ear-grin

- Written by Rich Arleo
- Edited by Marc Caviglia
- Predictions are based on Staff Consensus


WEEK 9 RANKINGS  QB  |  RB  |  WR |  TE |  K |  DEF


Stunningly, eight weeks are already in the books, and it’s become painfully obvious that plug-and-play running backs are few and far between. Backs are popping out of nowhere one week and then falling back into obscurity the next, while usually steady backs by LeSean McCoy, Ray Rice and Jamaal Charles have been inconsistent.

To gain a significant edge on your competition, check out our Fantasy Football Week 9 Running Back Rankings.


::RANKINGS UPDATED AS OF OCTOBER 31, 2012::


Arian Foster (Houston Texans) vs. Buffalo

Coming off a bye, Foster leads all runners in fantasy points thanks in large part to his 10 touchdowns in seven games. As if it couldn’t get any better for his owners, the Texans now host the Buffalo Bills in Week 9. The Bills have been torched repeatedly and have given up more fantasy points to running backs than any other defense. Their 6.0 yards per carry (YPC), 176.9 yards per game (YPG) and 13 touchdowns allowed are all good for dead last in the NFL, so this vegan may have to cheat on his diet and feast on some Buffalo like the rest of the league. Ben Tate likely missing the game just adds on to his huge potential.
Point Projection: 25 points



LeSean McCoy (Philadelphia Eagles) @ New Orleans

One of the best scoring threats in the game last season, Shady came in to Week 8 with only three touchdowns…but left with two more. He snagged three passes for 26 yards and a touchdown and ran for 45 yards and another score on 16 carries (2.8 YPC). It wasn’t the most efficient game for McCoy by a long stretch, but in fantasy football the two touchdowns erases the mediocrity. The Eagles are struggling mightily but get to work out the offensive kinks against a New Orleans defense that has been non-existent this season. The Saints have given up 170 YPG and nine touchdowns on the ground and aren’t faring much better in the air, so look for a breakout game from Shady.
Point Projection: 21 points


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Ray Rice (Baltimore Ravens) @ Cleveland

It’s been a frustrating season for Rice, but owners should be more upset with his team than him. The best player on the team has been given just 106 carries on the year and has carried 20 times just once. With a 4.9 YPC average, the Ravens would be wise to hand him the rock. He’s done a nice job receiving as usual, but hasn’t scored through the air and has just five touchdowns on the season. Now is as good a time as any to feature Ray Ray up against a Cleveland run defense allowing over 130 YPG. One thing to worry about is the last time they faced Cleveland, Rice was held to 49 yards on 18 carries (2.7 YPC), though he did make up for it with eight catches for 47 yards. As long as the Ravens use him right, he should improve on those numbers and hopefully find the end zone.
Point Projection: 20 points



Matt Forte (Chicago Bears) @ Tennessee

One of the most effective runners in football keeps on keepin’ on. Forte tacked on another 70 yards and a touchdown with just 15 carries and added 24 yards on five catches. His first touchdown since Week 1 was a beautiful sight, and the five catches also led to a sigh of relief for owners who had to be concerned with his six catches over his previous three games. One can only imagine how good Forte would be with more carries, as 95 at this point in the season puts him near the bottom of the barrel for starting running backs. With a fantastic matchup against Tennessee (139.2 YPG), Forte is one of the top running backs for Week 9.
Point Projection: 18 points


Marshawn Lynch (Seattle Seahawks) vs. Minnesota

An absolutely tremendous season for the veteran Lynch continued in Week 8 with another 105 yards and a touchdown. He is second in rushing yards to Adrian Peterson and has a 4.8 YPC. He’s well on his way to another 1,000-yard season and has successfully put his continuous off-the-field issues behind him again. Lynch gets another chance to go Beast Mode against a Minnesota defense that was torched for over 200 total yards by Doug Martin last week.
Point Projection: 17 points


Adrian Peterson (Minnesota Vikings) @ Seattle

With back-to-back 100-yard games with a score, Peterson has proven he is all the way back. It took him just 15 carries to run for 123 yards, with the help of a huge 64-yard touchdown run. He’s now second only to Arian Foster in fantasy scoring (standard leagues) and has rewarded those that took a shot at him in their drafts despite concerns coming off surgery. He gets a tough Seattle run D that has held opponents to under 85 YPG this season, though the way he’s running right now he’s a must-start.
Point Projection: 16 points



Ryan Mathews (San Diego Chargers) vs. Kansas City

Mathews say his biggest workload out of the backfield this season with 24 carries against Cleveland in Week 8, and while he was pretty effective with 95 yards, he didn’t score and only caught two balls for nine yards. Before the game Norv Turner said the Chargers were going to be more conservative, and Mathews’ increased number of carries shows that. He fumbled the ball early, but that was due to tough conditions and Turner stuck with him after that. He is still clearly one of the most talented backs in the NFL and has stayed healthy for five games, which is a great sign. Kansas City is giving up the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing runners this season, and Mathews has had success against them in the past with just under 500 total yards in five games. He is a must-start and could finally have that breakout game this week.
Point Projection: 16 points



Trent Richardson (Cleveland Browns)  vs. Baltimore

Now that’s how you bounce back. After gaining eight yards on eight carries in Week 7, Richardson showed he is back to 100 percent and ran for 122 yards and a score on 24 carries in what looked like a tough matchup against San Diego. It was the second 100-yard rushing game of his young career, and he now has six touchdowns and just one fumble on the season. The one catch tied a season-low, but the 24 carries was a season-high, so he is consistently getting touches and has already become the biggest offensive threat in Cleveland. Not only are the Baltimore Ravens depleted and a shell of their former selves, they have actually become a good fantasy matchups for running backs. Richardson should have no problem running over them this week.
Point Projection: 16 points


Darren McFadden (Oakland Raiders) vs. Tampa Bay

After failing to average over 3 YPC in his past three games, Run DMC finally broke out with 114 yards on 20 carries (3.9 YPC) while adding four catches for 23 yards. He didn’t score, but to see him not only run close to 30 times but also run effectively is a great sign for owners hoping for a breakout. Tampa Bay’s run defense is ranked in the top ten, but Adrian Peterson showed that a great back can beat them, and McFadden is by all accounts a great back. Keep him in your lineups as a low-end RB1, high-end RB2.
Point Projection: 15 points


Alfred Morris (Washington Redskins) vs. Carolina

Morris tallied just 59 yards Sunday against Pittsburgh, but mostly because his team fell behind early to Pittsburgh and had to abandon the run. He averaged 4.5 YPC and was again the only other running back to receive a carry so don’t get too concerned about this performance. Expect Morris to recover in Week 9 against a so-so Carolina run defense allowing 114.4 YPG. With a 4.7 YPC average on the year, Morris needs to stay in your lineup.
Point Projection: 15 points



Doug Martin (Tampa Bay Buccaneers) @ Oakland

It was a coming-out party for the rookie on Thursday Night Football as Martin gained 214 total yards and scored twice in the Bucs’ dominating win over Minnesota. Martin had been a bit up and down this season but he showed just what he’s capable of Thursday night with a great acceleration, an ability to break tackles and great hands as well. The Bucs just lost Pro Bowl guard Carl Nicks, which could have an effect on the run game. For now, however, the focus for Martin is on the Oakland Raiders. Oakland has been decent against the run but are still beatable. Keep the red hot Martin in your lineup.
Point Projection: 14 points



Ahmad Bradshaw (New York Giants) vs. Pittsburgh

The Giants were confident enough in Bradshaw’s feet to give him the ball 22 times, but he ran for just 78 yards and didn’t get a pass. Andre Brown scored the only rushing touchdown of the day, but as long as Ahmad is healthy he should keep running strong. The Pittsburgh run defense isn’t what it used to be, but is still a top ten run defense. With that being said, Bradshaw can run with the best of them so it should be a fun matchup. He’s a solid RB2.
Point Projection: 13 points



Willis McGahee (Denver Broncos) @ Cincinnati

The veteran McGahee took advantage of a terrible New Orleans run defense to gain 122 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries. He added 33 yards on two catches and has put together a nice season in Denver behind Peyton Manning. Cincinnati hasn’t fare much better against the run this season and has given up nine touchdowns and 124 YPG. Keep McGahee in your lineups.
Point Projection: 13 points


Chris Johnson (Tennessee Titans) vs. Chicago

The resurgence continues as CJ2K is starting to earn his moniker once again. He finished with 99 yards on 21 carries and 18 yards on two catches against Indy and has now earned at least 100 total yards in four of his past give games after struggling mightily early on in the year. The team is going to stick with Matt Hasselbeck under center, which is good news as CJ has thrived with him back there. Chicago will challenge the red-hot Johnson this week. Ranked first in the league, the Bears run defense is allowing 77.9 YPG and has given up just one rushing touchdown. The way he’s running, he needs to stick in your lineup despite the tough matchup. This will be a nice test to prove this recent surge is for real.
Point Projection: 12 points



Reggie Bush (Miami Dolphins) @ Indianapolis

The Dolphins may have dominated the Jets on Sunday, but Bush himself didn’t make much noise with 59 yards on 14 carries and one catch for six yards. After a hot start to the season Bush hasn’t had more than 75 total yards in a game since Week 2 and has scored just once in that span as well. An injury mixed in hasn’t helped, though he’s been playing for a few weeks now and has not been able to get it going. To cap it all off, Daniel Thomas finished with one more carry and a touchdown, so there may be a split in the Miami backfield. Despite all this, Bush is certainly a nice flex play in Week 9 with a matchup against the Indianapolis Colts’ No.27 ranked run defense.
Point Projection: 12 points

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