by Ray Kuhn
If you were looking for things to get easier this week, it simply isn’t going to happen. Six teams are on bye once again, leaving fantasy owners without LeVeon Bell, Melvin Gordon or Jordan Howard, so we will have work that much harder. At this point, there isn’t much on the waiver wire and everyone is fighting the same battle. With that in mind let’s take a look at how our options rank:
- Todd Gurley – Los Angeles Rams – at New York Giants
- LeSean McCoy – Buffalo Bills – at New York Jets
- Leonard Fournette – Jacksonville Jaguars – vs. Cincinnati
- Kareem Hunt – Kansas City Chiefs – at Dallas
- Mark Ingram – New Orleans Saints – vs. Tampa Bay
- Devonta Freeman – Atlanta Falcons – at Carolina
- Lamar Miller – Houston Texans – vs. Indianapolis
- Doug Martin – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – at New Orleans
- Adrian Peterson – Arizona Cardinals – at San Francisco
- Carlos Hyde – San Francisco 49ers – vs. Arizona
- Aaron Jones – Green Bay Packers – vs. Detroit
- DeMarco Murray – Tennessee Titans – vs. Baltimore
- Jay Ajayi – Miami Dolphins – vs. Denver
- Chris Thompson – Washingotn Redskins – at Seattle
- Alvin Kamara – New Orleans Saints – vs. Tampa Bay
- Alfred Morris – Dallas Cowboys – vs. Kansas City
- Alex Collins – Baltimore Ravens – at Tennessee
- Joe Mixon – Cincinnati Bengals – at Jacksonville
- Bilal Powell – New York Jets -vs. Buffalo
- C.J. Anderson – Denver Broncos – at Philadelphia
- Tevin Coleman – Atlanta Falcons – at Carolina
- Ameer Abdullah – Detroit Lions – at Green Bay
- Kenyan Drake – Miami Dolphins – vs. Oakland
- Theo Riddick – Detroit Lions – at Green Bay
- Christian McCaffrey – Carolina Panthers – vs. Atlanta
- Marshawn Lynch – Oakland Raiders – at Miami
- Orleans Darkwa – New York Giants – vs. LA Rams
- Javorius Allen – Baltimore Ravens – at Tennessee
- Marlon Mack – Indianapolis Colts – at Houston
- Derrick Henry – Tennessee Titans – vs. Baltimore
- Ty Montgomery – Green Bay Packers – vs. Detroit
- Matt Forte – New York Jets – vs. Buffalo
- Frank Gore – Indianapolis Colts – at Houston
- Darren McFadden – Dallas Cowboys – vs. Kansas City
- Jonathan Stewart – Carolina Panthers – vs. Atlanta
- Jamaal Charles – Denver Broncos – at Philadelphia
- LeGarrette Blount – Philadelphia Eagles – vs. Denver
- Robert Kelley – Washington Redskins – at Seattle
- DeAndre Washington – Oakland Raiders – at Miami
- Matt Breida – San Francisco 49ers – vs. Arizona
- A week after Alex Collins was deemed expendable, I actually dropped him in one league, he busted out for 113 rushing yards. In the prior game Collins gained just 30 yards on 10 carries, but he certainly earned more time for next week and his coach agreed. At this point Terrence West is out of the picture and Buck Allen is used predominately in the passing game. Collins does have minimal use in the passing game, he caught two passes for 30 yards against Miami, but his value is dependent upon a steady role in the running game. At this point in the season, and with six teams on bye, you have to take what you can get, and if he is going to get regular wor, then he is worth a look. Perhaps this week, as the Ravens travel to Tennessee, Collins will find the end zone for the first time . With Joe Flacco struggling and banged up the Ravens should be relying on their running game, and at this point, that means Collins.
- One running back who is an unquestioned bell cow is LeSean McCoy. Despite his success this season McCoy reached the end zone for the first time two weeks ago, but he did score another touchdown last week. Despite being stuffed at the goal line he did rip off a 48 yard touchdown run while showing explosiveness. Not only does Buffalo rely on McCoy in the running game, 27 carries for 151 yards, but he also has a vital role as a receiver. For the second straight week he led Buffalo in targets (though the acquisition of Kelvin Benjamin will likely change that). There aren’t many situations where there aren’t questions about who will be getting the ball, and McCoy’s is one of them so take advantage.
- After the Bengals bye week my expectation was that Joe Mixon would turn a corner and truly take control of Cincinnati’s backfield. In the three weeks prior he averaged 17 carries per week, but instead he has gone backwards. Last week he carried the ball 11 times and did absolutely nothing, as gained just 18 yards. From a fantasy perspective the rookie’s day was saved as he caught three passes for 91 yards. While I still have faith that Mixon will have legitimate value this season, it likely won’t come in Week 9 against the Jaguars and their staunch defense.
- Doug Martin may not bring flash and a tremendous amount of upside, but he is solid and we don’t have to worry about him getting carries. Despite facing the fourth best defense against opposing running backs and suffering from poor game flow, he still picked up 71 yards on 18 carries. As he caught just one pass for four yards, Martin is clearly more valuable in standard leagues than PPR, but there is something to say about marking down 20 carries in ink. Of course, based on how running backs have gone so far this season I just jinxed Martin, but with Jameis Winston nursing a shoulder injury Tampa Bay will likely lean on their running game.
- At this point Christian McCaffrey is no more than a Flex option, and that is limited to PPR formats. His value is pretty much as a pass-catcher, and he isn’t even an explosive receiving option. With just three carries for four yards last week, the Panthers aren’t even operating under the illusion anymore that McCaffrey is a threat to carry the ball. In fact, the rookie hasn’t gained more than 16 yards since Week 1 when he gained 47, and for the season he is averaging 2.4 yards per carry. Carolina is looking for McCaffrey in the passing game as he as been targeted 66 times; catching 49 passes for 378 yards and 2 TD. At this point in the season it’s hard to have much faith in McCaffrey as anything more than a low risk/low reward player.
- Fantasy owners certainly are happy to see Todd Gurley back this week. Entering his bye week he had gained over 100 yards in four his last five games, and it is clear that the Rams’ offense is centered around him. In facing the Giants who are sputtering, to say the least, Gurley also has a favorable match-up. Not only is he eating up yardage, he has five rushing touchdowns was also been a vital part of the passing game. Through the air, Gurley has added three more touchdowns while catching 27 passes for 293 yards.
Make sure to check out all of our Week 9 rankings: