Prioritizing the Wire (Week 9): Which Running Backs Are The Top Names To Target?

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Already preparing to raid the Waiver Wire after Week 9? Let’s take a look at the running back options who may be available (owned in less than 60% of ESPN leagues) and prioritize who you should be targeting and who is better left for someone else:

  1. Wayne Gallman – New York Giants
  2. Kalen Ballage – Los Angeles Chargers
  3. Gus Edwards – Baltimore Ravens
  4. La’Mical Perine – New York Jets
  5. Duke Johnson – Houston Texans
  6. Ryan Nall – Chicago Bears
  7. Tony Pollard – Dallas Cowboys
  8. J.D. McKissic – Washington Football
  9. Jordan Howard – Miami Dolphins

1) Wayne Gallman – New York Giants

Gallman shared the carries with Alfred Morris, with both being impressive against Washington:

  • Wayne Gallman – 14 carries for 68 yards (4.9 YPC) & 1 TD
  • Alfred Morris – 9 carries for 67 yards (7.4 YPC)

Gallman has now scored in three straight games, with 146 yards on 36 carries. It would be nice if the Giants were willing to give him 17-20 touches per game, but even as is he’s proven that he has at least FLEX value. If things change and the touches increase, he’s going to become a Top 20 option.

2) Kalen Ballage – Los Angeles Chargers

Ballage’s promotion from the practice squad went somewhat under-the-radar, but when Justin Jackson injured his knee suddenly Ballage became extremely important:

  • Kalen Ballage – 15 carries for 69 yards and 1 TD
  • Joshua Kelley – 9 carries for 28 yards

Kelley has continued to disappoint, with 264 yards and 1 TD on 82 carries and 32 yards or fewer in five straight games. If Jackson is forced to miss any time, look for Ballage to take on the bigger role in the offense. That makes him an intriguing waiver wire target, just in case.

3) Gus Edwards – Baltimore Ravens

Edwards is not going to be the backfield leader, but he’s going to be a part of the run heavy offense and he’s the clear goal line option. Just look at the numbers from this week:

  • J.K. Dobbins – 12 carries for 30 yards
  • Gus Edwards – 11 carries for 23 yards and 1 TD

That’s going to make him the preferred option, though once Mark Ingram returns things will become that much more complicated. For now, though, Edwards is the man to own.

4) La’Mical Perine – New York Jets

Nothing has changed for Perine, as of yet, with the Jets set to play tonight against the Patriots. We continue to wait for New York to hand him lead back duties, but thus far they haven’t been willing to do so. Maybe this will be the week, and when it comes his waiver wire value is going to increase significantly. For now he’s a player to stash and hope for the best.

5) Duke Johnson – Houston Texans

After David Johnson was ruled out with a concussion, Duke Johnson stepped in as the lead back and posted lackluster results:

  • Rushing – 16 carries for 41 yards (2.6 YPC) and 1 TD
  • Receiving – 4 catches for 32 yards

Obviously the TD saved his day and now the question is whether or not David Johnson will be ready for Week 10. If not, will the Texans be willing to turn things over to Duke once again? Considering he entered the day with 54 yards on 18 carries (3.0 YPC) it’s a long-shot. He’s more of a PPR option than anything else.

6) Ryan Nall – Chicago Bears

Nall is on radars, in case David Montgomery isn’t able to get on the field in Week 10 after suffering a head injury. That said, with the Bears playing on Monday night he’ll have that little bit of extra time. We’ll have to wait and see, but if Montgomery isn’t cleared Nall will have some value.

7) Tony Pollard – Dallas Cowboys

Pollard was more productive than Ezekiel Elliott, though the latter still dominated the carries:

  • Tony Pollard – 9 carries for 57 yards (6.3 YPC)
  • Ezekiel Elliott – 18 carries for 51 yards (2.8 YPC)

While Pollard has gotten around 10 touches per game, if Elliott is playing that’s going to be his cap. Continue to view him as a handcuff and little else.

8) J.D. McKissic – Washington Football

McKissic didn’t do much in the running game (3 carries for 17 yards), but he was a force in the passing game as he turned 14 targets into 9 catches for 65 yards. You have to wonder if Alex Smith entering as the QB was the cause, though he has been targeted at least 8 times in three of the past five games. In PPR formats that puts him on the map, though in standard formats there isn’t much value.

9) Jordan Howard – Miami Dolphins

With Myles Gaskin sidelined Howard got the bulk of the carries though he wasn’t impressive:

  • Jordan Howard – 10 carries for 19 yards 1 TD
  • Salvon Ahmed – 7 carries for 38 yards

In other words, this is a situation to completely avoid.

Sources – ESPN, NFL.com

9 COMMENTS

    • Honestly, it’ll probably change week-to-week, but as of right now I’d go Lock, Tua and Wentz. That said, Tua could easily be the best of the bunch

  1. What’s up Professor? Question is PPR. My RB’s are Kamara, Miles Sanders, Antonio Gibson, Damien Harris and Zack Moss. Myles Gaskin is a FA. Would you add him and who gets cut?
    Thanks man

  2. 14 Team (with “the girl” atop the leaderboard!), 1/2 PPR.

    RB’s are Nick Chubb, Kareen Hunt, Justin Jackson (can’t find any info on his injury??), LaMichael Perine, Giovanni Bernard and Gus Edwards.

    1a. Who should I drop to make room for a Travis Kelce bye replacement?
    1b. Low waiver priority so could you rank 2 or 3 for TE…Dallas Goedert, Trey Burton, Gerald Everet, Tyler Eifert or Jordan Reed

    2. Priority now is prepping for the playoffs. On waivers are Jd McKissic, Duke Johnson, Latavius Murray , Kalen Balage or Wayne Gallman. Would any of these be an smart upgrade to make from current roster?

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