Week 9 Rankings (2014): Top 40 Running Backs

by Ray Kuhn

After a few weeks where there were only two teams on bye, we are snapped back to reality with six teams resting for Week 9. Owners will notice this more as the Wide Receiver pool is diluted, but finding enough starting running backs will be difficult as well. Eddie Lacy, Matt Forte, Joique Bell and Reggie Bush will all be sidelined along with running backs from the Bills, Falcons, and Titans. We must navigate these along with the normal committees, time shares and injuries.  It certainly makes for tough sledding.

Let’s take a look at what running backs can help you this week.

  1. DeMarco Murray – Dallas Cowboys – vs. Atlanta
  2. Arian Foster – Houston Texans – vs. Philadelphia
  3. Jamaal Charles – Kansas City Chiefs – vs. NY Jets
  4. Andre Ellington – Arizona Cardinals – at Dallas
  5. Giovanni Bernard – Cincinnati Bengals – vs. Jacksonville
  6. Ronnie Hillman – Denver Broncos – at New England
  7. Le’Veon Bell – Pittsburgh Steelers – vs. Baltimore
  8. Marshawn Lynch – Seattle Seahawks – vs. Oakland
  9. LeSean McCoy – Philadelphia Eagles – at Houston
  10. Lamar Miller – Miami Dolphins – vs. San Diego
  11. Jerrick McKinnon – Minnesota Vikings – vs. Washington
  12. Ben Tate – Cleveland Browns – vs. Tampa Bay
  13. Mark Ingram – New Orleans Saints – at Carolina
  14. Shane Vereen – New England Patriots – vs. Denver
  15. Branden Oliver – San Diego Chargers – at Miami
  16. Alfred Morris – Washington Redskins – at Minnesota
  17. Justin Forsett – Baltimore Ravens – at Pittsburgh
  18. Ahmad Bradshaw – Indianapolis Colts – at New York Giants
  19. Andre Williams – New York Giants – vs. Indianapolis
  20. Denard Robinson – Jacksonville Jaguars – at Cincinnati
  21. Trent Richardson – Indianapolis Colts – at NY Giants
  22. Frank Gore – San Francisco 49ers – vs. St. Louis
  23. Jonas Gray – New England Patriots – vs. Denver
  24. Jonathan Stewart – Carolina Panthers – vs. New Orleans
  25. Chris Ivory – New York Jets – at Kansas City
  26. Tre Mason – St. Louis Rams – at San Francisco
  27. Darren Sproles – Philadelphia Eagles – at Houston
  28. Darren McFadden – Oakland Raiders – at Seattle
  29. Lorenzo Taliaferro – Baltimore Ravens – at Pittsburgh
  30. Doug Martin – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – at Cleveland
  31. Tavoris Cadet – New Orleans Saints – at Carolina
  32. Jeremy Hill – Cincinnati Bengals – vs. Jacksonville
  33. Roy Helu – Washington Redskins – at Minnesota
  34. Bobby Rainey – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – at Cleveland
  35. D’Angelo Williams – Carolina Panthers – vs. New Orleans
  36. Knile Davis – Kansas City Chiefs – vs. NY Jets
  37. Carlos Hyde – San Francisco 49ers – vs. St. Louis
  38. Matt Asiata – Minnesota Vikings – vs. Washington
  39. Peyton Hillis – New York Giants – vs. Indianapolis
  40. Zac Stacy – St. Louis Rams – at San Francisco


  • The Saints are playing on Thursday and depending on what side of their running backs you are on, it is either a good or bad thing. It looks like the short week will keep Pierre Thomas and Khiry Robinson both sidelined, which means more work for Mark Ingram and Travaris Cadet. Ingram returned from injury to rush for 172 yards last week in a blowout victory over the Packers while Cadet caught four passes for 40 yards. I’m not sure we will see Ingram average 7.2 yards per carry again, but another touchdown is certainly likely. He did play well in two of the three games he played prior to his injury, so I would buy into continued success for him. Cadet is just a borderline FLEX option, as it appears the Saints will throw some passes his way, but he won’t be targeted as heavily as Thomas would’ve been had he been healthy.
  • At first the thought was that Rashad Jennings would return to the Giants after their bye. Currently that does not appear to be the case, so for that reason I left him off the rankings for this week. A lot can change between now and Monday, but I wouldn’t hold out hope for Jennings.  Andre Williams has a yet to really take off and have success with the starting job, but perhaps the bye week will have been a good thing for him. In the last four weeks Williams had between 15 and 20 carries a game, so I would still feel comfortable starting him this week.
  • Alfred Morris is not an exciting running back, but is often under appreciated. Now I’m not saying I’m ever going to truly seek out Morris in the majority of situations, but you are usually able to count on him for at least 10-12 points a week. The obvious knock on him is that he doesn’t catch the ball, with only six receptions all season, but the carries are there and he has four touchdowns. Conversely, Roy Helu and his 22 receptions are a sneaky, low cost option in PPR leagues.
  • I would not give up on Justin Forsett just because Lorenzo Taliaferro got the headlines and the two touchdowns this week. Forsett should probably be downgraded from RB1 status, but he did get 17 carries on which he gained 68 yards while catching another three passes for 18 yards. This week I would look for both backs to have success against Pittsburgh whose defense has not been stellar against the run so far this season. I would feel comfortable starting both backs as it looks like Bernard Pierce has fallen out favor.
  • At this point let’s assume that Ryan Mathews does return for this week. Fantasy owners are obviously hoping that he does, but I’m not sure how excited they should be. Mathews is looking good in his rehab and it is clear the Chargers need him as an early down ball carrier. My expectation would be that he would likely be held to 10-15 carries with Branden Oliver still having a role, especially as a pass catcher and on third downs. If you must then use Mathews, but I would tread carefully.
  • As we all know, it is pretty impossible to get a handle on what Bill Belichick will do with his running backs. Jonas Gray was the man as he got 17 carries for 86 yards in the Patriots’ blowout victory over the Bears this past week. To start the game, Gray was the back New England looked to over Shane Vereen, and the game flow then dictated that the big back controlled the clock. Vereen is still the back to own in New England, and I would look for him to have a big day as this will be a shootout with the Broncos on Sunday. Gray is worth a look as he appears to have the best chance for continued touches when Belichick needs to run between the tackles, but we know not to put too much continued stock in that.

Make sure to check out all of our Week 9 rankings:


Week 9 Rankings (2014): Top 15 Defenses
Week 9 Rankings (2014): Top 50 Wide Receivers


  1. fiji.siv says:

    I would bump Denard Robinson higher considering he’s topped 100 yards in two straight and he plays CIN this week who is 29th in rushing yards allowed and also near the bottom in rushing TDs allowed.

  2. Dale H says:

    Hard decision. Murry, Ellington, Ingram, Hillman. Can only use three of the 4. Thinking benching Ellington due to matchups. Crazy ???

    • As I said in your other post, you have 4 potential RB1 this week. I’d go with whoever your most comfotable with, though I’d prob. sit Ingram. Regardless, go with your gut tere

  3. Will Ray says:

    McKinnon or Miller RB2 PPR ?

  4. M says:

    Hillman or McKinnon at rb2?

  5. Will Ray – I’d go Miller, as McKinnon has a tough matchup

    M – Hillman, without a doubt. The Patriots have been terrible at stopping the run and Hillman has been a beast of late

  6. Nick says:

    If Bernard isn’t a “go”. You would start Jeremy Hill vs Jax over McKinnon. Correct?

  7. Kermit says:

    League 1: G. Bernard, LeVeon Bell, Shady McCoy – One has to sit – and that is_____________________.

    League 2: G. Bernard, L. Miller, Mark Ingram – One has to sit – and that is_____________________.

    Both Leagues are 10 team PPR.

    (Bragging yes, but staying humble). League I 6-2 / League II 7-1

    Thanks. Prof!

  8. Nick – Yes, if Bernard is out I’d go with Hill

    Kermit, in both leagues it’s going to depend on Bernard’s health as the week progresses, but assuming he plays and is alright:
    League 1 – I’d probably sit Bernard, just to be safe
    League 2 – If Bernard is healthy I’d consider sitting Miller, though it’s close

  9. Joel Goerdt says:

    Non-PPR League

    Trade offer. I have Kelvin Benjamin/McCoy and they offered AJ Green/Ronnie Hillman. Do it or no.

    My other WR- Megatron-Beckham-Marshall-Baldwin-J. Gordon. My RB Ben Tate-Gore

  10. Don says:

    PPR League –

    Better lineup
    1 2
    RB1 – Foster RB1 – Shady
    RB2 – Shady RB2 – Hillman/Forsett
    WR1 – Jordy Nelson WR1 – Antonio Brown
    WR2 – Randall Cobb WR2 – Jordy Nelson
    Flx – ODB/Forsett Flx – Randall Cobb

    Appreciate the input.

  11. Bob says:

    If Bernard is out does Jeremey Hill take his spot in your rankings or is he lower? Would you start him over Morris or Tate?

  12. Don – I’d go 1 with Forsett as the FLEX, but both are great. If Hillman is an option on 1, I’d use him as the FLEX

    Bob – He’d come in a bit lower for me. I’d probably put him Morris/Hill/Tate. I know Tate has been a favorable matchup, but that line simply hasn’t opened up holes recently

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