by Ray Kuhn
The good news, is that based on how things currently look in the running back landscape, we aren’t missing much this week (other than Kareem Hunt) with the four teams on bye this week. The bad news though, is that four teams are on bye so, once again, we are left with a decreased player pool to choose from. So let’s not waste anymore time as we jump into how our options rank for this week:
- Dalvin Cook – Minnesota Vikings – vs. Detroit
- Alvin Kamara – New Orleans Saints – at Tampa Bay
- Derrick Henry – Tennessee Titans – vs. Chicago
- Christian McCaffrey – Carolina Panthers – at Kansas City
- James Conner – Pittsburgh Steelers – at Dallas
- Josh Jacobs – Las Vegas Raiders – at LA Chargers
- Chris Carson – Seattle Seahawks – at Buffalo
- Ezekiel Elliot – Dallas Cowboys – vs. Pittsburgh
- Chase Edmonds – Arizona Cardinals – vs. Miami
- Clyde Edwards-Helaire – Kansas City Chiefs – vs. Carolina
- James Robinson – Jacksonville Jaguars – vs. Houston
- David Montgomery – Chicago Bears – at Tennessee
- David Johnson – Houston Texans – at Jacksonville
- Todd Gurley – Atlanta Falcons – vs. Denver
- Leonard Fournette – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – vs. New Orleans
- Justin Jackson – Los Angeles Chargers – vs. Las Vegas
- JaMycal Hasty – San Francisco 49ers – vs. Green Bay
- Damien Harris – New England Patriots – at NY Jets
- Antonio Gibson – Washington Football Team – vs. NY Giants
- D’Andre Swift – Detroit Lions – at Minnesota
- Matt Brieda – Miami Dolphins – at Arizona
- Melvin Gordon – Denver Broncos – at Atlanta
- Jordan Wilkins – Indianapolis Colts – vs. Baltimore
- J.K. Dobbins – Baltimore Ravens – at Indianapolis
- Zack Moss – Buffalo Bills – vs. Seattle
- Jerick McKinnon – San Francisco 49ers – vs. Green Bay
- Tyler Ervin – Green Bay Packers – at San Francisco
- Devonta Freeman – New York Giants – at Washington
- Devin Singletary – Buffalo Bills – vs. Seattle
- La’Mical Perine – New York Jets – vs. New England
- J.D. McKissic – Washington Football Team – vs. NY Giants
- Nyheim Hines – Indianapolis Colts – vs. Baltimore
- James White – New England Patriots – at NY Jets
- Ronald Jones – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – vs. New Orleans
- Le’Veon Bell – Kansas City Chiefs – vs. Carolina
- Brian Hill – Atlanta Falcons – vs. Denver
- Phillip Lindsay – Denver Broncos – at Atlanta
- Latavius Murray – New Orleans Saints – at Tampa Bay
- Jordan Howard – Miami Dolphins – at Arizona
- Tony Pollard – Dallas Cowboys – vs. Pittsburgh
- It’s just madness out there. Aaron Jones has been one of the better options to target so far this season, but that only works when he is healthy enough to be on the field. After missing the last two games due to injury, Jones’ status for this week is up in the air, but the good news (or maybe not if it influences his status) is that Green Bay plays on Thursday this week. On both Monday and Tuesday, Jones did practice on a limited basis so I’m going to operate on the basis that he does take the field. If that is the case, Jones and his strained calf are likely going to get all of the work they can handle as both Jamaal Williams and AJ Dillon are currently on the COVID-19 list. This leaves us with Tyler Ervin who likely has some value regardless of Jones’ status but would accent to RB2 status were the backfield belong to him despite the fact that all we have to go with this season is four carries for 43 yards. We never said that things were going to be easy as Jones playing would make things a lot easier.
- Across the field, things aren’t exactly ideal for San Francisco in their backfield either on Thursday. The good news though is that we do have some increased clarity as Tevin Coleman will join Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson Jr on the sidelines this week. That brings us to JaMycal Hasty who had 12 of San Francisco’s 22 carries last week. The problem is that Hasty didn’t do much with those carries as he gained just 29 yards although he did find the end zone. While Hasty is worth our attention, Jerick McKinnon also regains some value despite the fact that over his last four games he has just 16 yards on 13 carries. McKinnon does have four rushing touchdowns on the season but earlier in the year when carries were previously available he failed to make much of an impact with 94 yards on 28 carries. The veteran will get work in the passing game but Hasty should end the day leading San Francisco in touches.
- So far this season the Dolphins have given us clarity at the running back position with Myles Gaskin emerging as the clear leader in their backfield with 100 carries for 387 yards and two touchdowns. Nothing about that truly screams elite but we have to be grateful for the security in his role. Now that Gaskin will be sidelined for the next few weeks with a sprained MCL, we are left to turn to Matt Breida as his likely replacement. There are a lot of other options floating around Miami’s backfield, and with 37 carries for 128 yards so far this season Breida hasn’t done much so far in 2020, but he appears to be the most likely beneficiary. At this point we have to take a leap of faith and make sure at the very least that Breida is snatched from your waiver wire, and he has proven in the past to be worthy of your attention when healthy.
- Things started off on the right foot for Jonathan Taylor so far this season, but even prior to last week, things have been on the downslope. For the season, Taylor is averaging just 3.9 yards per carry with two touchdowns and he has just one game of greater than 100 rushing yards (101 against Minnesota in Week 2). Last week the rookie was a non-factor with 11 carries for just 22 yards, and while he is dealing with an ankle injury, health wasn’t a factor in his workload while performance was. That led to Jordan Wilkins carrying the ball 20 times for 89 yards and a touchdown in his first extended action of the season. The Colts have a tough match-up this week against Baltimore, and their backfield is best left avoided if possible while it looks like Wilkins has surpassed Taylor especially since we have to be aware of the ankle injury.
- Nothing against Frank Gore and his status as a future Hall of Fame running back, but it should be all about La’Mical Perine in the Jets’ backfield. Now let’s be clear about something, New York hasn’t exactly put themselves in a strong position to continue running ball, but there was 18 carries up for grabs last week; 10 for Gore and eight for Perine. The rookie is clearly the running back to keep an eye on but with eight carries for 27 yards last week he has yet to separate himself for the pack. Overall, Perine has 41 carries for 150 yards and a touchdown so far this season with eight receptions for 30 yards, but Gore is averaging just 3.5 yards per carries. In a match-up that should be surprisingly close between the Jets and Patriots on Monday, perhaps this is the week where Perine touches the ball 15 to 20 times while truly taking control of the backfield.
- Across the field, it appears that we do have some unlikely clarity in New England’s backfield. While Cam Newton will continue to siphon carries, Damien Harris is the clear option in the ground game. After missing the first three weeks of the season due to injury, Harris has eclipsed the 20 snap mark in three of his four games while carrying the ball 49 times for 279 yards. With just two receptions, Harris is not a factor in the passing game, that role generally belongs to James White but he has been underwhelming as well, but with two 100-plus yard games, there is still value here. Last week, Harris carried the ball 16 times for 102 yards and his first touchdown of the season and I would expect to see that momentum continue.
Make sure to check out all of our Week 9 rankings: