Fantasy Football Week 9: Top 5 Running Back Rankings
Several of the top fantasy football running backs have matchups in Week 9 that should create massive advantages for their owners. Arian Foster, LeSean McCoy and Trent Richardson all have great matchups—two of them are playing at home—against teams that have been generous to opposing fantasy rushers.
All of them have histories of dominant fantasy performances in the past and should run over, around and/or through the 11 guys on the other side of the ball. Each of them has secured a spot in the top five for Week 9, but the following players have not.
Here’s No. 6 through No. 40 for Week 9.
6. Doug Martin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (at Oakland Raiders)
7. Matt Forte, Chicago Bears (at Tennessee Titans)
8. Reggie Bush, Miami Dolphins (at Indianapolis Colts)
9. Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings (at Seattle Seahawks)
10. Willis McGahee, Denver Broncos (at Cincinnati Bengals)
11. Ahmad Bradshaw, New York Giants (vs. Pittsburgh Steelers)
12. Alfred Morris, Washington Redskins (vs. Carolina Panthers)
13. Darren McFadden, Oakland Raiders (vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
14. C.J. Spiller, Buffalo Bills (at Houston Texans)
15. Mikel Leshoure, Detroit Lions (at Jacksonville Jaguars)
16. Chris Johnson, Tennessee Titans (vs. Chicago Bears)
17. Felix Jones, Dallas Cowboys (at Atlanta Falcons)
18. Michael Turner, Atlanta Falcons (vs. Dallas Cowboys)
19. Fred Jackson, Buffalo Bills (at Houston Texans)
20. Rashad Jennings, Jacksonville Jaguars (vs. Detroit Lions)
21. Pierre Thomas, New Orleans Saints (vs. Philadelphia Eagles)
22. Isaac Redman, Pittsburgh Steelers (at New York Giants)
23. Jonathan Stewart, Carolina Panthers (at Washington Redskins)
24. BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Cincinnati Bengals (vs. Denver Broncos)
25. Donald Brown, Indianapolis Colts (vs. Miami Dolphins)
26. Justin Forsett, Houston Texans (vs. Buffalo Bills)
27. Daniel Thomas, Miami Dolphins (at Indianapolis Colts)
28. DeAngelo Williams, Carolina Panthers (at Washington Redskins)
29. Alex Green, Green Bay Packers (vs. Arizona Cardinals)
30. Andre Brown, New York Giants (vs. Pittsburgh Steelers)
31. Baron Batch, Pittsburgh Steelers (at New York Giants)
32. Michael Bush, Chicago Bears (at Tennessee Titans)
33. Jacquizz Rodgers, Atlanta Falcons (vs. Dallas Cowboys)
34. LaRod Stephens-Howling, Arizona Cardinals (at Green Bay Packers)
35. William Powell, Arizona Cardinals (at Green Bay Packers)
36. Ronnie Hillman, Denver Broncos (at Cincinnati Bengals)
37. Phillip Tanner, Dallas Cowboys (at Atlanta Falcons)
38. Vick Ballard, Indianapolis Colts (vs. Miami Dolphins)
39. Mark Ingram, New Orleans Saints (vs. Philadelphia Eagles)
40. LeGarrette Blount, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (at Oakland Raiders)
5. Ray Rice, Baltimore Ravens (at Cleveland Browns)
Rob Carr/Getty Images
Only two top-20 fantasy running backs have fewer carries than Ray Rice this season: Matt Forte (95 carries, 20th in standard scoring) and C.J. Spiller (72 carries, 10th in standard scoring).
Rice has 106 rushing attempts and is the third-highest scorer at the position through eight weeks. That’s due in large part to the Baltimore Ravens’ rusher’s five touchdowns and 245 receiving yards, third best among running backs heading into Week 9.
The Cleveland Browns have allowed 48 catches to running backs this year, including eight to Rice in Week 4. Rice didn’t score a touchdown in that game but finished with 96 total yards. He has limited downside as a featured back and is a must-start fantasy running back against Cleveland.
4. Marshawn Lynch, Seattle Seahawks (vs. Minnesota Vikings)
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It appears that the Minnesota Vikings are no longer to be feared as fantasy road blocks to running backs this season. After starting the year with a five-game streak of zero rushing touchdowns allowed to players at the position, Minnesota has surrendered a ground score in each of the last three weeks.
The Vikings have given up six total touchdowns to running backs that play for the Washington Redskins, Arizona Cardinals and Tampa Bay Buccaneers; five of them took place at home.
Marshawn Lynch will get his chance to run through that defense in Seattle on Sunday, after two consecutive 100-yard performances against the San Francisco 49ers and Detroit Lions on the road. He’s on a roll, and that productivity should continue in Week 9.
3. Trent Richardson, Cleveland Browns (vs. Baltimore Ravens)
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Trent Richardson gained 104 total yards and scored a touchdown against the Baltimore Ravens in his first meeting with the team.
That was in Baltimore with star inside linebacker Ray Lewis.
This time, the Ravens are without Lewis and top cornerback Lardarius Webb and have given up an average of 201.3 rushing yards per game to running backs since their last meeting with Richardson and the Cleveland Browns.
Baltimore has also given up eight total touchdowns in seven games in 2012.
2. LeSean McCoy, Philadelphia Eagles (at New Orleans Saints)
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This is how bad the New Orleans Saints are at stopping the run: They are one of two teams to have allowed 1,000 yards on the ground to running backs this season, and they have already had their bye. They’re allowing more than five yards per carry.
LeSean McCoy hasn’t received 20 carries in a game since Week 4, but it’s clear that the Saints can be beaten with the running game.
The Philadelphia Eagles’ star tailback is also capable of catching balls out of the backfield—as evidenced by his multiple grabs in every game this season—and has scored a receiving touchdown in each of the last three games.
1. Arian Foster, Houston Texans (vs. Buffalo Bills)
Thomas B. Shea/Getty Images
This is how bad the Buffalo Bills are at stopping the run: They are one of two teams to have allowed 1,000 yards on the ground to running backs this season, and they have already had their bye. They are allowing more than five yards per carry.
Sound familiar? It gets better.
Buffalo has given up more rushing touchdowns (11 to eight) and the same number of rushing yards to running backs (1,020) as the New Orleans Saints on fewer rushing attempts (184 to 203).
Arian Foster, meanwhile, has received 24 or more carries in five of his team’s seven games this season and has scored at least one total touchdown in every outing this year.
His matchup with the Bills is so good that Justin Forsett, the Houston Texans' backup (Ben Tate is out with a hamstring injury), is worth a look for the fantasy owner in a desperate situation at running back.
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