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Week 9 Running Back Depth Charts for Fantasy Football


Week 8 was just awful. It was a gut-wrenching week for fantasy owners as a handful of key pieces were silenced by serious injuries. If you were fortunate enough to have a healthy roster by the end of this week's action, count your blessings.

There was simply a shortage of dominant performances from RBs all week. It was a great week for quarterbacks and wide receivers, especially those involved in the Saints-Giants game. Only one man accounted for more than 20 standard fantasy points, while only four backs rushed for over 100 yards. This was a week to forget. However, it is also a week to analyze. Many more backfield situations were downgraded to volatile due to poor play and injury and there are a slew of waiver wire candidates to be considered.

 

AFC EAST: Fantasy Football Running Backs (RB)

Baller Stability Rating Team
Name
Primary
Running Back
Backup or
Handcuff
Longshot
Candidate(s)
Waiver     Wire Watch
Questionable Patriots LeGarrette BlountDion Lewis James WhiteBrandon Bolden  N/A
Solid Jets Chris Ivory Zac Stacy Bilal Powell  N/A
Solid Bills LeSean McCoy Karlos Williams* Daniel Herron, Boobie Dixon  N/A
Solid Dolphins Lamar Miller Damien WilliamsJonas Gray Jay Ajayi  N/A

 

The Patriots running game was ineffective again on the ground Thursday night, totaling less than 100 yards rushing despite 26 rushing attempts. Don't let that stat fool you. Dion Lewis (abdomen) came back after sitting out last week and caught six passes for 93 yards and a touchdown as the Patriots routed the Dolphins at home. Following the conventional wisdom, one would think that the Patriots run game would be more reliable considering they spend most of the game with a huge lead. Instead, Belichick enjoys running up the scoreboard without mercy deep into the fourth quarter and padding Brady's stats. Fortunately for Lewis, his activity out of the backfield in the passing game makes for a solid fantasy play week-to-week. LeGarrette Blount got his touches, but managed a measly 72 yards on 17 carries. Lewis added another 19 yards on five carries, while James White gained three yards on three carries.

Sunday's game in Oakland featured the top two defenses against the run in the NFL as the Raiders hosted the Jets. While the Jets defense didn't hold up to the billing, Oakland's did, as Chris Ivory was stymied for just 17 yards on 15 carries. Geno Smith was the leading rusher with 34 yards. The performance doesn't change Ivory's status as the locked-in starter. He should have a much easier time Week 9 when the Jets host the Jaguars. For the record, Ivory added 24 yards on three receptions, while Zac Stacy touched the ball four times and gained 18 yards.

**BYE** LeSean McCoy was consistent in the 9am London YahooBowl as he racked up 104 yards on 20 touches. McCoy was also active in the fumble game. He lost a fumble of his own, but later recovered a fumble by Jaguars linebacker Paul Posluszny. Also, it's worth noting that McCoy's 71 snaps led the league Week 7, a sign that Boom Herron and Boobie Dixon will not be a factor. Karlos Williams (concussion) did not even travel to London with the team. He still has yet to practice, so his status remains unclear until more information emerges. Herron had two carries for nine yards and a three yard reception. As long as Williams stays sidelined, McCoy is a full-go and will likely continue to be after his handcuff returns.

After leading all running backs in fantasy for Week 7, Lamar Miller was flattened by the Patriots defense on Thursday night, rushing for just 15 yards on nine carries. As has been the case for Dolphins offense all year (minus the previous two weeks) no one was fantasy relevant on the entire squad. Interestingly enough, Jonas Gray piled up 50 yards on four receptions. Gray has been the garbage time back in Miami, which has turned out to be most of the game more often than not. Still, it doesn't make him a viable fantasy play. Miller is still definitely worth owning, but should only be started in favorable matchups or as a flex play. Things don't get much easier as the team travels to Buffalo and Philadelphia the next two weeks.

 

AFC WEST: Fantasy Football Running Backs (RB)

Baller Stability Rating Team
Name
Primary
Running Back
Backup or
Handcuff
Longshot
Candidate(s)
Waiver     Wire Watch
Volatile Broncos Ronnie Hillman C.J. Anderson Juwan Thompson Ronnie Hillman
Solid Chiefs Charcandrick West Knile Davis Spencer Ware Charcandrick West
Solid Raiders Latavius Murray Taiwan Jones Roy Helu Jr.  N/A
Volatile Chargers Danny WoodheadMelvin Gordon Donald Brown

 

Ronnie Hillman was the starting running back when the Broncos hosted the Packers on Sunday night, as he out-rushed C.J. Anderson 19-to-14. However, for the first time all season, Anderson was the one who impressed. He surprised with a 101-yard, one touchdown performance for his first fantasy-effective outing of the year. Of course, this type of thing happens as soon as he is demoted. Things could not be more confusing in this backfield. The good news is that Denver's offensive line is finally looking healthy and can run block pretty well. A few weeks ago, neither of these guys were valuable. Now, they both hold value in most fantasy formats. Scoop up either if he is available.

Another big day for Charcandrick West. The Chiefs rolled over the Lions in London on Sunday morning and West was a big part of that as he amassed 122 yards and a touchdown on 24 touches. It's become abundantly clear that Knile Davis is not going to be receiving quality touches anytime soon, though he did receive four carries for nine yards. Spencer Ware was more efficient out of the backfield, rushing for 12 yards on two attempts. That's now two weeks in a row that West has broken 100 yards rushing, though Detroit does have one of the worst rush defenses in the league. We'll learn a lot more when he goes up against Denver Week 10. The Chiefs will have a Week 9 BYE.

Latavius Murray carried the rock well against the league's top rush defense on Sunday as the Raiders blew out the Jets at home, piling up 119 yards on 21 touches. This was Murray's first 100-yard rush day since Week 3 against the Browns. So he's now rushed for 100 yards against the league's best and worst run defenses. Taiwan Jones busted out an impressive 59-yard catch-and-run from the backfield for a score, shedding multiple defenders in the process. But it's unlikely he will take on a bigger role in the near future. Murray has been trending upward the past few weeks (as has the rest of the Raiders offense) and he will look to keep things rolling next week against Pittsburgh's top-10 rush defense.

The Chargers decided to stick with Melvin Gordon as their leading rusher on Sunday in Baltimore despite his woes and Danny Woodhead's impressive play thus far. Well, nobody was able to get much going from the backfield as Gordon, Woodhead and Branden Oliver combined for only 81 yards on 26 carries against the league's 11th ranked run defense. Gordon managed just 61 yards on 25 touches. Woodhead had his worst day of the season, tacking on just 45 yards on five touches, the least amount of touches for him in 2015. It's inexplicable that the coaching staff would limit Woodhead to so few carries and continue to give Gordon carries. That situation will likely be righted against the Bears next week.

 

AFC NORTH: Fantasy Football Running Backs (RB)

Baller Stability Rating Team
Name
Primary
Running Back
Backup or
Handcuff
Longshot
Candidate(s)
Waiver     Wire Watch
Solid Ravens Justin Forsett Javorius Allen Lorenzo Taliaferro  N/A
Solid Steelers DeAngelo Williams Dri Archer Jordan Todman DeAngelo Williams
Volatile Bengals Jeremy Hill Giovani Bernard Rex Burkhead  N/A
Questionable Browns Duke Johnson Isaiah Crowell,Robert Turbin Shaun Draughn Duke Johnson

 

Justin Forsett couldn't get much going against the Chargers bottom-five NFL rush defense on Sunday, accounting for just 74 yards on 18 touches. The only rushing touchdown by the Ravens in this one was a one-yard scamper by Joe Flacco. It was an uncharacteristic outing for Forsett after three consecutive 100-yard rushing games. Javorius Allen couldn't crack the code either, as he tallied just one yard on four carries. It's probably just a random off day for Forsett. The Ravens next matchup is Week 10 when they host the Jaguars. The Ravens will have a Week 9 BYE.

Time for the biggest news of the week. Le'Veon Bell will reportedly miss the remainder of 2015 with a badly torn MCL. Enter DeAngelo Williams. Remember - Williams was a stud for the first two weeks of the season while Bell was sidelined due to suspension. Over the first two weeks of the season, Williams slashed defenses for 224 yards and three touchdowns, making him the top scoring fantasy RB over that span. After Bell went down against the Bengals, Williams filled in with an impressive 110 yards on just 13 touches. Williams is the top waiver wire priority of the year and must be scooped up in each and every league. The Steelers face the Raiders league-leading run defense next week. We will learn a lot from his performance in the contest.

Jeremy Hill took the reigns in the Bengals contest against the Steelers, out-touching Giovani Bernard 16-to-3. However, he didn't get much done, as he only accounted for 68 yards on 16 touches. The Steelers defense held up well all afternoon in the slugfest. Bernard, who usually receives a hearty portion of work in the passing game, was only targeted three times, compared to a whopping 17 targets for A.J. Green. It seems like the Marvin Lewis will stick with Hill moving forward as long as he can hold on to the football. Both Hill and Bernard are set up for big games against Cleveland's abysmal run defense Thursday night.

There simply is no running game in Cleveland. Josh McCown was the leading rusher for the Browns against the Cardinals Week 8, gaining 18 yards on five carries. The rest of the backfield combined for 21 yards on 15 carries. That's bad. Of Course, Duke Johnson saved his day with two catches for 68 yards, most of which coming on a spectacular 52-yard gain. Isaiah Crowell continued his stretch of mediocrity, tacking on 14 yards on 10 attempts. The Browns are horrible in the run game on both sides of the ball. Everyone in this backfield should be avoided when the team travels to Cincinnati next week.

 

AFC SOUTH: Fantasy Football Running Backs (RB)

Baller Stability Rating Team
Name
Primary
Running Back
Backup or
Handcuff
Longshot
Candidates
Waiver     Wire Watch
Solid Colts Frank Gore Ahmad Bradshaw Josh Robinson  N/A
Volatile Texans Alfred Blue Chris Polk Jonathan Grimes Alfred Blue, Chris Polk
Questionable Titans Antonio AndrewsDexter McCluster Bishop Sankey Terrance West,David Cobb Antonio Andrews
Solid Jaguars T.J. Yeldon Toby Gerhart Denard Robinson  N/A

 

Frank Gore couldn't get any traction on the muddy field in Carolina on Monday night, rushing for just 70 yards on 22 carries. Gore has yet to have a 100-yard rushing game this season, though his 19 receptions on the year indicate he is being used more in the passing game than in years past. He caught three passes in this one for 22 yards, bringing his total to 92 on the night. The veteran has a pretty low ceiling this year, but he's still somewhat consistent. Aside from some fumble woes earlier in the year, Gore has been a lock for low-end RB production for most of the season. Ahmad Bradshaw got some carries as well, taking seven handoffs for 31 yards. There is still a possibility he will be used in a larger role as the season continues.

In the absence of star back Arian Foster, the Texans backfield situation was predictably mediocre. As expected, Alfred Blue led the committee, garnering 72 yards on 19 touches while Chris Polk carried the rock eight times for a whopping 18 yards. There is no chance for consistency from this crew in the Texans backfield. There is some talk about bringing in a veteran guy to help lead the committee, but what's the point? This team stinks. Although somehow, at 3-5, the Texans find themselves tied for the division lead in the horrendous AFC South. Blue is worth rostering from now, but should only be started in desperate situations. The Texans will have a Week 9 BYE.

Antonio Andrews is doing everything he can to make sure he stays a tantalizing option, while remaining mediocre enough to be kept on the waiver wire. Andrews led the Tennessee backfield with 19 touches (16 runs, three catches) for 82 yards, but the Titans never got close enough to the end zone for Andrews to score a touchdown. Dexter McCluster was still active, tacking on 23 yards on four catches and another 15 yards on the ground. The performance would make Andrews a worthy waiver wire add under normal circumstances, but David Cobb (calf) is set to return from I.R. and play Week 9. Here's the thing - according to former coach Ken Wisenhunt, Cobb is struggling with weigh issues and needs more conditioning. So until Cobb can slim down, Andrews will likely remain the top option.

**BYE** T.J. Yeldon bounced back from a groin injury and starred in a 9am London thriller on Sunday morning. The 20-115-1 line (with a nine-yard reception) was his best yardage total of the year and his 60 snaps were top-five in the league for Week 7. For some confusing reason that makes sense to Gus Bradley and Gus Bradley only, Toby Gerhart received a handful of crucial goal line carries and (shockingly) came up short. Gerhart finished the day with six carries for eight yards. Yeldon and the Jags will have their hands full when they travel to the Meadowlands for a battle with the Jets in Week 9.

 

NFC EAST: Fantasy Football Running Backs (RB)

Baller Stability Rating Team
Name
Primary
Running Back
Backup or
Handcuff
Longshot
Candidates
 Waiver      Wire Watch
Volatile Giants Rashad Jennings Orleans DarkwaShane Vereen Andre Williams Orleans Darkwa
Questionable Eagles DeMarco Murray Ryan MathewsDarren Sproles Kenjon Barner  N/A
Solid Cowboys Darren McFadden Christine Michael Rod Smith  N/A
Volatile Washington Matt Jones Chris Thompson*,Alfred Morris  Darrel Young Chris Thompson

 

Shockingly, in a game that featured 13 offensive touchdowns and 102 total points, there was not a single rushing touchdown. The dark horse Orleans Darkwa led the backfield with 5.8 YPC, but exited early and is now dealing with a badly bruised tailbone. He is not expected to miss any major time. Rashad Jennings was the leading rusher with 54 yards on 10 carries and caught two passes for 31 yards. Inexplicably, the Giants still tried to utilize Andre Williams, who only managed seven yards on five attempts. His time in New York is probably dwindling. Shane Vereen was a dynamo in the passing game, as he reeled in eight-of-nine targets for 60 yards and a score. Darkwa is still a viable waiver wire candidate, but none of these guys are trustworthy in the four-headed attack.

**BYE** Let's take a look at the numbers against Carolina on Sunday night: DeMarco Murray - 39 snaps, 18 attempts, 65 yards, 3.6 YPC, no touchdowns, $40 million. Ryan Mathews - 17 snaps, 6 attempts, 97 yards, 16.2 YPC, one touchdown, $11 million. It's almost like the Eagles are trying to limit Mathews from playing well to save face for the front office. It becomes clearer each week that Mathews is the better back in Philadelphia, or at least the better fit for Chip kelly's system. But the Eagles will never allow him to take over Murray's place on the depth chart due to the massive contract given to Murray in the offseason. Imagine what the Eagles could have done with that money if they had just signed Mathews and moved on to address other issues! By the way, Mathews added three catches for 24 yards, while Murray reeled in two-of-four targets for five yards. Of course, both backs are worth owning. But it's undeniable that the backup is more valuable regardless of how many carries the coaching staff gives him.

Darren McFadden did not quite repeat his Week 7 performance, but was still the most impressive player on the Cowboys offense in a tough battle against the Seahawks. Though struggled on the ground (just 64 yards on 20 catches) he made up for it in the passing game with six receptions for 49 yards. 113 yards from scrimmage against the Seahawks defense is undoubtedly an accomplishment. Christine Michael set his yardage mark for the season with 20 whole yards on five carries. He dropped two passes from the backfield as well. The big news here is that the Cowboys decided to drop Joseph Randle amid reports that he violated the NFL personal conduct policy on a slew of different charges involving marijuana possession and domestic violence. McFadden is set to be the man in Dallas and rack up big points in weeks to come.

**BYE** With Chris Thompson (back) sidelined for Week 7, Matt Jones led Washington's backfield with 48 snaps, nine carries and an abysmal 29 yards on Sunday. The DC Grudens never had a chance to get the run game going against the Buccaneers as they were fighting for their lives for most of the game. Alfred Morris played the backup role, tacking on a meager five yards on six carries. This backfield has been deplorable for many weeks now. When healthy, Thompson is the only worthwhile option due to his proficiency in the passing game.

 

NFC WEST: Fantasy Football Running Backs (RB)

Baller Stability Rating Team
Name
Primary
Running Back
Backup or
Handcuff
Longshot
Candidates
Waiver Wire Watch
Volatile 49ers Carlos Hyde* Kendall Gaskins Pierre Thomas Kendall Gaskins, Pierre Thomas
Solid Seahawks Marshawn Lynch Thomas Rawls Fred Jackson  N/A
Solid Cardinals Chris Johnson David JohnsonAndre Ellington Stepfan Taylor  N/A
Solid Rams Todd Gurley Tre Mason Benny Cunningham  N/A

 

Yeesh. The offense in San Francisco is absolutely ravaged. Check out this laundry list: Top weapon Vernon Davis was traded to Denver, former-star QB Colin Kaepernick has been benched in favor of a terribly ineffective Blaine Gabbert, and nearly every RB on the team is dealing with serious injury. Starting back Carlos Hyde (foot) was held out of a Week 8 matchup in Saint Louis with a stress fracture and is at risk of missing the team's Week 11 games after a Week 10 BYE. Reggie Bush slipped on the team's unnecessary concrete track and tore his ACL. Jarryd Hayne was released. Mike Davis Broke his hand. Some guy named Kendall Gaskins is the only remaining option if Hyde cannot return after Week 10. Gaskins rushed for six yards on five carriesas the 49ers backfield combined for 10 yards on 15 carries on the afternoon. Breaking News - The nNiners have signed free agent RB Pierre Thomas. It is completely unclear who will lead this backfield the next time the team takes the field at home against the Falcons top-five rush defense.

Marshawn Lynch was stifled by the Cowboys front seven on Sunday as he managed just 71 yards on 21 carries. Lynch appeared a little lethargic in the battle as he nearly lost the game for the Seahawks on the final drive by going out of bounds instead of running out the clock. Aside from last week's dominance of the lackluster 49ers, Lynch really has no good outings this year. The good news is that he's healthy and will continue to get 20+ carries each week, making him a candidate to break out at any time. The Seahawks will have a Week 9 BYE.

Chris Johnson was the anchor of Arizona's offense in a tight contest against the Browns on Sunday as he pounded the defense for 109 on 30 carries. Although the 3.6 YPC are a tad underwhelming against the league's worst-ranked run defense, Johnson's volume rushing is a vital quality for a fantasy RB. That's four times in the past six weeks that Johnson has bested 100 yards on the ground. Touchdowns have been a bit few and far between, but three on the season thus far is hardly something to complain about. Andre Ellington finished with zero yards on the afternoon on three carries and a dropped pass. Ellington should probably be dropped unilaterally in all leagues as should rookie David Johnson, though he did catch two passes for 44 yards. Arizona will have a Week 9 BYE.

After a relatively quite first quarter, Todd Gurley busted out a devastating 71-yard touchdown run against the 49ers on Sunday. On the contest, Gurley totaled 146 yards and a touchdown on 23 touches making him the top fantasy RB of Week 8. Over the past four weeks, Gurley is the second-best fantasy RB in the NFL despite a Week 6 BYE. The rookie shows no signs of stopping and is probably the best half back in the league. Tre Mason got a ton of garbage time work as well, carrying the rock 46 yards on 15 attempts.

 

NFC NORTH: Fantasy Football Running Backs (RB)

Baller Stability Rating Team
Name
Primary
Running Back
Backup or
Handcuff
Longshot
Candidates
Waiver Wire Watch
Questionable Packers Eddie Lacy James Starks Alonzo Harris James Starks
Volatile Lions Joique Bell Theo Riddick, Ameer Abdullah Zach Zenner Theo Riddick
Questionable Bears Matt Forte* Jeremy Langford Ka'Deem Carey  Jeremy Langford
Solid Vikings Adrian Peterson Matt Asiata Jerick McKinnon  N/A

 

The Packers offense looked altogether disorganized against the chaotic Denver defense and the running game was no different. Eddie lacy offered a brief flash of hope as he topped off an 80-yard touchdown drive in the second quarter with a three-yard scamper. Still, he looks out of shape as the reports indicate. He's not quick or elusive and his only remaining skill set is running over defenders down the middle. He finished with 38 yards on 11 carries, adding a nine yard reception. James Starks played through a hip injury but looked healthy, though he only accounted for nine yards on five carries. Lack of yardage almost has to be excused against the Broncos D, as the high-flying Packers only gained 140 total offensive yards. The team will face another tough task next week in Carolina.

It seems as if the Lions have finally moved on from Ameer Abdullah as the primary running back. The rookie only received one carry for three yards as the Lions were physically and emotionally destroyed by the Chiefs in London on Sunday morning. Joique Bell was surprisingly efficient, piling on 56 yards on seven carries, good for 8.0 YPC. Abdullah was used in the slot receiver position, but mis-ran his route leading to a Matthew Stafford interception. His trust is quickly running out. Theo Riddick remained active in both the ground and air attack, totaling a meager 47 yards on 11 touches. This entire offense is untouchable until the Lions can get their act together. The Lions will have a Week 9 BYE.

The good news is that Matt Forte appears to have avoided the dreaded ACL tear. Forte has a relatively minor MCL injury and is only expected to miss two or three weeks, meaning he should not be dropped in any format. Rookie Jeremy Langford filled in after Forte went down and will likely be the lead back in Forte's absence. Langford had 12 carries for 46 yards in the Bears tight loss to the Vikings. Jacquizz Rodgers has a broken arm and won't play again this season. There are reports that the team is interested in signing free agent back Montee Ball, but that is not yet confirmed. For now it's just Langford and fourth-string back Ka'Deem Carey, who isn't likely to get major work any time soon.

With big injuries to Le'Veon Bell, Matt Forte, Jamaal Charles and other, it seems as if Adrian Peterson is the only reliable, healthy running back left from the past few years. AP did it again on Sunday against the Bears, amassing 103 yards on 20 carries in classic fashion. Peterson might not be the powerhouse from previous seasons, but he is one of the most consistent guys in the league. He'll face a tough task against the Rams Week 9.

 

NFC SOUTH: Fantasy Football Running Backs (RB)

Baller Stability Rating Team
Name
Primary
Running Back
Backup or
Handcuff
Longshot
Candidates
Waiver Wire Watch
Solid Saints Mark Ingram C.J. Spiller Tim Hightower C.J. Spiller
Solid Falcons Devonta Freeman Tevin Coleman Terron Ward  N/A
Solid Panthers Jonathan Stewart Cameron Artis-Payne Fozzy Whittaker  N/A
Solid Buccaneers Doug Martin Charles Sims Mike James, Bobby Rainey Charles Sims

 

Mark Ingram was not the recipient of any of the 13 offensive touchdown in Sunday's shootout with the Giants, but he did gain over 100 yards from scrimmage for the second consecutive week. On 16 rushes and four receptions, Ingram totaled 119 yards and helped the team repeatedly roll down the field for Drew Brees to fire seven touchdown passes on the afternoon. There was a sad scene in the second quarter when Khiry Robinson went down with an obviously serious leg injury most of the team huddled around him in support. The diagnosis was a broken right tibia, effectively ending Robinson's season. C.J. Spiller will be getting more carries in Robinson's absence. He received six touches for 36 yards and a crucial fourth quarter touchdown reception on Sunday and may be worth a look on the waiver wire.

Devonta Freeman continues to be the absolute best fantasy running back in the NFL. Sunday's shocking overtime loss to Tampa Bay marked the sixth consecutive game that Freeman has broken 100 yards from scrimmage to go along with nine touchdowns in that span. On Sunday, he rushed 21 times for 88 yards and hauled in six-of-eight targets for 43 yards. What's left to stay here? Freeman is locked in as the number one fantasy RB week after week.

Jonathan Stewart wasn't terribly impressive on a rainy Monday night when the Panthers took down the Colts in overtime. The bruising back gained a solid 82 yards and a score on 25 touches, but also lost a crucial fumble near the goal line. Still, the performance fit in with an impressive three-week stint for Stewart who seems to be back on the right track after a slow start to the season. Mike Tolbert did not receive a single carry, but busted out a massive 40-yard catch-and-run from the backfield. Despite some brilliant plays the past couple weeks, the fullback is not worth owning as his floor remains zero.

Sunday's feisty overtime win in Atlanta was the Jameis Winston show, as the QB accounted for the only rushing touchdown in the game. Doug Martin really couldn't get much going against Atlanta's stout rush defense, amounting just 71 yards on 23 attempts and adding a seven-yard reception. Charles Sims didn't add much help, as he only managed 46 yards on his nine touches. Still, I refuse to take Sims off the waiver wire watch. He receives enough carries each week to garner some attention and is poised to break out should anything happen to Martin. The Bucs RBs will have the chance to shred a weak Giants defensive front next week.

 

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Check out all of RotoBaller's fantasy football rankings. Staff rankings are updated regularly for all positions and include standard formats, PPR scoring, tiered rankings and dynasty leagues.




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