Week 9 Rankings (2019): Top 40 Running Backs: Finding Deep League Plugins, Identifying High Risk Options & More

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And another crazy week it was. Each week there are going to be situations that are confusing and we might not have all the answers. The best we can do is to make educated decisions while following the information we do have. We want to react to the news, but also trust our gut and what our eyes have told us over the past eight weeks.

We have four teams on bye this week (Falcons, Bengals, Rams, and Saints), so replacements must be found. Let’s jump into how our options rank for the week ahead:

  1. Christian McCaffrey – Carolina Panthers – vs. Tennessee
  2. Ezekiel Elliot – Dallas Cowboys – at NY Giants
  3. Dalvin Cook – Minnesota Vikings – at Kansas City
  4. Saquon Barkley – NY Giants – vs. Dallas
  5. Chris Carson – Seattle Seahawks – vs. Tampa Bay
  6. Nick Chubb – Cleveland Browns – at Denver
  7. Leonard Fournette – Jacksonville Jaguars – vs. Houston
  8. Le’Veon Bell – NY Jets – at Miami
  9. Josh Jacobs – Oakland Raiders – vs. Detroit
  10. John Conner – Pittsburgh Steelers – vs. Indianapolis
  11. Aaron Jones – Green Bay Packers – at LA Chargers
  12. Derrick Henry – Tennessee Titans – at Carolina
  13. Mark Ingram – Baltimore Ravens – vs. New England
  14. Tevin Coleman – San Francisco 49ers – at Arizona
  15. Marlon Mack – Indianapolis Colts – at Pittsburgh
  16. Aaron Ekeler – LA Chargers – vs. Green Bay
  17. Carlos Hyde – Houston Texans – at Jacksonville
  18. Sony Michel – New England Patriots – at Baltimore
  19. Philip Lindsay – Denver Broncos – vs. Cleveland
  20. James White – New England Patriots – at Baltimore
  21. LeSean McCoy – Kansas City Chiefs – vs. Minnesota
  22. Jordan Howard – Philadelphia Eagles – vs. Chicago
  23. Ronald Jones – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – at Seattle
  24. Adrian Peterson – Washington Redskins – at Buffalo
  25. Kenyan Drake – Arizona Cardinals – vs. San Francisco
  26. Mark Walton – Miami Dolphins – vs. NY Jets
  27. Melvin Gordon – LA Chargers – vs. Green Bay
  28. Royce Freeman – Denver Broncos – vs. Cleveland
  29. Jamaal Williams – Green Bay Packers – at LA Chargers
  30. David Montgomery – Chicago Bears – at Philadelphia
  31. Chris Thompson – Washington Redskins – at Buffalo
  32. Frank Gore – Buffalo Bills – vs. Washington
  33. Duke Johnson – Houston Texans – at Jacksonville
  34. Devin Singletary – Buffalo Bills – vs. Washington
  35. Miles Sanders – Philadelphia Eagles – vs. Chicago
  36. Peyton Barber – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – at Seattle
  37. Rashaad Penny – Seattle Seahawks – vs. Tampa Bay
  38. Tarik Cohen – Chicago Bears – at Philadelphia
  39. Damien Williams – Kansas City Chiefs – vs. Minnesota
  40. Tra Carson – Detroit Lions – at Oakland

Thoughts:

  • For better or worse it seems that we have a solid read on the Arizona backfield for this week. With the short turnaround to Thursday’s game David Johnson and Chase Edmonds will be sidelined, so that means there is opportunity to be found and newcomer Kenyan Drake will likely get all the work he can handle against the 49ers. Drake has talent, but he was in a lackluster situation in Miami so he never really got a chance to show what he can do or find much in the way of consistent success. So far this season he has just 174 rushing yards (3.7 yards per carry) and 174 receiving yards and I wouldn’t rush to expecting too many great things from him, but he has to be on your radar. The other problem is going to be game flow, as things likely won’t be going in the favor of Arizona against San Francisco and their strong defense. If he is going to get 20-25 touches, and some of those will come in the passing game, Drake should at least be an RB2. Just give the brakes a little pump.
  • The expectation would have been that Le’Veon Bell would have had more than 349 rushing yards through the first seven games of his Jets’ career. Bell’s 32 receptions for 187 yards have helped to save his value, and they are a direct result of the dumpster fire that is the Jets’ offense with their quarterback seeing ghosts. With just three touchdowns fantasy owners have a right to be frustrated with Bell as finding room to run has been problematic. That was the case last week against the Jaguars as he carried the ball nine times for 23 yards. With the Jets facing Miami this week I would resist the urge to overreact to Bell’s struggles as you likely don’t have better options. Plus, this could be the week he eclipses 100 rushing yards.
  • At this point Matt Breida hasn’t been officially ruled out for action on Thursday against Arizona, but after exiting early in last week’s game with an ankle injury things aren’t looking too good for him. The rest of San Francisco’s backfield is also banged up, with the exception of Tevin Coleman that is, so at least for one week we could have a clear picture of what to expect. Last week all Coleman needed to send his fantasy owners home happy was 11 carries, as he turned them into 105 yards and 3 TD. He has been banged up this season, but he certainly looked healthy on Sunday. In a game in which the 49ers figure to have control, game flow should work in Coleman’s favor.
  • It was all about the big plays for Miles Sanders on Sunday, as the production was there but the workload wasn’t. With just six touches he was efficient as he picked up 118 yards before leaving with a shoulder injury. All indications are that he will be ready to go next week, but the problem is that he has to deal with the Bears and their tough defense. Included in Sanders’ day was a 64 yard touchdown run and three receptions for 44 yards as he showed off what he is capable of. Just be careful not to push too hard in chasing that production until Philadelphia decides to increase his workload.
  • I guess we probably should talk about what Aaron Jones did on Sunday night, right? With 67 yards on 13 carries he didn’t do all that much to standout as a ball carrier, but what he did in the passing game is the type of performance that wins you a week. On the heels of losing out to Jamaal Williams after dropping a 33 yard touchdown reception Jones appeared to be the centerpiece of Green Bay’s receiving game. He was targeted eight times and caught seven passes for 159 yards as he brought his touchdown total for the season up to 11. With Davante Adams still battling a toe injury and Jones showing the ability to be a viable receiving option, there’s no reason why this isn’t something that can continue. While it was the Jones Show, Williams was still on the field for 48% of Green Bay’s offensive snaps and also found the end zone twice (in a vulture situation at the goal line and through the air). Williams gained a combined 39 yards on 10 touches, but he has to be considered as a borderline FLEX option moving forward as there is room for both running backs in the Packers’ backfield.
  • This is the performance we have been waiting for from David Montgomery. We know that we have to patient with rookie running backs, but that is sometimes easier said than done. Montgomery carried the ball 27 times and picked up 135 yards, which included a 55 yard run, while also finding the end zone. That was the third touchdown of the season for the rookie who added four receptions for 12 yards. He still only has 366 rushing yards for the season, but after last week we should at least take him somewhat seriously. The problem is that things might quickly go back to being a little more difficult this week as he has to deal with a tough Philadelphia defense.

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

Quarterbacks
Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Kickers
Defenses

13 COMMENTS

  1. Hey Prof,
    Tight again for one more week. I want to pick up jamaal williams but I also need a kicker for this week. After next week my bench won’t be as tight. I have corey davis to drop, the second option I was thinking about was desean jackson. He’s the only one on my bench with undefined injury time and I feel like if I drop him even for one week that he’ll still be there when/if I try to readd him again in the future. What do you think, still worth keeping him stashed instead?

    -Carmen

    • I’m 100% fine dropping Jackson. Even when he’s healthy it’s easy to argue that he’s not a lock to produce given the other options

  2. Two Questions:

    1) Non-PPR – Ingram, J. Williams, White, or Singletary – Pick 2. My thought is Ingram/Williams. I don’t like Ingram’s matchup, but he’s still the best I have. I chose Williams over White due to matchup, he shares the backfield with only 1 guy (unlike White), and I’m fairly confident he’ll see 40+% of the snaps (versus Singletary’s situation is still a little unknown. Can you maybe give insight into your choice to rank them where you have?

    2) Non-PPR – One of the above RB’s, Marvin Jones, or Mike Williams – Pick 1. I have Jones plugged in at the moment, primarily due to matchup, but I don’t feel super great about it. Thoughts?

    • 1) Yea, I’d agree with your reasoning/thought process. That doesn’t mean I particularly like the duo you have, but they represent the best upside of what you’ve got.

      2) If I’m going to go with a WR, it’s Williams for this week. They could be forced to go pass heavy to keep up with GB (especially given the struggles in the running game)

      • Follow-up question:

        Chark popped up with a quad injury and Dede is questionable, would I be better off picking up & flexing Chris Conley for a 1 week rental? I’d have to drop Mike Williams, and he’d probably get picked up by someone else. Maybe try to wait until later in the week to see what Chark & Dede’s statuses are, and then maybe?

        I am in a must-win situation at 2-6 (I need to win out to have a shot at playoffs).

        • Yea I wouldn’t use Conley unless we get some clarity on the injuries and I actually like Williams for this week. If you make the swap and it backfires, you are in deep trouble

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