Week 9 Rankings: Top 40 Running Backs

Which running backs post the best options?  Which injuries should be concerning us?  Who should we be looking to avoid?  Let’s try and answer all of the questions in our running back rankings for Week 9:

  1. Arian Foster – Houston Texans – vs. Buffalo
  2. Trent Richardson – Cleveland Browns – vs. Baltimore
  3. Ray Rice – Baltimore Ravens – at Cleveland
  4. LeSean McCoy – Philadelphia Eagles – at New Orleans
  5. Adrian Peterson – Minnesota Vikings – at Seattle
  6. Marshawn Lynch – Seattle Seahawks – vs. Minnesota
  7. Doug Martin – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – at Oakland
  8. Alfred Morris – Washington Redskins – vs. Carolina
  9. Matt Forte – Chicago Bears – at Tennessee
  10. Ryan Mathews – San Diego Chargers – vs. Kansas City
  11. Reggie Bush – Miami Dolphins – at Indianapolis
  12. Darren McFadden – Oakland Raiders – vs. Tampa Bay
  13. Jamaal Charles – Kansas City Chiefs – at San Diego
  14. Rashad Jennings – Jacksonville Jaguars – vs. Detroit
  15. Willis McGahee – Denver Broncos – at Cincinnati
  16. Michael Turner – Atlanta Falcons – vs. Dallas
  17. Jonathan Dwyer – Pittsburgh Steelers – at New York Giants
  18. Ahmad Bradshaw – New York Giants – vs. Pittsburgh
  19. DeMarco Murray – Dallas Cowboys – at Atlanta
  20. Chris Johnson – Tennessee Titans – vs. Chicago
  21. BenJarvus Green-Ellis – Cincinnati – vs. Denver
  22. Darren Sproles – New Orleans – vs. Philadelphia
  23. Mikel Leshoure – Detroit Lions – at Jacksonville
  24. Jonathan Stewart – Carolina Panthers – at Washington
  25. C.J. Spillier – Buffalo Bills – at Houston
  26. Fred Jackson – Buffalo Bills – at Houston
  27. Michael Bush – Chicago Bears – at Tennessee
  28. Alex Green – Green Bay Packers – vs. Arizona
  29. LaRod Stephens-Howling – Arizona Cardinals – at Green Bay
  30. Pierre Thomas – New Orleans Saints – vs. Philadelphia
  31. Donald Brown – Indianapolis Colts – vs. Miami
  32. Joique Bell – Detroit Lions – at Jacksonville
  33. Daniel Thomas – Miami Dolphins – at Indianapolis
  34. Ronnie Hillman – Denver Broncos – at Cincinnati
  35. Felix Jones – Dallas Cowboys – at Atlanta
  36. Andre Brown – New York Giants – vs. Pittsburgh
  37. Vick Ballard – Indianapolis Colts – vs. Miami
  38. Peyton Hillis – Kansas City Chiefs – at San Diego
  39. Ronnie Brown – San Diego Chargers – vs. Kansas City
  40. William Powell – Arizona Cardinals – at Green Bay

Thoughts:

  • LeSean McCoy hasn’t gotten the yardage that we’ve come to expect, but he has scored 4 TD over his past 3 games (one receiving touchdown in each of his past three games).  With a favorable match-up against the Saints, who are allowing 170.1 rushing yards per game as well as 9 TD, is it enough to rank him near the top?  Absolutely, but three consecutive games of 53 rushing yards or less suppress his spot slightly.
  • The Ravens defense is banged up and not the same type of dominant unit we have become accustomed to (142.9 rushing yards per game and 9 TD).  In other words, with Trent Richardson proving he was healthy in Week 8 (122 yards and 1 TD), he is an obvious Top 3 option.
  • Fantasy owners everywhere grew concerned when Ryan Mathews fumbled last week.  However, the Chargers stuck with him, a great sign.  Against a Chiefs team that hasn’t been impressive stopping the run, he should remain a RB1 with upside.  He has the ability to be a Top 5 back on a weekly basis, if the Chargers put him in position to excel.
  • Does it matter who Doug Martin is facing at this point?  Over the past three weeks his worst performance has been 122 total yards and he has 3 TD in his past two games.  One of the few true every down backs, Martin has even appeared to start getting goal line duties (as opposed to losing touches to LeGarrette Blount).  He’s an obvious RB1 at this point.
  • It has been a nice resurgence for Chris Johnson in recent weeks, but does anyone expect him to continue to shine against a Bears’ defense allowing under 80 rushing yards per game and just 1 TD?  It’s impossible not to consider him a RB2, but be realistic this week.
  • I would love to say that Willis McGahee should be considered a borderline RB1, especially with a match-up against the Bengals.  However, there’s someone named Peyton Manning standing in his way.  The Broncos are always going to be a throw first team, so despite a favorable match-up McGahee is going to be a RB2.
  • Will Michael Turner get enough touches to consider him a good play?  It’s hard to say it will happen, but the Cowboys do have a good pass defense so it’s possible.  As a solid RB2, he’s got value.
  • Assuming he is healthy, the Giants’ should get a solid dose of Jonathan Dwyer this week.  He has posted back-to-back 100+ yard rushing games and, with the Giants likely focusing on stopping Ben Roethlisberger, another could be in his future.
  • Jonathan Stewart has become the lead back for the Panthers, though he hasn’t done much with it the past two weeks (82 yards on 27 carries).  He’s a RB2, thanks to the upside and the match-up, but it’s hard to have too much faith in him.
  • A healthy DeMarco Murray would be a very good play this week against the Falcons (8 rushing touchdowns allowed).  We’ll have to monitor the news, but consider him a solid RB2 if he’s playing.
  • If Mikel Leshoure hadn’t lost touches to Joique Bell in Week 8, I’d be a lot more apt to recommend him given his match-up (the Jaguars have allowed 8 rushing TD this season).  However, that risk once again puts him as more of a FLEX option.
  • Tough match-up + split carries make C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson FLEX options, unfortunately.

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

Week 9 Rankings: Top 50 Wide Receivers
Week 9 Rankings: Top 25 Tight Ends

19 comments

  1. jon says:

    The only other time I benched Jamaal Charles this season he scored 30+… SD has a stout run defense and my other 2 options are Doug Martin and the always-maddening Ryan Mathews. Rankings suggest you’re sitting Charles in this situation? no flex spot

  2. Jim Beam says:

    Is Dwyer worth picking up this week if I have to drop Greg Jennings? I am thin at running back with Charles, Green-Ellis,and Donald Brown (I have Shonn Greene and Steven Jackson on Bye). I have Wallace, Austin, White and Torrey Smith as receivers, so I can get by even if Jennings is healthy for playoffs.

  3. Nemo says:

    So I have to decide on a trade offer…I’m being offered Daniels, Newton and CJohnson for Richardson, Davis and Flacco…I have RG3 already so Newton isn’t a big piece. Do you like the trade? He said he would swap Richardson for Forte if I wanted to…

    • MaxP says:

      As a dude who’s being eaten alive with Newton and Davis on my starting lineup, I’d tell you take that. Daniels is being worked in consistently and it will likely continue that way further as they’ll probably slow Foster down towards the end of the season once they clinch.

      And unless you’re referring to Daryl Richardson, I would keep Trent over Forte.

  4. James says:

    I need help with my RBs, WRs and flex

    Choices:

    RB – Charles, Hillis, McGahee, Jennings

    WR – Mike Wallace, Antonio Brown, Mike Williams, Torrey Smith

    I have Big Ben as my QB but hate relying on one offense, so I have Wallace and Williams starting at WR, with Charles/McGahee at RB and Jennings as the flex.

    Would you suggest something else? I’m on a 4 game losing streak and desperately need a win this week at 3-5.

  5. Sean says:

    Hey I know responding to this is the last of your concerns, with hurricane sandy destroying everything, but if you could that would be amazing.
    QB: This week I’m still starting tony romo over josh freeman. Romo actually had a decent game last week, even with 4 interceptions, which actually didn’t hurt me at all because I started the giant defence. But I think romo has more upside than freeman at this point, even against the falcons.
    WR: with welker on a bye I’m starting demaryius Thomas larry Fitzgerald and denarius Moore. I picked up amendola last week, but I can’t start him because of his bye. Regaurding larry, would you still consider him a better option than denarius Moore and amendola? His production is scaring me with Skelton at the helm. It’ll be hard to bench him though…
    RB: This is where I need some help. I’m starting lesean McCoy and either f-jax or mikel leshoure. I’m starting fred right now, but leshoure has a great matchup, but I’m scared about his carries being stolen by bell. Your opinion would be great here.
    TE: I’m starting owen Daniels over Brandon pettigrew. Daniels has been a great surprise for me this season, and I’ll be sticking with him
    K: Jason Hanson
    D:This is either giants or Seahawks. I’m starting the Seattle right now, and I think it’s the better option, them being at home.
    Thank you for reading this even with the tourmoil your experiencing right now. I hope for the best.

  6. jon – I know it’s nearly impossible to do, but I like the upside of the other two better. That said, if you had your heart set on Charles, I would sit Mathews for him.

    Jim Beam – I guess if you have the depth, but Jennings is obviously the far superior player. I would almost prefer trading a WR for a RB as opposed to dropping Jennings, given your depth. That said, Dwyer has posted back-to-back strong games, so it is hard to imagine him losing his stangle hold on the job.

    Nemo – Which C Johnson are we talking about, Chris or Calvin? Would obviously make a world of difference, but I’m assuming it’s Calvin… Richardson would be a great get, though, assuming you have the WR depth to support the loss. Who else do you have?

    James – I would probably go with Smith over Williams, but it’s close. Otherwise, no problems at all.

    Sean – For the QB, I actually like the match-up Freeman has slightly more than Romo’s. As for Fitzgerald, most of the time yes, but it is surprisingly not an absolute. For the RB, can we say Jackson is really going to get enough touches? I have Leshoure slightly ahead, but it’s close enough to call it a coin flip. For the D, I do prefer the Giants, but it is again close enough.

  7. Nemo says:

    Haha, I need to be more specific! I would get Chris Johnson, Owen Daniels and Cam Newton and would lose either Trent Richardson or Matt Forte and Vernon Davis and Joe Flacco. Right now my line up goes RG3, Cal Johnson, Colson, Ridley, Forte, Richardson, Davis plus kicker and def. Basically what I need to know is if the step down of Rich or Forte to Johnson is worth the upgrade of Daniels at TE? The QB’s have no effect on me at all unless RG3 gets hurt.

    • Nemo says:

      Oh and I hope you’re doing as well as expected after Sandy. I dealt with some major flooding in Northern MN a couple years ago and it sucks man! I feel for you!

    • Thanks man! And as far as the trade goes, I wouldn’t do it with Richardson in the deal.

      Maybe Forte, since Johnson at last has the potential to put produce him, but I am not sure the TE is a real upgrade also (we have all seen what Davis is capable of).

  8. ddschmidt says:

    I have a flex play question this week. I have either Mikel Leshoure or Randall Cobb to play. Any suggestions?

    Thanks

  9. Brandon says:

    Would you advise in a keeper league where spiller was a 9th round draft pick trying to trade him and say Andre Roberts for McFadden

  10. Jay says:

    I have richardson, morris, martin, and charles…who should i bench?

  11. mogli says:

    Just wondering who to start I can either start a RB or WR

    WR James Jones
    WR Dez Bryant

    RB Demarco

    I can only start one player which player has more potential.

  12. Brandon says:

    Drop jocquie bell or jacquizz Rodgers?

  13. ddschmidt – Leshoure would be the choice if it wasn’t for the risk of him losing carries. Green Bay is a little unpredictable, but if Jordy Nelson is out I would likely go with Cobb. He should play a big role.

    Brandon – Worth a shot, though depends on your position for this season. Long-term, Spiller could ultimately prove more valuable.

    Jay – I would rank them Richardson, Martin, Morris, Charles.

    mogli – Tough call, because of health concerns. I’d probably go with a healthy Murray, though.

    Brandon – For who? Bell appears to have more upside right now, though.

  14. Brandon says:

    No for who. Just a straight drop. Made enough trades I didn’t have to drop. Btw. Traded spiller for d martin n a nutshell.
    Gave Big Ben spiller Harvin and Amendola for rg3 Welker d Martin and nicks. Your thoughts on the trade?

  15. Hey says:

    Really? Demarco Murray at #19?? He’s OUT this week. How is he at #19??

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