Fantasy Football: Running Back Start/Sit Rankings (Week 2)

Here they are—Running Back Rankings for Week 2 (2010) to help you decide who to start and who to sit on your fantasy football team.

1. Steven Jackson (STL) – As expected, Chris Johnson ran wild on the Raiders defense in week 1. Unexpectedly, Johnson’s back up Javon Ringer did the same in limited action. That being the case, it is difficult to imagine the extremely porous Oakland run defense being able to contain a beast like Steven Jackson. He does have a slightly inflamed knee which is some cause for concern, but Jackson is expected to be just fine for Sunday. Injury: knee (Probable)

2. Adrian Peterson (MIN) – A week 2 match up against a solid Miami run defense is not overwhelmingly favorable, but you can bet that the Vikings will lean heavily on Peterson in this one and it’s highly unlikely that he gets held out of the end zone in consecutive weeks, especially at home.

3. Maurice Jones-Drew (JAC) – He wasn’t spectacular in week 1 posting mediocre numbers by his standards, but MJD still fared better than the San Diego run defense which was gashed by Kansas City to the tune of 135 rushing yards. Needless to say, we like Jones-Drew’s chances in week 2 and so does the law of averages.

4. Michael Turner (ATL) – While disappointing, it wasn’t a major shocker to see Turner shut down at Pittsburgh in week 1. The same can not be said if it happens against week 2 opponent Arizona. The Cardinals defense is no pushover, but they are far removed from Steeler status when it comes to stopping the run. Plus, this will be a home game for Turner against the road weary Cardinals and Turner’s track record of finding pay dirt in home games is nearly flawless.

5. Ray Rice (BAL) – In spite of his lackluster week 1 performance against a stout Jets defense, there is plenty to like about Rice heading into week 2. Mainly, the fact that he scored a TD in each of his 2 games against the Bengals in 2009 while averaging 139 total yards per contest. It’s also promising that New England’s Fred Taylor was able to average over 5 yards per carry against the Cincinnati defense in week 1.

6. DeAngelo Williams (CAR) – In his last 2 contests against the Bucs, Williams has accumulated 364 yards in total offense and 4 TDs. We realize that the past is the past, but this is basically the same Tampa defense that ranked dead last in the NFL against the run just a season ago. You can expect the Panthers to lean heavily on the running game this week and Williams should rebound nicely from a disappointing week 1.

7. Chris Johnson (TEN) – If you had to pick one game on the Titans schedule to be a little skeptical about having fantasy football’s top prize on your roster, this would be it. Johnson will face the NFL’s most feared run defense in week 2 in the form of Pittsburgh’s Steel curtain. Despite the difficult match up and Johnson’s less than stellar track record against the Steelers, Johnson’s talent and ability keep the odds for success in his favor and benching him is never an option.

8. Jamaal Charles (KC) – He would be a much more appealing fantasy option if he didn’t have to give up so many carries to Thomas Jones, but as Charles has displayed many times in his short career; he only needs one big play to generate solid fantasy production and anything else is just icing on the cake. That said, it is highly probable that Charles will have his big and possibly then some against a soft Cleveland run defense.

9. Ahmad Bradshaw (NYG) – After watching Arian Foster run wild on the Colts defense in week 1, you can bet the Giants will implement the same run heavy strategy against Indy in week 2 and there are few backs better to execute that game plan than Ahmad Bradshaw. He will have to share the load with Brandon Jacobs of course, but Bradshaw is currently the much more dangerous threat and if he can enjoy even half the success that Foster had in week 1, it will be a big day.

10. Frank Gore (SF) – It is difficult to be a fan of this match up when taking into consideration Gore’s week 1 struggles and the fact that New Orleans did an excellent job containing Adrian Peterson last week. It is, however, easy to be a fan of Frank Gore. He is one of fantasy football’s top contributors most weeks and he rarely falters two weeks in a row. We don’t love the match up, but we do love Gore’s workload, his talent and the fact that this is a home game for him. He is far too valuable to sit.

11. Arian Foster (HOU) – Either Foster is just that good or the Colts run defense is just that bad. In reality, we suspect it is a little bit of both, but the bottom line is that this guy has already proven to be the steal of fantasy football drafts (smiling as I write this). He will face a much tougher challenge against a solid Redskins defense in week 2, but you would have to be crazy to sit him against anyone after last week’s ridiculous stat line.

12. Rashard Mendenhall (PIT) – Mendenhall is a tough call heading into week 2. He was great in week 1, but that is mostly thanks to his 50 yard dash to the end zone in overtime. Otherwise, his numbers were rather pedestrian. On the other side of the coin, you have a Titans run defense that is likely much better than they looked in week1 against Oakland. Under the circumstances, you have to give Mendenhall the benefit of the doubt and while Tennessee will probably present a stiff challenge, Mendenhall’s expected workload alone qualifies him as a starting fantasy back for week 2.

13. Ryan Mathews (SD) – He didn’t quite meet expectations in week 1, but then again Mathews had a few things working against him in Kansas City. Playing from behind on the road in the rain has never been a formula that benefits a RBs stat line. It should be a different story in week 2 at home against the Jaguars. The potential is definitely there for Mathews to put up great numbers this week and beyond.

14. Cedric Benson (CIN) – The bad news is that Benson is coming off of a pretty shaky week 1 performance and he will be facing one of the NFL’s better run defenses in week 2. He is also a little banged up with a shoulder injury. The good news is that the mighty Ravens run defense showed some vulnerability in week 1 giving up 116 rushing yards to the Jets. Even better, Benson gained well over 100 yards rushing and a TD in each of the two games in which he faced Baltimore last season. Injury: shoulder (Probable)

15. Brandon Jackson (GB) – He has never give anyone much reason to be that high on him from a talent perspective, but Jackson was not bad in relief of Ryan Grant last week and he benefits greatly from playing in Green Bay’s high powered offense. Jackson will likely generate some decent fantasy points for you down the road. So congratulations for snagging him and he should serve you well in week 2 against a soft Buffalo run defense. The only issue of concern is FB John Kuhn stealing all the goal line touches from Jackson which is highly probable.

16. Pierre Thomas (NO) – There is always an element of risk with Thomas playing in a pass oriented offense and a week 2 match up against a very good 49er run defense may prove difficult as well. That said, the pass happy offense that can sometimes be a curse to Thomas’ fantasy potential can also be a blessing because it typically provides him with ample opportunity to find the end zone. He was decent against a top flight Vikings defense in week 1, so it’s hard not to like his chances against San Francisco as well, but it won’t be easy.

17. LeSean McCoy (PHI) – He is looking at a week 2 match up against a soft Detroit defense that has the potential to yield monster results, both on the ground and in the passing game. The problem is McCoy has never put up monster numbers against anyone in his short career. Often through no fault of his own, McCoy has not been able to take full advantage of similar match ups. He has the tools to do some serious damage against the Lions in week 2, but it’s probably not going to happen if he is limited to just 7 carries like he was in week 1.

18. Joseph Addai (IND) – With the Colts abandoning the running game early in week 1 playing from behind, Addai didn’t have ample opportunity to do much damage. He should be much more involved against the Giants in week 2 and he is always a threat to find pay dirt. We like his chances.

19. Darren McFadden (OAK) – It’s difficult to be a believer just yet, especially with McFadden’s sketchy track record in the NFL to date, but if he can put up 150 total yards and a TD against a stout Titans defense; McFadden should be able to do some real damage against a Rams defense that is among the worst in the NFL. The X factor here is Michael Bush, who is expected to play in week 2. After last week, one has to believe that McFadden will get the majority of the carries, but Bush will cut into his workload if healthy.

20. Knowshon Moreno (DEN) – Moreno’s fantasy potential for week 2 is one of the tougher judgment calls of the week. The dilemma does not lie as much in the player as much as it does in the opposition. Seattle‘s new defense is tough to get a gauge on after just one week. It is a defense that had low expectations coming into this season, but a great week 1 performance in which they shut down Frank Gore has us all scratching our heads. That said, the Seahawk defense is sure to have a tougher time on the road in the high altitudes of Denver and Moreno is more than talented enough to make them pay, but it is not a failsafe match up.

21. Ronnie Brown (MIA) - @ MIN

22. Matt Forte (CHI) – @ DAL Injury: knee (Probable)

23. Jerome Harrison (CLE) – vs. KC

24. LaDainian Tomlinson (NYJ) – vs. NE

25. Shonn Greene (NYJ) – vs. NE

26. Jonathan Stewart (CAR) – vs. TB

27. Carnell “Cadillac” Williams (TB) - @ CAR

28. Clinton Portis (WAS) – vs. HOU Injury: wrist (Probable)

29. Brandon Jacobs (NYG) - @ IND

30. Marion Barber (DAL) – vs. CHI

31. Jahvid Best (DET) – vs. PHI Injury: toe (Probable)

32. Thomas Jones (KC) - @ CLE

33. Tim Hightower (ARI) - @ ATL

34. Peyton Hillis (CLE) – vs. KC

35. Justin Forsett (SEA) - @ DEN

36. Reggie Bush (NO) - @ SF

37. Felix Jones (DAL) – vs. CHI

38. Ricky Williams (MIA) - @ MIN

39. C.J. Spiller (BUF) - @ GB

40. Chris “Beanie” Wells (ARI) - @ ATL Injury: knee (questionable)

41. Michael Bush (OAK) – vs. STL Injury: thumb (Questionable)

42. Darren Sproles (SD) – vs. JAC

43. Fred Taylor (NE) - @ NYJ Injury: toe (Probable)

44. Willis McGahee (BAL) - @ CIN

45. Fred Jackson (BUF) - @ GB

46. Steve Slaton (HOU) - @ WAS

47. Chester Taylor (CHI) - @ DAL

48. Correll Buckhalter (DEN) – vs. SEA

49. Leon Washington (SEA) - @ DEN

50. Kevin Faulk (NE) - @ NYJ

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