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Running Back Waiver Wire Pickups - Week 10

The regular season continues to advance at a relentless pace as we have now entered planning for Week 10. Some of you are benefitting from favorable production from your running backs, which has allowed you to focus on other areas of your rosters. But many of you have been contending with unwanted developments at this position including injuries, inconsistent usage, and underwhelming performances. Even if you have avoided those production-inhibiting issues, you will be impacted by the escalating reality of bye weeks.

We now enter the most challenging week of this process for many owners, as players from six different teams will be absent from game action. This problematic bye week will include the Jaguars, Patriots, Eagles, Redskins, Broncos, and Texans. That will require anyone who owns Leonard Fournette, Sony Michel, James White, Rex Burkhead, Miles Sanders, Jordan Howard, Adrian Peterson, Chris Thompson, Royce Freeman, Phillip Lindsay, Carlos Hyde, or Duke Johnson to locate alternative options for your lineups.

Regardless of your reasons for examining waiver wire options, this article will help you locate the best running backs to target. These recommendations will appear in three tiers - beginning with the most enticing and progressing to runners that are available if you are contending with desperation. You will also find a group of backs that can be considered as droppable in order for you to secure your replacements.

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Frontrunners - Week 10 Waiver Wire Running Backs

These backs should be your top priorities among the runners that are available on most waiver wires. Some will be more beneficial in PPR formats than standard. All players have 60% or less ownership in typical fantasy leagues. 

Ronald Jones II, Tampa Bay Buccaneers - 40% owned

Jones has now collected more touches than Peyton Barber in four of Tampa Bay’s last five contests, while consistently presenting evidence that he should be entrusted with the team’s feature back responsibilities. He accrued 20 touches during the Buccaneers’ Week 9 matchup in Seattle, accumulated a season-best 82 total yards, and generated his third touchdown of the season. His ability to capitalize on his team-high 92 rushing attempts through eight games has enabled him to lead Tampa Bay in rushing yards (381), and yards-per-carry average (4.2). He has also performed with a burst that Barber cannot deliver. However, there is no assurance that Bruce Arians will finally abandon the ill-fated concept of deploying Barber. But Jones’ Week 9 performance has improved his chances of capturing the majority of touches this week. That would place him in a position to thrive during an enticing matchup with Arizona. It also vaults him to the top of this week's waiver wire options.

Kareem Hunt, Cleveland Browns - 59% owned

As we entered the regular season, there were clear disadvantages to maintaining Hunt on your roster throughout his protracted suspension - unless you were playing in a deeper league. The two-month delay before he could contribute to your fantasy scoring was compounded by the uncertainty surrounding his role whenever he did re-emerge. But we have now progressed into Week 10 planning, and Hunt’s absence has reached its conclusion. This provides a sizable incentive to include the former league rushing champion on your roster. That does not imply that Nick Chubb’s RB1 role will change, as there is little rationale for drastically reducing his workload (155 touches / 19.4 touches-per-game). But Hunt’s track record of proficiency and versatility will elevate him far beyond full-time spectator status. That should present all owners with sufficient motivation to secure him on your rosters, as he supplies the potential to become an important resource during the fantasy playoffs.

Darrell Henderson, (Los Angeles Rams) - 24% owned

It required patience to wait until Week 6 before we finally witnessed the explosiveness that Henderson can deliver. But after he only received one touch between Weeks 1-5, the home run potential has been on display in growing increments. The dynamic first-year back accrued 32 touches from Weeks 6-8 while garnering more opportunities than Todd Gurley in Week 8 (13/10). Gurley’s problematic left knee will continue to fuel Sean McVay’s management of his backfield components. This includes preserving Gurley through controlled workloads, in hopes that he can remain available to share touches with Henderson throughout the season. This ongoing need to place constraints on Gurley’s workload could propel Henderson into a massive difference-maker during the postseason. That should motivate all Gurley owners to secure Henderson while he remains available, as the eye-opening runs that he can produce will eventually compel other owners to target him.


In The Running - Week 10 Waiver Wire Running Backs

These backs remain widely available on the waiver wire but are not necessarily must-adds.

Alexander Mattison, Minnesota Vikings - 32% owned

Mattison has now rushed for 52+ yards in four of his last seven games and has assembled 337 yards on 71 attempts (4.8 yards-per-carry). He also just missed generating his first receiving touchdown in Week 9 when he could not remain inbounds during an impressive catch. He has also performed proficiently while operating as Dalvin Cook’s backup. This should eliminate any lingering doubt that he is fully capable of generating significant yardage if Cook would be sidelined for any reason. It should also deliver an enormous incentive for Cook owners to protect themselves from a sizable drop in scoring if the Vikings’ RB1 would suddenly become unavailable. Even though Ameer Abdullah periodically emerges for touches, Mattison is the preeminent handcuff. It is highly recommended that Cook owners safeguard their investment, as he could propel teams to successful postseason runs if Cook is absent.

Derrius Guice, Washington Redskins - 32% owned

Guice appears primed to resurface in Washington’s lineup when the Redskins return from their Week 10 bye. He should instantly garner touches, even though it is unclear how the workload will be distributed within a potentially congested backfield. Guice could be sharing carries with Adrian Peterson, while it is likely that Chris Thompson will retain his responsibilities as the team’s pass-catching specialist. However, it is conceivable that Guice will become the centerpiece of Washington’s ground game, which would be consistent with his role when the season began. However, was Jay Gruden’s blueprint for the rushing attack, and Bill Callahan might pursue a different strategy. But even if Guice does not fully recapture a feature back role, he should collect enough opportunities to boost your scoring - provided that he can achieve sustained health.  That provides the incentive to add him now, which will allow you to evade a more competitive waiver process next week.

Trey Edmunds, Pittsburgh Steelers 1% owned

This recommendation is for owners who might encounter a short-term need during the aforementioned bye weeks, or for those of you who have deeper rosters. Edmunds’ potential for usage has undergone a temporary surge, as multiple injuries have permeated Pittsburgh’s backfield. These health issues sidelined James Conner and Benny Snell in Week 9 and elevated Jaylen Samuels into lead back responsibilities. The situation also presented Edmunds with an opportunity to accrue 12 carries in Week 9. He capitalized by assembling 73 yards, which included a 45-yard run on his first attempt. The versatile Samuels will confiscate the majority of touches while Conner (shoulder) and Snell (knee) remain absent. But Edmunds should also accumulate carries until his injured teammates have resurfaced in the lineup. That lifts him into consideration as a flex option in deeper leagues, while there is potential for his relevance to rise if Conner and Snell remain unavailable for an extended period.


Dark Horses - Week 10 Waiver Wire Running Backs 

This group consists of running backs that can be added if you are willing to wait for the possibility of a larger role during the year, or consider your situation to be desperate due to injuries or byes.

Adrian Peterson, Washington Redskins - 56% owned

While it is logical to target Guice on this week’s waiver wire, any concerns regarding his extended absence are understandable. It is also reasonable to question whether he can overtake Peterson as Washington’s primary ball carrier. The  34-year-old has been repeatedly dismissed by some within the fantasy community, yet he continues to assemble respectable numbers. Since Week 6, Peterson has rushed for 384 yards on 69 attempts, while eclipsing 100 yards twice during that four-game span. That includes the 108 that he attained against Buffalo in Week 9. Guice will collect touches in Callahan’s offense when the Redskins return in Week 11. But Callahan might believe that Peterson has earned the opportunity to garner a percentage of the workload. This preserves his place among the viable roster additions.

Ryquell Armstead, Jacksonville Jaguars - 1% owned

If you own Leonard Fournette, then you have benefitted immensely from his enormous workload (198 touches), along with with his ability to stockpile yardage (1,054 total yards). He is the NFL’s third-leading rusher (831 yards), and there is no looming threat to pilfer a significant percentage of his touches. But the entire scenario would change dramatically if Fournette would be sidelined for any reason. While the prospects of adding Armstead may not create the same level of excitement that ownership of backups such as Mattison and Henderson can provide, the fifth-round pick would instantly inherit a massive role if Fournette cannot perform. Armstead’s snap count has increased during the Jaguars’ last two matchups, and he also established new season highs as a receiver in Week 9 (5 targets/5 receptions/65 receiving yards). Fournette owners can cushion the effects of any potential absence by seizing Armstead.


Also-Rans - Time To Say Goodbye

These backs can be dropped in order to secure an RB with greater potential to bolster your scoring during the year.

Chase EdmondsArizona Cardinals 37% owned

Edmonds was the top waiver wire addition after he ignited for 303 total yards and three touchdowns from Weeks 5-7, including 150 total yards in Week 7. But all positive momentum that surrounded the second-year back halted abruptly when he was sidelined by a hamstring issue in Week 8. Not only was he unavailable in Week 9, but former Dolphin Kenyan Drake exploded for 162 total yards against the 49ers. This has dramatically increased the uncertainty with an already convoluted backfield situation. David Johnson could also return to share touches with Drake this week, and it is unclear how long Edmonds will be unavailable. This decreases the likelihood that Edmonds will procure enough touches to remain roster-worthy whenever he does reemerge from his injury. It may be difficult to discard him if you benefitted from his brief statistical surge. But Edmonds will be contending with too many obstacles that can keep him from receiving an adequate workload.

Kerryon Johnson, Detroit Lions 48% owned

During the process of examining ownership percentages, it was surprising to see that Johnson is being retained in nearly half of all leagues. This is questionable usage of a critical roster spot in deeper leagues, and it is even more difficult to justify for owners who operate with a short bench. Johnson might not re-enter the field this season, and the best-case scenario is a Week 16 return. There is no guarantee that this scenario would even occur. If it did develop, that would be championship week in most leagues. Your ability to navigate through your remaining regular season games and the initial rounds of the fantasy playoffs will be enhanced if you maximize all roster spots. Johnson’s status as the Lions’ RB1 when he is healthy should not create hesitation in discarding him from rosters now, there are more effective ways to use your roster spot. 

Peyton Barber, Tampa Bay Buccaneers - 37% owned

Not only does Barber continue to share touches in an overcrowded backfield with Ronald Jones and Dare Ogunbowale, but he has consistently failed to take advantage of the opportunities that he does receive. Barber has now averaged 7.8 carries-per-game since Week 4, while averaging just 22.9 yards-per-game, and failing to exceed 32 yards during that sequence. Even though it is doubtful that Bruce Arians will decrease Barber’s involvement, it is also unlikely that his modest role will expand. He does not possess the same level of talent as Jones, who has been overdue for an expanded workload. Barber has also been targeted just 12 times and is not a candidate for increased usage as a receiver. Ogunbowale has commandeered those responsibilities while collecting 3+ targets in six different contests. There is no rationale for believing that Barber’s numbers will improve, which eliminates any reason to retain him.


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