2012 Fantasy Football Running Back Rankings: Week 3

Each week during the NFL season, we will rank enough players at each position to appease everyone from those in 8-team leagues to 16-team leagues, those that can start two QBs, two TEs, three RBs and four WRs. We cut out the rest, because if you're looking at who the 50th-best running back or the 17th-best kicker is for that week, you need more help than any Web site can give you.

Opportunity knocked for Andre Brown, who got the start for the Giants Thursday night against Carolina in place of an injured Ahmad Bradshaw (neck), and the fourth-year back from North Carolina State certainly answered. Brown piled up 113 yards on the ground and two touchdowns against the Panthers, leading the Giants to a convincing 36-7 victory in the process. Like Brown, Michael Bush is in a similar position as will see an increased workload for the Bears against St. Louis with Matt Forte ruled out because of an ankle injury. Although it's possible, it's highly unlikely that either Brown or Bush will have the impact that C.J. Spiller has had since assuming the starting role in Buffalo following Fred Jackson's injury. Spiller is currently leading the league in rushing (292 yards) and should have another productive game this Sunday against Cleveland. Maurice Jones-Drew and Adrian Peterson also appear to be fully reinstated as the starter for their respective teams. Jones-Drew is probably the safer play this week, however, as Peterson will test his surgically repaired knee with a heavier load against a San Francisco defense that's given up a total of 127 yards rushing so far. Willis McGahee, who had 113 yards on the ground against Atlanta on Monday night, may also find the going a little tougher this week against an equally stingy (144 yards rushing in two games) Houston defense. Another situation that bears watching is who gets the most carries in Kansas City. Last week both Peyton Hillis and Shaun Draughn got more attempts than Jamaal Charles, who limped off of the field after suffering what turned out to be a knee bruise during the Chiefs' loss to Buffalo. The good news for Charles owners is it doesn't appear to be anything serious, especially considering the Chiefs have a date in New Orleans (last in NFL in rush defense) this Sunday.

2012 NFL Week 3 Fantasy Football Rankings — Running Backs

Rk Player Team OPPONENT
1 Arian Foster HOU at DEN
2 Ray Rice BAL vs. NE
3 LeSean McCoy PHI at ARI
4 Maurice Jones-Drew JAC at IND
5 C.J. Spiller BUF at CLE
6 DeMarco Murray DAL vs. TB
7 Darren McFadden OAK vs. PIT
8 Frank Gore SF at MIN
9 Marshawn Lynch SEA vs. GB (Mon.)
10 Michael Bush CHI vs. STL
11 Trent Richardson CLE vs. BUF
12 Stevan Ridley NE at BAL
13 Reggie Bush MIA vs. NYJ
14 Doug Martin TB at DAL
15 BenJarvus Green-Ellis CIN at WAS
16 Adrian Peterson MIN vs. SF
17 Ryan Mathews SD vs. ATL
18 Darren Sproles NO vs. KC
19 Chris Johnson TEN vs. DET
20 Jamaal Charles KC at NO
21 Steven Jackson STL at CHI
22 Andre Brown NYG at CAR (Thurs.)
23 Alfred Morris WAS vs. CIN
24 Willis McGahee DEN vs. HOU
25 Michael Turner ATL at SD
26 Shonn Greene NYJ at MIA
27 Peyton Hillis KC at NO
28 Donald Brown IND vs. JAC
29 Mark Ingram NO vs. KC
30 Cedric Benson GB at SEA (Mon.)
31 Beanie Wells ARI vs. PHI
32 DeAngelo Williams CAR vs. NYG (Thurs.)
33 Ben Tate HOU at DEN
34 Pierre Thomas NO vs. KC
35 Kevin Smith DET at TEN
36 Jonathan Stewart CAR vs. NYG (Thurs.)
37 Jonathan Dwyer PIT at OAK
38 Isaac Redman PIT at OAK
39 Mikel Leshoure DET at TEN
40 Ryan Williams ARI vs. PHI
41 David Wilson NYG at CAR (Thurs.)
42 Dexter McCluster KC at NO
43 Daryl Richardson STL at CHI
44 Jacquizz Rodgers ATL at SD
45 Lamar Miller MIA vs. NYJ
46 Toby Gerhart MIN vs. SF
47 Kendall Hunter SF at MIN
48 Jackie Battle SD vs. ATL

Injury News:
Ahmad Bradshaw, NYG: Did not play Thursday night against Carolina because of a neck injury.
Jamaal Charles, KC: Expected to play on Sunday in New Orleans after leaving last week's game due to a knee bruise on his surgically repaired left knee (ACL tear last season).
Jonathan Dwyer, PIT: Dealing with a toe injury, missed practice on Wednesday, but practiced fully on Thursday in preparation for Sunday's game in Oakland.
Matt Forte, CHI: Will not play Sunday against St. Louis because of an ankle injury.
Steven Jackson, STL: Missed practice on Wednesday and Thursday because of a groin injury, but he is still hopeful of being able to play on Sunday against Chicago.
Ryan Mathews, SD: Participated in practice on Wednesday and Thursday, including contact drills. Appears to be on track to season debut Sunday against Atlanta after missing just about all of the preseason and the first two games because of a broken collarbone.
Jonathan Stewart, CAR: Did not play Thursday night game against the Giants because of an ankle/toe injury.

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

All touchdowns are 6 points
1 point for 25 yards passing
1 point for 10 yards rushing/receiving
Receptions are .5 points
Interceptions/fumbles are minus-2 points

Additional Week 3 Positional Rankings

Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Defense/Special Teams

Week 3 Start or Sit

— Updated on Sept. 21, 2012

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