Week 9 Rankings (2018): Top 40 Running Backs

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

With six teams on bye this week there is definitely a smaller talent pool to choose from.  Saquan Barkley is obviously the biggest name that won’t be available to fantasy owners, but he’s joined by Joe Mixon, David Johnson, the emerging Marlon Mack and a host of others.  Running back is always a difficult position to maneuver, given the general committee approach that’s often taken in today’s NFL, but with so many options missing it is that much more difficult.  Who should we be focusing on?  Let’s take a look at how our rankings currently stand for Week 9:

  1. Todd Gurley – Los Angeles Rams – at New Orleans
  2. Kareem Hunt – Kansas City Chiefs – at Cleveland
  3. Christian McCaffrey – Carolina Panthers – vs. Tampa Bay
  4. Melvin Gordon – Los Angeles Chargers – at Seattle
  5. James White – New England Patriots – vs. Green Bay
  6. James Conner – Pittsburgh Steelers – at Baltimore
  7. Alvin Kamara – New Orleans Saints – vs. Los Angeles Rams
  8. Ezekiel Elliot – Dallas Cowboys – vs. Tennessee
  9. Phillip Lindsay – Denver Broncos – vs. Houston
  10. Latavius Murray – Minnesota Vikings – vs. Detroit
  11. Adrian Peterson – Washington Redskins – vs. Atlanta
  12. Lamar Miller – Houston Texans – at Denver
  13. Tarik Cohen – Chicago Bears – at Buffalo
  14. Nick Chubb – Cleveland Browns – vs. Kansas City
  15. Kenyan Drake – Miami Dolphins – vs. New York Jets
  16. Kerryon Johnson – Detroit Lions – at Minnesota
  17. Chris Carson – Seattle Seahawks – vs. Los Angeles Chargers
  18. Matt Breida – San Francisco 49ers – vs. Oakland
  19. Mark Ingram – New Orleans Saints – vs. Los Angeles Rams
  20. Jalen Richard – Oakland Raiders – at San Francisco
  21. Dion Lewis – Tennessee Titans – at Dallas
  22. Peyton Barber – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – at Carolina
  23. Tevin Coleman – Atlanta Falcons – at Washington
  24. Jordan Howard – Chicago Bears – at Buffalo
  25. Isaiah Crowell – New York Jets – at Miami
  26. Doug Martin – Oakland Raiders – at San Francisco
  27. Chris Thompson – Washington Redskins – vs. Atlanta
  28. Aaron Jones – Green Bay Packers – at New England
  29. LeSean McCoy – Buffalo Bills – vs. Chicago
  30. Austin Ekeler – Los Angeles Chargers – at Seattle
  31. Alex Collins – Baltimore Ravens – vs. Pittsburgh
  32. Duke Johnson – Cleveland Browns – vs. Kansas City
  33. Derrick Henry – Tennessee Titans – at Dallas
  34. Devontae Booker – Denver Broncos – vs. Houston
  35. Trenton Cannon – New York Jets – at Miami
  36. Raheem Mostert – San Francisco 49ers – vs. Oakland
  37. Frank Gore – Miami Dolphins – vs. New York Jets
  38. Alfred Blue – Houston Texans – at Denver
  39. Mike Davis – Seattle Seahawks – vs. Los Angeles Chargers
  40. Ito Smith – Atlanta Falcons – at Washington

Thoughts:

  • While Alvin Kamara hasn’t been producing big yardage of late, he’s averaged 19.5 touches per game over the past two weeks and has delivered 3 TD.  That’s promising, though Mark Ingram is going to take away some opportunities and the Rams aren’t an ideal matchup.  Kamara is obviously a proven RB1, while Ingram is a viable RB2 as well, but it’s fair to be a little bit down on him for the coming week.
  • Melvin Gordon isn’t a guarantee to play this week, though it appears likely.  Remember he wasn’t ruled out for Week 7 until the pregame workout and then benefited from a Week 8 bye to help him get healthy.  We’ll have to monitor the news, just in case, but fantasy owners should feel comfortable having him in their starting lineup and continue to view him as one of the elite in the game.
  • Over the past two weeks James White has averaged 18.5 touches and 95.5 yards while scoring 3 TD.  Obviously he is a significant presence in the passing game (he’s had 7+ targets in seven of eight games and 10+ targets in four of his past five games), but as the injuries have mounted he’s seen his carries rise as well (19 over the past two weeks).  If Sony Michel is healthy White will likely will take a hit, but for now he has to be viewed as one of the best in the league.
  • The trade of Carlos Hyde was always going to open up carries for Nick Chubb, who has 18 carries in each of the past two games.  While the production hasn’t been elite (145 yards and 1 TD), the workload and a favorable matchup against the Chiefs (who are allowing the second most points per week to opposing running backs) should be a good combination.  Of course a new head coach, with the potential for more opportunities for Duke Johnson, could change things.  Don’t ignore that extra level of risk, but Chubb clearly remains a top RB2.
  • A healthy Matt Breida would likely have been ranked a few spots higher, but it was somewhat of a surprise that he was able to play in Week 8 and now has a quick turnaround.  In other words there’s a good chance he sees his workload capped, with Alfred Morris and Raheem Mostert (who also is battling an injury) getting more touches and lowering Breida’s upside.
  • After a monster game in Week 7 (19 carries for 158 yards), Kerryon Johnson turned in a dud running the football in Week 8 (8 carries for 22 yards).  He saved his day in the passing game (6 receptions for 69 yards), something that could continue as long as Theo Riddick is out of action.  With Minnesota having allowed 445 receiving yards, seventh most in the league, that’s enough to alleviate some of the underlying concerns.
  • While the Redskins should continue to lean on Adrian Peterson, as that has proven to be a winning formula, Chris Thompson should play a bigger role now that he’s healthy.  He’s clearly the pass catching back and the Atlanta Falcons have allowed the third most receiving yards to opposing running backs (476).  He may not be a must start, but he should be viewed as a solid FLEX play and potentially a plug in RB2 depending on your alternatives.

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

Quarterbacks
Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Kickers
Defenses
Week 9 Rankings (2018): Top 50 Wide Receivers
Week 9 Rankings (2018): Top 20 Tight Ends

29 comments

  1. Patriots says:

    Good Morning Professor,
    12 team 1/2 point ppr. I am stashing Rashard penny as a possible playoff high upside rb. In my league all of the other rookie rbs are rostered. Hines for the colts and Josh Adams are available. . What are your thoughts on penny ros and would you drop him for Hines or Adams?
    Thank You

  2. Eric says:

    PPR- choose three Prof- Carson, Brieda,Richard or Thompson. Thanks!

  3. David says:

    Prof,

    Please pick two. I’m hurting at RB.

    Miller, Ito Smith, Gore or Jamaal Williams

  4. Kyle says:

    Hey professor!

    PPR format . I have 3 RB 3 WR and FLEX spot.
    RB- A.Peterson, Cohen, Chubb, L.Mccoy, A.Jones, J.Richards.

    WR- Funchess, J.Brown, Sutton, A.Cooper, J.Gordon.

    Thank you for your help!

  5. Carmen says:

    Hey prof

    If I had to choose one, who do you think has greater worth in stashing–buck Allen or ty Mont? Also do you think Carlos Hyde is worth holding onto at this point?
    Thanks!

  6. Brian Cagle says:

    PPR 1 pt Need 1 (worried that Kupp LAR doesn’t play this week) McCoy BUf, Goodwin SF (Thursday) or Crabtree BAL?

    Standard Flex
    Goodwin SF, Godwin TB, Duke CLE, or Thompson WAS?

    Standard: Need 1 maybe 2 (if Melvin Gordon is inactive again)Rank them
    Courtland Sutton DEN, Baldwin SEA, Breida SF, P Barber TB?

    • Question 1 – McCoy

      Question 2 – Thompson (if healthy), otherwise Godwin (Goodwin is close, but I wouldn’t gamble this early in the week)

      Question 3 – Breida / Barber / Baldwin

  7. Chris says:

    Crowell or Kupp if he returns this week for a flex? Crowell should get touches but Kupp has a nice matchup

  8. Tony says:

    Hello Professor,

    Sorry to bother, but if you have time for my question, I’d welcome your feedback.

    With the bye week, I’m stuck with A Jones and Collins, but now reading that Collins has a foot injury.

    In the event he is out, which one of these RBs on this desperation list would you take?

    Duke Johnson
    Mike Davis
    Booker
    Gore
    Jamaal Williams

    I’d be taking a chance with the coaching change at Cleveland, but DJ has potential; Davis will get some carries as might Booker if Freeman is out; Gore might get his share as well. Starting two Packer RBs seems crazy, but then I wonder if McCarthy will continue with the same RB usage even with TM gone?!

    Have you heard anything from Cleveland that might suggest DJ will see more plays?

    Thank you very much!
    tony

    • I’d gamble on Booker if I had to, but they are all virtually equal gambles

      • Tony says:

        Hi Professor,

        Thank you very much for your quick response and feedback.

        I’ll watch for Freeman, I’m not even sure about starting Collins if he does play; bad foot against Steelers’ run defense…not good.

        Thanks again!
        tony

  9. Richard says:

    Would you start Jalen Richard or Lockett in a PPR league?

  10. Bob says:

    Just found out Cook will play (but will be limited on snaps- I think). UGH…Still play Murray???

    Need one RB2 from: Murray, Michel (Sunday night game issue and how will he be eased back into the backfield plus how healthy will he be?) or McCoy.

    IMO Vikings are making HUGE mistake by not waiting to bring Cook back until after the bye week.

    Thinking I stick with Murray? Your thoughts? Help, please.

  11. Scott says:

    Std league….

    2 RB spots. Kamara fills one, but between Aaron Jones and Jordan Howard, who should I start?

    WR and Flex: Davante Adams is starting, which other 2 between Mike Evans, Brandin Cooks, and Stefon Diggs?

    Thanks.

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