Last week, The Fantasy Greek asked whether anyone else thought Maurice Jones-Drew will would continue to holdout into the regular season? At thi point, it doesn’t really matter because the Jaguars have indicated that even if MJD returned this week, he could be held out in Week1, and possibly thereafter. As for Ryan Mathews, he seems to be convalescing well from his broken collarbone and it is looking more and more possible that Mathews could be available in Week 1, or, maybe within a few weeks thereafter. In any case, fantasy football rankings can be adjusted accordingly.
Players starting this past weekend are likely to be the Week 1 starters for their respective teams. The third-week of the preseason is behind us, and the starting lineup of most teams for the regular season is pretty well known, it’s time to update our quarterback rankings one last time, with many of you drafting this weekend, and early next week.
If you want to read our more detailed analysis from our last running back rankings, see our previous article. This week, we will only update our analysis to the extent something about the running back ranks has changed or is worth mentioning.
As a reminder, “SOS” is the relative strength of schedule as noted in our favorable/unfavorable schedules by position. You can view players with favorable schedules by position or view players with unfavorable schedules by position. While strength of schedule does not suggest how a player will play over the course of a season, it may be something to consider when deciding between two players of similar value, in fantasy football drafts.
As usual, please don’t forget to post your comments and questions in the chat box below. They are very much appreciated and will be responded to.
|Player, Team||SOS||Player, Team||SOS|
|1||Arian Foster, Texans||16||31||Ben Tate, Texans||16|
|2||Ray Rice, Ravens||15||32||DeAngelo Williams, Panthers||7|
|3||LeSean McCoy, Eagles||13||33||Michael Bush, Bears||14|
|4||Adrian Peterson, Vikings||21||34||Donald Brown, Colts||19|
|5||Darren McFadden, Raiders||10||35||Stevan Ridley, Patriots||26|
|6||DeMarco Murray, Cowboys||8||36||C.J. Spiller, Bills||27|
|7||Marshawn Lynch, Seahawks||32||37||Rashad Jennings, Jaguars||18|
|8||Chris Johnson, Titans||28||38||Mikel Leshoure, Lions||25|
|9||Jamaal Charles, Chiefs||3||39||Jonathan Stewart, Panthers||7|
|10||*Trent Richardson, Browns (R)||17||40||Kevin Smith, Lions||25|
|11||Steven Jackson, Rams||31||41||*Brandon Jacobs, 49ers||11|
|12||Fred Jackson, Bills||27||42||Jacquizz Rodgers, Falcons||1|
|13||*Ryan Mathews, Chargers||4||43||Pierre Thomas , Saints||5|
|14||Michael Turner, Falcons||1||44||Isaiah Pead, Rams (R)||31|
|15||*Maurice Jones-Drew, Jaguars||18||45||Robert Turbin, Seahawks (R)||32|
|16||Frank Gore, 49ers||11||46||Toby Gerhart, Vikings||21|
|17||Matt Forte, Bears||14||47||Lamar Miller, Dolphins (R)||12|
|18||Darren Sproles, Saints||5||48||Felix Jones, Cowboys||8|
|19||Doug Martin, Buccaneers (R)||2||49||Ronnie Hillman, Broncos (R)||9|
|20||Reggie Bush, Dolphins||12||50||Mike Goodson, Raiders||10|
|21||*Beanie Wells, Cardinals||24||51||LeGarrette Blount, Buccaneers||2|
|22||*Isaac Redman, Steelers||20||52||Montario Hardesty, Browns||17|
|23||Shonn Greene, Jets||30||53||Tim Hightower, Redskins||6|
|24||Ahmad Bradshaw, Giants||22||54||Roy Helu, Redskins||6|
|25||BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Bengals||23||55||Evan Royster, Redskins||6|
|26||Willis McGahee, Broncos||9||56||Ronnie Brown, Chargers||4|
|27||Peyton Hillis, Chiefs||3||57||Alex Green, Packers||29|
|28||Mark Ingram, Saints||5||58||Shane Vereen, Patriots||26|
|29||Cedric Benson, Packers||29||59||Vick Ballard, Colts||19|
|30||David Wilson, Giants (R)||22||60||Rashard Mendenhall, Steelers||20|
The biggest question remains whether Maurice Jones-Drew will continue his holdout into the regular season. With so little time until the regular season begins, and given the various reports on where contract “negotiations” stand, it’s not looking good. Again, The Fantasy Greek has to reiterate there is no golden rule in fantasy football as to what to do in this situation, especially given the risk you would take by expending a first round fantasy football draft pick on a player that may not play. Obviously, if Jones-Drew does play, he is a top-five fantasy football, running back pick. At some point, a fantasy footballer will have to draft Jones-Drew, and hopefully, hand-cuff him with Rashad Jennings, Jones-Drew’s back-up. In the best of worlds, if Jones-Drew is still holding out on your fantasy football draft day, you’d like to get him as a low-end RB2 to high-end RB3, if possible, to minimize the risk of a pro-longed holdout. That means, do not consider Maurice Jones-Drew until Round 3 of fantasy football drafts at the earliest. Rashad Jennings gets a significant boost in value should MJD’s holdout go into the season. In that case,Jennings would become a low-end RB2/solid RB3 draftable in the fifth or sixth round of fantasy football drafts.
Ryan Mathews has gotten fantasy footballers jumpy not only because he broke his collar bone in the preseason opener, but recently, an orthopedic surgeon (who mind you has not treated Mathews) spoke on NFL.com and indicated that Mathews might be out into October. Mathews seemingly remains confident that he will be back sooner rather than later. And, Mathews’ healing seems to be progressing. Again, like Maurice Jones-Drew, you will have to evaluate risk level when drafting Mathews. Muck like Jones-Drew, there are several other running backs with similar value you could draft instead of Mathews. Again, Mathews could realistically fall in some fantasy football drafts to an RB2, given the injury concern. The Fantasy Greek feels Mathews should be drafted no earlier than Round 2 in fantasy football drafts. Whatever the case, consider Mathews back-up Ronnie Brown as a hand-cuff.
The Fantasy Greek likes Cedric Benson to be the Packers starting running back once the regular season begins. The Fantasy Greek likes Benson as an RB3 in fantasy football.
Don’t look now, but Mikel LeShoure played his first down of football this past week and didn’t look bad doing it. In a banged up Lions backfield, LeShoure will get every opportunity to start for the Lions too. LeShoure is worth a fantasy football draft pick as an RB4.
Fantasy footballers make note that all of the Redskins running backs have played in the pre-season to varying degrees, and with varying success. Unless expending a late round draft pick on one of them, The Fantasy Greek recommends avoiding Redskins running backs altogether, and the Redskins running back carousel that will likely have fantasy footballers guessing as to each week’s starter.