We’re just over the halfway mark of the Fantasy Football regular season, so we can take a wide view of what has happened behind us. While the Week 7 RB rankings are certainly important – who doesn’t want to be 7-0!?! – I think we also need to look at the position to see what we can expect for the rest of the season.
With that in mind, I thought I’d do a fun exercise and play “Faux Real” with the top 12 Fantasy Football running backs so far this season.
What is “Faux Real”? Well, it’s something I just came up with this morning, and I’ll place a tag on the top 12 running backs in Fantasy scoring so far, to show to you whether or not I think they are “Faux” – or fake, and that they won’t be top 25 RBs by season’s end – or “Real.”
For Real “Faux Real” ROS RB Rankings
I’m going to use ESPN’s Fantasy Football stats, mainly because they break it down by “Average Fantasy Points” scored per week, and I can avoid the issues with some players already having a bye week, and some not. Their default scoring does not reward PPR.
1. DeMarco Murray, Dallas (21.3 Fantasy Points Per Game: FAUX
I say this is fake because I expect one of two things to happen, and both will make his FPPG decline sharply.
Nobody runs to contact more than the former Oklahoma product, and just because he didn’t get injured in the first six weeks doesn’t mean he’s no longer an injury risk.
The Cowboys will have to dial back his carries, as he’s on pace for over 400 this year. That spells good things for sticky-fingers Joseph Randle, or possibly Lance Dunbar.
T-2. Marshawn Lynch, Seattle (16.8): REAL
Nobody’s cutting into Lynch’s touches at this point, as the Seahawks look to repeat.
T-2. Giovani Bernard, Cincinnati: (16.8): FAUX
One of my favorite players coming into this season, the Bengals sophomore tailback has been excellent, with 4.5 yards per carry and four touchdowns. But Jeremy Hill is starting to get more looks, including near the goal line. So Bernard’s touchdowns might have to start coming from farther out – which he has been able to produce from so far. Still, the odds are that can’t keep up.
4. Arian Foster, Houston (15.8): REAL
The offseason injury issues aren’t affecting him on the field, and this offensive line is better than we remembered.
5. Matt Forte, Chicago (15.5): REAL
He’s the guy I fully expect to be the No. 1 Fantasy running back by season’s end, at this point – so I guess you could say his current ranking is “Faux.”
6. Le’Veon Bell, Pittsburgh (13.8): REAL
I caught crap for taking Bell at the end of the first round in the FLEX league, as one expert called me out on Twitter, and one of his douchebag readers called the decision to draft Bell there “moronic” because of his 3.5 YPC last season. Well, Bell
If you watched Bell at all at Michigan State, you knew he had more ability that what he showed last season. He was my favorite running back coming into the 2013 NFL Draft.
People were worried about the addition of LeGarrette Blount, but I’ve been talking about how he was not what his stats said about him when he was in New England. For a big back, he’s much too tentative. Sure, he’ll have a big hit once in a while, but for the most part, he dances to the line with no momentum.
I’m currently sitting at 5-1 with the second-most points in the FLEX league, and the expert that called me out, well, let’s just say he’s not in the top 12 (it’s a 14-team league).
7. Andre Ellington, Arizona (12.8): REAL
This one I have the most trouble figuring out. He’s tiny, but he has produced, although he has just a 3.5 YPC over the past three weeks. With Carson Palmer back, I expect the offense to become even more dangerous, so I’ll keep Ellington up inside the top 10.
8. Antone Smith, Atlanta (12.5): FAUX
If you want to gamble on his four touches per game, that one will break free for another long score, have at it. I need more volume before I’m starting a player.
9. Ahmad Bradshaw, Indianapolis (11.5): REAL
This guy doesn’t get a ton of volume, but he gets enough to be considered a solid RB in the 10-20 range from here on out. He also has a great nose for the end zone, with five touchdowns in his past five games.
10. Justin Forsett, Baltimore (11.5): REAL
While Forsett is considered sometimes a third-down back, he’s actually becoming the team’s top all-around running back, in the post-Ray Rice era. He excels in the passing game, but he also has a great 6.4 yards per carry that makes you feel good.
11. Lamar Miller, Miami (11.4): REAL
With Knowshon Moreno (knee) sidelined all season, it’s Miller Time from now on. His 5.2 YPC tells us he’s better than what we saw when he was handed the job last season. The Dolphins offensive line is getting better, also. He should also start increasing his goal-line touches, too, with Moreno gone.
12. Frank Gore, San Francisco (10.8): FAKE
While both Gore and Carlos Hyde looked bad against the Rams, there’s no doubt in my mind that the younger Hyde is better at this point. I expect Hyde to have better Fantasy stats in the second half than the veteran.
The SKYLLZONE Week 7 ADP shows fans are taking six running backs in the first 10 picks for this week’s matchups, with Matt Forte leading the pack, just like he did last week. DeMarco Murray sits second at the position, and overall, with Marshawn Lynch as the third running back (fifth overall). There are six running backs getting picked in the first round for this week’s Fan vs. Machine drafts.
Week 7 RB Rankings
These rankings are based on standard non-PPR Fantasy leagues with six points per touchdown.
Which running backs do you think we have too high or too low in our Week 7 RB Rankings? These articles are meant to help readers, so your comments give them an added perspective.
David Gonos spent 5 years as a CBSSports.com Senior Fantasy Writer and three more years writing with SI.com. Over the past 17 years, his work has been published on NFL.com, MLB.com, FanDuel, FoxSports.com and USA Today. Since 2001, he has been tracking down the Top 50-plus Free Fantasy Football Draft Tools online. You can contact David Gonos here.