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Fantasy Football 2011: Week 7 Running Back Rankings

In the world of fantasy, as in life, there are the haves and have nots. It seems like in most competitive leagues about half the league is doing just fine with their collection of running backs and the other half is struggling to start a flex or RB2. That's certainly true for the bye weeks and the "haves" might want to see if another owner is willing to send you a low-end RB2 or RB3 for a collection of bench-type backs. If this sounds like a lovely idea, you might want to make sure that you're at least .500 in the standings; it only takes one injury to ruin your depth at back (especially in deep leagues).

If you'd like to aim high, there are some very good backs on byes this week including: LeSean McCoy, Fred Jackson, Ahmad Bradshaw, Frank Gore and Cedric Benson. Based on my leagues, every owner that has McCoy or Jackson is above .500 and has one of the stronger teams in the league. Maybe yours in different and you can see if it's possible to pry one of those off that owner. The worst they can say is no, right? Maybe they'll blast you on the message board, but who cares?

Follow me on Twitter for up-to-date fantasy info and instant analysis on Sunday. You can also ask me things like,"Mike, I'm in a PPR, so should I start Shonn Greene or Darren Sproles?"


News and Injury Notes

Trade and Reversal- Ronnie Brown was sent to Detroit for Jerome Harrison and a seventh-round pick on Tuesday. Howeva, Harrison failed the physical and the trade was voided. Move along. Nothing to see here. Detroit is left with Maurice Morris and Keiland Williams to carry the torch in place of....

Jahvid Best- Best hasn't been ruled out just yet with the concussion he suffered on Sunday. This is potentially devastating news for his owners and his value drops from a low-end RB1 to a low-end RB2 in standards for the rest of the season. Best had his college career end on a brutal concussion on a scoring play and he also had a concussion in the preseason. Best is ranked this week at 44, but he is very unlikely to play. Maurice Morris handled most of the carries besides Best on Sunday and finished with five carries for 20 yards. Even though Keiland Williams will get a piece of the pie, Morris a decent flex play this week.

James Davis- Davis was signed to the practice squad. Davis was a sleeper in many fantasy circles a couple seasons ago with the Browns and NCAA fans will remember he and C.J. Spiller were one of the best tandems in Division I. He's a talented runner and hasn't been able to stay healthy. He might be a factor down the line and is a nice system fit for his ability to run between the tackles, something that Morris and Williams don't do that well these days.

Peyton Hillis- Hillis is questionable to play Sunday against the Seahawks. Hillis is dealing with a hamstring strain and it's reportedly in the lower part of the hamstring. Comparitively speaking, Arian Foster's hamstring injury was to his bicep femoris, the most common place for a hammy pull, and it basically cost him a month. The details of Hillis' injury were not released, so the best conjecture would be the lower part of the bicep femoris or the semitendinosus (a smaller muscle group that is closer to the back of the knee). The lower bicep femoris is a smaller in the lower part of the leg, thus it's able to repair quicker (in non-tearing situations). Had enough medical jargon? OK. If Hillis does miss time, expect for Montario Hardesty to carry the bulk of the duties and newly-signed Chris Ogbonnaya to get 5-to-9 touches as well. If Hillis does play, he likely wouldn't get a full complement of carries and his owners better be sure to have alternatives.

Tim Hightower- Timmy returned to practice on Wednesday. Plain and simple: who in their right mind would have the guts to play Hightower after his goose egg in fantasy leagues.Torain and the Skins ran into a locked-in Eagles D and it led to every Skin primary player to fall short of expectation. Torain is still the starter and he's the only player that should be starting in most leagues until further notice. Although Torain has multiple ACL injuries and Hightower's value is in the bargain bin; it might not be a bad idea to get him at a supreme discount (feel free to tweet me any of your trade ideas and I'll help you).

LaGarrette Blount (MCL)- He's not expected to play and Earnest Graham figures to be the feature back once again. Graham cleared the 100-yard barrier with 109 yards on the ground and failing to score. Kregg Lumpkin also had two carries for 13 yards and might get five carries this week to keep the 31-year-old Graham fresh.

Felix Jones- Jones is expected to miss 2-to-4 weeks with a high-ankle sprain. Even though it's deemed a minor one, it sounds like Felix has a true high-ankle injury, which could lead to him even missing more than those four weeks. He has already been ruled out and his value couldn't possibly be lower than it is right now. If you own him, you almost have to weather the storm and not sell low. DeMarco Murray had 10 carries compared to Tashard Choice's five on Sunday, therefore Murray figures to get a hefty load vs. the lowly Rams. Murray needs to be owned in all leagues and has a big upside this week.

C.J. Spiller- The Bills are on a bye this week, so you won't find Spiller on these rankings. Coach Chan Gailey did say he will use Spiller as a wide receiver in the short term on passing downs. The Bills are depleted and with the bye this week, it wouldn't be a major stretch to see Spiller have some consistent grabs with a few carries mixed in as well. He did have five targets and reeled in all five for 39 yards. Not bad. He is obviously an elite handcuff behind Fred Jackson as well and dual eligibility would help his case as an asset, too. Plan accordingly.

Rank Running Back                                                              Team Opp.
1 Darren McFadden OAK KC
2 Arian Foster HOU TEN
3 Ray Rice BAL JAC
4 Matt Forte CHI TB
5 Chris Johnson TEN HOU
6 Rashard Mendenhall PIT ARI
7 Michael Turner ATL DET
8 Adrian Peterson MIN GB
9 Maurice Jones-Drew JAC BAL
10 Ryan Mathews SD NYJ
11 Willis McGahee DEN MIA
12 Daniel Thomas MIA DEN
13 Shonn Greene NYJ SD
14 Mark Ingram NO IND
15 Steven Jackson STL DAL
16 Earnest Graham TB CHI
17 Beanie Wells ARI PIT
18 Jackie Battle KC OAK
19 Ryan Torain WAS CAR
20 DeMarco Murray DAL STL
21 James Starks GB MIN
22 Darren Sproles NO IND
23 Marshawn Lynch SEA CLE
24 Jonathan Stewart CAR WAS
25 Montario Hardesty CLE SEA
26 Mike Tolbert SD NYJ
27 DeAngelo Williams CAR WAS
28 Delone Carter IND NO
29 Michael Bush
30 LaDainian Tomlinson NYJ SD
31 Maurice Morris DET ATL
32 Roy Helu WAS CAR
33 Ben Tate HOU TEN
34 Peyton Hillis (Q) CLE SEA
35 Ryan Grant GB MIN
36 Pierre Thomas NO IND
37 Knowshon Moreno DEN MIA
38 Donald Brown IND NO
39 Roy Helu WAS CAR
40 Tashard Choice DAL STL
41 Dexter McCluster KC OAK
42 Reggie Bush MIA DEN
43 Tim Hightower WAS CAR
44 Jahvid Best (Q) DET ATL
45 Ricky Williams BAL JAC
46 Kregg Lumpin TB CHI
47 Thomas Jones KC OAK
48 Keiland Williams DET ATL
49 Isaac Redman PIT ARI
50 Marion Barber CHI TB
51 Javon Ringer TEN HOU
52 Toby Gerhart MIN GB
53 Deji Karim JAC BAL
54 Joe McKnight NYJ SD
55 Chris Ogbonnaya CLE SEA
56 Cadillac Williams STL DAL
57 John Kuhn GB MIN
58 Jonathan Dwyer PIT ARI
59 Jacquizz Rodgers ATL DET
60 Jed Collins NO IND
61 Justin Forsett SEA CLE
62 Jason Snelling ATL DET
63 Lex Hilliard MIA DEN
64 Ovie Mughelli ATL DET
65 LaRod Stephens-Howling ARI PIT
66 Taiwan Jones OAK KC
67 Jacob Hester SD NYJ
68 James Davis DET ATL
69 Vonta Leach BAL JAC
70 Phillip Tanner DAL STL

Thanks for reading and post your comments below!