, but he did manage to find the end zone last week. When healthy, he is a decent #2 starting option, but as things stand right now, he is a very risky play. (Check injury report: ankle)
32. Julius Jones (DAL) – You all know the story with this guy. The only thing we can add is that he has a tough match up against Minnesota this week, and is worth starting if you are really needy. Expect minimal fantasy output from Jones this week.
33. Rudi Johnson (CIN) – He was supposed to start and play the whole game last week against Kansas City, but as has become the norm with Johnson, he disappointed once again. He did not start, and only played sparingly with 4 carries. He is unlikely to see much action again this week, as he has yet to take part in practice this week. He is not a trust worthy start, but keep tabs on the situation as Sunday approaches. If he does start and gets the majority of the carries, he has a chance for a great game against a poor Jets run D. (Check injury report: hamstring)
34. Jerrious Norwood (ATL) – Norwood is slowly but surely becoming the feature back in Atlanta for what that is worth. He did manage to break a long one on the Giants and has plenty of upside for the future, but not the near future. There is a chance for him to bust another big one against a Saints defense susceptible to big runs, but you can never count on that. He is a bye week starter at best.
35. Warrick Dunn (ATL) – Dunn will likely get the start against the Saints this week, but he should again step to the background in favor of Jerrious Norwood. Dunn should pick up a few scrap points, but nothing substantial enough to feel comfortable having him as your starter.
* Other notable options include: Najeh Davenport (PIT), Leon Washington (NYJ), Tatum Bell (DET), and Michael Bennett (TB)