Week 9 Rankings (2017): Top 40 Running Backs

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:

  1. Todd Gurley – Los Angeles Rams – at New York Giants
  2. LeSean McCoy – Buffalo Bills – at New York Jets
  3. Leonard Fournette – Jacksonville Jaguars – vs. Cincinnati
  4. Kareem Hunt – Kansas City Chiefs – at Dallas
  5. Mark Ingram – New Orleans Saints – vs. Tampa Bay
  6. Devonta Freeman – Atlanta Falcons – at Carolina
  7. Lamar Miller – Houston Texans – vs. Indianapolis
  8. Doug Martin – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – at New Orleans
  9. Adrian Peterson – Arizona Cardinals – at San Francisco
  10. Carlos Hyde – San Francisco 49ers – vs. Arizona
  11. Aaron Jones – Green Bay Packers – vs. Detroit
  12. DeMarco Murray – Tennessee Titans – vs. Baltimore
  13. Jay Ajayi – Miami Dolphins – vs. Denver
  14. Chris Thompson – Washingotn Redskins – at Seattle
  15. Alvin Kamara – New Orleans Saints – vs. Tampa Bay
  16. Alfred Morris – Dallas Cowboys – vs. Kansas City
  17. Alex Collins – Baltimore Ravens – at Tennessee
  18. Joe Mixon – Cincinnati Bengals – at Jacksonville
  19. Bilal Powell – New York Jets -vs. Buffalo
  20. C.J. Anderson – Denver Broncos – at Philadelphia
  21. Tevin Coleman – Atlanta Falcons – at Carolina
  22. Ameer Abdullah – Detroit Lions – at Green Bay
  23. Kenyan Drake – Miami Dolphins – vs. Oakland
  24. Theo Riddick – Detroit Lions – at Green Bay
  25. Christian McCaffrey – Carolina Panthers – vs. Atlanta
  26. Marshawn Lynch – Oakland Raiders – at Miami
  27. Orleans Darkwa – New York Giants – vs. LA Rams
  28. Javorius Allen – Baltimore Ravens – at Tennessee
  29. Marlon Mack – Indianapolis Colts – at Houston
  30. Derrick Henry – Tennessee Titans – vs. Baltimore
  31. Ty Montgomery – Green Bay Packers – vs. Detroit
  32. Matt Forte – New York Jets – vs. Buffalo
  33. Frank Gore – Indianapolis Colts – at Houston
  34. Darren McFadden – Dallas Cowboys – vs. Kansas City
  35. Jonathan Stewart – Carolina Panthers – vs. Atlanta
  36. Jamaal Charles – Denver Broncos – at Philadelphia
  37. LeGarrette Blount – Philadelphia Eagles – vs. Denver
  38. Robert Kelley – Washington Redskins – at Seattle
  39. DeAndre Washington – Oakland Raiders – at Miami
  40. 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.

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

Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Week 9 Rankings (2017): Top 20 Tight Ends
Week 9 Rankings (2017): Top 25 Quarterbacks: Questions, Questions & More Questions...


  1. darrick says:

    hey professor, which rb do i start this week in a 1/2ppr league. mixon or darkwa

  2. Kermit says:

    Hey Prof – Been reading up on Rod Smith, RB Dallas. I’ve got Elliot sitting on my bench ( wanna hang on to him for week 15 & 16 – crazy – right? ) Anyway, McFadden and Morris don’t impress me much – no doubt they will get points, but do you think Smith might be a deep sneaky sleeper with the Dallas offensive line? I have McKinnon on bye and Doug Martin playing. Not a good league to pick up Smith in? 10 team PPR. My other league 10 team PPR, I just dropped McFadden for Smith after having just picked him up. I have Peterson, McKinnon again and Smith. Am I nuts? I guess that’s the question.

  3. BigD says:

    1/2 pt ppr

    2 of Crabtree/ Landry/ Baldwin

    1 of Drake/ Morris(pending zeke suspension)

    who would you roll with?


  4. John says:

    Better stash, Drake or Woodhead? I’d like to see what the dolphins do with the run game this week before deciding but I’m sure someone will grab Woodhead by then

  5. marino says:

    I am trying to pick 2 from Bilal, Collins and Sanu. Half ppr. Thought appreciated

  6. Andy says:

    My team in 8 teams Full PPR
    WR: Doug Balwin, Golden Tate, Sterling Shepard, Keenan Allen
    RB: Alvin Kamara, DeMarco Murray, Christian McCaffrey, Doug Martin
    TE: Zach Ertz
    We play 2 Wrs, 2RBs and a Flex
    Should I drop someone to pickup Adam Thielen ? drop Christian McCaffrey for Adam Thielen ?
    Next week Zach Ertz will be off, so who should I drop to pick a TE ?
    or I must use CB to to pick TE ?

  7. Matt says:

    Ppr down to no running backs this week, need one between McFadden, darkwa, and Williams from Miami. Thanks!

  8. Haggy says:

    Would you trade cj anderson and D. Prescott for McCoy. I have Watson and Elliott on Susp. Also have Freeman and Morris and McFadden. McCoy would make a nice flex.

  9. Basement Benzos says:

    I’ve been offered Derek Carr, DeMarco Murray, and Demaryius Thomas for DeShaun Watson, CJ Anderson, and Marvin Jones. PPR Scoring
    Yea or Nea?

  10. Jim says:

    Should I drop Rob Kelley for Morris or McFadden?

  11. Jay says:

    Std scoring. Need a flex from Agholor, Mixon, Henry, or CJ Anderson? Thinking of dropping Anderson for Booker. Thanks

  12. Luigi says:

    standard league
    My Wide outs are D. Hopkins, M. Evans and Aj Green thinking of starting all 3
    that leaves me with 2 RB slots.
    D. Martin M. Ingram and D. Murray. Whats your hot take?

  13. Krysta says:

    14 team, 1/2 PPR. With Melvin Gordon and Duke Johnson on bye my RB situation is dismal. Have to start Tevin Coleman and Buck Allen. Should I drop Buck Allen for Darren McFAdden or Damien Williams or stick with the status quo?

  14. MikeP says:

    flex spot who do you like better (standard scoring): J Allen or Kenny Stills?

  15. Pablo E says:

    Gurley/AP/Aaron Jones/Morris. I need 2RB and a flex for my 14 team standard league. Appreciate the help as always.

  16. reggie says:

    Hi professor – can’t say enough about your great work and up up date info and opinion!

    standard scoring

    at RB I have Fournette and Chris Thompson
    at WR I have Michael Thomas

    my quandry is the second WR and Flex to select from Jordy Landry and CJ Anderson

    what would professor do? 🙂

    big thanks!

  17. I kinda want to say Jordy, but I’d probably sit LAndry

  18. Brian says:

    Need a hail mary had Mccoy and the Bills DEF ):
    WR Ginn NO, RB Mixon CIN, or Hyde SF?

    1pt.PPR Again also had Bills & Mccoy ):
    Need 1 Flex to go with WR Tate & RB Fournette!!
    RB Hyde SF, WR D Thomas DEN, or WR Shepherd NYG

    Standard Flex Rank Them!!
    RB Mack IND, WR D Jackson TB, or RB Lacy SEA

    • Q1 – Mixon all day, especially if you want the high risk, high reward

      Q2 – I guess I’d go Hyde of those choices, with Thomas as #2

      Q3 – Don’t love any of them for this week, but from an upside I’d go Mack / Lacy / Jackson

  19. Brian says:

    Lacy or Riddick…..1 point ppr

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