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NFL RB Index, Week 15: Top 15 running backs heading into final stretch of 2023 season

Former NFL rushing leader and current NFL Network analyst Maurice Jones-Drew will survey all running backs and rank his top 15 each week of the 2023 season. His rankings are primarily based on this season's efforts. Here is MJD's list in Week 15.

NOTE: Arrows reflect changes from Week 14's rankings.

Rank
1
Christian McCaffrey
San Francisco 49ers · Year 7

2023 stats: 13 games | 226 att | 1,177 rush yds | 5.2 ypc | 12 rush TD | 52 rec | 437 rec yds | 5 rec TD | 2 fumbles lost


Christian McCaffrey is in a league of his own when it comes to running backs in 2023. Look no further than the EXPLOSIVE 72-yard run on the first play from scrimmage in Sunday’s win over Seattle. It set a tone right out of the gate, and he continued to chop up the Seahawks defense throughout the contest, finishing with 145 yards on 16 carries. That’s 9.1 yards a pop! The only thing CMC didn’t do in this tilt was get into the end zone. But I’m not going to count that against him.

Rank
2
Raheem Mostert
Miami Dolphins · Year 9

2023 stats: 13 games | 183 att | 924 rush yds | 5.0 ypc | 16 rush TD | 22 rec | 170 rec yds | 2 rec TD | 1 fumble lost


Raheem Mostert was relatively quiet for most of Monday’s loss to the Titans, but he went on a tear in the fourth quarter, logging a pair of touchdown runs -- his 17th and 18th scrimmage TDs of the season. That ties him for the most in a single season in Dolphins franchise history, matching Mark Clayton (1984). With 96 rush yards in the game, Mostert surpassed his previous season-high rushing yards mark (891 in 2022), and there are still four games left in 2023.

Rank
3
Derrick Henry
Tennessee Titans · Year 8

2023 stats: 13 games | 214 att | 875 rush yds | 4.1 ypc | 10 rush TD | 23 rec | 202 rec yds | 0 rec TD | 0 fumbles lost


The Titans overcame a 14-point deficit with under three minutes to play against the Dolphins with a pair of touchdowns late. The score that tied the game was Derrick Henry’s 3-yard TD run -- his second TD of the night and 10th of the season. Miami mostly shut down the run game, limiting the Titans to 83 rush yards, but Henry came through near the goal line (as he usually does), and Tyjae Spears stepped up as a pass-catcher.

Rank
4
9
Kyren Williams
Los Angeles Rams · Year 2

2023 stats: 9 games | 159 att | 801 rush yds | 5.0 ypc | 7 rush TD | 25 rec | 189 rec yds | 3 rec TD | 0 fumbles lost


Kyren Williams had a monster day against Baltimore, and the tone was set from the jump: The Rams ran the ball on nine straight plays on their first possession, with Williams tallying 43 yards on a drive that ultimately resulted in a field goal. Williams finished the game with 114 yards on 25 carries (4.6 yards per tote), marking his fourth straight game with at least 100 scrimmage yards.

Rank
5
2
David Montgomery
Detroit Lions · Year 5

2023 stats: 10 games | 161 att | 770 rush yds | 4.8 ypc | 10 rush TD | 12 rec | 106 rec yds | 0 rec TD | 1 fumble lost


Detroit’s run game was efficient against the Bears’ D in Sunday's loss, with David Montgomery averaging an impressive 6.6 yards per carry, but playing from behind late in the third quarter forced the Lions into passing situations. On a day where his team struggled to find the end zone, Montgomery’s streak of four games with a rushing score was snapped.

Rank
6
1
Travis Etienne
Jacksonville Jaguars · Year 3

2023 stats: 13 games | 219 att | 806 rush yds | 3.7 ypc | 9 rush TD | 44 rec | 383 rec yds | 1 rec TD | 0 fumbles lost


A slow start against Cleveland (the first seven drives resulted in six punts and a Trevor Lawrence INT) put the Jaguars in an early hole, but they stayed in the game thanks to some big defensive plays and an offense that began to click. Travis Etienne helped kickstart a second-half comeback push with a hard-fought 1-yard touchdown run, which highlighted his otherwise pedestrian day (35 rush yards, 37 receiving). The Jaguars need their star running back to step up after two straight losses, and with a date against a confident Ravens team on tap. 

Rank
7
3
James Cook
Buffalo Bills · Year 2

2023 stats: 13 games | 163 att | 789 rush yds | 4.8 ypc | 1 rush TD | 38 rec | 391 rec yds | 3 rec TD | 1 fumble lost


James Cook had himself a day as the Bills topped the Chiefs in their continuing quest for a playoff berth. The second-year back led the Bills with 58 rush yards and 83 receiving yards (a career high), connecting on a 25-yard touchdown pass with Josh Allen. Cook was a mismatch on the Chiefs’ defense all day long. He’s an asset Buffalo MUST lean on down the stretch (I feel like a broken record over here).

Rank
8
Saquon Barkley
New York Giants · Year 6

2023 stats: 10 games | 185 att | 783 rush yds | 4.2 ypc | 3 rush TD | 31 rec | 183 rec yds | 4 rec TD | 2 fumbles lost


Saquon Barkley played a huge role in the Giants’ upset win over the Packers on Monday night. He also nearly gave the game away with a late fumble. Still, the Giants pulled out the victory, and Barkley finished with 86 rush yards and a pair of touchdowns -- on a 5-yard run to open scoring for New York and a 1-yard run in the third quarter to give the team its first lead. Barkley also snapped a seven-game streak without a rush TD.

Rank
9
5
Josh Jacobs
Las Vegas Raiders · Year 5

2023 stats: 13 games | 233 att | 805 rush yds | 3.5 ypc | 6 rush TD | 37 rec | 296 rec yds | 0 rec TD | 1 fumble lost


The Raiders and Vikings apparently forgot (?) how to play offense Sunday, with neither team logging more than 240 yards in Minnesota's 3-0 win. It was tough sledding for all, including Josh Jacobs, who posted a measly 34 rush yards on 13 carries and had two receptions for 16 yards prior to exiting the game in the fourth quarter with a knee injury. 

Rank
10
4
D'Andre Swift
Philadelphia Eagles · Year 4

2023 stats: 13 games | 178 att | 822 rush yds | 4.6 ypc | 4 rush TD | 36 rec | 208 rec yds | 1 rec TD | 1 fumble lost


The Eagles look tired -- I'm talking about the offense, the defense, the coaches, the fans. Philly is in the middle of perhaps the toughest stretch any team has faced this season, with Monday's trip to Seattle wrapping up a gauntlet of games against the Cowboys, Chiefs, Bills and 49ers, and it shows. Swift had 39 rush yards on 11 carries and wasn’t targeted in the pass game in Sunday’s loss to Dallas. The last time Swift had 100 yards on the ground? Week 3. The Eagles need to find their run game to turn this skid around. 

Rank
11
Bijan Robinson
Atlanta Falcons · Rookie

2023 stats: 13 games | 169 att | 790 rush yds | 4.7 ypc | 4 rush TD | 40 rec | 320 rec yds | 3 rec TD | 2 fumbles lost


Despite netting more than 400 offensive yards, the Falcons fell to their division rivals from Tampa in part because of crucial mistakes, including a pair of missed field-goal tries. Bijan Robinson produced 34 yards and a score on the ground, but he made a bigger splash in the pass game, with five receptions (second on the team) for 54 yards -- highlighted by a sweep that he took down the sideline for 33 yards

Rank
12
Tony Pollard
Dallas Cowboys · Year 5

2023 stats: 13 games | 196 att | 796 rush yds | 4.1 ypc | 5 rush TD | 49 rec | 285 rec yds | 0 rec TD | 1 fumble lost


The Cowboys’ offense has been so explosive, averaging an NFL-best 40.2 (!) points per game since the team’s Week 9 loss to Philly. Tony Pollard has been part of the scoring action during Dallas' current five-game win streak, but he had no such luck in Sunday night’s win. He did lead the team with 16 carries, 59 rush yards and seven receptions, while logging 80-plus scrimmage yards for the fourth straight game. 

Rank
13
4
Isiah Pacheco
Kansas City Chiefs · Year 2

2023 stats: 12 games | 176 att | 779 rush yds | 4.4 ypc | 6 rush TD | 33 rec | 209 rec yds | 1 rec TD | 0 fumbles lost


Isiah Pacheco didn’t play in Week 14 due to a shoulder injury. NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Pacheco should avoid IR. With the Chiefs losing three of their last four games, it’s imperative that they have their starters, including the physical Pacheco, on the field soon for the stretch run.

Rank
14
De'Von Achane
Miami Dolphins · Rookie

2023 stats: 7 games | 63 att | 581 rush yds | 9.2 ypc | 7 rush TD | 18 rec | 125 rec yds | 2 rec TD | 1 fumble lost


Tua Tagovailoa got a lot of his offensive playmakers involved in Monday night’s loss to Tennessee, in part because Tyreek Hill was sidelined for a good chunk of time with an ankle injury. That opened the door for De’Von Achane in the pass game. He had a team-high nine targets with five catches for 24 yards, while adding 47 yards on seven carries in the run game for 6.7 yards per attempt. 

Rank
15
NR
Jahmyr Gibbs
Detroit Lions · Rookie

2023 stats: 11 games | 128 att | 692 rush yds | 5.4 ypc | 6 rush TD | 45 rec | 288 rec yds | 0 rec TD | 0 fumbles lost


Jahmyr Gibbs re-enters these rankings after doing his best to prop up a struggling Lions offense. The rookie logged 66 rush yards on 11 carries, including a 36-yard scamper down the sideline and a 12-yard touchdown run, one of two Detroit TDs in the loss. Gibbs has had at least 50 scrimmage yards in each game he’s played in 2023. 

DROPPED OUT: Gus Edwards, Baltimore Ravens (previously No. 15).

The Ground Index presented by FedEx ranks NFL running back performances all season long. Check out the weekly FedEx Air NFL Players of the Week and cast your vote after Sunday Night Football.

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