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2012 Fantasy Football Running Back Rankings: Week 3

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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.

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Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

OFFENSIVE SCORING
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

Quarterbacks
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Kickers
Defense/Special Teams

Week 3 Start or Sit

— Updated on Sept. 21, 2012