Running Back Player Rankings – Week 9
Bye Week Teams
New England Patriots, New York Jets, San Francisco 49ers, St. Louis Rams
Running Backs (Updated: Friday, Nov. 2 - 5:17PM CT)
1. Arian Foster (vs. Buf) – With fresh legs coming out of a bye, Arian Foster owners couldn’t have asked for a dreamier fantasy matchup than this one. Just prior to the break, Foster was slowing down a bit averaging just 19 touches a game over the last two weeks. Now that he’s ready for the stretch run, I expect his usage to be back up closer to the 28.4 touches he was averaging through the first five games. What Foster will be able to do with 30 touches against this Bills defense, only the fantasy gods know. Through the halfway point of the season, not only do the Bills allow the most fantasy points per game to running backs, but they’ve also allowed the most rushing touchdowns (13), most rushing yards per game (176.9) and most yards per carry (6.0). With Foster putting up at least one touchdown in every game this season and 10 total on the year, don’t be surprised to see that number rise to 13… maybe even 14 by the end of this game.
2. LeSean McCoy (at NO, Monday night) – If Arian Foster is sitting pretty with the dream matchup of the week, then Shady McCoy is at least sleeping in the bunk-bed below him. We all know LeSean hasn’t been the fantasy stud he was drafted to be this year, but on Monday night against the New Orleans Saints; owners will finally see the running back they were hoping for. Every main ball-carrier New Orleans has faced this year scored at least one touchdown against them—except for the Packers’ Cedric Benson, that is, and the only reason he didn’t was because Rodgers decided to keep all four touchdowns to himself. McCoy should see at least 25 touches in this game for a couple of reasons. First, if Michael Vick wants to win this game and keep his job, he’ll have to stop turning the ball over and get it into his best player’s hands. Second—and I hope the Eagles coaching staff knows this—is because in each of the Eagles three wins, McCoy got 25-plus touches in the game and in each of their three losses, he didn’t. Plain and simple. Two TDs and 175 total yards could be in order here.
3. Ray Rice (at Cle) – The Ravens are a completely different team with their defense as banged up as it is, which might actually play into Ray Rice’s hands. If I were on the Ravens coaching staff right now, I would vehemently suggest more of a ball-control offense from here on out as opposed to the up-tempo style they were playing so they can keep their weakened defense off the field and from what I’ve read recently, it looks like they agree. Rice didn’t have the greatest game against the Browns earlier this season, but he normally loves playing them as he’s averaged nearly 100 rushing yards in nine career games against them, including his only 200-yard rushing performance just last year in Cleveland. If Baltimore can get him around 25 touches this week like they should, look for Rice to put up some of his best fantasy stats on the season.
4. Ryan Mathews (vs. KC, Thursday night) – This fumbling problem of his simply won’t go away, but at least the Chargers aren’t messing around and taking him out of their lineup anymore as they’ve come out to admit that they need Ryan Mathews to be successful in order for their team to be successful. The guy is simply the most athletic player on the team and needs to have the ball in his hands to make things happen, which is why they’ve given him 26 touches in each of the last two games. The Cleveland Browns were able to contain him last week holding him to just 104 yards on those 26 touches, but the Chiefs won’t be able to do the same. Considering they allow the sixth-most yards per rush this season (4.6 YPC) along with the seventh-most fantasy points per game, Mathews should be in for a real nice fantasy day tonight. FINAL STATISTICS: 13 carries - 67 yards - 0 TDs // 2 recs - 5 yards - 0 TDs
5. Marshawn Lynch (vs. Min) – Lynch has four 100-yard games on the season yet surprisingly, only one of them came at home. I mention this because last year he had six 100-yard games with only one of them coming on the road. Basically, Marshawn is due for another home 100-yarder; and its coming this week. The Vikings didn’t allow a single RB to put up double-digit fantasy points against them through the first five weeks of the season. However, Minnesota has allowed one in each of their last three games with all of them putting up at least one rushing touchdown and the last two going up over 100 yards as well. Lynch should be fed like crazy in this game which almost assuredly means RB1 fantasy numbers.
6. Willis McGahee (at Cin) – I think McGahee kind of likes this Peyton Manning-led offensive system. He’s currently ninth in the league in fantasy points per game, tenth in rushing yards and tied for eighth in rushing TDs, so what’s not to like. Some games have been better than others, but I fully expect this to be one of his better ones going up against a Cincinnati defense that has allowed the fifth-most fantasy points per game and second-most rushing touchdowns in the league. Willis put up 101 yards and a TD against the Bengals last season, so with the Denver offense clicking the way it has been lately, there’s no reason not to expect the same this time around.
7. Alfred Morris (vs. Car) – Alfred Morris has put up double-digit fantasy points in six of the Redskins eight games this season and I have no doubt that he’ll make it a seventh this week. The kid also has five rushing TDs, which is tied for second in the league behind Arian Foster. Basically, The Butler is the real deal, folks, and there doesn’t seem to be a need to worry about him being in a Shanahan offense either. This weekend he’ll be up against a Panthers rush D that was one of the worst in the league for a while there, but have somehow turned it around and done pretty well in their last few games. That being said, their focus will be mainly on Robert Griffin III this Sunday, so there should be plenty of open holes for Morris to barrel through and rack up the rushing yards.
8. Matt Forte (at Ten) – Tennessee’s main problem with opposing running backs isn’t so much in defending the rush, but more so against multi-dimensional RBs that can do just as much damage through the air as they can on the ground. In fact, the Titans D has allowed the most receiving yards, most receiving touchdowns and second-most receptions to running backs this season. Basically, the things that the Titans are the worst at are the same things that Matt Forte happens to be best at. Because the Tennessee offense can actually be pretty lethal at times, the Bears will want to control the clock as well, so look for Forte to get a healthy amount of work this weekend en route to a low-end RB1 fantasy day. In PPR leagues, go ahead and change that “low-end” designation to “high-end”.
9. Adrian Peterson (at Sea) – Who in their right mind would have said that Adrian Peterson would be leading the league in rushing yards after eight weeks of the season? Nobody, that’s who; but that doesn’t mean there weren’t plenty of fantasy owners out there willing to take the chance on him early in their drafts and to them I would just like to say; congratulations, you’ve earned the rewards that have been delivered to you. Last week against Tampa Bay was the first time all season that AP wasn’t given 20-plus touches in a game and quite frankly, it showed in the Vikings boxscore (36-17 loss at home). This Sunday, the Vikes travel to Seattle to take on a tough-as-nails Seahawks rush D, but Peterson has been well-rested enough this past week to take on a full load and will undoubtedly be out to prove he’s still the baddest man in the NFL. In a classic brawn-vs.-brawn matchup, it will be interesting to see which monster comes out on top; Purple Jesus or Fugly Skittles.
10. Trent Richardson (vs. Bal) – It turns out the scare fantasy owners had when Richardson exited the Indy game two weeks ago after re-injuring his ribs was really nothing at all. Obviously he was just fine after watching him run for 122 yards and a touchdown against a Chargers defense last week that hadn’t allowed a 100-yard rusher since Week 12 of last season. This Sunday, he takes on a decimated Baltimore D for the second time this season. Back in Week 4, Trent put up 104 total yards and a touchdown against them but that was WITH all of their defensive studs still healthy, so I’m expecting a much better turn-out this time around. There are a lot of classic matchups this weekend and I have no doubt that this one between Trent and Ray Rice will become one of the best over the next few years.
Running Backs 11-50
11. Reggie Bush (at Ind)
12. Jamaal Charles (at SD, Thursday night) – FINAL STATISTICS: 12 carries - 39 yards - 0 TDs // 3 recs - 27 yards - 0 TDs
13. Darren McFadden (vs. TB)
14. Doug Martin (at Oak)
15. Pierre Thomas (vs. Phi, Monday night)
16. Rashad Jennings (vs. Det)
17. Mikel Leshoure (at Jax)
18. Fred Jackson (at Hou)
19. Ahmad Bradshaw (vs. Pit)
20. C.J. Spiller (at Hou)
21. Isaac Redman (at NYG)
22. Jonathan Stewart (at Was)
23. Michael Turner (vs. Dal, Sunday night)
24. BenJarvus Green-Ellis (vs. Den)
25. Chris Johnson (vs. Chi)
26. Felix Jones (at Atl, Sunday night)
27. LaRod Stephens-Howling (at GB)
28. Ronnie Hillman (at Cin)
29. Daniel Thomas (at Ind)
30. Donald Brown (vs. Mia)
31. Alex Green (vs. Ari)
32. Joique Bell (at Jax)
33. Michael Bush (at Ten)
34. Vick Ballard (vs. Mia)
35. Andre Brown (vs. Pit)
36. Jacquizz Rodgers (vs. Dal, Sunday night)
37. Phillip Tanner (at Atl, Sunday night)
38. DeAngelo Williams (at Was)
39. Ronnie Brown (vs. KC, Thursday night) – FINAL STATISTICS: 6 carries - 38 yards - 0 TDs // 5 recs - 35 yards - 0 TDs
40. Justin Forsett (vs. Buf)
41. Chris Rainey (at NYG)
42. Mark Ingram (vs. Phi, Monday night)
43. Bryce Brown (at NO, Monday night)
44. Bernard Pierce (at Cle)
45. Brian Leonard (vs. Den)
46. James Starks (vs. Ari)
47. Baron Batch (at NYG)
48. Peyton Hillis (at SD, Thursday night) – FINAL STATISTICS: 7 carries - 14 yards - 0 TDs // 1 rec - 7 yards - 0 TDs
49. Montario Hardesty (vs. Bal)
50. Mike Goodson (vs. TB)
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